10:20 , March 1, 2012
Posted in: Africa 2013

Rwanda 2013

Welcome to an exciting safari in Volcano National Park to photograph one of the most interesting animals on earth – the Mountain Gorilla. In Virunga mountains on the border between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, only 800 mountain gorillas live in a beautiful mountain refuge. Thanks to the fight against poachers, Rwanda today has a growing population of Mountain Gorillas, and our safari has a high probability (98%) of seeing and photographing these great primates, in 8-10 different family groups. Rwanda is now also a tourist friendly and safe country to travel in. Regular safaris to Rwanda provide only one day of gorilla trekking, which is way too little time if you want to photograph them properly or have some time to become familiar with these animals. We have designed this trip for 2 days of gorilla trekking (+ USD $600 for a third day with the gorillas), and one day with the rare and endangered Golden Monkey.

The Golden Monkey will give you a different experience, and they share the same mountain areas with the gorillas. These primates are also very interesting to photograph, but might sometimes be challenging since they live and feed in the bamboo trees.

See images from our trip to Rwanda December 2010 and photo safari 17-21 February 2012


From the WildPhoto Travel photo tour to Rwanda in 17-21 February 2012.
We are fortunated to stay in the Gorilla Mountain View lodge with many birds around. These birds are not very shy, and we will spend some time photographing them in the afternoon after the treks.

If you want to extend your days in Rwanda, we can offer you a very interesting photo tour to Nyungwe rain forest 21-25 February 2013.


Accommodation and food

Rwanda is not primarily known for its accommodations and food quality, but we have chosen the Manor Hotel in Kigali and the Gorilla Mountain View Lodge at Volcano National Park for good quality food and facilities. The lodge is located close to the park and will be our main base.



Our safety has top priority during the entire trip and will be provided by our guides and guards. During the gorilla treks, there will always be an armed guard with us, not to protect us from the gorillas but from forest buffaloes that can sometimes be threatening. Fortunately there are no poachers on the Rwanda side of the Virunga mountain.



It is recommended that you take malaria tablets (Malarone) before, during and after your stay. It is also recommended that you contact your doctor or a travel clinic so that you have the necessary vaccinations prior to the travel.

Photographer in Rwanda at 2700+ meter altitude. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden


Some questions and answers

Q: What is the probability of seeing and photographing gorillas on this trip?
A: There are 8-10 gorilla groups in the area that are kept under constant supervision by forest rangers. With radio connections between our guides and the forest rangers, it is easy for the guides to locate the gorillas. The probability of seeing and photographing gorillas is 98% per trek. In February 2012 we had great encounters with the gorillas on all our 8 visits.


Q: How do we approach the gorillas?
A: The guides are pretty strict about not getting closer than approx. 5-7 meters from the gorillas. This is mainly to protect the gorillas from human diseases.


Q: Is one hour with the gorillas enough?
A: No, absolutely not! However, it’s not possible to spend more than 1 hour with the gorillas per day. That’s why we have planned a 2 days (3 days with the extra payment of USD $600) with the gorillas.


Q: Does this trip require good health and physical condition?
A: The distances from the vehicles to the gorillas varies from 1-3 hours trekking. If you are unsure of your physical condition, we recommend exercising 3-4 days a week before the trip so that your body is accustomed to a few hours of trekking.


Q: Do we have to carry our own backpacks?
A: No, it costs only $10 to a local porter to carry your backpack. This is also a great way to give the former poachers a few dollars in payment for honest work.


Q: Are walking sticks recommended?
A: The telescopic walking sticks may be advantageous for supporting your knees and ankles, but also to keep sticky vegetation away when we are in the jungle. Walking sticks are not very suitable in dense jungle, but for approx. 50% of the walk they may be useful.


Q: What about the Golden Monkeys?
A: This Photo trip include one day (1 hour photography) together with wild Golden Monkeys. These monkeys are endangered and only found in the Virunga mountains, and you will get a good opportunity to experience and photograph these primates. The monkeys are living and feeding in the bamboo trees and might be challenging to photograph, but still you will get some good chances. Flash is allowed on these monkeys, and usually they require shorter tracking distances.


