In Rwanda, this safari with a difference takes you to the lush volcanic slopes of the Virunga National Park, the natural habitat of the endangered mountain gorilla. Planeta Azul has been offering this unique and enchanting experience for over 20 years, and each journey into the heart of the forest is as emotional and exciting as the first.
Discover an endangered specie
Starting on the lower slopes of the volcano, you’ll ascend by foot until reaching one of the family groups or ‘bands’ of gorillas for whom these forests are home. From that point of contact you’ll be right alongside the band, barely 5 meters away, for a full hour. The park rangers limit groups to a maximum of 8 people per band of gorillas, meaning that you’ll be one of the 8 people in the entire world living this experience on a given day, making this experience all the more exclusive.
Created alongside experts in gorilla behaviour, the experience is designed in such a way as to provide you with the optimal amount of time to observe and photograph these magnificent primates, while assuring minimal impact and disruption to their way of life. All this attention to detail results in experience you’ll never forget.
Three reasons why
The mountain gorilla experience gives you the opportunity to come face to face with one of the last living examples of our closest animal relatives. Sharing 98% of their DNA with humans, mountain gorillas exhibit a staggering amount of human traits and behaviours. Sociable, intelligent, curious and gregarious, they live in close knit family groups, each led by one or more dominant Silverback males. What’s more, each of these families are distinct from the others, showing clear signs of individual identities. Something we can all recognize in our own family groups.
The experience itself starts long before we reach the gorillas themselves. The trek through the dense mountain jungle, under lush canopies of bamboo and tropical forest sets the scene for your encounter. Along the way you’ll also spot dozens of examples of other rare and beautiful animals such as the golden monkey native to Virunga or the chimpanzees of Nyungwe.
The country of Rwanda itself is one of the safest and friendliest countries in all of the African continent. Thanks to its unique geography it’s also one of the most bucolic, more than living up to its picturesque nickname as ‘The Land of the Thousand Hills’, some of which make up the Virunga Volcanic range, where this experience takes place.
Inaugurated in 2017, the spectacular and exclusive Bisate Lodge is situated in a natural amphitheatre, created from the erosion of a volcanic cone. From here you’ll have clear views across to the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes, with their slopes covered in lush afro-alpine vegetation.
Design and luxury combine in this mountain retreat.
Constructed in harmony with the local Rwandan culture and building methods, Bisate Lodge hosts 6 large and comfortable rooms all with volcano views and with impeccable service, to make your stay even more unforgettable.
An accessible distance from the Volcanoes National Park, the lodge is ideally placed for the expedition to the mountain gorilla visit as well as other attractions of the area such as golden monkey spotting, excursions to the lava hewn tunnels of the Musanze Cave, or guided bird watching tours within the lodge’s extensive grounds.