Home » Destinations » Rwanda

Luxury Gorilla Safaris to Rwanda

Safaris in Rwanda give visitors the chance to experience one of the greatest wildlife experiences possible – coming face to face with a family of mountain gorillas on the slopes of extinct volcanoes. Rwanda offers some of the best gorilla tracking experiences in Africa.

Luxury Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda

Rwanda is located between Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is small in size, but it certainly makes up for that in wildlife. Rwanda is home to half of the worlds mountain gorilla population that is still left in the wild. Tracking a family of mountain gorillas on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes has to rank as one of the top wildlife experiences in the world, and is what most visitors come here on safari for.

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas were once on the brink of extinction, but thanks to a huge conservation effort, their population is now increasing. When you go gorilla tracking in Rwanda, you are directly supporting these conservation efforts and benefitting wildlife all over Rwanda. There are several habituated families of gorillas living on the Virunga slopes and each group has a maximum of 8 guests that get to spend 1 hour with them each day.

But there is more to a safari in Rwanda that just gorilla tracking. Visitors on a Rwanda safari can also track chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park and Lake Kivu. And we also recommend visiting the bustling capital of Kigali, with its moving Genocide Memorial.

Rwanda Safari Ideas

A safari to Rwanda combines perfectly with Tanzania and Uganda where the general wildlife is more prolific. Combine the best of both worlds by visiting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, with the great migration of the Serengeti before ending off on the pristine beaches of Zanzibar.

One of our Stanley Safari Signature Safaris, is combining the mountain gorillas of Rwanda with the wild dogs of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Or why not combine the gorillas of Rwanda with the lemurs of Madagascar for the ultimate primate safari? With a little more work, you could even track the mountain gorillas of Rwanda with the lowland gorillas of the Congo for an ultimate gorilla safari!

Where to go on your Rwanda Safari

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s treasure and located about 2 hours away from the capital of Kigali. Volcanoes National Park is home to half the population of mountain gorillas left in the world. It is Rwanda’s top tourist destination with people around the world coming to visit the mountain gorillas that call the slopes of these extinct volcanoes home.

Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park is located in the southern corner of Rwanda and is a densely forested region. It is home to colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. The park has several trails leading through the forests of waterfalls and rivers, and is perfect for travellers wishing to venture out on foot. There is even a canopy walkway where visitors can get into the treetops for a bird’s eye view of the forest below.

It’s possible to see chimps here, but tracking them is tough because they are very active and spend a lot of their time in the treetops foraging for berries, fruits or hunting.

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s largest lake and the 6th largest in Africa, is located an hour away from Volcanoes National Park, and forms part of the border between Rwanda and the DRC. It’s a great spot to catch your breath after the thrill of gorilla tracking at Volcanoes National Park.

The beautiful lake is surrounded by mountains and has deep, emerald green waters. There’s a variety of resort towns on the lake’s shoreline, offering accommodation to suit all preferences and budgets.

Akagera National Park

Akagera National park can be found in eastern Rwanda on the border of Tanzania. It is the largest protected wetland in central Africa and the only place in Rwanda where visitors can hope to see savannah adapted animals. The parks is characterised by woodland, swamps, low mountains and savannah.

Akagera is one of Rwanda’s conservation success stories. The park was once overrun with large numbers of cattle and filled with poachers, but this has been eliminated and animals have steadily been reintroduced to the area. The park is now home to healthy populations of lions, black and white rhino, elephants, giraffes and more.

This beautiful park is well worth a visit and in doing so, travellers support the local communities who rely on the park’s tourism efforts to make an income.


Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, is a clean, thriving city and is a great place to explore either at the beginning or end of your gorilla safari to Rwanda. While visiting Kigali, we highly recommend visiting the Rwandan Genocide Memorial which highlights the atrocities that took place in the country in the 1990’s. It is a very moving experience and will give you a good understanding of what happened. 

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park in the north of Rwanda is part of the greater Virunga volcanoes conservation area that includes the Congo’s Virunga National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This is the best place on earth to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park

The primary reason people visit Volcanoes National Park is to see the endangered mountain gorillas that call this rainforest home. In order to see the gorillas, the Rwandan government requires you to buy a tracking permit. This usually costs around 1500 USD and guarantees you one hour with the gorillas. There are 10 habituated gorilla families in the park, and a maximum of eight people are allowed to see the gorillas a day, meaning there are 80 permits available every day. These numbers are carefully controlled to ensure the gorillas’ safety and the best experience possible for visitors.

Other Activities in Volcanoes National Park

Although famous for the mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park offers a lot more than just these magnificent giants. The mountains are also home to beautiful golden monkeys, who can be seen in large numbers perched in the trees, and are a great addition to a gorilla safari.

And of course there is Dian Fossey’s research centre and grave site, where visitors can pay their respects to the incredible primatologist who dedicated her life to protecting and understanding gorillas.

Our pick of lodges in the area also offer opportunities to get to know the local communities, experience their culture and learn about life in Rwanda.

Accommodation in Volcanoes National Park

Two lodges stand out to us when we book a trip to Volcanoes National Park. Virunga Lodge and Bisate Lodge are our choice of accommodation in the area.

Virunga Lodge is perched with a perfect view of the Virunga Volcanoes, Musanze valley, Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo. With just 10 elegant bandas, you are guaranteed privacy and luxury during your Rwandan safari. Spacious, cosy common areas, exceptional service and beautifully prepared meals are all things you can expect here. The lodge also has a room dedicated to Dian Fossey, where guests can learn more about her work.

Bisate Lodge was opened in 2017 and has received a number of awards since then. This romantic lodge can be found nestled into a mountain. Each of the 6 villas has a unique design inspired by traditional Rwandan culture. A highlight here is wandering through the lodge’s impressive vegetable garden, or exploring the nursery where you can help in the area’s reforestation initiative by planting a tree.

Rwanda Seasons and When to Visit

The best time to visit Rwanda is from June to September. This is the country’s dry season, meaning there is a smaller chance of being rained out. Conveniently, it is also the best time to see Rwanda’s main attraction, mountain gorillas.

Being an Equatorial country, Rwanda’s weather does not change a lot throughout the year. The days are pleasant with the evenings becoming slightly chilly, especially at higher altitudes.