Rwanda primates & Mafia Island tailor made holiday

Description of Rwanda primates & Mafia Island tailor made holiday

Spend time with wild mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, track endangered golden monkeys, then relax on the idyllic Mafia Island.

This multi-activity adventure combines exciting wildlife encounters in Rwanda with total relaxation on Mafia Island, located off the coast of Tanzania. You値l spend time tracking wild mountain gorillas and endangered golden monkeys in their natural habitat in Volanoes National Park (also known as Parc des Volcans), before flying to Dar es Salaam for one night and then on to laidback Mafia Island, ideal for those looking for relaxation in a beautiful and remote setting.

From observing a silverback in the Virguna mountains, to swimming with whale sharks around Mafia's Chole Bay, this East Africa holiday is sure to be a experience you'll never forget.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrival in Kigali - Upon arrival in Kigali, Rwanda's capital, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you can explore this vibrant city with a guide. After your city tour, you値l be transferred to Kinigi at the foothills of the Virungas in Parc National des Volcans.
Day 2:Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park - After an early breakfast, you値l drive to the Parc National des Volcans, where you値l meet your guide and be briefed you about your trek and the various aspects of "gorilla etiquette." Your professional guide will lead you into the forest in search of your allocated gorilla family. The high altitude and steep, slippery trails, plus the humidity under the forest canopy, can make the trek challenging, but it痴 definitely worth the effort to spend time with wild mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Day 3:Golden Monkey Tracking in Volcanoes National Park - After another early breakfast, you値l once again be driven to the Parc National des Volcans, where you値l meet your guide and be briefed about your golden monkey trek. Tracking golden monkeys and gorillas is a similar experience you値l be in a small group of no more than eight people and you can spend an hour with the monkeys in their natural habitats. However, as the golden monkeys live in the bamboo vegetation at the base of the volcanoes, the trek is not as strenuous as tracking gorillas. The monkeys are very active and it is likely that you値l find them leaping between the bamboo branches in the trees above you or playing on the forest floor. After your golden monkey trek, you can also visit the Iby棚wacu cultural village before returning to your accommodation.
Day 4:Fly to Dar es Salaam - After breakfast, you値l be transferred to Kigali Airport for your flight to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Upon arriva, you値l be transferred to your beachfront accommodation in Dar es Salaam and you値l have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore this fascinating city.
Day 5:Fly to Mafia Island - After breakfast, you値l be picked up and transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to Mafia Island. On arrival in Kilindoni, you値l be met by a driver and taken to your chosen accommodation, where you値l spend the next five nights on a half-board basis.
Day 6-9:Explore Mafia Island - Enjoy Mafia Island at your leisure. You can dive or snorkel in Mafia Island Marine Park (the largest marine protected area in the Indian Ocean); try windsurfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. If you池e visiting Mafia Island between October and March you値l have the opportunity to snorkel with Whale Sharks, or if you池e visiting between July and October you may be lucky enough to see Humpback Whales. If you池e visiting from June to September you can join a turtle-hatching trip and witness hundreds of baby turtles scramble from the sandy beaches to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. You may wish to stroll through Chole village where you can visit the old mosque, the Fruit Bat sanctuary or the boat yard or you may wish to explore Mrora Forest, Ras Mbizi Coconut Plantation or the Lighthouse at Ras Mkumbi.
Day 10:Return to Dar es Salaam - Today, you値l be driven back to Kilondoni Airport for your return flight to Dar es Salaam. A driver will meet you at the domestic airport to transfer you to the international airport for your flight home.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Rwanda primates & Mafia Island tailor made holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


We ensure that we advise all of our clients who are travelling to Rwanda that plastic bags are banned and we recommend that they take a strong bag with the, to carry any shopping that they may purchase. On arrival at Kigali airport there is a sign that says 鍍he use of non-biodegradable polythene bags is prohibited and any plastic bags you may have in your luggage will be confiscated.

