Overview

Take an unforgettable voyage into the mists of Africa for an intimate look at the lives of mountain and lowland gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Cregor Adventures has worked closely with a leading African ecotourism provider to develop an itinerary that respects the natural habitat of these rare and noble primates, while contributing to sustainable development and respect for local cultures. As the only signatory to the UN’s Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes, our African partner operates with the highest commitment to the environment and to the principles of ethical tourism.

Our mountain gorilla escorted tours are limited to no more than eight participants. An experienced guide will lead you deep into the cloud forest, where you’ll stay at comfortable eco-lodges in close proximity to the habitats of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Treks depart at set dates throughout the year, so book early to ensure you don’t miss out. We can also arrange tailor-made gorilla trekking and escorted safari trips that follow an itinerary of your choosing.

Experience Gorillas Up Close

Those of us who have trekked to the home of the mountain gorilla can testify that it’s truly a life-changing experience. With fewer than 900 gorillas remaining in the wild, seeing them in person is to experience something unique in the world. These gentle giants will humble and inspire you with their serenity and the strong bonds they form among one another.

At Cregor Adventures, we take care of the behind-the-scenes-work to help ensure your once-in-lifetime gorilla trekking escorted safari respects and protects their habitat. Contact Cregor Adventures for information on pricing for a mountain gorilla escorted tour this upcoming season.

A personal note from Peggy Cregor:  I have always been fascinated and enchanted by mountain gorillas. I have waited many years for the opportunity and the privilege to sit amongst these magical creatures. Two years ago it was finally MY time. And it did not disappoint. In fact, it was even more magical than I could have ever imagined. If this is finally YOUR time, please call us with any questions about this “once in a lifetime adventure!”

 

Sample Itinerary

Day One: Depart From Kigali for the Virunga Lodge When you touch down in Kigali, you’ll be met at the airport by your local guide, who will be your companion for the duration of the trip. You’ll leave right away for the Virunga Lodge, an approximately three hour drive through the hills and mountains of the Rwandan countryside. Arriving at your destination, there’ll be time for an afternoon drink as you unwind from your flight and take in the view of the volcanic peaks that surround you.

Day Two: Gorilla Tracking in the Parc National des Volcans The Virunga Lodge is perfectly situated for a day trip into the park, where you’ll seek out the elusive mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Your experienced guide will lead you through the forest to the best spots for gorilla watching, where you’ll have the opportunity to spend up to a whole hour in the presence of these gentle giants before returning to the lodge for a late lunch or early supper.

Day Three: More Gorilla Tracking or Other Activities The Rwandan government is very protective of its gorilla population – a limited number of permits are available each season. For those travelers  who would like to explore other activities, we offer the following alternatives:

  • tracking the endangered golden monkey.
  • visiting the grave of Dian Fossey and nearby gorilla cemetery.
  • relaxing on the shores of Lake Kivu, widely considered one of the most beautiful inland beaches in Africa.
  • taking a guided tour of Lake Bulera and the nearby villages.

Day Four: Travel to Mount Gahinga Lodge Before setting off for our next destination, you’ll have the morning free to take any of the shorter hikes, activities and trips from the Virunga Lodge, or to simply relax before traveling again. After lunch, we’ll journey to the Mount Gahinga Lodge, located right at the edge of Virunga National Park. We’ll arrive early enough for you to spend a peaceful afternoon taking in the views of Virunga volcano range, sitting by the fire or enjoying a drink on the terrace.

Day Five: Virunga National Park Our location at the edge of the Virunga volcanoes leaves us perfectly positioned for a number of exciting activities. Additional opportunities for gorilla tracking can be had at Nkuringo, a two-hour drive from the lodge. From there, we can trek into Bwindi National Park, though the trail is steep and often muddy. Anyone preferring a more relaxing day can take part in a number of activities closer to the Lodge, including:

  • Walking the Batwa trail. For generations, the Batwa people inhabited the forests around the foothills of the Virunga Mountains. Though their way of life has modernized, ancient traditions remain strong. You’ll have a unique opportunity to experience these traditions firsthand on a forest guided tour led by a Batwa elder. Learn about edible plants, medicines and hunting techniques and visit the sacred Ngarama cave.
  • Hiking the Virungas. Two trails are available for anyone who wishes to take a day hike up in the mountains. The Gahinga trail is a gently-paced hike through marshes and bamboo forests. Anyone craving more of a challenge can journey to the summit of Muhavura, where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley below.
  • Enjoying a Batwa dance performance. Twice a week, the Batwa Dance Group performs for tourists and locals alike, illuminating ancient traditions and mythology in a rhythmic, high-energy performance that must be seen to be believed.

