Best Gorilla Photo Safaris in Rwanda

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Have you dreamed of taking the unforgettable photography trip, by going on an African safari to visit the rare critically endangered mountain gorillas combined with varied wildlife? Gorilla photography in Rwanda offers African safaris that allow you to experience the wildlife up close and in their own natural habitat. This safari features all stunning wildlife viewing opportunities that Africa has to offer with special bonus. On this gorilla photo safari, you will be traveling in the company of a professional photographer suitable for all levels of photographic experience.

One of our experienced naturalist photography tour leaders Sam Clark leads gorilla photo and wildlife safaris in Uganda Rwanda and Congo. Our photographer’s safari features input, suggestions, and informal instruction on anything related to photography. Casual talks, briefings or workshops appropriate to each day’s activities. Flexible instruction topics to suit photographers of any skill level, an environment conducive to learning from one another- no question of off limits, destinations to the most scenic places with the most abundant wildlife.

Gorilla photography safari starts with an Airport pick up from Kigali International Airport in Rwanda picked and welcomed by our safari company representative, meet and great then after you’re transferred by road to your hotel or lodge. Dinner and overnight stay before heading to an area near Volcanoes National Park the following day, Volcanoes National Park is known as a haven for the mountain gorilla and a home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains; Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo, which are covered in rain forest and bamboo.

Both Rwanda Uganda and Congo require visitors to obtain a permit in order to trek gorillas. Currently, for Rwanda, a permit costs $1500 per person per trek. Only 80 permits are granted per day in Rwanda. Plus, it can take only 2 hours to travel to volcanoes national park from the lodges to one of the three entry points. Make sure your outfitter books the lodge closest to the entry point noted on your permit. The number of gorilla permits given per day is limited. Only 8 people are allowed to see each gorilla group. During the busy season, permits need to be purchased months in advance due to high demand.

Today wake up very early and take breakfast, then transfer to Volcanoes National Park Kinigi headquarters, get a short briefing from the park warden and escorted to the beginning of the trail. Porters are available for hire at $15-$20. The adventure begins when you enter into the forest with a trek up the path to encounter the mountain gorillas. The trek to see the gorilla is quiet strenuous and tiresome, it can even take between 2 to 8 hours of search depending on the location and movement of a particular gorilla family.

Upon sighting the troop, the fatigue will all disappear when you look straight in the eyes of a Silver Back male gorilla, juveniles playing and mothers feeding there young ones. As you watch and observe the gorilla family, capture every detail during this magical 1 hour before returning to the base to meet our driver.  After the magical gorilla trekking experience, retire back to your lodge for lunch and in the afternoon you either relax at your Lodge or you can visit local community villages and learn about the traditional medicine, dances, and other local customs. Dinner and overstay at Five Volcanoes Hotel or Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.

Today morning we visit the Golden Monkeys focusing on getting amazing shots. The golden monkey is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Golden monkeys are on the top of the list found at lower slopes of Volcanic Mountains making it easier to access these creatures. It is restricted to highland forest especially, especially near bamboo. Not much is known about the golden monkey’s behaviour. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of bamboo, leaves and fruit, though it is also thought to eat insects.

Enter into the forest and search for the golden monkeys just like the mountain gorillas. Watching and observing them is strictly 1 hour as you take photo shoots with scenic pictures. The golden monkey will move in between areas depending on the season. During the season where ripe fruit is available they will remain in those areas. When the rainy season begins this causes bamboo shooting to occur and the golden monkeys are found more in these areas. Studies have found that if there is an area consisting of mixed fruit and bamboo, the monkeys will tend to frequent that area more than an area of just bamboo. The golden monkey will often feed near the sleeping area and return to this same sleeping location day after day.

After tracking the family for 2 to 4 hours, we will spend 1 hour documenting them as they go about their daily life style. Expect much excitement filled with playing, feeding on bamboo shoots. After the experience we then return to our lodge for lunch and after we can then transfer to Kigali, dinner and overnight at Kigali Serena Hotel.

Early in the morning take a sweet breakfast and set off to Akagera National Park straddling Rwanda’s eastern border with Tanzania. It’s characterized by woodland, swamps, low mountains and savannah. The varied terrain shelters wildlife including zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and hundreds of bird species, such as the rare shoe bill stork. In the southern part of the park, vast Lake Ihema is home to hippos and crocodiles.

With the reintroduction of black rhinos and African lions, the national park is now home to all of Africa’s “big five”: the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. In May 2017, Rwanda reintroduced around 20 Eastern black rhinoceroses from South Africa, after an absence of 10 years. More than 50 black rhinos lived in the Savannah-habitat of the park, in the 1970s. Due to widespread poaching, their numbers declined over the following decades, and previously, the last confirmed sighting was in 2007. With the elegant wildlife in Akagera National Park makes it an excellent gorilla and wildlife photography in Rwanda.

Akagera National Park offers boat safaris on Lake Ihema. If you are looking for a variation on the wildlife photo safari experience, a boat trip on Lake Ihema will not disappoint. Drift along the forest-fringed lake edge, taking shots of hippos and basking crocodiles. For the serious birder a boat trip is a must. Trips are scheduled 4 times per day at 7.30am, 9am, 3.30pm and 5pm. Non-scheduled, private, trips can also be arranged at other times. Lake Shakani is the site of sports fishing in the park; spend relaxing day fishing off the lake shore and then cook your catch over an open fire at the campsite. After a fascinating experience in Akagera National Park, head back to Kigali for your flight back home.

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