- Gain a privileged insight into Fauna & Flora International's (FFI) projects
- Encounter Kahuzi-Biega National Park's endangered Grauer's gorillas
- Explore this captivating, biodiverse region and meet the people who live here
- Travel in the company of Thalia Liokatis, FFI's Programme Coordinator for the DRC
Travel through the jungles, mountains and lakes of Rwanda and DRC, exploring this fascinating but vulnerable region. Venture into the forests of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, to meet the iconic Grauer’s gorilla. Encounter the critically endangered mountain gorilla in the impressive Virunga Massif.
Accompanied by FFI’s Thalia Liokatis, an experienced conservationist, gain a privileged insight into the vital work taking place here. See community-focussed conservation in action and meet the local people at the forefront of pioneering initiatives, including those run by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme.
International Gorilla Conservation Programme
Begin with a visit to the IGCP headquarters in Kigali. FFI are part of this coalition of conservation organisations, working closely with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Meet the programme director, Anna Behm Masozera, and learn about the valuable work that the IGCP are doing in ensuring the survival of mountain gorillas.
Afterwards, visit the poignant Genocide Memorial in Kigali, before heading south to the forest-clad hills of Nyungwe. Here, trek in search of the region’s other famous primates, chimpanzees.
From Nyungwe, cross over the border into DRC and head south of Lake Kivu, towards the undulating landscape of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Trek deep into the park, searching for its most famous inhabitants, the enormous Grauer’s gorillas. Largest of all the gorillas, these animals – also referred to as eastern lowland gorillas – are classified as endangered.
Later in the trip, trek in the Virunga Mountains, spending time with the Grauer’s gorilla’s closest relative, the mountain gorilla. Although still critically endangered, these fascinating primates have staged a remarkable recovery. They are now the focal point of Rwanda’s nascent tourism sector.
Fauna & Flora International Projects
Whilst in Kahuzi-Biega, spend a day visiting the projects that FFI has set up – all aimed at promoting conservation at a community level. Meet local tribal leader Mwami Kabare, who has been working with FFI to draft a development plan for the region – balancing environmental and developmental needs.
At the end of the trip, stop at a number of IGCP projects that are dotted around Volcanoes National Park. Initiated to aid local communities, the aim of these projects is to simultaneously reduce conflict with the park’s wildlife. Visit local beekeepers, who have moved their hives to the park edge, as well as the buffalo wall.
What is the accommodation like?
The accommodation is good throughout, with both Virunga Mountain Lodge and Nyungwe Forest Lodge amongst the best hotels in the region. In contrast, The Orchid Safari Club is relatively simple. However, it is clean and comfortable - the nicest option in Bukavu.
What will the weather be like?
The weather should be generally good, with clear skies and slightly lower-than-average temperatures. July is one of the driest months of the year; however, the region experiences year-round heat and humidity, with showers possible at any time.
Do I need to be fit?
A reasonable level of fitness is needed for both gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. This is due to the challenging terrain and the time it can take to find the animals. However, porters are available and are extremely helpful.
What wildlife will I see?
As well as gorillas and chimps, expect to see various species of small monkey. Nyungwe Forest National Park offers particular diversity, with blue monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys sighted alongside an array of bird species.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.