Day Six: Drive to Bwindi The drive to Bwindi National Park – widely known as the “Switzerland of Africa” – is perhaps the most impressive of the entire trip. We’ll climb mountain roads, through the winding alpine forest, until we reach our destination. Be sure to have your camera handy!

Day Seven: Bwindi National Park Bwindi National Park presents your final opportunity for gorilla tracking. Journey through the forest on foot to seek out the shy and gentle mountain gorilla one last time. Other activities available in Bwindi include:

  • taking a guided rainforest walk, where you’ll encounter an incredible array of plants, birds and butterflies while learning about this important ecosystem.
  • visiting community development projects in local villages, many of which are partly financed by our local tour partners.
  • learning more about the history of the Batwa tribe and their relationship with the forest.

Day Eight: Return to Kigali The last day of our tour sees us returning to Rwanda’s capital where, if time permits, we can tour the city and visit the memorial to the victims of genocide – a moving reminder of the painful history of this beautiful country and the power of its people to overcome.

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Dates/Pricing

2014
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
28th 18th 17th 1st 20th 23rd 21st 23rd
Scheduled Departures
Package High Season Low Season
Per person sharing a twin room $ 5,715 $ 5,144
Private Departure **
Package High Season Low Season
Per person sharing a twin room $ 6,953 $ 5,562
Based on 3 $ 6,350 $ 5,080
Based on 4 $ 6,048 $ 4,838
Based on 5 $ 5,867 $ 4,694
**Prices are based on a minimum of two people traveling on a private safari.
2015
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
6th 3rd 2nd 21st 18th 22nd 20th 22nd
Please contact us for 2015 prices.
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Accommodations

Cregor Adventures’ Uganda and Rwanda tours are conducted with the utmost respect for the communities and ecosystems we operate in. On your trip, you’ll stay in our comfortable eco-lodges which offer a full suite of amenities, attentive staff and delicious gourmet meals. Our lodges are ideally positioned for day trips including gorilla tracking, wildlife watching and exploring unique cultural and historical sites in nearby communities.

Virunga Lodge: Three Nights Your first three nights will be spent at the Virunga Lodge. Spectacularly located in the heart of the Virunga Mountains, the Virguna Lodge’s eight private bandas all feature a unique view overlooking the Ruhondo and Bulera lakes and surrounding valleys. The Virunga Lodge is just a three hours drive from Kigali and in close proximity to several smaller villages. Nearby activities: Gorilla tracking, wildlife tours, visiting the Dian Fossey gravesite, relaxing on the beaches at Lake Kivu.

Mount Gahinga Lodge: Two Nights You’ll spend nights four and five in the well-appointed Mount Gahinga Lodge, located in the Virunga foothills four hours away from Kigali. Situated right where the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo meet, the Mount Gahinga Lodge features eight private bandas and was completely refurbished in April 2013. Nearby activities: Walking the Batwa trail, hiking the Muhavura or Gahinga volcanoes, and golden monkey tracking.

Bwindi Lodge: Two Nights The final stop on your tour of Uganda and Rwanda is the Bwindi Lodge, located five hours from Kigali at the edge of the dense Bwindi forest. You’ll sleep in one of the eight comfortable, private bandas while monkeys and tropical birds can be heard just outside. Excellent food, drinks and a beautiful terrace overlooking the famous “impenetrable forest” make this an excellent place for relaxing, or as a base for gorilla tracking or other adventures. Nearby activities: Gorilla tracking, rainforest walks, birdwatching, community development.

