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Rwanda and Uganda gorilla trekking difficulty

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How difficult is gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda – The endangered Mountain gorillas are found on the forested highlands of the Virunga Massif and in Bwindi. The Virunga Massif comprises of Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga national parks in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively. Due to their habitats on elevations of highlands, trekking involves hiking. The main gorilla trekking destinations are Uganda (that is in Bwindi Impenetrable national park) and Rwanda (in Volcanoes national park) because they have many gorilla families which are also easy to access. The reason why Mgahinga is not famous for trekking is because the gorillas there sometimes move to distant areas towards Uganda’s border with Rwanda and DRCongo hasn’t well picked up for the activity because of the previous civil unrest.

Gorilla trekking is easier both in Uganda and Rwanda during the drier months, that is from June to September and from December to February. Drier months in the DRCongo are mid-December to mid-October. Trails are normally easier to hike through during the dry months but it is never a surprise when it rains during these dry months in these areas, so you have to always be prepared for the weather changes. Gorilla trekking is an all year activity in all these destinations and the however much it is quite challenging during the wet season because of slippery trails, it is always still possible to trek and this has an advantage of spotting these giant primates at lower elevations due to presence of thick bushes and food which favor their stay around these closer areas. Prices of gorilla permits remain the same in both the dry and wet seasons in Uganda and Rwanda while Virunga national park in the DRCongo offers discounts during the wet season.

Mountain Gorillas live mainly at an elevation of 2,000 to 3,000m high or even higher. The gorilla trekking destinations have various gorilla groups living at different locations at varying topography where visitors are allocated depending on their fitness. It is therefore important to communicate earlier if your group has old people who may not be physically fit so that we book for permits in areas that are not so hilly. What other people refer to as a challenge when hiking through the muddy bushy trails is actually a great experience for others. Therefore information in this article will help you to plan for your gorilla trekking safari depending on the experience you wish to have.

Mountain gorillas live only in their natural habitats and cannot be relocated to zoos. Therefore anyone who wants to see them must visit them in national parks of Bwindi, Mgahinga, Volcanoes or Virunga. These gorillas move a lot during the day around the forest and duration for trekking is never certain but rather a range of hours is anticipated depending on where the gorillas spent their last night. Gorilla trekking can therefore last for an hour, two hours or even up to 8 hours, a reason why clients are advised to carry food for lunch.

How difficult is gorilla trekking

Difficulty of obtaining gorilla trekking permits. Gorilla trekking is one of the activities where there are a limited number of clients allowed to visit the gorillas each day. Trekkers are expected to book for and obtain their permits early enough not to miss the activity. However, doing it privately may be quite challenging but with arrangement of your safari with local tour operators dealing in gorilla safaris (Adventure in the wild safaris specializes in gorilla safaris) gorilla trekking permits are secured for you in advance prior to your travel. In Uganda, there are four sectors at Bwindi national park where gorilla trekking is done. Therefore, it is important to know the accommodation to book for in relation to the gorilla permit secured and this is much easier when you book through our company because we are aware of the nearest lodges to each sector.

Fear of charging mountain gorillas, some people are worried about how the gorillas will behave when they have charged. There are different reasons that cause these primates to charge, for example fighting with silverbacks from other families, encountering other animals in the parks such as elephants. Habituated mountain gorillas are calm and gentle is you follow the instructions of the ranger guides. When they charge, it therefore means that there could be a problem which these rangers will identify and advise you on what to do. Besides, they are armed rangers and you do not have to worry about what could happen if the gorillas charged because in case of violence, rangers scare shoot to stabilize the situation.

How difficult is gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda? Uganda gorilla trekking difficulty

How difficult is gorilla trekking

East African tourist visa for Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya

East African tourist visa – Exploring east Africa has become something easy due to the introduction of the East African tourist visa which is cost friendly to all travelers.  Currently you can use the East African tourist Visa to access Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

The the East African Tourist Visa was agreed upon by the three different heads of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda and the main purpose is to increase on the tourism opportunities as well as improve on service delivery in the tourism industry. The East African tourist visa allows to get around with in three countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and it takes ninety days before expiring and it is not accepted in other countries apart from the above mentioned. In the near future its hoped that Burundi, Tanzania, Congo and South Sudan will agree on the same visa.

How does one apply for the east African tourist visa?

Applying for the East African visa can either be manual or online application. The application forms can be got from the different immigration offices or the international airport of the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda or the Republic on Uganda.

Acquiring the East African tourist visa in Uganda

The East African visa in Uganda can easily be acquired at Entebbe international airport, you can apply online or manually at the Uganda embassy.  If travelers choose Uganda as their starting point then they can ask for it on arrival and the process at Entebbe international airport is easy, takes little time due to the fact that there is no need of filling forms online, no passport photos needed and there are no mailing fees involved. Rather travelers need to present their yellow fever card which will be asked on arrival.  For more information regarding visa application online in Uganda you can visit the consular local website of the Ugandan Embassy.

Acquiring the tourist visa in Kenya

If travelers choose to begin their safari from Kenya then they will get visa application information from the consular local embassy website of Kenya. For Kenya you will have to acquire the visa a day before you enter Kenya however this doesn’t guarantee free entry and access to Kenya, you will need other travel documents which will be asked by the authorities.

Acquiring tourist visa in Rwanda

If travelers choose to start the trip from Rwanda then they can find the application forms on the consular local embassy website of Rwanda. You will fill in the forms online and follow the prompts of filling in the required information. The tourist visa processing should be done a day before you get into Rwanda and this is a mandatory.

Requirement needed while applying for a visa

A recent colored passport sized photo in and white and black background. Your passport photo should exclude head wraps, glasses or caps.

You will have to fill the application letter and submit to the country embassy you going to visit.

 The East African tourist visa application fees costs 100 USD and this is needed after filling the visa application forms of the East African tourist visa and it is important to note that the visa is a single entry.

The visa application will require the individual in need of the visa to another country and once issued to traveler, it will last after six months and it is restricted to only three countries. However any other travel documents can be allowed provided they are eligible.

Who is eligible for the east African tourist visa and which type of visa?

