About the challenge
Our trek takes place in Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Mountains, a chain of jungle-covered volcanoes towering over 4000m. It is well-known as the base of anthropologist Dian Fossey, of Gorillas in the Mist fame, and an acclimatisation trek to her grave provides wonderful inspiration before we tackle the volcanoes.
We trek through tropical flora and misty jungle to summit three volcanoes, returning after each to our central base lodge. The culmination of our trip is an opportunity to track and observe the incredible, critically endangered mountain gorillas in their remote habitat.
Part Payment Option is available for this challenge.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|10 Feb 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4200||Or||£1850||Book now|
|20 Oct 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4200||£1850||Book now|
|09 Feb 2018||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4300||£1900||Book now|
|19 Oct 2018||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4300||£1900||Book now|
Trek through lush equatorial rainforest to three volcano summits
Visit Dian Fossey’s burial site
Opportunity to observe mountain gorillas and other wildlife
Stay at a mountain lodge with one camp on Karisimbi
Days 1-2: Fly London to Kigali and drive to Volcanoes National Park
Days 3-5: Acclimatisation trek to Dian Fossey site; hike through dense forest to summits of Muhabura and Bisoke volcanoes; fabulous views
Days 6-7: Ascent of Karisimbi, Rwanda’s highest peak; night camp on mountain and descend
Day 8: Optional day-trek (not included in price) to track and observe mountain gorillas, or relax at base
Days 9-10: Free time before flight departure, arrive home Day 10
What makes it tough?
Strenuous, steep ascents in humid conditions
Remote trails; can be muddy and overgrown
Trekking to altitudes of 4507m
Trek 6-8 hours each day
Based at mountain lodge with one mountain camp
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights, transfers, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat), all meals except two as specified in the itinerary, National Park entry fees and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, (capped at £250 by Discover Adventure), two meals as specified, tips for local crew, Rwandan entry visa or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Ethiopian Airlines. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We sleep in shared rooms in a mountain lodge well-situated for the trail-heads for each mountain trail. Facilities are good considering its remote location. We camp for one night on Karisimbi, and stay in a good hotel in Kigali at the end.
All food is included except for meals as specified in the itinerary. The food is plentiful, local in style and will give you lots of energy.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Tanzania would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers and cooks, and porters/mules where appropriate. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. Mules or porters are used throughout the trek to carry all luggage, food, water and camping equipment. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag – ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
This is optional and at additional cost. Gorilla families are habituated to human presence for at least two years before tourists are allowed to observe them for an hour, to ensure they are completely comfortable with human presence. The cost of the permit directly helps conservation efforts in the National Park. Taking part also helps local communities, who are less likely to turn back to poaching if income is generated by conservation tourism.
Preparing for the challenge
Terrain is varied but predominantly we walk through dense equatorial rainforest and grassland. The slopes are steep at times, and there is little flat, with rough conditions underfoot much of the time. It can be muddy, wet and humid, though as we gain altitude it grows colder, and we may walk through cloud and mist.
This trek is challenging in itself, and altitude adds to the challenge. Our route allows for excellent acclimatisation as we gain height gradually and sleep low after trekking high, which aids acclimatisation. Symptoms of being at altitude include tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea. Altitude affects people differently and being super-fit is no guarantee of being less likely to feel the effects. Where a participant is suffering from the effects of altitude, it may be necessary to descend early.
This trek is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance on different types of terrain. We supply you with a thorough training guide on registration.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote highlands where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
We trek in drier seasons, though in this equatorial climate it is unusual not to experience some rain regardless. Although warm and humid at lower elevations, altitude has a great effect on temperatures and it will get cooler as we climb higher, with chilly winds on the upper slopes. Karisimbi can have snow on the summit.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after departure from Rwanda.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate is necessary if arriving from an infected country (being in transit at an airport for less than 12 hours doesn’t count). Although you are unlikely to encounter any mosquitoes while you are above 1000m, protection against malaria is recommended as there is a risk at lower elevations. You should always check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you! Our experienced tour leaders and local crew will help bridge the cultural gap; take advantage of their knowledge so you can come away with an understanding of a new culture as well as the achievement of completing a challenging trek.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.