Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and Maasai Mara Safari
An unforgettable East African wildlife adventure
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Gorilla and Golden Monkey trekking permits
- Private transfers and all flights mentioned in the itinerary
- Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
Begin with three nights on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, staying at one of our favourite luxury lodges. The jungles beyond, stretching up to the Ugandan and Congolese borders, are most famous for being home to mountain gorillas, the largest of the great apes but also one of the gentlest. Ten groups within the park are habituated to humans, and you’ll get the chance to trek through the forest to spend a magical hour in the company of one family group as young ones play, adolescents show off and mothers dote under the watchful eye of a dominant silverback. You will also get to meet a troop of golden monkeys, another of the Virunga mountain range’s endemic primates and hike to see magnificent lakes.
Return to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, for a relaxing evening prior to the flight due east to Nairobi in Kenya to board a light aircraft for the short hop to the Maasai Mara. Based out of a fabulous safari camp for a further four nights, spend your days out on game drives across the Mara landscape in search of iconic wildlife such as lion, cheetah, elephant, rhino and much more, walking with the Maasai, and, if you’re here between July to October, you may witness the millions of wildebeest and zebra here on the great migration. Return to Nairobi for a final night and a chance to visit a renowned sanctuary before your departure.
Example Trip Itinerary
Volcanoes National Park
Meet and greet at Kigali airport
Private road transfer from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.
Accommodation in Volcanoes National Park
- 8 stone cottages
- Bar & Lounge
- Massage Room
- WiFi (in the main building)
Sitting atop a 2,300-metre hilltop with panoramas of the ‘twin lakes’ of Ruhondo and Bulera and the string of Virunga volcanoes laid out in front of you, this eco-lodge and its scenes truly sum up the magic of central Africa. Eight ‘naturally’ stylish banda cottages (4 double, 4 twin) are set out in this property’s beautiful terraced gardens, affording each a share of the superb views and a good helping of privacy too. En suite bathrooms and running solar hot water allow you to enjoy luxurious comfort with always a minimal environmental impact too. Paved pathways converge on the property’s main lodge for dining, massages, the curio shop, bar and lounge, and all with stunning views. Apart from the truly personable level of luxury and staff hospitality here at Virunga the lodge also excels in a wonderfully diverse and extensive menu of daily activities and local cultural excursions.
- Six forest villas
- Dining area and bar
- Tree nursery
The spectacular Bisate Lodge is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, with panoramic views across rural hills and Afro-alpine forests to great conic peaks of Volcanoes National Park. Utterly unique in its design, six sumptuous forest villas are luxurious while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of the surrounding country. Each has a generous yet intimate combination of bedroom, reception space and bathroom, heated by a central fireplace a private deck looking out to Mount Bisoke The spherical stone and thatch architecture, said to be inspired by the Royal Palace of traditional monarchs, continues through to the communal areas such as the dining room, bar and spa, detailed with a variety of woven materials, local crafts and more modern touches. Bisate is a short drive to the national park’s headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily, and you can also embark upon forest hikes to see rare Golden Monkeys and other wildlife. Visit the site of Dian Fossey’s research camp and grave, meet the community on guided village walks, plant a tree as part of the Bisate’s reforestation project or perhaps tag along with the chef to the local market to buy ingredients.
- 8 guest cottages
- Main lodge with restaurant, bar & lounge
- In-room massage
- WiFi (in main lodge only)
- Gift Shop, Library
Seated in the foothills of the Virunga mountains there are three things to look forward to when staying at the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: breath-taking views from every angle, warm and helpful staff, and seeing the captivating mountain gorillas in their wild natural habitat on your daily treks. The eight spacious standalone cottages are decorated in a homely style and their seclusion really adds to the ample and individual privacy here. On the other hand the big fireplaces, appealing lounges, library, dining area and curio shop of the main lodge give the whole property a warm and convivial personality, and where guests can relax and talk excitedly over the exploits of their day. Again, the staff do their utmost to assist you in whatever way they can and the food served at Sabyinyo is delicious and surprisingly elegant for its far-flung setting. On the whole Sabyinyo is a fantastically sophisticated and friendly base to explore this very poignant part of Africa.
