Day 1: Arrive Kigali
Arrive in Kigali where you are met after passing through customs and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Kigali Serena.
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. Each of the 160 rooms is en suite with air conditioning and 24 room service as well as flat screen TVs and WiFi connection. The hotel centers 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: Nyungwe Forest
An early morning breakfast is followed by a drive to Nyungwe forest. On the way visit Nyanza King’s Palace, and the National Museum of Butare. Lunch en-route. Arrive at Nyungwe Forest Lodge in the evening. Overnight Nyungwe Forest Lodge. All meals.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
The lodge was built to blend in with the surrounding environment and is situated in a tea plantation on the edge of the forest. All of the 24 rooms are forest facing. The lodge facilities include a bistro with outdoor heated swimming pool, restaurant, boma area for outdoor dining and drinks, relaxation retreat with a Jacuzzi pool and a small gym.
Day 3 & 4: Chimp & Colobus Monkey Trekking, Nyungwe Forest
This morning we enter the lush rainforest in the search of the chimpanzee. Around 300 bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies can be seen in this beautiful forest. In the afternoon we have the opportunity to explore the area. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to relax at the lodge or go birding in the area.
After breakfast the following day, return to the Nyungwe forest to track the black and white colobus monkeys. Along the way have the chance to see thirteen species of primates including chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey. The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to relax at the lodge or go birding in the area. Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. All meals.
Day 5: Canopy walk & Lake Kivu
This morning we have the chance to view the forest from a canopy walkway. We will have a 45 minute walk into the forest and then walk above the tree tops on a suspended bridge. This gives excellent views of one of African’s largest temperate rainforests and offers the opportunity to view primates and birds at eye level. In the afternoon we drive to Kibuye on the shores of the beautiful Lake Kivu (4 hours). In the afternoon you have the opportunity to kick back and relax in and around the lodge. The lodge also has water sports equipment for hire. Overnight at Cormoran Lodge. All meals.
Cormoran Lodge is situated on the edge of Lake Kivu. It has its own private beach and luxury chalets. The views from any part of the lodge are fantastic and you can take in the beauty of your surroundings whilst relaxing on your private balcony.
Day 6: Lake Kivu & Volcanoes National Park
In the morning we will drive** from Kibuye to Gisenyi allowing us to take in the beauty of Lake Kivu and the multiple islands. We will have lunch in Gisenyi before driving to Volcanoes National Park. The Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen, bamboo forests, open grassland, swamp and heath. Volcanoes National Park (Parc National de Volcans) is situated in north-western Rwanda. Best known for the mountain gorillas, other mammals that reside in the park are the golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena and bush buck. There are 178 recorded bird species with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Rwenzori Mountains. Overnight Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. All meals. *Alternatively we can take a private boat cruise of 2 hours from Kibuye to Gisenyi taking in the beauty of the lake and having the chance to visit the islands offshore and view the wide diversity of birdlife on the lake.
Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has 30 individual en suite brick cottages. Each large bedroom has a comfortable sitting area and a fireplace with simple and comfortable furnishings are simple but comfortable. Being at altitude, it can get cold here and the fireplaces are lit every evening by the staff. The lodge grounds are very well maintained and from here there are beautiful views of the volcanoes. A local dance troupe entertains every afternoon (except Sundays). The central area has a bar and a restaurant where the food is good home cooked fare. We definitely also advise to you to dress warmly for dinners during the winter months. However if you are chilly in the mountain evenings, just ask the staff for a 'bucket' of heated charcoal that you can put next to your table to help keep you warm. Electricity and hot water are supplied by a generator that is turned on at about 6 pm, and runs until 11:00 am in the morning.
Day 7 & 8: Gorilla Trekking, Volcanoes National Park
After breakfast each day, take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest to where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not 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. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice, hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including waterproof bag for cameras and film. Please note: plastic (e.g. carrier / shopping) bags are illegal in Rwanda. Two nights Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. All meals.
Day 9: Golden Monkey Trekking, Volcanoes National Park
This morning we have the opportunity to explore Volcanoes National Park in the search for the rare golden monkeys. There is a fully habituated group of the beautiful primates in the park and this is one of the only places in Africa where this activity is offered. We drive back to Kigali this afternoon. Overnight Kigali Serena. All meals.
Day 10: Kigali & Depart
This morning we have a city tour, including a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre and other cultural sites. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre was opened on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004. The Centre is built on a site where 250,000 people are buried. The Centre is a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place where people can grieve those that they have lost. One of the principle reasons for the Centres existence is to provide an educational facility. Rwandans believe that it is extremely important for the younger generations of Rwandans who will not have lived through the genocide but whose lives will still be affected by it, to be able to have access to a place where they can learn about the reasons and affects of the genocide. The Centre includes three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the genocide in 1994. There is also a children’s memorial, and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. The Education Centre, Memorial Gardens and National Documentation Centre of the Genocide all contribute to a meaningful tribute to those who perished, and form a powerful educational tool for the next generation. In the afternoon you are transferred to the airport for your international departure flight home. Breakfast, lunch.