Day 1-4: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Arrive Kigali, Rwanda, where you will be met for a spectacular 2.5-hour drive to Ruhengeri, the second largest town in Rwanda. The drive takes you through awe-inspiring scenery with the towering green shapes of the 12,000-foot Virunga Volcanoes dominating the landscape.
Arrive at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge in time for dinner. An ideal base for gorilla tracking, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge features simple bungalows in a lovely setting on the lower slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo. Private bathroom with hot-water shower, a wood-burning fireplace, veranda and generator-made electricity create a rustic yet thoroughly comfortable place to relax.
From this spot, we’ll visit Dian Fossey’s tomb. The trail leading to her tomb and Karisoke Research Centre is a beautiful, challenging under two hour hike up steep slopes where orchids, bird life and even occasional mountain gorillas can be seen. Fossey was the world famous primatologist who brought the mountain gorilla’s plight to the world's attention by publicizing their peaceful nature and nurturing family relationships. By techniques she developed, especially imitation of the gorilla behavior, she was accepted as an observer by a group of mountain gorillas, including her favorite gorilla Digit, who was later killed by poachers, but not before taking five spears and killing one of the poachers’ dogs, which allowed the other 13 members of his group to escape.
On December 26, 1985, Fossey’s body was discovered near the research centre, presumably killed by the poachers. Her gravestone reads "No one loved gorillas more.” She was buried next to Digit. We’ll return to the lodge for lunch.
The afternoon holds a visit the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo. Located at the base of volcano Muhabura and close to the Ugandan border, the lakes are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls against the backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains. We return to the lodge for a relaxing dinner.
After an early breakfast on days three and four, you will head to Kinigi, the park headquarters, to meet your tracking guide. Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of tracking and quietly observing the mountain gorilla clans that reside in the park’s montane forests, researcher Dian Fossey’s base for 13 years. The hiking terrain ranges in altitude from 3,800 to 8,500 feet and preserves one of the largest natural forests in East Africa.
The tracking can be tough. It begins early with a moderately steep hike through dense forests at moderate altitudes for three to six hours, depending on where the gorillas are hanging out. It’s hot and humid, but you’ll forget all that once you meet a gorilla family and lose yourself in watching them. We return to the lodge for lunch and dinner.
Day 5: Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
Let’s find the golden monkey in Volcanos National Park. After breakfast, we’ll search through dense stands of bamboo interspersed with open glades for golden monkeys, Though viewing is kept to a maximum of one hour, you can get an up-close look at the golden monkey in its natural habitat. Adult monkeys frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from perch to perch.
Return to your lodge for lunch, after which you will be returned by road to Kigali for a city tour, including the craft market, Gisozi genocide memorial site and Kigali museum. It’s a great opportunity to shop.
We’ll return to Kigali Serena Hotel in time for dinner.
The Serena is a large, well-appointed business hotel in the commercial heart of Kigali. All rooms are air-conditioned with twin or king-sized beds, a luxury bathroom with both tub and shower and all the modern amenities, including swimming pool, lounge, bar and restaurant with an excellent breakfast buffet.
Day 6-8: Ikoma Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
On arrival, we’ll be met by a private vehicle and guide for a game drive on the way to Ikoma Tented Camp. The Serengeti is one of the most densely populated in the world with over four million animals, including 1.5 million wildebeest. We’ll search for wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, lions, cheetahs and abundant bird species.
Of course, we’ll look for the Big Five. The Serengeti is wild with giant crocodiles big enough to chomp on wildebeest. We’ll track hard-to-spot leopards, aardvark and bat-eared foxes, too.
Ideally situated along the path of the migrating wildebeest, on the border of the world-renowned Serengeti National Park, Ikoma Tented Camp is one of the best areas to take in one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles.
The camp is located outside the national park boundary, making night game drives and guided game walks possible. It provides a unique opportunity to view elusive nocturnal creatures.
With incredible vistas of savannah and skies, sheltered in a grove of acacia trees, Ikoma Tented Camp offers rustic simplicity with its 35 traditional Meru tents each under thatch roof, each with en suite bathroom with flush toilet and shower, modern furnishings and a private veranda. The central restaurant and bar area boasts a large camp fire that’s an ideal spot to unwind after a long day of exciting game viewing.
Day 9-10: Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Area, Tanzania
On our way out of the Serengeti, we’ll enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch on the way to the world famous Ngorongoro Crater and your lodge perched on the crater rim. We arrive in time for dinner.
On day 10, we set out early morning for a full day of exploration in Ngorongoro Crater with a picnic lunch. Here, you will see a microcosm of Africa in a day.
Often described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Ngorongoro Crater touches all the senses. A volcanic crater of over 259 square kilometers with surrounding walls rising 609 meters above it, the crater is a natural sanctuary for over 25,000 animal species, including the uber-shy black rhino.
The abundant water on the crater floor provides excellent grazing for its resident herbivores, while the crater walls are covered in lush vegetation, forming excellent protection for the large numbers of game. This is an area of spectacular beauty and superb game viewing, a truly unique safari destination. We return to the lodge for dinner.
Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a kilometer above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera. Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings.
The split level interiors of the main building houses the Crater View Bar and the Lemala Hills Restaurant, with ceiling to floor glass walls, offering panoramic views of the crater while enjoying an exquisite culinary experience comprised of continental and local cuisine to cater for all palates.
Paved pathways lead to the guest rooms from both sides of the swimming pool. Each room boasts two queen-size beds, central heat, luxuriously appointed bathrooms with spacious showers and a window walling off the lower level forms a solarium with views of the crater beyond.
Day 11: Homeward
All good things must come to an end, we’ll wend our way to Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro Airport with a packed lunch.
Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.