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Rwanda: Culture, Primates & Nature

This 10-day tailor-made tour encompasses the natural highlights of Rwanda – gorillas, chimps, Nyungwe Forest, Lake Kivu and the lakeside towns of Kibuye and Gisenyi – as well as the two main urban centres: Butare, the cultural centre in the south, and Kigali. Above all, you get to know Rwanda on this tour – the beauty of the fertile countryside and the daily lives of the people.

Day 1

On arrival in Kigali, you will be met by your private driver/guide and taken to the Kigali Serena to stay overnight, dinner and breakfast included. During the day, you will be taken on a guided city tour of Kigali.

Built on a hillside, Kigali is a small capital city, without many landmark buildings, the city tour takes a couple of hours and includes the old town (Nyamirambo) and Muslim quarter, the new handicraft village and other shops and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial.

Day 3

After breakfast, travel by road to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Break the journey with a stop in Butare (2½ hours from Kigali) to see the National Museum, and for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch you will be taken to see a performance by the astonishing Intore dancers and musicians. When you leave Butare, inform the driver if you wish to stop at the Murambi Genocide site on the road to Nyungwe. Otherwise, the drive from Butare to Nyungwe Rain Forest is 2½ hours.

You next two nights at spent at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. Built to blend in with the surrounding environment, the Lodge is situated in a tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe closed canopy rain forest.  The main building blends into the top of the hill and sits within fields of tea, offering views of the trees and into the forest beyond. The guest rooms nestle into the lower slopes of the hill, engaging the edge of the indigenous rain forest. Facilities include an outdoor heated swimming pool, a relaxation retreat with 2 treatment rooms and a Jacuzzi pool, wireless internet access at main lodge building and daily laundry service is available.

Day 4

Nyungwe National Park extending for 1,000 square kilometres across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda is the largest block of montane forest in East or Central Africa, with more than 200 different types of trees and a myriad flowering plants and orchids. It is also the most important ornithological site in Rwanda, with almost 300 bird species, one of the highlights being the great blue turaco – an outlandish blue, red and green bird. But Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and Golden Monkeys.

Spend the day in the Park where you have a chance to track some of these primates, with guides leading you through the forest in search of these elusive creatures including Chimpanzees and the Angola Colobus – delightfully acrobatic arboreal monkeys which move in troops of several hundred.

Day 5

A long and very scenic drive (about 5 hours) on unmade roads to Kibuye, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Stay overnight at Moriah Hill Resort. If you arrive there in good time, you can take a boat out on the lake (optional). All meals are included.

Longish drives on un-made roads may not appeal to everyone, but they do offer the opportunity to see life as it has been lived for centuries, virtually unchanged. This is a scenic route and provides the opportunity to see the people at work – cultivating bananas, cassava, sorghum, beans, rice, potatoes, and even coffee in their steep, tiny fields. In addition there are several massive tea plantations, villages, innumerable tiny brickworks, and surprises around every corner.

Lake Kivu forms the border between Rwanda and the Congo. It’s a beautiful and mysterious lake, alive with traders and fishermen in their dugout canoes.

Day 6

Today you head north-east, parallel to Lake Kivu, to Gisenyi to overnight at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, all meals included. This beautiful drive (3–4 hours) is largely on unmade roads and takes you through an area of intensive subsistence farming, as well as the remains of the Gishwati Forest.

Gisenyi is a somewhat faded lakeside resort – and also a border crossing point into the Congo. The shoreside is lined with crumbling colonial villas. Today, it is enjoying a renaissance as it boasts its first international standard hotel – the Kivu Serena It is a pleasant hotel, right on the lakeside, with its own private pool.

Day 7

Relax at your hotel or explore some of Gisenyi, before the afternoon drive to Musanze at Parc National des Volcans, where your Gorillas Nest Lodge is nestled in a clearing of eucalyptus trees in the verdant hills of the Northern Rwanda. Gorillas Nest Lodge accommodation consists of en-suite stone chalets and is situated just a short distance from the National Park HQ. Time to relax and enjoy the amazing view. Stay two nights at the Ldoge with all meals included.

Day 8

Make an early start for the Parc National des Volcans, where you will make your first gorilla trek. On arrival at 07h00, you are met by staff from ORTPN Park Headquarters who brief you on conduct during gorilla tracking. You and your guides then commence the trek on foot in search of the gorillas, moving from forested mountain slopes into rainforest in your attempt to find these “gentle giants” in their natural habitat of shady bamboo forest. reaching the gorillas can be quick, or it can take a few hours.

Day 9

Today you can either do a second gorilla trek, or choose from of the following activities: visiting the golden monkeys, a nature walk (birding in PNV is excellent), climbing Mt Bisoke or visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey – the latter two activities are suited for those who are reasonably fit. In the afternoon, you will be driven to Kigali (2½ hours) to stay overnight at Kigali Serena, breakfast included.

Day 10

Today you could visit to the Genocide Memorial Museum before you transfer to the airport.

Please note: Prices and dates are subject to change at any time. Please call (647) 231-0067 or email us (info@africaonsafari.com) for current pricing.