Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park
The town of Ruhengeri (also known as Msanze) is the gateway to the famed Volcanoes National Park. The region is incredibly beautiful, with stunning verdant mountains cascading down the shores of Lake Kivu on the Congolese border. The park itself protects an area which is part of a chain of eight volcanoes running along the western branch of the Great Rift Valley.
These spectacular mountains and the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda are the last refuge of the mighty mountain gorilla. A trek out into the park in search of the gorillas is the experience of a lifetime. The pungent aromas of wet mountain vegetation will fill your senses as you trek through the forest following the local trackers, the sides of the mountains often shrouded in mist. The muddy and wet terrain is by no means easy, so it can be pretty strenuous and it's often very humid too - but the sheer thrill of coming face to face with a group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than makes up for the difficulties of the trek. The animals are surprisingly placid and gentle, and having the privilege of being able to watch their movements at close range is the ultimate wildlife experience.
There are several habituated groups ranging from around 10-35 gorillas in size, each group inhabiting a different area of the forest and involving different lengths of trek to typically find them - depending on the group you are aiming for, you could be walking for 2 to 7 hours.