Every traveler qualifies for the East African tourist visa regardless of their origin and these are categorized as follows.

The nationals or East African citizens

The nationals are the east African citizens of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. These stand a great advantage of using their national IDs as their travel document to access other fellow East African countries. However national ID cards as a traveler document lasts for only 6 months thus easing travel for the east African citizens.

The students

Students are also allowed to use their national ID cards as their travel document in any of the east African countries. Students normally travel for research, studies as well as leisure therefore as long they have their national IDs then accessing other east African countries becomes easy.

The Expatriates

These are visitors in the country that have traveled for contract works in a specific country and they have stayed there for a long time to an extend that they have acquired a secondary citizenship. The expatriates have been exempted from applying for a tourist visa thus they can use their inter-state pass as they visa to travel in the three east African countries. However this expires after 6 months which is equivalent to 90 days and for expatriates to be issued the inter-pass they will have to use their valid residents permit.

For travelers who have acquired an East African visa, they are free to move in the three East African countries without any limitations and there is no need of paying for return once they are done with the activities that that took them in the respective countries. However once they travel to countries that are not part of the east African community then they will have to pay.

The East African tourist visa gives access to visit all the tourist attractions and also take part in any tourism activity of your interest in any of three countries at an extra charge. We advise expatriates to use tour operators assist them organize their safari package according to interested activities they would like to enjoy although they have to note the following;

Tourists’ attractions and activities have to be booked or organized by your trusted tour operator to suite your interest therefore these are not found in fixed arrangements. Most of the activities need advance booking before you travel to the destination in which they are found.

Travelers should take note of the yellow fever vaccination card as an important document that will be asked in all the three countries even if you have a tourist visa. This implies that even travelers have a tourist but without the yellow fever vaccination card, they won’t be allowed access to other East African countries.

At border entry of the three countries, the officials need to record your entry and exist out of the country. Thus they will ask for return ticket do as to keep proper records and to avoid illegal stay in their country.

It is important to note that the application for the visa will require two days so as to be processed and to countries like Kenya, this is taken serious.

In short, the online application of a tourist visa gives some hiccups but it has played a big part to improve on the tourism services in the three countries as well as developing a good relationship among the three countries. In the nearby future there is hope that other countries will join so as to easy access on the tourism attractions and activities with in other countries.

Ethnographic museum of Rwanda

Ethnographic Museum Rwanda  – Also known as Butare museum, the Ethnographic museum of Rwanda is the main and largest museum in the country. It was offered to Rwanda as a gift from Belgium in 1989 after 25 years of independence. Ethnographic museum is located in Butare which is about 3 hours drive from Kigali the capital of Rwanda. This museum is one of the most fascinating structures around the town, with some of the best ethnological and archeological collections in Rwanda. This is also the best place to learn about the culture, history and the geopolitics of Rwanda.

There are six museums in Rwanda that make up the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and the ethnographic museum is one of them. The museum was previously called the National Museum of Rwanda. This museum is also known as the site of the murder of Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda who was murdered during the Rwanda Genocide.

The Ethnographic Museum was opened by King Baudouin I of Belgium in the late 1980s. It occupies an area of 20 hectares with a spacious compound, beautiful well maintained indigenous vegetation and a traditional craft training center. There are seven exhibition halls that present the very best of interesting items that will help you explore and learn about the culture, traditions and norms of Rwanda.

The first room from the main entrance contains a gallery for exhibitions. It is made up of shelves where you’ll find a range of traditional handcrafts on sale. The second hall is a vast display of the environmental, physical, ecological and geographical history of Rwanda. It also shows the growth of the territories and inhabitants of Rwanda. The third hall displays the items that are used by the people of Rwanda in doing different work such as hunting and gathering, farming and cattle keeping among others. At this point, you get a chance to know how important their work is including the social importance of cattle keeping.

The forth hall displays various items of handcrafts, they are made out of weaving, woodwork and pottery. They include household items such as baskets, mats and many more. The fifth hall is where you’ll get thrilled at the variety of beautiful styles and methods of traditional architecture and how they construct a traditional hut known as kagondo hut. Hall number six displays different traditional games and sports of Rwanda, and a display of costumes and traditional equipments used in traditional dances. The seventh hall is where you can read about the traditional culture, beliefs and customs, history, oral tradition and poetry as well as the supernatural life of the Rwandans. There are knowledgeable guides who will take you through these places to answer any questions that you could have about the displays. There is a side hall used for housing temporary exhibitions and in case you are lucky to find an ongoing exhibition, you would get a chance to purchase different local items.

The Intore dancers and drummers perform from this museum and arranging a performance costs RFr50,000.

The Ethnographic Museum Rwanda opens daily from 08:00am to 06:00pm. It closes on 7th April and on Umuganda days (the last saturady of the month) from 11:00am to 06:00pm.

Getting there

The Ethnographic Museum is found in Butare which is located in Huye district. A number of buses operate from Kigali to Huye district daily. It takes about 4 hours to from Kigali to Butare by road.

Other options of museums in Rwanda include Nyanza-Rwesero art museum, Kandt house museum Kigali, campaign against genocide museum, Nyanza Royal Palace, Rwanda art museum and Rukare ancient history museum among others.

Top 10 places you must Visit in Rwanda

Top Places you must visit in Rwanda. (Top Tourist Attractions)

Things to do in Rwanda – Rwanda also known as the land of a thousand hills, is situated in East Africa at the heart of Africa. Rwanda is a small land locked country, covering an area of 10,169 square miles, which is approximately a third the size of Belgium. The country borders four of the east African countries that is Uganda in the North- East, Tanzania in the East, Burundi in the South and the democratic Republic of Congo in the West.

Rwanda has a country, suffered during the days of the Rwandan Genocide which left hundreds of thousands of people dead and some full of injuries, the genocide took place in 1994 also known as the 100 days of slaughter which left people traumatised with still fresh wounds in hearts of the people, many people lost their loved ones from children, relatives, friends among others , they were slaughtered mercilessly by the rebels but these also came to an end and the country has however shown hope and rebound and is now embraces the country’s tourism, economic development and prosperity. Since the nation is tiny, it is gorgeous and interesting, making the country an’ earth paradise.’ The most interesting things happen near together and visitors will explore many of the sights within easy walking distance.

