Day 1: Kigali,City tour: Our professional, local guide will meet & greet you at your Hotel in the morning to tour Kigali,artisan shopping centre to see and purchase local arts and crafts, the Museum to learn the history of Kigali’s and Rwanda’s pre-colonial and colonial period as well as the colonial masters in Rwanda, tour the post-genocide development and expansion of Kigali and visit Juru Park, one of the highest points in Kigali and enjoy fantastic to the Crystal View Cocktail Lounge on the eighth floor of the Top Tower Hotel where the panoramic views overlooking the entire city of Kigali are second to none! As striking at night as it is during the day, one is reminded exactly why Rwanda is known as “the Land of a Thousand Hills”. Return to your Hotel, dinner and over night.
Day 2: Kigali / Akagera National Park : Drive to Akagera National Park passing through Rwanda’s phenomenal landscapes and living lifestyles. Check-in at Akagera Game Lodge and after a quick lunch and rest at the Hotel; continue on with a southern game drive alongside the Lake Ihema circuit where you will view animals like :- elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles and also many other mammal species. 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.
On this day (depending on time available), we offer you a choice of value-added activities from the following: Evening walks around the hotel where you can see various bird species, participate in day-to-day local pastoral lifestyle,presentation on the ecology of the Akagera ecosystem and the conservation efforts, including the coexistent dynamics between the local people and wildlife.
Day 3: Akagera National Park, Butare via Kigali : Early morning breakfast, proceed for a game, see the 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 center 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. Return for dinner to your Hotel, overnight.
Day 4: Butare / Nyungwe Forest National Park: Breakfast, transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park, visit the National Museum of Rwanda, providing you with a deeper insight into Rwandan history and culture along the way. Nyungwe Forest National Park 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!
You will also have the opportunity to stop along the way, to visit the new Visitor’s Interpretive Centre to orient you to this magnificent 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. Dinner and overnight in your Hotel.
Day 5: Trek chimpanzees: After and early morning breakfast, go for a chimpanzee trek depending on available time, we offer you a choice of value-added activities from the following:-
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: Nyungwe Forest National Park / 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: L’Esperance Children’s Orphanage and Village : A visit to the L’Esperance Orphanage and Children’s Village, located in Kigarama near Kibuye, will give you a firsthand view of how generous organizations and donations from individuals have helped this Children’s Village to thrive and have funded various innovative projects in and around the Village. You can choose to spend the day there, help out if possible or you can relax by the lake for the rest of the day.
Day 8: Morning transfer to Gisenyi : After breakfast, this morning you will travel to Gisenyi town. You will see beautiful 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, local projects in the area and interact with project members, andlocal artisans and a local women’s weaving association and see how your visit makes a difference in their lives.
Day 9: Gisenyi / Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village in Musanze District : After breakfast transfer to Musanze District to 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 showYou 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. 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: Parc National des Volcans ,Kigali, stopping : After your breakfast, 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 producer and processor 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.