On this itinerary you値l track endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda痴 Parc National des Volcans. Well managed tourism practices have helped to save the last of the mountain gorillas from extinction, and your trekking permits and national park fees contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts in Parc National des Volcans.

Before you depart for Rwanda you will receive a detailed travel pack in which we outline the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking. These regulations will be repeated to you by your guide before you embark on your trek and it is essential that you adhere to them. You will not be allowed to track them if you池e suffering from any illness including a cold or flu which can be transmitted to the gorillas. You will be instructed to talk in a low voice whilst you池e with the gorillas and you池e requested to keep a seven metre distance from them. You must not touch the gorillas under any circumstances - although they are used to seeing people on a daily basis, they are wild animals and they can sometimes react unexpectedly so it is essential that you listen to your guide痴 and trackers instructions. You will also be advised to disable the flash on your camera before you get to your group of gorillas as flash photography is not permitted.

This holiday also includes five days on the idyllic Mafia Island. During the summer season whale sharks can be spotted swimming slowly close to the surface in the channel between Mafia Island and mainland Dar Es Salaam, and this is a main attraction for many visitors to the island. From October to March the 遡askazi (north monsoon wind) pushes the water痴 surface layer, full of plankton fed by the sun and nutrient-rich Rufiji River silt, towards Mafia Island, trapping it against the west coast. The whale sharks hoover up their daily requirement on the surface, making them easy to spot. You can snorkel alongside them, but please ensure that you are patient and respectful so that the whale sharks can continue to feed.

Sea Sense is an NGO that works closely with coastal communities in Tanzania to conserve and protect endangered marine species including whale sharks. In collaboration with the Marine Megafauna Foundation they have produced a 'Whale Shark Briefing Pack' which includes a 舛ode of Conduct for swimming with whale sharks. The briefing pack is available at hotels and lodges in Mafia and is also stored on whale shark tourism boats. We expect our clients to adhere to the Code of Conduct if they choose to swim with these magnificent creatures.


One of the accommodation options on this holiday is Virunga Lodge which is located approximately one hour's drive from the Volcanoes National Park HQ. The lodge is part of Volcanoes Safaris which is a leading luxury lodge company in Uganda and Rwanda. Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), established in 2009, is a non-profit organisation that connects Volcanoes Rwanda and Uganda luxury lodges to the neighbouring communities and conservation activities. The VSPT receives funding through Volcanoes Safaris, which contributes $100 from safari bookings, as well as private donations by their guests and others.

The VSPT aims to create long-term, self-sustaining projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities, promote the conservation of the great apes, restore natural habitats and work with communities and institutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict. As part of their stay at Volcanoes Lodges, guests get an opportunity to visit VSPT projects and to share the lives of the local communities.

Virunga Lodge community projects include facilitating the funding and erection of a 2.7km power line through Kinoni village and the lodge, bringing electricity to 63 local families for the very first time, a beehive project which five local beekeepers participate in, a mushroom growing project which aims to provide a livelihood for low income families from the Sunzu, Nyagatoki and Bugeyo villages neighbouring the lodge, and the lodge also works with the Intore Dance Troupe who are made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers. (Every afternoon at Virunga Lodge the troupe perform the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, also known as 典he Heroes which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan Mwami).

On a free afternoon at Virunga Lodge we recommend taking a walk through local villages to Lake Bulera. Passing through the local communities offers a fantastic insight into village life and there may be opportunities to visit local schools and community centres.

1 Reviews of Rwanda primates & Mafia Island tailor made holiday

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Spending time with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi national park. Truly a
once in a lifetime experience being up close and personal with a remarkable primate.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring fresh $50 bills for visas on demand. Uganda gave us a hard time about dollars older than 2013

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All the staff at the lodges and all guides were locals supporting the local
economy. Most of the staff was using the money to support their extended families. Lodges by and large were trying to be environmentally friendly with solar electricity and hot water heaters

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing Lodges were outstanding. Guides and staff were excellent and
welcoming. Countries depend upon tourism to bolster their economies.

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