Rwanda is a small country, but its diverse with a number of attractions to offer for the tourism industry, there area several places you can visit in Rwanda offering various activities for the travellers ranging from the popular Gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, birding, wildlife viewing among others. There are various national parks in Rwanda each offering different attractions and different activities when you decide to visit any of the national parks in Rwanda. Take time and visit Rwanda first the beautiful city of Rwanda, Kigali is one of the fascinating attractions in the country, exploit some of the interesting top places in Rwanda that you ought not to miss during any of your safari visits in Rwanda. Listed below are the Things to do in Rwanda among others.

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s top tourist destination famous for gorilla trekking, the park is a home to the highest of the mountain gorillas seen roaming around the national park,

Volcanoes National is one of the ancient national parks in Africa, the park was gazetted in 1952 purposely for the protection and conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas that where under a threat due to the rampant poaching activities carried out by the hunters who intruded the forest. The park is also known as Parc National Des Volcanos, its situated in Kinigi a small village known as Musanze formally known as Ruhengeri in the north western part of Rwanda. Volcanoes national park Rwanda, borders the Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, these great national parks, form together the Virunga conservation area. The park is situated in an area of about 160km2 and known for its abundant biodiversity that have boosted the tourism industry in the country, out of the nine Virunga mountains, five of which are found in the volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the park is also covered with different vegetation types that is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas which is the main draw of tourists in the park. Besides the gorillas, the park also harbours the Golden monkeys, different mammal species, the animals spotted here include; the elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, giant forest hogs and different bird species are spotted in park among others. Volcanoes national park is famous for gorilla trekking activities but the park also offers many other activities like golden monkey trekking, cultural visits, visit to Dian Fossey Cave, genocide memorial and may more other activities that you will engage in when you visit the country.

Nyungwe forest National park

Nyungwe forest National Park, is one of the biggest national parks in Rwanda, that has boosted the development of the tourism industry of Rwanda. The park has attracted a lot of visitors every year who come to park mainly for chimpanzee trekking activity, the national park harbours 2 habituated chimpanzee families with the smaller group having a total of 30 chimpanzees and tracked in cyamudongo forest situated within Nyungwe forest national park. there is a larger group with over 60 habituated chimpanzees. The forest offers one of the best safari destinations for chimpanzee trekking. Nyungwe forest national park, is Africa’s Afro-montane forest offering a wide range of activities for the visitors. Canopy walk, is also the popular activity carried out in Nyungwe forest national park, during this activity, the travellers hike up to the top of the tress following the Hanging bridges which offers the stunning views of the forest and the animals in the forest seen below you. The park is a host to other primates including the Black and white colobus monkeys and has over 300 bird species, with 16 species which are the Albertine endemics. Visit to Nyungwe forest, will offer you the best of your safari visits in Rwanda.

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park, is Rwanda’s top tourist destination for wildlife viewing safaris, the park is situated in North-eastern part of Rwanda, the park covers an area of a bout 1,122 km2 stretching its boundaries up to Tanzania, accessing the park is not quite difficult, you can take car form the city of Kigali and drive for about 2 hours -30 minutes covering a distance of about 135 km.

Akagera national park, offers a wide range of attractions to the visitors visiting the park, including; wildlife viewing, the park is covered by the savannah vegetation which acts as a habitat for the different species of the animals. The animals seen hear include; elephants, buffalos, antelopes such as elands, waterbucks, topi, oribi, among others. you will also spot the Giraffes, Zebras, leopard, spotted hyenas. The park also is a host to a wide array of birds of about 525 recorded bird species they include the shoebill stork, over 44 species of raptor, Albertine Rift endemic species like Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco among other, other attractions include Lake Ihema is renown for boat cruise safaris where you have an opportunity to spot water loving animals. Such as the buffalos, hippos, different bird species on the shores of the lake and mammal species coming to the lake to drink water. For fascinating game drives, Nature walks and boat safaris among other activities, visit Akagera National park and have the best experience from your Rwanda safaris.

Kigali City tour

The city of Kigali itself is a must-see spot in Rwanda for visitors. The town is the key to many attractions offered in different national parks found in Rwanda, activities include; primate safaris such as mountain gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and wildlife viewing safaris among others.  Kigali has been recognized by the United Nations as Africa’s most lovely city. It is one of Africa’s most clean and safe areas. Tourists are also reassured by the city’s great weather. The town tour of Kigali provides an in-depth understanding of Kigali and Rwanda’s entire history.  During your visits to the city of Kigali you will visit the Museum of Kandt House Museum which is one of the oldest building you will also be visiting the first modern building in which the city was built, other places to visit in Rwanda include; Genocide memorial centres, the president Museum, Inema Arts centres, Museum of National History, state house Museum and the Miyo Art Gallery and many other places.

Genocide Sites (Genocide Memorial centres)

 This was 100 days of slaughter where by the Rwanda citizens face the brutal murders of their relatives, friends, children among others during the war which broke out in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. During this war, a total of over 800,000 people were mercilessly slaughtered in different parts of the country. Some of these genocide centres, where used by people as the hiding places trying to seek refugee from the ruthless rebels but never the less, they were attacked in this places and slaughtered like animals, this caused trauma and fear to the Rwandan community but the government and the citizens, have worked so hard to restore peace and security in the country although these memories, remain fresh in the hearts of those that lost their loved ones. The genocide centres, amount up to 8 sites where the people lost their lives from. The genocide centres, houses the remains of the deceased clothes, bones, sandals among others of the victims that died during the genocide in Rwanda. These memorable centres include; Murambi Genocide memorial site in Nyamagabe district, Gisozi Memorial site in Gasabo district, Gisenyi Memorial Site, Nyamata Memorial Site in Bugesera district, Bisesero Memorial site in Karongi district, Nyarubuye Memorial Site, Nyanza Memorial Site and Ntarama Memorial Site. These centres/ sites have been used to commemorate the lives of the victims that lost their lives during the war. This day of April 7,1994 is always remembered every year in the history of Rwanda.

