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Rwanda Budget Safaris & Gorilla Tours

4.3/5  –  13 Rwanda Reviews

Rwanda is not your average safari destination. Unlike most other countries on Africa’s safari circuit, it is relatively small in area, it supports a greater amount of forest than savanna, and its number one attraction is primate watching. Volcanoes National Park is probably the best place anywhere to track mountain gorillas, a bucket-list activity that many would regard to be the world’s most engaging wildlife encounter. Other activities offered in Rwanda include chimp trekking, golden monkey trekking and forest walks in biodiverse Nyungwe NP. Furthermore, while Rwanda isn’t widely associated with the Big Five, its underrated Akagera NP is now home to the full deck of lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, black rhino and white rhino.

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1-20 of 55 cheap gorilla trekking tours & safaris to Rwanda

6 Questions About Rwanda Budget Safaris

 
 

6 Questions About Rwanda Budget Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

Are there budget safaris available in Rwanda?

“Yes and no. Budget safaris are available in Rwanda. But since the main reason that most people holiday here is to track gorillas, which costs US$1,500, no itinerary that includes this popular activity could really be called cheap. That said, plenty of relatively affordable Rwanda tours focus on other cheaper activities and destinations, or that track gorillas in neighboring Uganda, which is considerably less costly.”

1

Where should I go on a budget safari in Rwanda?

“Each of Rwanda’s main national parks – Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera – is very different to the others and all three are worth including on a safari itinerary. The main attraction of Volcanoes NP is of course gorilla trekking, but the park is also good for golden monkey trekking and hikes to the volcanic Virunga peaks, both of which are relatively affordable. By contrast, Nyungwe NP is best known for chimp trekking, monkey spotting and forest bird watching, while Akagera NP’s mosaic of savanna, grassland and wetland habitats is roamed by all the Big Five. Another worthwhile inclusion on a budget trip to Rwanda is lovely Lake Kivu, which runs along the eastern border with the Congo. Here, active travelers can kayak, cycle and/or hike along one or more stages of the popular and affordable Congo Nile Trail, which runs parallel to the eastern lakeshore for 160km/100mi. For those with interest in Rwandan culture and history, the Kivu hinterland’s diverse selection of community-based cultural programs is complemented by a variety of more formal urban museums and monuments in Kigali, Huye and Nyanza.”

2

What kind of vehicle can I expect?

“Most Rwanda budget safaris are conducted in a Land Cruiser, Land Rover or similar high-clearance 4x4 vehicle. This is not because there is any issue with trunk roads, which are almost invariably surfaced and well maintained. However, high clearance and 4x4 may be necessary on the final approach roads to certain trailheads in Volcanoes and Nyungwe NP, as well as on internal roads in Akagera NP.”

3

What type of accommodation can I expect?

“On a Rwanda budget safari, you will usually stay in moderately priced guest houses, budget hotels or hostels. Typically these will provide comfortable but non-luxurious accommodation in rooms with mosquito nets and en suite hot showers and toilets. In many cases, your hotel will probably be slightly isolated from an urban setting, so you’ll most likely eat there too, and meals will be included in the tour price. Some tours might use campsites but this is fairly unusual.”

4

How many days is enough time to see Rwanda’s main attractions?

“If you plan on visiting all three major national parks, a 7-day safari would mean spending 2 nights at each of them. This would allow you time to track gorillas in Volcanoes NP, to track chimps and do the popular canopy walk in Nyungwe NP, and to do a few game drives in Akagera NP. However, if you want to do other activities along the way, for instance, golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes NP, or spending time in the Lake Kivu area, then 8 to 10 days would be more realistic. Conversely, if you’re not visiting all the national parks, then 3 days to see one park or 5 days for two works well. And if your only interest is gorilla trekking, this could easily be done as a 2-day or even 1-day safari out of Kigali.”

5

How much will this safari cost?

“Expect to pay around US$300 to US$400 per person per day for any Rwanda budget package that focuses on national parks but doesn’t include gorilla trekking. This price will usually include all transportation, park and activity fees, accommodation, meals and the services of guides and drivers, but do check this in advance. If you will be tracking gorillas in Volcanoes NP, the fixed trekking permit fee of US$1500 per person will increase the tour price significantly. In order to cut costs, operators offering budget safari packages out of Kigali often track gorillas across the border in Uganda, where permits cost US$600. More occasionally, budget safaris cross into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Virunga National Park charges US$400 for a gorilla trekking permit. However, political instability is an ongoing concern here, and security issues have regularly compelled Virunga National Park to close to tourist visits.”

6

Rwanda Reviews

4.3/5 13 Reviews
Expert
Heather Richardson  –  
South Africa ZA

Heather is a British travel / conservation journalist, and has written for publications and broadcasters such as the BBC, Departures, the Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

More than gorillas
5/5

The way Rwanda has positioned itself as one of the most exciting tourism destinations in Africa is seriously admirable. Its controversial president, Paul Kagame, has invited some of the top tourism operators to develop properties in the...

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Expert
Stephen Cunliffe  –  
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Not your stereotypical safari destination
4/5

There is much more to the ‘the country of a thousand hills’ than initially meets the eye. Small, compact and easy to travel around, friendly Rwanda has well and truly consigned the tragic genocide of 1994 to history. The country has...

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evimeyer  –  
United States US
Reviewed: May 4, 2020
Rwanda is a hidden gem for wildlife observation
5/5

Our group of three pretty active seniors (63 ,66, 72) were traveling to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas and do a more traditional safari. Two of us were birders, so naturally we focused on avian creatures a lot, but saw plenty of other...

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Christophe Iradukunda  –  
Rwanda RW
Reviewed: Aug 28, 2019
I had an amazing experience about Rwanda
4/5

About wildlife in Rwanda is good as in National Parks there are animals that can't be found any where in world, like Mountain Gorillas in Virunga Park, Lions, Rhinos and other wild animals in Akagera National park. In Nyungwe national park...

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Dalonda  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 3, 2017
A definite "bucket list" adventure and I would do it again!
5/5

The entire trip was a positive overwhelming experience. It is one of the cleanest countries I have visited. The people seemed to be happy and proud of the culture and their country. I was never concerned for my safety. It is about a 3...

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Gail McKay Reviewed: Apr 21, 2015
Life-changing, life-affirming!
5/5

Foremost, the individualized attention that I received was incredible - from personal pick-up and transportation to the orientation and assisted itinerary. It was almost fate to be taken to a local restaurant - the Ogopogo - how terrific...

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