Rwanda – Land of a Thousand Hills

$12900-$16815/per person

Overview

Following your arrival into Kigali, and an overnight to adjust to Africa time, your itinerary begins with a tour of Kigali including the Genocide Museum, offering you insight into Rwanda's turbulent history as well as a cultural visit during your full day in the city. Then your safari begins in earnest as you travel to Rwanda's Akagera National Park, home to the country's savannah-adapted species. Stretching across a vast expanse of low-lying mountains and savannah plains, the park takes in the rolling highlands woodlands, swamp-fringed lakes, and wetlands of the Kagera River along the way.  You'll have sightings of crocodiles and hippos wallowing in the park's watery basins. On twice daily game drives during your 3 nights at Magashi Camp you will see lion, leopard, elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and other animals roam across its grassy plains and acacia forests.  Following an overnight in Kigali, your adventure continues as you journey south, with a stop at the King's Palace, to Nyungwe, a vast area of mountain rainforest, and home to owl-faced and colobus monkeys as well as Rwanda's chimp population.  You'll spend a morning trekking chimps through the forests.  The region is also home to over 300 species of birds of which about 26 are endemic to the Albertine rift.  Take in the incredible sightings during your chimp trek and canopy walk or from the comfort of your room during your 2 night stat at Nyungwe House. A 2.5 hour drive will bring you to the shores of Lake Kivu for a relaxing overnight at the Serena. Then follows a gorgeous 3 hour drive to the Virungas which will certainly lift your spirits, and they will be soaring by the time you check into your lodge for the final 3 nights of your itinerary in Volcanoes National Park. There, in the same rainforest that Dian Fossey had her experiences with Gorillas, you will get up close and personal with the rare mountain gorilla. It is a truly incredible experience and you will remember it for ever. Return to the lodge for a well earned rest and chat to your fellow adventurers around a warm fire for a sundowner drink.  The following day, enjoy a golden monkey trek and observe the antics of the family groups - they are very playful.   Optional cultural visits are possible in the afternoon. Your Rwandan itinerary concludes as you travel back to Kigali International Airport for your journey home.

DAY
1

At A Glance

  • Meet our local representative on arrival at Kigali International Airport
  • Transfer from Kigali International Airport to Kigali Serena Hotel (± 45 minutes)
  • Stay at Kigali Serena Hotel in a Standard Room for 2 nights
  • Breakfast included 

Kigali Serena Hotel

Itinerary Details

Rwanda’s capital and biggest city stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising 1850 metres above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Centre, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, busy streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is said to be one of the most attractive cities in Africa and is definitely worth a visit.
Ideally located on one of Kigali’s most charming boulevards, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art. Relaxed yet elegant, the hotel centres on the Executive Lounge and Bar, which opens onto a wide sundeck overlooking the newly refurbished swimming pool. Also overlooking the pool, the popular Milima Restaurant offers a wide range of all-day buffet choices, while the relaxed Sokoni Café offers inside and outside poolside seating.

DAY
2

At A Glance

  • Guided City Tour of Kigali (including lunch)

Tour of Kigali

Itinerary Details

Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda, located geographically at the heart of the country and one of Africa’s, and in fact the World’s cleanest cities. The history of Rwanda dates back centuries, Kigali has been a part of it for 100 years. Founded in 1907 as a German settlement, Kigali did not become the capital until Rwanda’s independence in 1962 when it replaced the colonial seat of power in Butare. Today, the city offers a remarkable mix of rural and urban town overflowing on contrasting hilly terrain.  Highlights include the Old City, the craft market, the Hotel des Mille Collines and the Genocide memorial. ​​​​​​
​​​​​​Located just outside of Kigali City Centre in the Gasabo district, Kigali Genocide Memorial & Museum was created by a joint partnership of the Kigali City Council and the UK-based Aegis Trust. The centre is extremely moving, challenging, educational and ultimately inspiring as well as a great place to understand the cause, tragedy and successful rebuilding post-genocide.
The memorial hosts a tour which is transparent and educational but very sombre and humbling when guests realize that over 250,000 deceased are buried on the site of the memorial.

DAY
3-5

At A Glance

  • Private road transfer from Kigali Serena to Magashi Camp (± 3.5 hours)
  • Stay at Magashi Camp in a Tented Room for 3 nights
  • Twice daily safari activities included – game drives, boating, fishing
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Magashi Camp

Itinerary Details

Bordering Tanzania in eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last refuge for savannah-adapted species in the country. Stretching across a vast expanse of low-lying mountains and savannah plains, the park takes in the rolling highlands woodlands, swamp-fringed lakes, and wetlands of the Kagera River along the way. Crocodiles and hippos wallow in the park’s watery basins, predators prowl through its acacia groves, and elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and other animals roam across its grassy plains. Bursting with a rich biodiversity, the park features a variety of rare species, as well as a plenitude of mammals and hundreds of bird species.
Magashi Camp is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. Akagera comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, large crocodiles, as well as the rare sitatunga and more than 520 bird species. Teeming with plains game, Akagera also boasts a healthy population of lion which were introduced by African Parks in 2015 after a 20-year absence; black rhino were reintroduced in 2017. Magashi – the only exclusive-use area in Akagera – also harbours a good density of leopard.