- Eight suites
- Four-bedroom villa
- Main lodge
The much anticipated Kwitonda Lodge opened in August 2019, and is Singita’s first foray into Rwanda, bringing with it their celebrated philosophy of sustainable luxury. Located in a prized 178-acre parcel of lush meadows and wetlands right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park with magnificent views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes, there are eight suites and a four-bedroom villa, Kataza House. Architects and interior designers are selecting locally sourced and produced materials while the local community has been engaged in building using traditional techniques. A light footprint is central to the project, embodying the gentleness and humility of the great silverback from which the lodge takes its name. As well as treks into the park to spend time with the gorillas, for which the Kwitonda Lodge is ideally located, you will be able explore the montane forests of Nyungwe National Park, see the rare Golden Monkey and visit the local community. Guests will also have the chance to expand the gorillas’ habitat by helping out with the lodge’s tree planting and habitat restoration project. And, with Tanzania’s Serengeti just a short hop across Lake Victoria to the east, Kwitonda Lodge brings the opportunity for a ‘Singita only’ safari experience combining gorillas and the astounding Grumeti Reserve.
Tucked into the far north-west corner of the country, Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is one of the few remaining havens of the the mountain gorilla, with its landscape’s gentler slopes and more open bush allows for some of the most effortless tracking and observation of these animals than other parks.
Home to five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga mountains massif and with hills richly blanketed with rainforest, bamboo forests as well as open grassland, swamps, marshes and small lakes – this is also a prolific sanctuary for the likes of the golden monkey, bushbuck, spotted hyena and prolific birdlife. You may also have heard of this park thanks to the famous American primatologist Dian Fossey who based most of her research here, founding a centre to bring worldwide attention to the gorillas endangered status.
Rwanda is one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy close personal encounters with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The forested slopes of the Virunga massif – a chain of ancient volcanoes – are home to over half the world’s 880 remaining gorillas. There are, in total, 10 habituated groups available for tracking by tourists in Volcanoes National Park, and each morning eight permit holders are allocated one group.
You will hike to the spot where your gorilla family was last seen the previous day. All tracker guides are experienced in looking for signs of the gorillas’ location, for example, footprints, dung, chewed bamboo and celery stalks, as well as nightly abandoned nests.
Once the gorillas are located, probably smelling them before seeing them, the group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with the family. You are likely to reach their location during their long midday rest and play period. At this time of day, the dominant male (usually a silverback) generally lounges on the ground or against a tree while youngsters roll in the vegetation and climb on trees, vines, and each other. Females nurse and play with their infants. It is entirely possible that you will find the gorillas quite quickly and be back at your hotel for lunch; or you could face a three or four hour hike (sometimes even longer) each way.
The endangered Golden monkey enjoys a territory of highland forests, especially bamboo, living in groups of up to thirty individuals. A handful of troops in Volcanoes National Park have been habituated and can be tracked in a similar way to the gorillas. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor towards the base of the volcanoes and have overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists.
Between Musanze and the Ugandan border are two scenic lakes usually referred to as the twin lakes; Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo. They are fed by rivers and a lake in Uganda. The twin lakes area is very scenic, with steep and intensively farmed hills surrounding the pristine dark blue waters. They offer magnificent views over the whole of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Private transfer from your Virunga lodge to your hotel in Kigali
Accommodation in Kigali
- 11 rooms
- Swimming pool
The Retreat by Heaven is a charming and inviting small boutique hotel, recognised as Kigali’s first entirely solar-powered resort, as well as maintaining countless other eco-friendly credentials throughout its make up, including locally crafted sustainable teak wood furniture. The hotel enjoys a great location on a quiet and peaceful, tree-lined street in the Kiyovu neighbourhood of the city, and is just minutes from the city centre, ensuring it’s in a prime location for discovering Kigali. Guests will have a choice of 11 expansive rooms, with features such as peaked ceilings, front and rear private patios, bathrooms with indoor and outdoor rain showers, and air conditioning. The interior of each room is light, airy and spacious, featuring plenty of wood for a natural vibe, as well as touches of local art and decoration to add an element of tradition. There’s a fantastic on-site restaurant in which to indulge, known as Fusion. Blending international cuisine with local Rwandan and African flavours with a focus on quality local ingredients, the restaurant is set beside the hotel’s inviting saltwater swimming pool. Guests can find further relaxation in the shape of the hotel’s spa, giving them the chance to nurture themselves across a range of skincare or massage treatments, as well as relax in the Jacuzzi or sauna.
- 148 rooms (a/c, satellite TV, wifi)
- Cafe and bar
- Lounge and bar
- Swimming Pool & deck
- Health club
A very comfortable business-style hotel in central Kigali and only ten kilometres from the city’s international airport, this is a good option for those passing through onto other destinations or to relax before your flight home. A good and efficient level of facilities means you don’t have to go far for beverage, swim, stroll or meal and the staff are always very helpful here.