King’s palace Museum (King Mutara III Rudahigwa) in Nyanza

 This intriguing museum is situated on a mountain 2 km south-west of the city and it holds the colonial history and more about royal houses and the history of Rwanda. The museum displays centre on the’ palace’ of a model monarch. During your visit in the museum, you will provides a guided tour that will take you around the Museum and the guide will explain some of the architectural peculiarities in the Royal County, including why the royal beer brewer’s hut had a lip-free entrance, and why the woman in charge of the king’s dairy never married. The sacred cows with their super-large horns are situated behind the royal complex. Some of the horns measuring up to 2.5 m from the tip of the horn to the top of the horn,

The palace was being ruled by the King Mutara III Rudahigwa, it was constructed by Belgium in 1931, has his royal residence at the heart of the hill itself. This colonial-style house operated until he died as the royal palace. Sadly, most of the furniture and presents obtained from the dignitaries visiting him were looted in the wake of the holocaust, but it is still a fascinating place to walk about, with its peculiarities, like 3 living-rooms.

Iby’iwacu cultural village

The Iby’iwacu cultural Village, are cultural villages situated  within the volcanoes national park, after gorilla trekking, many visitors take the village walk to the nearby communities of the Iby’iwacu, around this community, you will discover the three tribes living in Rwanda that is the Hutu, Tutsi and the Batwa group of people. During this cultural visit, you meet the locals in this communities, they will show case different activities that are of interest to the visitors such the traditional; dances, preparing the traditional food, Batwa pottery making among others. This village visits, will exposure to clear understanding of the history of Rwanda, the way of life of the people in this communities.

Rwandan Lakes (Lake Kivu, twin lakes or Burera and Ruhondo, Lake Muhazi. Lake Ihema and Lake Mugesera)

In Rwanda, there are several lakes in which tourists can enjoy the panoramic and peaceful views of the beautiful lakes and wide range of attractions and different activities offered within the lakes.  Rwandan lakes include; Lake Kivu, which is Rwanda’s largest fresh water lake. The excellent inland water body and the beach that has provided visitors with the perfect relaxation time after the long day’s activities in the national parks. During your visits in this lake, you can enjoy water activities such as canoeing, wind kayaking and surfing. Also, worth visiting is Rwanda’s twin lakes that is Lake Ruhondo and Burera, in these twin lakes, activities offered include; canoeing, birding, boat cruise and fishing activities. Muhazi Lake is another good option on the Rwanda Lakes from Kigali, the drive time takes about one and half hours. Jambo and Rwesero lakes, offers an opportunity to beach services where you get to do several activities including Boating, fishing, camping among others. The lake also hosts a wide of bird species seen a round the shores of the lake which offers visitors yet another interesting site for bird watching experience.

Musanze caves

Musanze caves are situated in Musanze, in the volcanoes national. The caves existed due to the volcanic activities in the east Africa’s rift valley. The cave has become one of the famous tourist sites visited by many tourists visit Rwanda for its gorilla trekking, the Musanze caves is complement to gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The caves are located at the edge of the volcanoes national park in Musanze district and covers 2 km from the city centre driving towards Gisenyi town. The Musanze caves, comprise of 31 entrances with the main entrance, measuring 10km wide to accommodate the size of humans. The popular attraction in Musanze cave are the large number of bats which is one of the best and memorable experience viewing the bats as the roam about in the caves.

National Museum of Rwanda/ Ethnographic Museum

The Museum of Rwanda is one among the 6 fascinating Museums that form the institute of museums in Rwanda. The museum is found in Huye district with its head quarters also in Huye. The museum was established in 1987 and become one of the best museum in the whole of East Africa. From Kigali town, to the museum is about 130km. the museum comprises of Seven galleries display political, ethnographic, creative and archaeological objects with visual aids that offer tourists plenty of insight into Rwandan society inform of social and cultural aspects of Rwanda, symbols of Rwanda, cultures of Rwanda among others.

The museums of Rwanda

Museums in Rwanda – Rwanda is one of the countries in Africa with numerous museums. Rwanda has a lot of things to show both the nationals and foreigners to get to know more about the history, culture, traditions, practices and many other things and this has been best done by displaying them in different museums in Rwanda.

How many museums in rwanda

There are 6 museums of Rwanda that make up the Institute of Museums of Rwanda and the headquarters are located in Huye District. Each of these museums has different things to showcase and offer. You can choose to visit any of these museums during your Rwanda safari.

The ethnographic museum Rwanda

The ethnographic museum is also known as the national museum of Rwanda. It is the main and largest museum in Rwanda with the best ethnographic and archeological collections in Rwanda and east Africa at large. The ethnographic museum was established in 1989 as a gift from Belgium. It is located in Huye district which is one of the districts you go through when transferring from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park. The museum is well built with modern halls each with more than 10,000 items. They include traditional artifacts, artifacts documenting the history, culture, beliefs and norms of Rwandans. It shows the different items used in activities such as fishing and hunting. A walk around the museum gives a good understanding about Rwanda from the colonial times to date. You have an opportunity to see the Intore dancers and drummers performing at the museum on request at a fee. As you head to or return from Nyungwe forest, you can have a break and stretch out here as you further understand the history and culture of Rwanda.

Nyanza Royal Palace – Rukari

Also known as the King’s Palace museum, the Nyanza Royal Palace is located in Nyanza which is about 85km from Kigali. It is situated in the Royal area called Rukari where it has been renovated after most kingdoms have been destroyed because they have been abolished. After renovation, it is being maintained and run by the government of Rwanda as a museum. The museum is dedicated to king Yuhi V Musinga who had made Nyanza the royal capital of Rwanda in 1899 during his reign. The museum is beautiful with traditional items and provides an understanding of the history of Rwanda especially about kingdoms, as well as the culture, lifestyle and tradition.

Rwanda museum of Natural History

The museum of Natural History Rwanda is also known as Kandt house museum. It is a formers house of a German explorer called Richard Kandt who known to be the founder of Kigali city. It is situated on Nyarugenge hill in Kigali. The government of Rwanda turned his home into the museum of natural History in commemoration of his life and work, to show the evolution of the environment and how the components of the environment (animals, plants and the ground) depend on one another. It contains ancient fossils, deadly mushrooms and glittering gold among others.

