Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

Join Backcountry Journeys to embark on one of our most adventurous photography tours as we set off to Rwanda, the ‘heart’ of Africa, to get up-close with majestic Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat of the Virunga Mountains.

This adventure will be a truly life-changing experience as we set out each day to hike amongst the clouded bamboo forests here in search of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, a wild beast who shares 98% of its DNA with humans

Roughly half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorilla lives in the region in which we’ll visit, an area that is protected by Volcanoes National Park, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in central Africa. Since the discovery of the mountain gorilla subspecies in 1902, its population has endured years of war, hunting, habitat destruction and disease—threats so severe that it was once thought the species might be extinct by the end of the twentieth century. Successful conservation efforts by the World Wildlife Fund, and others, along with tourism, has saved the species. This animal would likely no longer exist without tourism as it has motivated governments to protect not only the gorillas but also their habitat. In fact, new findings show populations in the Virunga Mountains have grown a few hundred in numbers from as recently as 2010. This puts the total global wild gorilla population over 1,000 individuals, moving them from being listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ to ‘Endangered.’

We’ll be sure to find, photograph, and watch these gentle giants as they spend their days foraging for food and resting. Younger, more curious gorillas, like to climb trees and play, but never out of sight of their watching mothers.

Experienced guides, park staff, and guards (who are there to protect the welfare of the gorillas) will accompany us as we trek up the mountainside each day through thick vegetation on unmarked trails in search of different gorilla groups.

We’ll also take time to photograph Golden monkeys, the highly endangered primate who also resides in the Virunga volcanic mountains. We’ll be on the lookout as the monkeys like to swing across the canopy of the forest.

There are few experiences like seeing Mountain Gorillas in the wild, and there are few places left in the world in which to do so. Join Backcountry Journeys on this six-day-photo tour as we explore the cloud mountains of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in search of these great ‘Gorillas in the Mist.’

Highlights

  • Photograph Wild Mountain Gorillas!
  • Golden Monkeys
  • Mountain Trekking
  • Small Groups
  • Great lodging included
  • Top-notch meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

6 Days

Price: from $9,995 double occupancy

+$550 single occupancy

Deposit: $5000

Fitness Level: Moderate – hikes required through mountainous terrain

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 6 nights lodging

Fly In/Out: Kigali, Rwanda

Open Daily: 6am-6pm MST

928.478.1521


*trip difficulty ratings

Dates & Pricing

The earlier you book, the more choices you’ll have on dates and you’ll lock-in our lowest prices! Plus you can always change your mind – you won’t be charged to switch to a different trip before your final payment is due!

Trip Details

Physical Requirements 
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike with a day-pack and their camera gear.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Accommodation
Cozy lodging situated near Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Meals
All meals are included during the trip dates.

Weather
Expect warm days with cooler mornings and nights. Rain can occur at any time of year. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Most Meals, ground transportation, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified trip leader & local guides.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, trip leader gratuities

Departure City
Kigali, Rwanda

Itinerary

Please note: This is a hiking intensive tour so all participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike for two to five hours, each day, carrying a daypack with camera equipment.

Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1 (Travel Day) (D)
Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda. Expect an airport transfer to our hotel. Tonight we’ll have an orientation meeting and welcome dinner.

Day 2(B,L,D)
Plan for a very early start to our first day of photography as we’ll depart our hotel in Kigali for Volcanoes National Park (a 2-hour drive) in time to meet our local guides and park staff before our first trek into the misty Virunga Mountains in search of gorillas. Each day while photographing gorillas, we’ll have exactly one hour with them, using all of our time capturing invaluable images of their different behaviors and family dynamics. Older gorillas will tend to be either eating or resting, while youngsters play and climb trees under the watchful eye of their mothers. After our hike, we’ll check in to our nearby cozy lodge where we’ll stay each night for the remainder of the tour.

Day 3 (B,L,D)
We’ll hike back up into the mountains on day three in search of gorillas. Today, following our hike and photography, we’ll be sure to take time to rest up and enjoy our African lodge prior to our evening meal.

Day 4 (B,L,D)
We’ll switch things up a bit on day four and seek out another unique, yet, endangered species that live here at Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey is a bit smaller than the Mountain gorilla, yet every bit as alluring. Our hike today will be quite a bit less strenuous as we are not ascending the mountains. Instead, we’ll keep our eyes up to our delight as the Golden monkey swings every which way across the forest canopy. Again, we will have exactly one hour with monkeys. Rest, relaxation, conversation, and dinner will close out our wonderfully exciting day.

Day 5 (B,L,D)
On day five we’ll hike back into the cloud forests for one final up-close encounter with the Mountain gorillas. This part of the Virunga Massif is where Dian Fossey studied and worked to protect Mountain gorillas from 1966 until she was murdered (likely by poachers because of her work to protect these gorillas) in 1985. Fossey’s autobiography was adapted to make the 1988 feature film, ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ starring Sigourney Weaver. We’ll rest up following our hike prior to an evening meal where we’ll dine on delicious home-prepared foods while recounting our amazing time spent here in the wilds of Rwanda.

Day 6 (B)
On our final morning we will depart our lodge en route back to Kigali where we’ll discuss our life-altering adventures, and photographic success, from the past few days prior to saying our goodbyes and beginning our travels home.

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography, we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena.

“In a word – spectacular. Backcountry Journeys has become the gold standard in photo trip planning. I go on about 10 trips each year and these guys are hands down the best.”

Frederick SOntario

Get the Newsletter

Sign-Up for the Backcountry Journeys Newsletter for updates, new trips, specials and all sorts of Landscape & Wildlife Photography tips & tricks.

Other Recommended Trips