- 254 rooms and suites
- Outdoor pool
- Fitness centre
The Kigali Marriott Hotel is a stylish and contemporary hotel featuring everything you need for a comfortable stay in the city. Each of its 245 rooms and suites are spacious and feature floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the garden and city. Marble bathrooms and the latest technology make them a comfortable and luxurious space in which to relax, and you’re ideally located to explore the city if you wish. Enjoy Italian cuisine at the hotel restaurant then enjoy a cocktail in the lobby bar while admiring the view. If you need to unwind after a long flight or simply fancy some time to yourself, then the spa offers a range of treatments as well as a steam room, therapy baths and plunge pool. There is also an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.
Enjoy a night in Kigali, you'll have our list of recommended restaurants and attractions to make sure you make the most of your time here.
Transfer to Kigali airport
Flight from Kigali to Nairobi
Flight from Nairobi to the Mara
Accommodation in Maasai Mara
- 11 tents including two family tents and two honeymoon tents
Location is everything at Sala’s Camp. Nestled in the Maasai Mara National Park, but in a very remote southern-central corner of it on the tranquil banks of the Sand River, Sala’s boasts the most private of safari experiences within the reserve’s borders. The camp works in close conjunction with various wildlife projects in the area, so you can be sure your visit is making a difference. The camp features 11 tents including two family tents and two honeymoon tents. All feature private plunge pools and en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, running water and flushing loos. Sala’s enjoys wonderful views across the northern Tanzanian corridor and Serengeti National Park, and it is one of the first camps in the Mara to witness the Great Migration. Your daily game drives are personalised to guests, depending on what you would most like to see, and the Mara River for the famed river crossings is only a 25-minute drive away. The food is impossibly sophisticated for your surrounds, all in all holding true to the camp’s philosophy of combining tradition with elegance. Sala’s is also a wonderful camp for families. All children receive a welcome pack with games, paint sets and quizzes about the wildlife and the camp and kids can play in the shallow Sand River under the watchful eye of a Maasai askari.
- Nine tents
Rekero is a peaceful nine-tent camp that lies in the heart of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, on the banks of the Talek River. The camp is spread down the river from a large bend in the river to an ancient wildebeest crossing point which sits in front of a large mess tent. The interiors are spacious with comfortable beds and each tent enjoys river views from the veranda. The rear of the tent leads to a tented bathroom with a flush toilet, a sink and a safari shower. A team of safari chefs prepare fresh and tasty home-style meals for guests during their stay. Meals are enjoyed out on game drives, by the water’s edge under the shade of an African Pepper tree or by candlelight in the open mess tent higher up the bank. The area plays host not only to an extraordinary concentration and diversity of wildlife but also to one of mother nature’s greatest spectacles: the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra across the Serengeti/Mara eco system. Even when the migration is not here, there is plenty of resident game to ensure that even in low season it is still one of the finest wildlife locations in Africa. Rekero’s bush guides are widely recognised to be among the best in East Africa. They undergo a long period of professional training beyond the learning of guiding skills to fully understand the complexity and demands of delivering quality service at the very highest level. Game drives in the park are all done in the company of these experts who can also share their culture in this extraordinary setting.
- Sixteen tents including one family tent
- Social and dining areas
- Billiards room and library
Sitting on the banks of the Sand River, this colonial Masai Mara camp echoes the decadent days of 1920’s safari in a sublime and secluded game-rich location. Accommodation comes in the form of 16 luxury tents, each with their own sun deck for your own personal river view. While the camp provides communal dining and lounging areas, if complete seclusion is what you’re after, indulge in the private dining options of luncheons and dinners served out in the bush among the flourishing wildlife. With a setting boasting the big five, the annual migration plus the world’s largest concentration of big cats, you can expect spectacular game viewing here alongside expert, friendly guiding.
Enjoy daily game drives and other activities with your chosen camp and guides in this magnificent national park. Between July and October it is home to the Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest thunder across the plains in search of fresh pasture, an incredible sight which is one of Africa’s premier wildlife experiences.
It must not be forgotten, however, that the Maasai Mara has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife year-round. The big five can all be ticked off your list on a visit here, and you’ll also get to see huge pods of hippos basking in the rivers, cheetahs racing across the savannah and giraffes ambling between the acacia trees.
