Arrive at Kigali International Airport and transfer to Kigali from where you will be briefed about the tour you are about to take, have lunch and there after, drive north through the beautifully terraced hillsides that characterize much of Rwanda’s landscape. Arrive late in the evening and relax from the long day. ON: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. (F B).
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking.
After breakfast you will report at the ORTPN headquarters where your driver-guide will accomplish the necessary formalities for you. You will meet your ranger guide(s) for a briefing about the greatest animal experience ever. We will drive you to the slopes of one of the Virunga volcanoes for your trekking. After the trekking, lunch at your hotel or at Ruhengeri and in the afternoon, if time allows, an excursion to explore the beautiful lakes in the region: Lake Bulera & Ruhondo. An excellent view of the Virunga chain of Volcanoes can be seen while there depending on weather conditions.
O/N: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (FB)
Day 3: Parc National des Volcans.
In Parc National des Volcans: Either: go gorillas tracking (on payment of US$500 gorilla permit supplement at time of booking).
Or: do optional activities (at extra cost of $100pp): Track the golden monkeys Or climb the awesome Visoke volcano, Or trek to Karisoke Research Centre which was set up by the famous primatologist Dian Fossey, Or visit local communities. Alternatively for those who are not up to it, simply relax at Camp. O/N: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (FB)
Day 4: Parc National des Volcans to Gisenyi.
Drive along the stunningly beautiful Lake Kivu to Gisenyi; through beautiful countryside, crossing valleys full of agricultural produce. After Parc National des Volcans, most participants will welcome that relaxing moments on the shores of Lake Kivu ! Take a boat out on the lake to see the various islands. Swim in the refreshing, bilharzias-free waters of the Lake or stroll about in the nearby villages rambling across a number of hills. Rest of the day at leisure.
Lake Kivu is unique: Its deep waters contain an enormous quantity of dissolved gas. There are, in fact, 65 billion cubic metres of methane, in other words the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of petrol lying at the bottom of the lake under 250m of water. If it were exploited, this energy, veritable manna from heaven, would provide Rwanda with an almost inexhaustible source of energy, freeing it from worry about energy needs linked to its development projects. There is a pilot station for the extraction of methane for energy in this place.O/N: Serena Kivu Sun Gisenyi (B-L-D)
Day 5: Gisenyi or Kibuye
EITHER: Day at leisure on Lake Kivu
OR: After breakfast, either drive to, or you will have an enjoyable speed-boat trip to Gisenyi (on payment of a $200per person boat supplement + visa fees $110). The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwanda markets.
You will be picked up in Gisenyi for lunch and if time allows we make arrangements to cross the border to Goma (Optional). Goma was devastated by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. The visit shows the fantastic capabilities of the local population to overcome this natural catastrophe!
The Nyiragongo volcano (3470 m) erupted on the 17th of January 2002 and destroyed part of Goma town. Most of Goma’s 400 000 inhabitants escaped the advancing lava flows crossing the border into neighbouring Rwanda . The eruption destroyed the homes of 120 000 people and caused between 70 and 100 victims.
Idjwi is an island in Lake Kivu, belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo . At 40 km in length and with an area of 285 km², it is believed to be the largest inland island in Africa , and the eighth largest in the world. Idjwi is roughly equidistant between the DRC and Rwanda , with 10 to 15 kilometres separating its western shore from the DRC mainland and a similar distance between its eastern shore and the coastline of Rwanda . The island’s southern tip, however, lies only 1 kilometre from a promontory of the Rwandan coast.
Overnight at on a Full Board basis. Molia Hill Kibuye
Day 6: Nyungwe Forest
After breakfast leave for Nyungwe Forest National park . In Nyungwe Forest NP: guided nature walk or primate treks. Of a particular interest are the large social groups of Angolan Colobus (Colobus angolensis), which may be over 300 individuals. These are the largest troops of this species known in the world! Nyungwe forest counts 25% of the African Primates!
Overnight: Nyungwe Forest Lodge. (F B)
Day 7: In Nyungwe Forest
In Nyungwe Forest : Go chimp tracking and birding. There are different beautiful trails available and the superb waterfall trail of Gisakura is probably the most rewarding. The hiking time is 2 up to 3 hours and is a very enjoyable hike accessible to everybody! If you missed the Angolan Colobus you can have another try near to the tea factory where another troop is hosted. Nyungwe Forest is the only place in Africa where troops of 300 black-and-white colobus monkeys (Angolan Colobus) can be seen jumping in the trees! A spectacular sight! Lunch. O/N: Nyungwe Forest Lodge. (FB)
Day 8: Nyungwe.
Another day in Nyungwe this time doing another activity different from the previous one. In the evening, visit the local communities, visit the Tea Factory or take an evening walk around the lodge enjoying the sounds of nature. O/N: Nyungwe Forest Lodge. (FB).
DAY 9: Nyungwe-Kigali.
After breakfast you will depart for Butare the second largest city of Rwanda and is regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda . It hosts the National Museum , several academic (University) and research institutions. On your way to Butare you will visit Nyanza (currently Nyabisindu) the former Mwami’s palace (King’s palace) and the seat of the feudal monarchy. The palace has been reconstructed to its 19th century state and shows a traditional dome that can be compared with the Kabaka’s palace of Buganda . You will visit the National Museum which is one the well set-up if not the finest ethnographic museum of East Africa . It’s a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region.Visit the Botanical Gardens. Visit the locally revered hot springs in Rugarama. Lunch at Butare and later we will drive to Kigali . O/N: Mille Collines Hotel (BB). The famous Hotel Rwanda.
Day 10: In Kigali.
Go for a tour of the city (optional) including a visit the markets, the handicraft shops and the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, which takes a few hours. It’s a touching visit! Time permitting, visit the Nyabugogo market, the Moslem quarter in Nyamirambo, and the Franco-Rwanda cultural centre. Many hotels and restaurants prepare local dishes. Buy crafts.
Genocide Memorials: In Rwanda you will find all over the country Memorials to remember the genocide of 1994. The most important Genocide Memorials are those of Kigali (Gisozi) and Murambi (Gikongoro) and the most prominent one at Nyamata (some 70km south of Kigali ) where the history of the genocide is explained. A visit to the genocide memorial is for most visitors an emotional event. O/N: Mille Collines Hotel (BB)
Day 11. Transfer.
Morning at leisure and then transfer to the Airport for your return flight.
End of services.