DAY
6

At A Glance

  • Private road transfer from Magashi Camp to Kigali Serena (± 3.5 hours)
  • Stay at Kigali Serena Hotel in a Standard Room for 1 night
  • Breakfast included

Kigali Serena Hotel

Itinerary Details

Ideally located on one of Kigali’s most charming boulevards, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art. Relaxed yet elegant, the hotel centres on the Executive Lounge and Bar, which opens onto a wide sundeck overlooking the newly refurbished swimming pool. Also overlooking the pool, the popular Milima Restaurant offers a wide range of all-day buffet choices, while the relaxed Sokoni Café offers inside and outside poolside seating.

DAY
7

At A Glance

  • Private road transfer from Kigali Serena to One&Only Nyungwe House (± 8 hours, including visit to the King’s Palace & Butare National Museum)
  • Stay at One&Only Nyungwe House for 2 nights
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

One&Only Nyungwe House

Itinerary Details

Situated in southwestern Rwanda, the Nyungwe Forest National Park is known for its exceptional biodiversity and its wide range of endemic species. The park is composed of lush tracts of rainforest set high up on fertile mountain slopes. It is one of Africa’s most ancient forests and the home of Rwanda’s sole remaining chimpanzee population, as well as 85 additional mammal species, 43 reptile species, nearly 300 bird species and over 1000 plant species. Visitors can enjoy spotting colobus monkeys and chimpanzees hiding in the trees, hiking on a well-maintained network of trails passing through lush equatorial rainforest and catching a glimpse of a beautiful array of colourful birdlife. Don’t miss the thrilling Canopy Walk, it is one of its kind in Africa and offers impressive views of the forest.
Located in Nyanza, south of Kigali City, King’s Palace Museum Rwanda was the original residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa. The impressive museum, which has been restored to its 19th-century state, offers insight into Rwandan traditions. After a recent reintroduction, the property is now home to long-horned traditional cows, which are an integral part of the Rwandan culture. On the neighbouring hill of Mwima, one can visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife, Queen Rosalie Gicanda.
One&Only Nyungwe House is set amongst the rich tea-plantations of Gisakura, in Southwest Rwanda, just south of Lake Kivu on the Burundi border. The property is set on the edge of the iconic Nyungwe National Park, which covers approximately 1020 square kilometers of rainforest, bamboo, and swamps. The accommodations at this lodge provide a sense of tranquility with a fireplace and picturesque private deck. All rooms include breakfast, lunch, and dinner while featuring tea and coffee facilities and an en-suite bathroom with an indoor shower, wilderness-view shower and stand-alone bath.

DAY
8

At A Glance

  • ± 5:00am Transfer to Nyungwe Park HQ for safety briefing and to be allocated to trekking groups 
  • Spend a morning trekking in search of the chimpanzees 

Chimp Trek

Itinerary Details

Spotting chimpanzees, with whom we humans share 98% of our DNA, cannot be guaranteed. They nest at different sites every night and are not easy to spot as they leave their nests and start foraging for food. This is why clients depart very early for the trek, accompanied by trained trackers  who will be looking for signs – including nests and fresh droppings – and listening out for calls to lead trekkers to the chimpanzees.
Although Cyamdongo has an area of just 1.5 sq miles, the density of tropical trees, foliage and liana vines makes sightings tricky. The trail leading into the shadowy greenery is worn flat and precariously slippery in places, however the guides will offer support.
Afternoon activities include a canopy walk along the 500 foot long suspension bridge, which is suspended over 200 feet above the lush rainforest, offering a thrilling perspective of the ancient treetops and wildlife or a bird walk to view some of the over 300 species.

