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Rwanda Mountain & Gorilla Trek

Rwanda Trek TOUGH
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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.


Rwanda Mountain & Gorilla Trek

10 DAYS
  • Depart London

  • Upon arrival in Rwanda’s capital, we transfer to our base in Volcanoes National Park, in the northwest of the country. The beautiful rolling hills and coffee, tea and banana plantations form a spectacular backdrop as we drive, and a wonderful impression of Rwanda’s natural beauty. Night lodge (lying at approx. 2000m altitude).

    Drive approx. 3 hours

  • After an early breakfast we head out on this well-trodden trail, which acts as a wonderful acclimatisation trek for us, giving us a taster of the jungle terrain as well as the altitude. It also allows us to better appreciate Dian Fossey’s incredible efforts to save the mountain gorillas. Our largely uphill trek takes us through beautiful rainforest to the ruins of the Karisoke scientific base (3010m), in the saddle between Bisoke and Karisimbi. We also take in the peaceful gorilla cemetery where, after her murder in 1985, the anthropologist was buried next to her favourite gorilla, Digit. Then it’s back downhill to base. Night lodge.

    Trek 4-5 hours

  • Muhabura is an extinct volcano on the border with Uganda, the most easterly peak in Volcanoes National Park and, at 4102m, the second-highest peak in the National Park. A long, tough climb lies before us, with some very steep sections, but we take it steady and should feel good after yesterday’s acclimatisation. The terrain here is relatively dry compared to other trails, and we walk through stands of giant heather as we ascend. As we approach the top we come to a crater lake, and finally arrive at the summit, where we are greeted by amazing vistas over five other volcanic peaks, and twin lakes far below. After time to soak up the views, we descend back down the mountain. Night lodge.

    Trek approx. 7-8 hours (5 hours ascent)

  • The fourth-highest of the Virunga volcanoes, Bisoke (3511m) last erupted in 1957. We set off through the lushly forested slopes, steep at times, passing through equatorial rainforest and alpine meadows. The forests are alive with birdcalls and chirruping insects, making for very atmospheric trekking. We are likely to hear the chatter of golden monkeys, and may even see signs of one of the families of mountain gorilla that inhabit these slopes. At the summit we enjoy views over the Virunga range and the beautiful crater lake – the largest in the Virunga range – before descending back to our lodge. Night lodge.

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours (3 hours ascent)

  • Karisimbi is the culmination of our adventure; at 4507m it is the highest mountain in Rwanda, and one of the highest on the African continent. Its name comes from a local word referring to its often snow-capped summit. Our trek takes us through different vegetation zones, from dense equatorial rainforest to afro-montane forests of conifers and bamboo, and less fertile moorland. We camp part-way up the summit, at 3700m. Night camp.

    Trek approx. 5-7 hours

  • We continue hiking up to the summit; at this elevation it feels quite cold, and chilly breezes from the mountain slopes add to this. If there is snow on the summit, this will also add to the challenge, though trekking through snow in Africa is a fairly memorable experience! At the summit we savour our last 360° view over this incredible National Park, before starting back down. We enjoy a well-earned rest back at camp before continuing our descent, which can be very tough on our tired bodies! Our vehicles await us in the foothills, and we drive back to the lodge, elated at our achievements. After time to freshen up we head out to Iby’Iwacu cultural village, a positive conservation experience; instead of the poaching which used to take place here, it now teaches its heritage. Traditional dances and medicine doctors await! Night lodge.

    Trek approx. 6-7 hours (two hours ascent)

  • Today is free to spend as you wish; relax at the lodge, or head out to explore. Those who wish can take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat (at extra cost). You will head out early, accompanied by experienced ranger guides, in the hope of finding one of the habituated groups of mountain gorilla living in the region. Their territory can range up to 40km, so it can take up to six hours to locate them; you’ll then be able to spend an hour watching them as they feed, rest and play – one of the most amazing wildlife experiences on the planet. After the time is up, you’ll trek out of the forest and back to base. We’ll then all head to Kigali together, where we have an evening to celebrate! Night hotel.

    (Lunch and Dinner not included)

    Drive approx. 3 hours

  • If there’s time we can pay a brief visit to the genocide memorial site, which is a grim reminder of the massacre in 1994, but also demonstrates Rwanda’s recovery and resilience. We then head to the airport for our overnight flight home.

    (Lunch not included)

  • Arrive back in the UK.

Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,300 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,300 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,900 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Kigali return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation and camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Three meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Gorilla-tracking trek on free day (approx. USD1500)
    • Fees for any other optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Entry visa
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,300 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,300 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,900 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Kigali return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation and camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Three meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Gorilla-tracking trek on free day (approx. USD1500)
    • Fees for any other optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Entry visa
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,300 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,300 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,900 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Kigali return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation and camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Three meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Gorilla-tracking trek on free day (approx. USD1500)
    • Fees for any other optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Entry visa
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • 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 do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. 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.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller.

  • 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 Mt Karisimbi, and stay in a good-standard hotel in Kigali at the end.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    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 may be in very rural or remote 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 we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • 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. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is 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 total number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, 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, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. 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 many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft 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 communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They 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 medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. 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.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. 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 may 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.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check requirements on our website; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a 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 participants 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!

Trek Training Weekend

Snowdon_Training_Trekking

£160 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | tough (3)

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

TOUGH trips involve tough terrain, with some very rigorous days; weather, altitude and/or basic living conditions will add to the challenge. They demand good stamina, fitness and a determined attitude.

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