Presidential palace museum

The presidential palace museum is a former presidential palace of the former president of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana whose assassination led to the beginning of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. It is located in the eastern part of Kigali city and about 2 km from Kigali international airport. A walk through the museum takes you around the palace to see the different areas in the house where the president carried out his work and kept his weapons and other equipments and how he kept himself secure from people that were not in favor of him.

Museum of Environment

The main purpose of the Museum of Environment is to educate the public on the proper ways of utilizing the environment without destroying it. In other words, how best people can utilize resources without destroying them so that they will remain available for the future generation. It educates about the best way to co-exist with the environment. You will learn the things Rwanda and the government are doing to respond to the change in Rwanda. Museum of Environment is located near Lake Kivu in Karongi district.

Rwesero Arts Museum

Rwesero arts museum is also known as the national art Gallery. It is located in Nyanza district. The purpose of the construction of this building was for king Mutaara III Rudahingwa to reside there but he unfortunately died before starting to stay there. The museum has exceptionally beautiful artwork. The art work is inspired by the tradition and national history of Rwanda. The museum displays beautiful photography, paintings, sculptures, beadwork and architecture among others. Rwesero arts Museum is located in Nyanza and can be visited on your way between Kigali and Nyungwe forest national park.

Rwanda Genocide

Rwandan Genocide – The Genocide was a major Rwandan-Cultural massacre of civilians in Rwanda belonging to the two Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups. The vicious fighting began on 6 April 1994 and lasted 100 days, leaving more than 800,000 Hutu and Tutsis dead along with 2 million refugees crowded in sick settlements in neighboring Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. Rwanda is known worldwide for the genocide of 1994 which claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people in 100 days. Nevertheless, the country has since normalized, stability has been restored where by peace and security now prevail in Rwanda. Rwanda is listed among the safest country in Africa to flourish in the tourism industry due to the dynamic governance leadership of H.E. Paul Kagame the president of Rwanda and the solidarity of Rwandans who have partnered with each other to build Rwanda in to an outstanding country and the better place for its people and the continent at large.

Who were the Tutsis and Hutu?

The Tutsi and Hutu were the two ethic groups who were the first inhabitants of Rwanda, they shared the same origin but had different activities. The Tutsi where cattle keepers while the Hutu did not rare any cattle at all. Which is not the common practise any more since any tribe/ person can now rare cattle and even intermarriages between the two different tribes. After the conquest of the region, the Hutu and Tutsi Europeans have an ethnic role to play. As Rwanda sought its freedom from Belgium, the Belgians turned to the position of the two communities, faced with a revolt led by the Hutu, and the Belgians abandoned the Hutus, the largest population in Rwanda, to rule over the new government of Rwanda. This angered the Tutsis and contributed to tensions that persisted for years between the two parties.

The events that led to the Rwanda Genocide

The genocide was triggered by the assassination on 6 April 1994 of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down over Kigali airport on his way from a conference held in Tanzania.

Since 1973 onwards, the President of Rwanda had a dictatorial regime in which he had never allowed the Tutsis to participate in it. This was shattered on August 3, 1993 when Habyarimana signed the Arusha Accords that strengthened Rwanda’s Hutu forces and also enabled the Tutsis to participate in the country’s governing relations. The Hutu were greatly insulted by this. Given the fact that nobody had quite a true story about who would be accountable for the Rwandan president’s death. Just one day after, simple collision triggered the chief of the Hutu used a chance of death of the president to launch an attack on the Rwandan government and took over the government which later initiated the madder between the two parties leading to the death of large number of people in the country.

The killing of people was done in every place in the country including, churches, Schools, hospitals, homes among others, this place where used as the hiding places for people from the rebels but still, they where killed from these places too. The killing was mostly used by hand weapons, such as clubs, hand matches, pangas and others, both men and women and the children suffered brutal murder and some women and girls where raped and later killed.

Rwanda’s Genocide Ends

Rwanda’s genocide eventually came to a halt when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took over the Rwandan regime. This military group consisted of Tutsis who had fled in the previous years and most of whom had arrived from Uganda. Those were able to access and take over the government and seize control in mid-July 1994 which marked the end of Genocide.

1994 Rwandan Genocide

More Information about Rwandan Genocide

 

Hiking to Dian Fossey Grave

Hike to the Dian Fossey Tomb is among the popular safari activities performed by many travellers who come to visit the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda mainly to do  for a gorilla trip, The hike includes a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters to the trail head for access to the Karisoke test camp where tourists stroll to the park border for about 10 minutes. Walking from the park boundaries to the Dian Fossey gave, takes approximately one and half hours, the trek involves passing through the forest which offers beautiful views of many attractions. You will spot several animals like the forest hogs, forest elephants, several primates and different bird species which makes the walk to the Dian Fossey even more adventurous.

The hike to the Dian Fossey is an unforgettable experience that someone encounters when you step foot in this tomb, it’s both physically, emotionally and intellectually but also It’s so inspirational to learn about someone who has been so deeply committed and dedicated her life in conserving the life of the gorillas in their natural habitat, when she died, she still has left a legacy that even today still exists. The walk involves moving through the woods and climbing the hills, needing a degree of endurance and flexibility for one to be able to hike the steep slopes.

The trek to the Dian Fossey tomb allows to learn more information about the conservation history of Dian Fossey as protagonist and conservationist in the world. You will also see the nearby gorilla cemetery which is now located in the formally known as Karisoke research camp. Today, travellers able to view an increasing number of gorillas in their natural habitat but all this is credited to the effort of Dian Fossey who lived her in conserving and protection of the gorillas.