DAY
9

At A Glance

  • ±7:30am: Colobus Monkey Trek

Transfer to park headquarters for a half day forest hike in search of the Angola Colobus monkeys which can be found here in large troops, some up to 450 individuals. They differ from the more common Eastern colobus by the extent of white hair and a leaner frame. This fair to moderate trek can be adapted to guests’ fitness

  • Afternoon road transfer from One&Only Nyungwe House to Lake Kivu Serena Hotel   (± 3 hours)
  • Breakfast and dinner included

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Itinerary Details

Situated at Lake Kivu’s northeast corner and neighbouring the Congolese city of Goma, Gisenyi is a scenic Rwandan town at the foot of fertile hills. The town offers an excellent variety of activities, including fantastic coffee shops and restaurants, an array of watersports on the lake, and some delightful beaches. The Calafia Cafe is a not-to-be-missed spot which serves delicious pastries (the banana cake is famous) and other cuisine, alongside wonderful ethically produced local coffee. Visitors can kayak, boat, take hikes to see gorillas, or go on historical and cultural tours. The Gisenyi Public Beach offers a charming location for swimming and picnicking. Don’t miss the opportunity to meander through the atmospheric Main Market, go beer tasting at the brewery, or visit the local youth cultural center to see kids practice dance, music, and gymnastics.
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, is sited on the white sandy shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa. Surrounded by extensive tropical gardens, the tastefully open-plan Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers the ideal week-end escape.

DAY
10

At A Glance

  • Road transfer from Lake Kivu Serena Hotel to Virunga and onto Virunga Lodge  (± 3 hours)
  • Stay at Virunga Lodge in a Banda for 3 nights
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Virunga Lodge

Itinerary Details

Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is best known as a sanctuary for the region’s rare mountain gorillas. Visitors flock here to experience a face to face encounter with these intriguing creatures. The park is set high on the jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Highly regulated treks through the reserve allow visitors to spend an hour at a time with these incredible primates in their natural habitat. While the gorillas are without a doubt the main drawcard, visitors can also look forward to exploring a network of scenic hiking trails, visiting the tomb of the world-famous Dian Fossey and the Karisoke Research Centre, and enjoying a beautiful day hike to the crater lake on Mount Bisoke.
The magnificent Virunga Lodge is the premier luxury gorilla lodge of Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. The lodge is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east.
Following the celebrations of the 15th anniversary in 2019, plans to re-imagine the lodge have been unveiled.
It offers the finest views in Africa, uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food and exceptional and personalized service by carefully trained staff. It is the first accommodation choice for the luxury traveller tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.
Each of the ten luxurious bandas has a private terrace from which our guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes. Luxuriously appointed, with the accent on vibrant Rwandese fabrics and stylish locally inspired furniture.Each Banda has an individual fire place, a luxury shower room with a double vanity, and charging station.

DAY
11

At A Glance

  • ± 6:00am Transfer to Volcanoes National Park HQ for safety briefing and to be allocated into trekking groups (±45 minutes)
  • Hike to the gorilla family and spend an hour with them
  • Your private guide will meet you after the trek and drive you back to the lodge for late lunch/tea and rest

Gorilla Trek

Itinerary Details

The exhilarating trek, in the footsteps of the rare and critically endangered Mountain Gorillas, the largest living primate on earth, starts in the cultivated foothills of the Virungas with stirring views in all directions. Upon entering the national park, her paths littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive buffalo and elephant, trekkers will be immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with colorful bird calls, butterflies, etc. Through gaps in the canopy, the magnificent Virunga peaks, among the highest in Africa yet easily accessible, are glimpsed, beckoning an ascent. Weaving through overhanging vines, moss-covered hagenia and giant lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate, our experienced trackers, (who have spent their entire lives in or close to this forest), soon bring you up close with the family. Upon sighting the gorillas, you will stay with them for a magical hour as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting; raising their young. Coming face to face with a giant Silverback must truly be one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth!

DAY
12

At A Glance

  • ± 6:00am Transfer to Volcanoes National Park HQ for safety briefing (±45 minutes)
  • Hike to the golden monkeys and spend an hour with them
  • Your private guide will meet you after the trek and drive you back to the lodge for late lunch/tea and rest

Golden Monkey Trek

Itinerary Details

After an early breakfast you will be collected from your lodge and driven to Volcanoes National Park Headquarters for the start of your Golden Monkey experience.
The very beautiful Golden Monkey has a golden body, cheeks and tail with contrasting black limbs, crown, and tail-end. Not much is known about their behavior; other than they live in social groups of up to 30 individuals and their diet consists mainly of leaves and fruit – it is believed they eat insects too. Restricted to the highland forest of the Virungas especially near bamboo, they share this habitat with their big brother the Mountain Gorilla, inhabiting a small area that overlaps the territory of one of the Gorilla families. Together, they face the same threats – snares, human encroachment etc. and are listed on the IUCN Red List of critically endangered species.
Tracking usually takes from 2 to 4 hours. Once you come to the habituated families, you will spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life. Adult monkeys frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from perch to perch while females carry their young, completely oblivious of on-lookers.

DAY
13

At A Glance

  • Road transfer from Virunga Lodge to Kigali International Airport (± 2 ½ hours)

Itinerary Details

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