Exclusive Premium Permit Gorilla Trek
Experience a wildlife encounter like no other and view Silverback Gorillas alongside an expert guide. During this exclusive Adventure, you will encounter silverback gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park on Premium Permit treks with Craig Sholley, renowned conservationist and Senior Vice President of the African Wildlife Foundation. These Premium Permits will allow you to hike into the protected habitat of the silverback gorillas. Additionally, this Adventure will include a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial with a private presentation from the Museum’s Director, Honore Gatera.
Due to park permit requirements, this Adventure requires 14 participants for an exclusive access; if we acquire less than 14 participants, the trek can still operate and the permit will be based on a standard access (with a reduced cost of $200 less per person)
Please note that gorillas have fragile immune systems and minor illnesses in humans such as a common cold can be life-threatening to the gorillas. Since they are considered a critically endangered species, participants must be in good health or they will not be allowed to engage with the gorillas.
Who can participate?
THIRDHOME Exchange Club and Adventure Club Members, along with their family and friends can participate. Per Rwanda Gorilla Trek permit regulations, you must be 15 years of age or older to join the trek. This trek requires strenuous mountain trekking for several hours with rest stops.
Your Gorilla Trek Host
SHOLLEY, SVP OF THE AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
Craig Sholley’s experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Africa. He has worked and traveled extensively since that time providing conservation expertise in a variety of world arenas. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970’s, Craig studied mountain gorillas at Rwanda’s celebrated Karisoke Research Centre with Dian Fossey. Returning to the US, he redirected his interests designing natural history educational programs and wildlife tours for the Baltimore Zoological Society. Concurrently, Craig led nature expeditions and photographed wildlife throughout Africa, South America, and Asia.
In late 1987, Craig returned to Africa full time to direct Rwanda’s internationally-known Mountain Gorilla Project. Turning the project over to the Rwandan government in early 1990, Craig continued in Rwanda acting as Scientific Advisor for the award-winning IMAX film, Mountain Gorilla. Craig has served as a Senior Associate of the African Wildlife Foundation and on AWF’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of the Ecotourism Society. Throughout much of the ’90s, Craig was Director of Conservation and Education for International Expeditions, an organization widely recognized for its ecotourism initiatives.
Craig returned to Rwanda in 1995 on assignment with the National Geographic Society surveying the conservation status of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda in the aftermath of Rwanda’s civil war. The findings of that trip are the basis of a 1995 article in National Geographic Magazine on mountain gorilla conservation. Craig has worked full time with the African Wildlife Foundation for the last 16 years and presently serves as Senior Vice President.
Craig has led countless safaris to natural destinations throughout the world. His favorite continental travel destination remains Africa and he has a strong positive bias for Uganda and Rwanda.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
Saturday, June 20, 2020
DEPART FROM HOME
Depart from your home location.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
ARRIVE IN KIGALI, RWANDA
Travelers who are beginning their journey in Rwanda will fly to Kigali where they will be met and transferred by a representative. Continue onward to the Kigali Serena Hotel where you will meet Craig Sholley from the African Wildlife Foundation. Overnight at Kigali Serena Hotel with dinner included. Meals included: Dinner
Monday, June 22, 2020
KIGALI TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, you will explore Kigali before visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place of more than 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Through education and peace
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK GORILLA TREK
Today you will encounter the mountain gorillas ‘on their turf.’ THIRDHOME has arranged for exclusive access and will divide the party into two small groups in order for each to visit one of the gorilla families. Exclusive access also means that you will bypass the bureaucratic and time-consuming process of attaining a visitation permit, and get straight to visiting your pre-assigned gorilla family. With guides, you will travel by vehicle to a specific departure point to start the trek. The trekking can take from one to six hours and climb to elevations, not in excess of 9,000 feet. Although the hike can be physically demanding, and the terrain is rough and muddy at times, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make it well worthwhile. Once you’ve found your gorilla family, you will be able to observe the special nature of this family group and their interacting dynamics. This wildlife contact is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of flash card memory is recommended. These are wild animals, but experienced guides are with you and will share their knowledge, expertise, and stories. Overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Today you may choose another outing. Choose to gorilla trek another day (with exclusive access) to gain a second experience with a gorilla family (14 participants are required per trek to operate). Or you may opt to not trek, and instead visit the fascinating Golden Monkeys. These primates have a prominent golden fur coat, which adds to their unique attractiveness. The Golden
Thursday, June 25, 2020
RETURN HOME OR CONTINUE TO THE ULTIMATE FLOATING SAFARI
What is the Ultimate Floating Safari? This exciting safari offers unique vantage points of wildlife and is available as an extension to The Ultimate Gorilla Trek, for an all-around incredible safari experience. First, spend time onboard the Zambezi Queen and float down the Chobe River, and after, visit Victoria Falls with a stay at the Tongabezi Lodge. Click here for more information about The Ultimate Floating Safari.
1-Night Accommodations at the Kigali Serena Hotel
3 Nights Accommodations at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – located within the Volcanoes National Park and set at the foothill of the Virunga ranges. The lodge offers up wonderful views of the Virunga Volcanoes and surrounding countryside. In addition to the cottages, on the grounds you will find a library, game room, bar
accommodations in Kigali at The Kigali Serena Hotel with dinner 1 night
- Escorted visit of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum and private presentation by the Museum Director
- 3 nights accommodations at the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
- Breakfast, lunch
dinner during and at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge stay
- Laundry services, room service, wines, beers and sodas
- Exclusive Premium Permit for one hiking encounter with the Silverback Gorillas with Craig Sholley
- Educational Silverback Gorilla species and regional habitat discussions with Craig Sholley, Senior Vice President at the African Wildlife Foundation
- All ground transportation and naturalist guide services
- Optional: Additional Exclusive Premium Permit Silverback Gorilla trek with Craig (minimum participant requirement involved) or a guided tour to encounter the rare Golden Monkeys
- An included $1000 voluntary tax-deductible contribution has already been added to the price of The Ultimate Gorilla Trek. This contribution will go to the African Wildlife Foundation International Gorilla Conservation Program, which focuses on the conservation of the species.
What’s not Included
- Premium Drinks (champagnes, liqueurs and spirits)
Passport & Visa Requirements
ULTIMATE GORILLA TREK (4 Nights/5 Days)
$7670 per person (based on double occupancy)
Deposit required upon booking: $3835 per person (non-refundable)
FINAL Payment due MAR 1, 2020
Participation requirement: The Volcanoes National Park mandates a minimum of 14 participants for each gorilla trek. If we are unable to obtain the required 14 participants for The Ultimate Gorilla Trek, then the adventure would not be able to operate.
EXTENSION: The Ultimate Floating Safari
JOIN into the Ultimate Floating Safari: If you are joining into the Ultimate Gorilla Trek, you have the option to extend and add-on the 5-star boutique Zambezi Queen Ultimate Floating Safari after the trek ends. If you are opting to extend and add-on the Ultimate Floating Safari, then on June 25 there will be a required late PM flight from Kigali to Johannesburg, then onward to Kasane to begin embarkation of the Zambezi Queen floating safari.
Adventure is 100% non-refundable after final payment. THIRDHOME strongly recommends the purchase of Travel Insurance. Please refer to THIRDHOME Adventures Terms & Conditions for more details.