12 Days of Rwanda Safari
By joining a Best of Rwanda tour, you'll have an educational and enriching experience of this beautiful country! Apart from gorilla trekking, Rwanda is home to rare and endangered species of animals and birds found nowhere else. With breathtaking views of volcanoes, hills, plains, and rainforests, friendly locals, and opportunities to engage in local traditions, culture, activities, and community development, Rwanda promises an unforgettable destination!
Day 1: Pick-up from hotel in Kigali or airport – city tour
Our professional, local guide will greet you at your hotel in the morning and brief you on your trip. To start things off, you will be given a tour of Kigali, Rwanda's capital city which was named in 1907 by Dr. Richard Kandt, the first colonial resident governor of Rwanda. It is the main administrative and economic centre of Rwanda. Surrounded by lush hills of green, it is the cleanest and safest city in the region. Kigali’s face is her fortune: a dramatic beauty from which its name is derived. There are, however, other contributing factors - it is a city that delights the mind as well as the eye of any visitor and is a city where the past lives comfortably with the present.
On the tour, you will have the opportunity to see the following:
Visit the 1994 Gisozi Genocide Memorial site
Artisan shopping centre to view and purchase local arts and crafts
Kigali Museum and learn the history of Kigali’s and Rwanda’s pre-colonial and colonial period as well as the colonial masters in Rwanda.
Tour around the city and see, first hand, the post-genocide development and expansion of Kigali
Rebero, one of the highest points in Kigali and enjoy fantastic views of the city and its surrounding hills and countryside.
Diner and overnight
Day 2: Morning transfer to Akagera National Park and afternoon southern lake-circuit game
Drive to Akagera National Park passing through Rwanda’s phenomenal landscapes and living lifestyles, upon arrival head out for a game drive in the southern part of the park on which you may view elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles and also many other mammal species.
Known as one of the most scenic savannahs in East Africa, the game drive in Akagera provides you with the opportunity to also view gentle hills blending beautifully with lowland swamps and water bodies. Later afternoon we head out for a boat ride on which you may view large schools of hippos, crocodiles and various bird species.
We seal the day with a presentation on the ecology of the Akagera ecosystem and the conservation efforts, including the coexistent dynamics between the local people and wildlife. Dinner and over night stay is included!
Day 3: Northern game drive and transfer to HUYE via Kigali
Early morning game drive starts with a spectacular sunrise and early morning bird calls. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and landscape through the northern circuit where you will see hippos, crocodiles and even more wildlife than on the lake circuit. Head to Kigali for a quick lunch and then on to Butare, the original capital and intellectual centre of Rwanda. Passing through magnificent hills and cultivated countryside, we will stop along the way and visit the famous King's Palace in Nyanza, which offers visitors a window into pre-colonial Rwandan history. For those who are interested, we can also visit the art museum at Rwesero Nyanza.
Day 4: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park
Your morning will start early with a visit to the National Museum of Rwanda, providing you with a deeper insight into Rwandan history and culture. We will then continue on to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe is the only destination in the world where you can see up to 13 species of primates in a single location, including rare species such as Chimpanzees, the Blue Monkeys, L'Hoest's Monkeys and the Angolan black and white Colobus Monkeys.
Nyungwe presents a unique phenomenon in primate tourism due to its huge concentrations of habituated primates whose troops can include 400 to 500 individuals! As one of the most important ornithological hubs in Rwanda, the park is also home to almost 300 species of birds, making it a bird watcher's paradise!
Along the way, we will stop at the new Visitor's Interpretive Centre to orient you to this magnificient park and then it's off to your hotel to check-in and have a relaxing lunch. The afternoon will be spent trekking to the Colobus Monkeys. You will hike through lush forests, endless, green tea fields and take in the stunning views of your surroundings.
Day 5: Trek chimpanzees
Early morning trek to the chimpanzees. Following your trek and depending on available time, we offer you a choice of value-added activities from the following: Canopy walk, Participate in tea harvesting in the neighboring local communities, Visit a tea factory and learn about the production processes of one the highest quality teas produced in East Africa, Visit local artisan groups to learn and participate in this and other local community income-generating projects. This is also an opportunity to purchase locally-made crafts and products.
Listen to a presentation on the ecology of Nyungwe Forest National Park and the ongoing conservation efforts, including the managing of the dynamics and coexistence of park/wildlife and local communities.
Day 6: Morning transfer to Karongi/ Kibuye, driving along the shores of Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is one of the great lakes in Africa and the largest of the fresh water lakes that gleam in the Albertine (Western) rift of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu stands at 1461m (4,790ft) above sea level establishing it as Africa’s highest lake. The northern shore of the lake is often subject to eruptions from nearby Mt Nyiragongo.
