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Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

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A Walk Among the Gorillas:

An Adventure in Rwanda and Uganda
With Michele Rasmussen, Dean of the Undergraduate College

January 3 – 12, 2013

Join fellow alumnae/i on this once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the last remaining apes in Rwanda and Uganda. Only 740 mountain gorillas still make their home in the primeval forests of central Africa. This trip enables you to intimately experience these animals in their natural habitat, while learning firsthand about the history and cultural heritage of these two fascinating countries.

Our very own Dr. Michele Rasmussen, dean of the undergraduate college, will lead this trip. Her current research is in reproductive strategies of male primates and, primate antipredator behavior and activity cycles of Madagascar lemurs. She has taught courses on a variety of topics in primatology and human evolution

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


Day 1-January 3

Depart USA

Day 2- January 4 Arrive Rwanda

Meet on arrival at airport and transfer to Kigali. O/N: Kigali Serena Hotel (B)

Day 3- January 5 Kigali- Gisenyi

Briefing on your safari. Depart early for Gisenyi and go for a tour of the area and the lake. After lunch, depart for PNV. The journey north goes through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterize much of Rwanda's landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome Virunga volcanoes, sometimes with as many as five peaks visible. O/N: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4- January 6 Gorilla Trekking Opportunity 1 (permit cost included)

Go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (subject to permit availability at the time of booking). Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families, however, are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. O/N: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5 – January 7 Virunga- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Drive to Uganda [Clocks go forward one hour] and continue to Bwindi. Time permitting; go for a guided nature walk in the thick forest rich in birds, butterflies and monkeys. Alternatively go for a short stroll around the Lodge. O/N: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6 – January 8 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Gorilla Trekking

Opportunity 2 permit cost included)

Go gorilla tracking (subject to permit availability at time of booking), walking up steep densely forested hills before finally coming across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation. An inspiring moment! Tracking in Bwindi requires stamina and can often take most of the day. O/N: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7- January 9 Bwindi- Queen Elizabeth National Park

Leave for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Either drive via Ishasha, home of the tree climbing lion, roads permitting, or take the alternative route through cultivated expanses. Time permitting, go for an evening game drive. O/N: Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 8- January 10 Queen Elizabeth National Park

An excursion to Kyambura Gorge nearby to track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees, one of man's closest relations. The chimp population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable but the walk is enchanting. Alternatively go for a nature walk in Maramagambo Forest to see other primates and to visit the bat cave and the blue lake. In the afternoon take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel where the wildlife and a vast array of birds come to drink. O/N: Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge (B,L,D)

Lecture with Nicole Simmons, Resident Primatologist).

Day 9 – January 11 Queen Elizabeth National Park- Kigali

Leave for Kigali in Rwanda [Clocks go back one hour]. Time permitting, go for a tour of the city including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops and the genocide memorial. Transfer to the airport for return to the US (arriving US on Day 10- Jan 12) or fly to Nairobi for the Kenya extension. (B,L)

Day 10 – January 12

Arrive back in the US

January 11 – 14, 2012

Post Tour Day 9 – Jan 11, 2013 Arrive Nairobi

Arrive Nairobi , met and transferred to the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel (B). Check-in. Overnight stay.

Post Tour Day 10 – Jan 12-, 2013 Nairobi- Masai Mara

Breakfast and transferred to the Wilson Airport for scheduled flight to Masai Mara Game Reserve. Overnight at Porini Lion Camp on full board basis inclusive of Soft drinks , beer , House Wine , Gin & Tonic , Mineral water Day and Night Game drives on a shared basis in open sided 4 X 4s , Walks with Masai Warriors and Guides , Sundowners.

Post Tour Day 11+12- Jan 13 & 14, 2013 Masai Mara

Morning and evening game drives and walks. Overnight at Porini Lion Camp [B,L,D)

Post Tour Day 13 – Jan 15, 2013

Breakfast and transferred to the Airstrip for flight back to Nairobi. Arrive Nairobi where you will be met. Lunch. Later transferred to the Airport for your return flight home.

Post Tour Day 14 – Jan 16, 2013 Arrive USA

Travel back to US.

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Cost and Program Inclusions

$7,650 per person (double occupancy basis)*

*minimum 6+ guests:

Single Room Supplement: $805 per person

  • Accommodations in 5* lodges and meal plan as mentioned above
  • 2 gorilla permits (additional permits are $500 each and must be booked in advance)
  • 1 chimpanzee tracking permit
  • Park fees and taxes
  • Professional guide and all transport
  • Airport pick up and transfers
  • 500 postcard mailers
  • Welcome cocktails in Kigali
  • tips and gratuities to drivers, guides, porters
  • International airfare
  • Visas and passport fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Laundry, telephone, fax, internet


$3,150 per person (double occupancy basis)

Single Room Supplement: $375


  • Accommodations in 5* lodges and meal plan as mentioned above
  • All park fees
  • All domestic flight (Nairobi- Mara-Nairobi)
  • All airport meet/ greet & transfers
  • All game activities as mentioned above


  • tips and gratuities to drivers, guides, porters
  • International airfare,Visas and passport fees
  • Travel insurance, Vaccinations, Laundry, telephone, fax, internet
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Faculty Study Leader

Michele Rasmussen
Michele Rasmussen

Michele Rasmussen is the Dean of the Undergraduate College at Bryn Mawr College. She earned her Ph.D. (1999) in biological anthropology and anatomy at Duke University, specializing in the behavioral ecology of lemurs, rare and endangered primates found only on the island nation of Madagascar. In addition to her field work in Madagascar, Rasmussen has studied howling monkeys in Costa Rica and hunted for Paleocene fossils in Montana. Her current research interests include the lifetime careers and reproductive strategies of male primates, primate antipredator behavior, and activity cycles in Malagasy lemurids. Rasmussen has taught courses on a variety of issues in biological anthropology, including human evolution, primate behavior and lemur ecology.

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