Q: What photographic equipment do you need?
A: This depends on your level of ambition. If you are an amateur we recommend that you use a single camera with a 28-300 lens. If you are a keen photographer we recommended that you bring one camera with a wide-angle zoom (eg. 24-70mm) and another camera with a telephoto zoom (eg. 70-200mm + 1.4 tele-extension, 200-400mm or 300/2.8). Flash is strictly prohibited near the gorillas, as this can annoy them. Your camera should have good high ISO capabilities since gorillas may be in dense grass or  jungle with low light conditions.


Q: Is it possible to take a shorter or longer trip than the rest of the group?
A: Each day, there will be gorilla treks to 8-10 different family groups, with a maximum of 8 participants each. Since we have three four-wheel drive vehicles available, we can divide up to visit two or three different family groups of gorillas.

Do you have additional questions, please send this to email: post@wildphoto.com


Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Virunga, Rwanda (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Gorilla baby and mother in Rwanda. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden.


We welcome you to exciting and unforgettable days in Africa!!

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Location: Volcano National Park, Rwanda

Dates: 17.02-21.02 2013

Price: NOK 27.950,-* (≈USD $4800,-*)

Deposit: NOK 10.000,- (≈USD $1750,-)

Tour leader:  Ole Jørgen Liodden

Fitness level: 2-5 hours trekking / day

Group size: 8

Spots available: SOLD OUT

*PLEASE NOTE: Price based on TWIN supplement. Airfare to Kigali is NOT included.



Extend your Rwanda trip with Nyungwe NP and receive 10% (NOK 1995,- ≈ US $350) in discount.




21.02 – 25.02 2013: Nyungwe, Rwanda



17.02: Arriving Kigali with KLM or Brussel Airlines to Kigali, approx. 20:00. Overnight at the Manor hotel in Kigali.

18.02: City tour of Kigali where we visit a local market and the genocide memorial. After lunch we drive up into the mountains to our lodge.

19.02: After an early breakfast, we start trek #1 with a 2-5 hour walk in total. In the afternoon we will photograph the rich bird life around the lodge and also the local cultural dancing.

20.02: Early breakfast and trek #2 with a 2-5 hour walk in total. In the afternoon we visit a nearby village to experience Rwandan culture.

21.02: Early breakfast and trek #3 with 2-5 hour walk in total. After lunch at the lodge we head back to Kigali for the evening flight departing approx. at 21:00.



Make your reservation by email to post@naturfokus.no, and we will forward more information about how to sign up (with a booking form). The total price for the trip will be NOK 27.950,- (approx. ≈ USD $4850,-) for 2 days of gorilla trekking and 1 day with the Golden Monkeys. There will be an additional cost of USD $600 if you want all 3 days trekking for Mountain Gorillas.



Hotel accommodations, transportation, all meals (from dinner day 1 to lunch on day 5), Mountain Gorilla permits (2x), Golden Monkey permit (1x) and afternoon program.



International flights, insurance, alcoholic drinks, gratuites, laundery and other personal expenses.



I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Rwanda, but I knew one thing for certain; if Ole Jørgen was going there, the photo opportunities would be great. From a photographic standpoint, our time spent with the gorillas proved to be very productive. Every day, we were literally surrounded by several gorillas at distances ranging from a few centimeters to 10+ meters.

Jeremy Giddens, Rwanda Feb 2012
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We arrived in virgin forest, a cathedral of large trunks and foliages. And here we found the gorillas. We were told in advance to keep our distance to the animals. But that was not easy. Suddenly a Silverback arrived, and he past right in front of me. We were surrounded by animals in all ages…

Per Trovik, Rwanda Feb 2012
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For the sake of photographing, this journey was perfectly arranged, with unlimited opportunities for picture taking. We had an hour together with the gorillas each day, and that was sufficient. For the most part I used a 70-200 combined with 1.4x converter, but I also used a 24-70. We had no kind of pre-arranged lessons in photography, but Ole-Jørgen and the rest of the group willingly gave advice and shared their technical as well as photography experience.

Svein-Olav Steinmo, Rwanda Feb 2012
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This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål

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  1. I have been looking forward for the trip to be publiched on your website. I will do a quick thinking about the trip, and then most likely join the trip :)

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