As you walk towards the site, you will find the house from where Dian Fossey was mercilessly murdered in 1985 and she was buried next to her friend digit and several other gorillas that died due to poaching or might have suffered illness, the gorillas that she worked so hard to conserve their life in the forest. The circumstances that led to her murder still remain mystery but it’s believed that the murder could have happened due to the reason hat she had devoted her self to see poaching come to un end and protect the gorillas. Following her sad ending, Dian Fossey’s reputation and success continues, and her popular book Gorillas in the Mist was eventually made a film portraying her personal life and dealing with the gorillas you don’t want to miss to watch this. This film shows how she was devoted in her work and truly it wasn’t in vain even with her death, her history still lives. The Dian Fossey fund foundation still works in the conservation of the gorillas where they are running several projects which have help to protect the life of the gorillas. Which has led to an increasing number of the gorillas living both in forested and mountainous forests in Uganda at Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga forest, volcanoes in Rwanda and in Virunga forest in Congo.

In many occasions, hiking to the Dian fossey grave is one of the complements to other popular activities that has drawn visitors in Rwanda including; gorilla trekking Rwanda, golden monkey trekking, Volcano hiking, visit to the Musanze caves and visit to the twin lakes of Bulera and Buhondo twin lakes.

What is required for Dian fossey Hike?

Hiking to the Dian fossey grave is not as much easy as you may know though it not as strenuous as king the volcanoes, but requires on to be physically fit since it’s a bit tiresome to hike on steep slopes. The walk takes about 1-3 hours from he starting point and depends on one’s fitness and ability to hike. Travelers are also encouraged to wear hiking boots to resolve the muddy and slippery grounds particularly during the rainy season, in order to ease the movements. Likewise, dress in long pants, which you will address to stockings to avoid bites from insects on the field and be harmed by stinging nettles.

Dian Fossey trekking permit?

As with any other popular activity in the Volcanoes National Park, including gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking among others, all participants in hiking to the Dian Fossey Cemetery are expected to have a valid trekking permit, you are also encouraged to carry other relevant travel documents, for clarification, such as passports. Ironically, Dian Fossey Graveyard Hike has a relatively low cost of 75usd which is worth paying for compared to other activities such gorilla trekking which costs $1500 per person. Travellers taking part in this hike, can access the permits on the actual day of hiking at the Karisoke Research centre. join in the Dian Fossey grave yard stroll, and have more satisfying memorable experience on how she lived her life in conservation of the gorillas.

Hiking to Dian Fossey Grave

Mount Bisoke

Planning to visit Rwanda and engage in one of the popular gorilla trekking events, in addition to gorilla trekking, Rwanda provides plenty of activities and things to do. you can also include mount Bisoke hiking on your things to do during your Rwanda safari tour.

 Mountain Bisoke is a dormant volcano Formed on the basis of a split which is slowly separating East African parts, rising at an altitude of 3711 metres. The mountain is one of the sequence of volcanoes that make up the Virunga Mountain Range that stretches across Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain Bisoke crosses the Rwandan frontier with the Democratic Republic of Congo, but most of it, including the summit & two spectacular crater lakes. Mount Bisoke is one of the 8 volcanic mountains situated in Rwanda and one of the easiest volcanic mountains to climb and best suitable for hikers who are not used to taking long hikes. The peak rises up to 3,711 meters above sea level, the range is distinguished by a collection of types of vegetation varying from bamboo forests, to Hypercom forests.

Mount Bisoke is also known as the Visoke Peak, the term Bisoke comes from the Swahili word meaning “soaked water” the last eruption occurred in 1957 and is fitted with two spectacular maker reservoirs, one about 11 kilometres from the summit and the other at the top.  Mount Bisoke just like any other Virunga mountains was formed out of a rift action. The mountain also boasts with the largest crater lake in the Virunga ranges, the mountain also comprises of alpine meadows and equatorial forests.

Mount Bisoke is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas which is one of the famous activities in volcanoes national park Rwanda. The lush bamboo forests and other plants around the mountain give these great apes an ideal food and shelter. Yet Hiking Mount Bisoke and hitting the top is also a favourite activity for many tourists to the National Park of Volcanoes. Many visitors to the National Park of Volcanoes merge gorilla trekking with hike to mount Bisoke.

Climbing mount Bisoke – Hiking Mount Bisoke

The Bisoke Mountain is one of Rwanda’s adventure activities. It’s just a6-hour hike with the 2 hours down to the starting point. Experienced hikers can get to the top of this mountain within 3 or even less hours and return to the base in about an hour. Hiking to the mountain requires only 1-day Rwanda safari tour. On the day of hiking, hikers are required to be at the park headquarters at Kinigi by 7:00pm for a briefing and assigned a park ranger. The rangers have knowledge and much information a bout the mountains. After the briefing, the guide will lead you to the starting point of your hike. Hikers are also required to hire a porter to help you carry your property.

Bisoke hiking is common with tourists to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park due to the possibility of seeing the fog-filled hills, crater lakes, spectacular views and alpine vegetation seen anywhere else on earth. The volcano is a sanctuary for elephants from the jungle, lions, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and several species of birds. During the trek, you can have an opportunity to meet the gorilla families or golden monkeys’ groups roaming around the trails which make the hike even more fulfilling experience.

Hiking Mount Bisoke Volcano, the trip to the starting point of the trail takes 40 minutes on a bumpy road. At this stage the park officials will provide you with hiking sticks. you will be assigned an armed ranger who will meet you and escort you up to the summit and have the opportunity to hire porters to help with extra luggage.  the armed ranger guide will provide you security all through the hiking process in case of the armed rebels who might cross from the Congo side (very rare).

Porters also help you navigate rough parts of the trail by dragging you up or down. The porters stay near the park, and are very skilled and informative about the mountain trail like the wardens and rangers. Some have guided mountain climbers since infancy. It will cost you 10USD to hire a porter.

The hiking ends at the foot of the volcano with walking across leveled yet rugged and rough terrain. Until entering the park entrance, you’ll walk through several nearby gardens / plants. The park is safeguarded by concrete walls which prevent animals entering the park from reaching out human homes and gardens. Once you have reached the top of the top of the mountain, you will be able to view different scenery and vegetation types around the mountain. Mount Bisoke weather will dictate how long you’re going to stay on top. You might even go for a picnic on the top of the mountain on a sunny day. At the summit the lake is unfit for swimming. The climb back to the starting point is simple except that the mud-filled paths have to be managed again. At the starting point, your driver or company guide will be waiting for you.