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Extensions

Our eight day tour of Uganda and Rwanda presents the adventurous traveler with a number of unforgettable activities. You’ll stay in the Virunga, Mount Gahinga and Bwindi Lodges, each of which make an ideal base for several different treks and tours. Gorilla tracking is available from all three destinations and remains one of our most popular activities – see the itinerary page for more information. Other not-to-be-missed adventures are outlined below.

Virunga Lodge

  • Track golden monkeys, an endangered and elusive population found in only two places on earth.
  • Climb the Karisimbi Volcano, the fifth-highest peak in Africa, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
  • Visit the Mwiko school and village, just 30 minutes away from Virunga Lodge, where you can see first hand the positive effect the rise in eco-tourism in Rwanda has had on local communities.
  • Watch the Intore dancers perform the famous “Dance of the Heroes,” one of the most remarkable of Rwanda’s traditional dances, in a private performance for visitors at the Virunga Lodge.
  • Pay tribute at Dian Fossey’s gravesite in nearby Karisoke, and learn about the important research still being conducted by a rotating team of biologists from all over the world.
  • Take a hike to Lake Bulera and its nearby villages, and see what life is like in a typical community in rural Rwanda.
  • Experience the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, where Batwa traditions are still practiced; visit a replica of the King’s House, learn how to grind millet by hand and sample some homemade banana beer.
  • Take a short walk along nearby Crater View trail for a spectacular look at Lakes Buhero and Ruhondo as well as a massive nearby caldera, or volcanic crater.
  • Sun, swim or relax on the sands of Lake Kivu, one of the Great Lakes of Africa and home to some of the best inland beaches on the continent.

Mount Gahinga Lodge

  • Watch a performance by the Batwa Dance Group; once a week, local Batwa entertainers put on a drum and dance performance for both visitors at the Lodge and members of the local community.
  • Climb one of four nearby volcanoes for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside: Muhavura Volcano, Sabyinyo Volcano, Gahinga Volcano and Karisimbi Volcano are four of the highest peaks in Africa; all are easily accessible from Mount Gahinga Lodge and can be climbed in one or two days by an adventurous traveler.
  •  Go birding in Mgahinga National Park, home to over 79 species, many of which can only by found in the East Congo Montane region. For serious birders, this is an unmissable opportunity to cross several items off your life list.
  • Even non-birders will enjoy taking a nature walk in Mgahinga National Park; a short trail located on lodge property takes less than 30 minutes to complete and provides ample opportunities to view more than 300 species of wildlife living in the park.
  • If you didn’t get a chance in Virunga, the forests surrounding Mount Gahinga Lodge offer another excellent opportunity for golden monkey tracking.
  • Not far from the lodge, you can take a short hike up one of the many calderas in the area; in less than two hours, you can journey to the top of these ancient craters, where an impressive view of the Virunga Mountains awaits you.
  • Learn about indigenous traditions on the Batwa Trail, located just a half hour from the Lodge; you’ll see traditional Batwa huts, learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and visit the sacred Garama Cave for a song and dance performance.
  • Walk to a local community, and visit a basket maker, blacksmith and other facets of rural African life.
  • Hike the border trail towards Sabinyo, the dormant volcano that marks the spot separating Uganda from its neighbors Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Along the way, be on  the lookout for rare birds, plants and the elusive golden monkey.

Bwindi Lodge

  • Take a short river walk on lodge property, where monkeys and gorillas are frequently seen wandering among the lush garden.
  • Hike to nearby Buhoma village, where you’ll find a women’s handicraft center, tea plantation, banana beer and gin brewing sites and much more.
  • Enjoy an authentic Batwa cultural experience on an hour-long tour of the Bwindi forest, where you’ll learn about traditional hunting techniques and medicinal plants.
  • Take a cooking lesson at the Amagara project, a sustainable farming cooperative supported in part by our local tour operator partners.
  • Visit a local orphanage for a daily music and dance performance, and shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs from local handicraft vendors. • Enjoy a forest walk in Bwindi, where you’ll see butterflies, plants and monkeys, as well as up to 23 species of birds endemic to the Albertine Rift area.
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