Kibuye is Rwanda’s most attractive of lake ports, nestled in a series of interwoven and undulating hills and offering visitors spectacular views of the lake, its islands and the stunning surrounding countryside. It is considered one of Rwanda’s hidden treasures, with its lush green hills and peaceful breeze.
Day 7: Boat ride to the Island of Bats
Breakfast at the lodge followed by a boat ride to the island of Bats
Day 8: Morning transfer to Rubavu/ Gisenyi
This morning we will continue on to the town of Gisenyi. With its waterfront and sandy beaches and excellent views of Lake Kivu, Gisenyi is a wonderful place to relax, having a captivating feel of a tropical beach resort. The afternoon will be spent relaxing and re-energizing or we can offer you the choice of a value-added activity as follows:
Visit hot springs and learn about the geographic make-up of the Virunga volcanic chain
Visit local projects in the area and interact with project members
Visit local artisans and a local women's weaving association and see how your visit makes a difference in their lives.
Day 9: Morning transfer to Gorilla Guardians’ village/ Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village in Musanze District
Morning transfer to Musanze District where you will visit and stay at the Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village, based in the community bordering Parc National des Volcans. At the village, you will have a wonderful, interactive experience, learning all about Rwandan traditions, culture, song and dance. You can participate in local dances and drumming, all while wearing traditional local “Umushanana” dress; shooting arrows,attending a traditional healer's medicine show.
You will also have the opportunity to sample local food and banana beer and visit a local household or school. As well, you can choose to visit some of the local community projects and co-operatives to see, first hand, how your travel with us contributes to making a difference in people's lives. You will spend the night here, in traditional houses and participate in Gitaramo, a cultural tradition of sharing stories, song and dance while sitting around a warm fire.
Day 10: Gorilla Trekking in Parc National des Volcans
Early morning transfer to Park offices for pre-trek briefing for all guests. Once the trek is completed, we will drive to Ruhengeri/Musanze, check-in to hotel, have lunch and relax or take a walk to the Ruhengeri Market, providing you with an opportunity to see and buy local Rwandan fabrics, foods, handicrafts, etc. and to see how local markets are organized.
Day 11:Golden Monkeys Trekking in Parc National des Volcans
The Golden monkey is the most endangered primate in Africa and is endemic to the Albertine Rift. The Virunga troop is said to be the only viable species left. The young ones are small, fluffy and playful and are a joy to watch. They mainly live on the lower reaches of the park making the trek generally short to find them.
Once the trek is completed, we can drive to the Virunga Lodge, enjoy a coffee/tea while taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the Twin Lakes, Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo and the Virunga mountain chain.
Day 12: Transfer to Kigali :(
Morning transfer to Kigali. Halfway back to the city, we will stop in Nyirangarama for lunch and then tour the Urwibutso Ecotourism Project. This enterprise began in 1983, when owner and manager SINA Gerard opened a small restaurant and bakery at this location. Over the years, his business has grown tremendously and it has been his mission since 1993 to become a leader in the production and processing of organic fruits and vegetables in the area and in Rwanda.
The Urwibutso Enterprise supports local farmers and contributes to social and economic development in the area, providing schools and education, creating jobs and opportunities, particularly for women, and training for farmers. This has made the community of Rulindo District one of the most self-sustainable communities in Rwanda and a role-model to others.
when can I go?
We are ready for you whenever you write us!
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
A professional guide and a safari vehicle (4x4), accommodation and meals as indicated, park entry fees, Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village Visit and Community walk, Gorilla permit, Colobus Monkey permit, Chimp permit, Golden Monkey permit, Urwibutso Project Tour,Kigali City Tour and service charges.
... AND EXCLUDED? :(
All items of personal expenditure such as entry visas, tips, telephone calls, laundry, gifts, airport taxes and all alcoholic drinks.
Airport/hotel transfers and pre/post trip accommodations are not included in the price but can be arranged at the time of booking.
how much does a gorilla trekking permit cost?
We all love gorillas, don't we? In fact, gorilla permits are extremely popular and tend to sell out quickly.
To ensure you don't miss out, we kindly request an overall 50% deposit payment at time of booking and balance to be paid at least 40 days prior to the trip start date. Thank you for your understanding:
Gorilla permits in Rwanda:
1500$ - Foreign visitors
500$ - African citizens / residents
210$ - East Africans and Rwandans
WHERE will we SLEEP?
To be filled
WE GivE back to the community!
Through our corporate social responsibility, we give back 20% of our revenues to the community through direct funding of community-based projects
The charge per person ($50) for the Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village visit goes directly to the Local Community Trust Fund, which supports community projects to increase both incentives for conservation and linkages to community socio-economic development.
Rwanda Eco- Tours reserves the right to vary the safari services agreed with the client in the event of unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, alternative arrangements will be made without notice.
What to pack?
Camera & charger
Hiking boots or an equivalent
Garden gloves or an equivalent
Long sleeved shirts + long pants
. . . & all you other essentials!