Suggested Tours

Volcanoes National Park Attractions

Volcanoes National Park Attractions – The Rwandan part of the Virunga’s is host to Volcanoes National Park, which stretches along the DRC and Uganda frontier. The Virunga’s, which contains five volcanoes, are completely captivating and few would claim that this is not one of Africa’s most fascinating national parks in east Africa. We certainly don’t need to remind you, but of all the incredible sights and attractions that accompany the Virunga’s, the popular mountain gorillas are one of those that particularly attracts people here in the volcanoes national park.

Volcanoes National Park is one of the ancient national parks in Africa, the park was gazetted in 1952 purposely for the protection and conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas that where under a threat due to the rampant poaching activities carried out by the hunters who intruded the forest. The park is also known as Parc National Des Volcans, its situated in Kinigi a small village known as Musanze formally known as Ruhengeri in the north western part of Rwanda. Volcanoes national park Rwanda, borders the Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, these great national parks, form together the Virunga conservation area. The park is situated in an area of about 160km2 and known for its abundant biodiversity that have boosted the tourism industry in the country, out of the nine Virunga mountains, five of which are found in the volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the park is also covered with different vegetation types that is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas which is the main draw of tourists in the park. Besides the gorillas, the park also harbors the Golden monkeys, different mammal species, the animals spotted here include; the elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, giant forest hogs and different bird species are spotted in park among others. Volcanoes national park is famous for gorilla trekking activities but the park also offers many other activities like golden monkey trekking, cultural visits, visit to Dian Fossey Cave, genocide memorial and may more other activities that you will engage in when you visit the country.

Attractions in Volcanoes National park

Mountain Gorillas:

volcanoes national park, is famous for hosting a number of the mountain gorillas living in its forest. The gorillas in volcanoes, have become the major attraction that has drawn many travellers and the country as well to do these activities of gorilla trekking. Volcanoes national park has got several habituated gorilla families some of which are used in gorilla trekking and others for research and others are in the wild. Volcanoes national park has got a number of 10 habituated gorilla families available for visitors visiting the country for Gorilla trekking experience on daily basis. The gorilla families in volcanoes national park include; Amahoro family, Susa family, Karisimbi gorilla family, Sabinyo family, Agastya Umubano family, Kwitonda family, Titus group, Igisha family, Isimbi group, Pablo, Ugenda, Bwenge and Muhoza family. The mountain gorillas are the most threatened ape in the world, the mountain gorillas are found only in smaller portions of sheltered Afro-Montane forests in north-western Rwanda, southwestern Uganda and eastern DRC. One of many animals native to those areas is the mountain gorilla. The woods do contain several attractions such as, the beautiful birds, monkeys like the golden monkeys, l’Hiost monkeys, Magabeys, large mammals like elephants, buffaloes’ antelopes and others, rodents, insects like buffer lies are spotted here, different plant species among others.

The mountain gorilla was undiscovered until 1902, when the American zoologist Dian Fossey first the need to conserve these animals and later she was mercilessly slaughtered by the rebels. This sets the tone for the relation and the need to protect these great Apes. For a long time since it seemed owing to erosion and smuggling that the mountain gorilla was easily doomed to be lost to the earth once again. Not long after the greatest champion of the genus, protagonist was murdered in Rwanda in 1985 that lead to the destruction of the gorillas and reduced their number to less than 300 gorillas in the wild therefore, the government has tried to make sure that the primates are under protection thus they gazetted the volcanoes national park that inhabited the mountain gorillas.

Today in the world, there is over 1000 and more mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountain of central Africa, at the boarder of Uganda, Rwanda and the democratic Republic of Congo. Here the volcanic slopes are dense with tropical forests and numerous species of mammals, birds and reptiles living in the forest.

The gorillas live in groups of two to ten members and above, the family is lead by a male gorilla known as the silver back, he is the head of the family, he provides protection and provides food for the members in its family. In case of danger on the family, the male gorilla, shows of his physical power by Standing upright, throw things, make violent attacks, pound his massive chest while roaring strong hoots or unleashing an alarming roar. Given these appearances and the obvious physical strength of the species, gorillas remain generally calm and non-aggressive when not bothered. The female gorillas give birth to one child after almost nine months of pregnancy. In comparison to their dominant kin, new-borns are smaller, weighing four pounds (two kilograms) and can only stick to the fur of their mothers, from the age of four months most youngsters fly on their mothers ‘ backs during the first two to three years of their lives.

Golden Monkeys:

After the mountain gorillas, Golden monkeys are also one of the unique species found in volcanoes national park and have become one of the most thought of adventure in the park after the popular gorilla trekking. The golden monkeys are also among the endangered primate species in various national park, the monkeys live in groups of 50 individuals and their daily meal is bamboo shoots, fruits, leaves, plants etc.

The golden monkeys are known to be shy primates but due to the habituation process, these has helped to improve on the shyness which has helped which has helped them to accept the presence of visitors and researchers coming to the park to carry out golden monkey trekking. There is no bid difference between gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking since they both require a trekking permit to access their natural habitats. A group of eight people is required to trek each habituated group and you are allowed to spend one hour with the them once you have found them. The monkeys are so playful as the jump from one tree to another which makes it so interesting to watch but a little difficult to photograph

Golden monkey trekking today is the second most done activity in volcanoes national park after gorilla trekking. Golden monkey trekking is worth going for and you shouldn’t miss during any of the visit to volcanoes national park also the other remaining golden monkey population is inhabited in Mgahinga national park in south western Uganda bordering Rwanda.

Volcanoes national park, currently has two habituated golden monkey families open for trekking. The activity starts early morning with a briefing at the headquarters and then you will be led by the ranger guide in to the forest in search for the golden monkeys. And when you find them, you will be allowed one hour with them in their natural habitat.

Birds in Volcanoes national Park Rwanda

Volcanoes national park, is famous for harbouring a variety of bird species that have attracted the bird lovers in to the park for bird watching experience. The park is a home to over 178 recorded bird species and 29 which are endemic of the Albertine rift. Birding in volcanoes national park, is mainly done in the grassland, bushland vegetation, alpine and on bamboo among others, these site harbour birds which makes it easy for bird watching since they found inhabiting those places. Bird species in volcanoes national park include; red-faced woodland warbler, archer’s ground robin, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, and handsome francolin, African marsh harrier, common moorhen, long-crested eagle, grey throated tit, paradise flycatcher strange weaver among others.