Flight from the Maasai Mara to Nairobi
Private transfer to your hotel in Nairobi
Accommodation in Nairobi
- 13 rooms
Overlooking Nairobi National Park, Ololo Lodge is a welcoming hideaway in the African bush on the banks of the Mbagathi River, where guests are made to feel instantly at home. A beautifully restored colonial farmhouse lies at the centre of the lodge, where guests are invited to unwind with a glass of wine as they drink in the views. The 13 suites are spacious and luxuriously furnished, from the airy Terrace Room with its marble bathroom and private terrace, to the safari-style tented cottages. Or you could climb the spiral staircase to The Tower Room which boasts breath-taking views out over the park towards the Ngong Hills. Run by an Australian family, Ololo Lodge is all about relaxing and enjoying the comforts of home away from home. At The Kitchen at Ololo, home-style meals are simple and fresh, using seasonal produce from the lodge’s own gardens. The menu changes daily and guests can dine out on the vine-covered terrace or in the garden under the acacias. Keep a look out for lion, giraffe, leopard, rhino, hippo, zebra and buck on a personalised or group game drive in Nairobi National Park, or add a little extra magic with a visit to the nearby Elephant Orphanage or the Giraffe Centre.
- Eight rooms
- Living room
Located in the peaceful Langata suburb is One Forty Eight Nairobi, a beautiful boutique hotel right next to Nairobi’s Giraffe Sanctuary. There are just eight bedrooms, split across the main house and a converted artist’s studio. Local artwork and fabrics add splashes of colour and many of the rooms feature flooring and furniture made from beautiful dark wood. For families, there is a loft room with three beds – perfect for the kids. Both the main house and the studio have a living area with a large open fireplace where guests can enjoy a morning coffee or glass of wine. Head out to the verandah and enjoy al fresco dining and enjoy the leafy green surrounds. Although you are in the city, warthogs, monkeys and peacocks roam freely through the garden and the roars of lions travel from the nearby Nairobi National Park.
- 45 Rooms
- Outdoor pool
- Health club & steam room
- Bar & lounge
Set between the Ngong Hills and Jamhuri Park, the Hemingways Nairobi is a boutique hotel far removed from the bustle of the capital. Expect excellent service and delicious food in this all-inclusive establishment. Choose from one of 45 lofty rooms furnished in a classic style; vaulted ceilings and balconies are complemented by exposed timber, cotton drapes and neutral tones. The two, 240 square metre themed-suites improve upon this with well-appointed living rooms, study and dining areas, opening to large terraces. All rooms have views either of the rolling hotel lawns or the Ngong hills in the distance. Dining at The Brasserie, you can enjoy a contemporary European menu boasting some of the best steak in Kenya and a relaxed ambiance. Head to The Dining Room for a more formal atmosphere and modern cuisine of local providence.
- 10 Luxury Manor Bedrooms
- Wireless Internet Access
Originally build in the 1930s, Giraffe Manor is ideally located in south west Nairobi, just 20 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Situated in one of Nairobi’s most beautiful suburbs, this beautiful Manor House is located on 140 acres of pristine sanctuary land. Perfect for a quick stopover in the capital city, with an extra quirkiness to add to the convenience. This lovely Manor is home to eight endangered Rothschild giraffes that make daily visits to the house and politely ask guests for snacks! This up-close experience is remarkably enchanting and a great way to begin or finish your safari in Kenya. The opportunity to visit a handful of local attractions such as the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nyumbani Children’s Orphanage and the Karen Blixen museum (among others) are also available and a great way to explore Nairobi in more detail. The style of this boutique hotel is modelled on a Scottish hunting lodge with a modern touch. The main Manor house has just six en-suite luxury bedrooms, each with its own character and very tastefully decorated. Four brand new luxury bedrooms have just opened in the garden manor and allow for a different view of these pretty grounds. Each room is very comfortable, with subtle warm colours that give a very homely feel. Grand, four poster beds and large windows give an airy quality that allows you to simply relax and enjoy your time in Nairobi without the hustle and bustle of city life. Giraffe Manor is well known for the excellent cuisine offered, with meals taken in the wood panelled dining room overlooking the gardens. Breakfast is the most important part of your experience here, as this is when the Giraffe are their most inquisitive!
Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Located in a secluded area of the Nairobi National Park, the orphanage is open for visitors between 11am and 12pm when the the orphans arrive for their midday mud bath and feeding.
Private transfer to Nairobi Wilson airport
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Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and Maasai Mara Safari
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We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.