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.
On arrival at Kigali Airport (morning), Meet and Greet services, including briefing and introduction to your safari driver-guide. Thereafter depart to Butare (about 2 hours from Kigali), the intellectual and cultural heart of Rwanda. Visit the King’s Palace at Nyanza. This is an enormous and traditionally constructed dome, no longer in active use, but painstakingly maintained as a museum. After lunch drive to the Nyungwe Forest Reserve via Gikongoro (with optional visit to a genocide memorial site). Dinner and Overnight at NYUNGWE FOREST LODGE. (This is the only real accommodation in Nyungwe; the 2-star guesthouse is basic and simple, but comfortable). Meal Plan: Lunch and Dinner
Start early for early morning forest nature walk in the park tracking. Chimpanzees in the Cyamudongo forest. This is the time to watch the forest’s birdlife too. Return to the lodge for lunch. Nyungwe Forest Reserve extends across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda. This Forest reserve is the largest mountain forest remaining in East Africa. Of the larger mammals, primates are the most visible with 13 recorded species, representing 25% of the African primate checklist, including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, grey-checked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. Nyungwe is also home to more than 275 bird species. In the afternoon, enjoy a walk along the tea Plantation or relax at the lodge. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight: Nyungwe Forest Lodge – LDBB
This morning drive to Kibuye on the shores of Lake Kivu, with stops at local markets along the way. Enjoy lunch at Cormoran Lodge before continuing to Gisenyi on the northern end of the lake arriving at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel in time for dinner. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is ideally located on a sandy beach, in the Rwandan resort town of Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Together with her 7,000 km2 catchment area, multiple islands and surrounding hills, Lake Kivu lies in the Albertine Rift and covers most of Rwanda’s western border with DR Congo. It is one of Africa’s Great Lakes and the 6th largest in Africa. Overnight at Lake Kivu Serena [D,B,L]
Today after a leisurely lakeside breakfast, morning at leisure. Lunch at the hotel. Later, drive to Kinigi, at the base of the Volcanoes. Afternoon visit the Ruhondo and Bulera lakes. Dinner and overnight at MOUNTAIN GORILLA VIEW LODGE. Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After breakfast at the lodge, report to the Volcano Park office for gorilla trekking formalities. Drive to the edge of the Volcanoes National Park, briefing by the park’s guides before a morning in the forest tracking the gorillas. Lunch at the lodge. In Rwanda, there are 10 habituated gorilla groups that can be viewing by tourists. Each group can be visited by a maximum of 8 people per day and the visit lasts only 1 hour. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film is recommended. It can rain at a few minutes’ notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras and film. In the afternoon, proceeding back to Kigali after lunch. Overnight: LEMIGO HOTEL. Meal Plan: Breakfast and Lunch
Breakfast at the Hotel. Enjoy a City Tour of Kigali. (Cost of city tour included). 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. Visit the Kandt museum, see old Kigali and the craft centres then visit the genocide memorial site. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide; learn about other genocides in the world and how this country has dealt with that past. Tour more and see the new developments in Rwanda; the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience. Lunch in Kigali. Transfer to the airport for departure flight.