Dian Fossey Research Centre

Dian Fossey Research Centre is an institute that was put in place by European primatologist Dian Fossey purposely for the conservation and the protection of the mountain gorillas that where under threat due to serious poaching activities. The visit to the institutes will offer you more knowledge about the gorillas and her interest in the conservation of the gorillas which later resulted in to gorilla trekking tourism in the country. You will be driven up to the starting point of the trail where you will then trek on foot for about 1-2 hours, during the trek , you will also be able to sight some of the animals in the forest such as the forest elephants, forest hogs, buffaloes and different bird species.
You arrive in the house of Dian Fossey in which she was miraculously assassinated in 1985 and afterward buried beside her favourite gorilla friend Digit. The gorilla grave yard is buried here with around 20 gorillas killed either by poachers or by natural causes.

Mountains in Volcanoes national Park

There are over 5 of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes found in volcanoes national park, which include; mount Muhavura, mount Gahinga, mount Sabinyo, mount Bisoke, Mount karisimbi. These mountains have both facilitated hiking activities. Travellers taking part in mountain hiking, you will have an opportunity to climb any of the volcano’s mountains of your preferred interest.

Mount Bisoke

Mount Bisoke is a dormant volcano mountain measuring a bout 3,711 metres above sea level, the mountain lies in the border between Volcanoes national park and Democratic republic of Congo. you can take a hike to Mount Bisoke, the mountain measures up to the height of about 400m has a stunning crater lake at its peak, Montane vegetation, Mount Mikeno in Congo, gorillas among others, rendering this volcano a fun experience to climb. The trip takes approximately 6 hours which is the 4 hours spend climbing on top and the 2 hours spent descending down.

Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi has the highest peaks among all the Virunga volcanoes, and the fifth highest among the mountains in Africa, measuring up to 4507 meters above sea level, situated along the equator, the mountain experiences cool temperatures which result to slow formation. The height of the peak makes hiking a little complex and challenging, so it’s only reserved for climbers who are involved in it.

Mount Muhavura

Mount Muhavura is the second heights peaks among the volcano mountains. The height measures up to 4,127 metres above sea level. mount Muhavura lies between Rwanda and Uganda and its both shared by the two countries. Therefore, travellers having interest in climbing this mountain, can both climb it in either of the countries. Climbing mount Muhavura takes approximately 6 to 8 hours to get to the top. While on top of the mountain, you will be able to view the beautiful crater lake, and stunning views of the landscape below and all that is in it such as the twin lakes including Burera and Ruhondo

Mount Sabinyo

Mount Sabinyo sits within the three east African countries namely Congo’s Virunga National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Peak top at 3,645 meters (11,959 ft). The peak is also an extinct volcano in the Virunga Range, in eastern Africa.

Mount Gahinga

Mount Gahinga is one of the shortest volcano mountains among all the Virunga ranges, the mountain measures up to the height of 3,474 metres above sea level. The height favours the hikers who do not take long hikes. The mountain is an extinct volcano lying between volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Mgahinga national park in Uganda therefore, hikers on Mount Gahinga, can hike the mountain in either of the countries.

List of Other Attractions in / Near Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Congo Nile Trail – During your safari in Rwanda, do not forget to book a Congo Nile trail safari tour which takes place along lake Kivu from Rubavu and Rutsiro through the karongi, Nyamasheke district and ends in Kibuye. Many adventurous may wish to extend their Congo Nile Trip as far as Nyungwe forest which offers more better attractions and experience.

This practice draws primarily travellers involved in cycling tours. Hiking trips and kayaking will reach Gisenyi Rwanda and join in the Congo Trail. The Congo trail is one of the most adventurous experience in Africa, the biking distance measures about 227km long, where by the travellers taking pat in this activity have an opportunity to view beautiful landscapes, such as rolling hills, clear water, among others. This Congo trail stands as the one activity that can be both explored on foot by walking, cycling and motorcycling all through out the activity up to Nyungwe forest.

Congo Nile Trail

Walking to the Congo Nile Trail requires approximately 8 days to complete the trek, depending on your ability and physical fitness to hike.

What to expect during the Congo Nile trail?

The starting point of this trail is Gisenyi Rwanda, during the biking experience, the Congo Nile gives stunning views, scenic views and immersive cultures along the nearby communities. This trail is very impressive for adventures activities and stands as the prominent way to explore the beautiful view of the land of a thousand hills. For the strong and energetic bikers, this activity can be completed in 5 days depending on one’s fitness and biking experience.

Different routes followed during the Congo Nile Trail

Form Gisenyi to Kamembe, using a bike in good condition without it breaking down on the way, the bikers using this route, can complete the hike in 5 days.

The second route is from Gisenyi to Kibuye, this is the shortest route and can be completed in 1 or 2 days and its best for the travellers who have limited time to spend in Rwanda during any of their safari visits in Rwanda.

Essentials required for the Congo Nile Trail Rwanda

  • A bike. Bicycle
  • Sleeping tents and Bags
  • Sun Glasses
  • Hiking boots
  • Jacket
  • Rack sack
  • Enough drinking waters
  • Spare parts for the motorcycle or bikes for those using any of these
  • You will need to pack food/snack that will help in boosting the energy required to hike the steep slopes.

How to book the Congo Nile Trail

Contact us at adventure in the wild safaris in case you have interest in taking part in this activity, you can book a trip and you need to use a bicycle, we will be in position to make this magical moment for you.

Accommodation during the Congo Nile trail

There are several lodges ranging from mid-range. Luxury and Budget lodges to meet the interest of the clients. Including; Kibogora guest house, Bethanie Guest house, Kinunu guest house, peace guest house among others o offer you quality accommodation and good service during your stay as you explore Rwanda on the Congo Nile Trail.

For more information on the Congo Nile Trail, reach to us at adventure in the wild safaris, and we will offer you all the necessary information concerning the Congo Nile trail and in case you will need this safari, please reach to us and we will arrange the safari for you.