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10-Day Highlights Of Rwanda - Mid-range (private Tour)

Visit the best highlights of Rwanda. Rwanda is an excellent place to experience East Africa. Meet the friendly locals, track the mountain gorillas and take in some wonderful lakeside views. This tour has been designed to bring you in close contact with all of the highlights of this fascinating country with a tumultuous history. Your lodgings will be the best midrange options available in the country, and have been chosen for a balance of comfort, service, and value.

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices and Dates: $3800 - $5000
Includes internal flights: No
Length of safari: 8 days
Best months: All year
Countries visited Rwanda Rwanda
Parks visited Volcanoes, Akagera, Nyungwe Forest
Activity level Easy - Game drives, bush dinners
Safari type:
  • Cultural
  • Birding
Day 1 - Arrival in Kigali Day 2 - Visit Nyamata Church & the Genocide Memorial Day 3 - To Nyungwe Forest Day 4 - Chimpanzee Tracking Day 5 - Forest Canopy Walk and Waterfall Hike Day 6 - To Kibuye on the shores of Lake Kivu Day 7 - Gisenyi Day 8 - To Volcanoes National Park Day 9 - Gorilla Tracking Day 10 - Back to Kigali and departure

Day 1 - Arrival in Kigali
Your driver/guide will pick you up from Kigali Airport and bring you to your hotel. 

Depending on your time of arrival you may be able to visit some of Kigali’s craft markets to browse amongst the pottery, carvings, batik, weaving, sculpture, musical instruments, leather and fabrics on offer. Prepare to use your haggling skills! All activities and purchases today are at your own expenses.

Your accommodation for the next two days will be at a comfortable hotel located in a quiet and modern district on the edge of Kigali. 

Journey Time: 15 minutes from airport 
Accommodation: Golf Hills Residence 
Meal Plan: No meals inclusive today

Day 2 - Visit Nyamata Church & the Genocide Memorial
After breakfast you drive south of Kigali, through the beautiful countryside seldom visited by tourists. In the small town Nyamata you will visit a genocide memorial church. 

In 1994, when the genocide began, many ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus took refuge in churches, believing militias would not enter these sacred spaces. However, as priests, nuns, and church officials systematically fled the country after the genocide began, large-scale massacres occurred in Catholic churches throughout Rwanda. In some cases, priests and other officials were involved in the killings. 

The Bugesera district was one of the area’s most devastated by the genocide. From a population of 62,000, only 2,000 survived. At the Nyamata Catholic Church, 10.000 people were killed in and around the grounds between over 5 days. 

After the visit to the church you will head back to Kigali to visit the Genocide Memorial and Education Centre. The memorial and centre opened in 2004. It’s a dignified tribute to the victims, including a poignant Children’s Memorial. The Education Center offers a detailed description of this darkest hour in the recent history of Rwanda. 

Journey Time: 1 hour to Nyamata Church 
Accommodation: Golf Hills Residence 
Meal Plan: Breakfast is inclusive

Day 3 - To Nyungwe Forest
Today, you will drive to the famous Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest forests in East and Central Africa. Nyungwe is abundant with flora and fauna. Besides the colonies of chimpanzees, you may encounter Angola colobus monkeys, mangabeys and blue monkeys.The park contains 13 different primate species (25% of Africa's total), and many plant, mammal, amphibian and reptile species. 

Nyungwe Forest is also a famous location for bird lovers. There are about 310 recorded bird species, 26 of which are endemic. Making this one of the most important - yet still little known - bird-watching destinations in Africa. 

The next two nights you'll be sleeping in a very nice lodge located on top of a small hill near Nyungwe Forest and overlooking Lake Kivu. 

Journey time: 6 hours 
Accommodation: Top View Hotel 
Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner inclusive

Day 4 - Chimpanzee Tracking
After a very early morning start, you head for the forest. The chimp tracking trail will be at either the Cyamudongo or Uwinka sections. The total population between the two groups is a healthy 80 individuals. Chimpanzees and humans share more than 98% of their genetic code and it is an unforgettable experience to come up close with these fascinating relatives.

After the chimp tracking you can relax at the lodge or choose an optional activity that you can discuss with your guide. 

Journey time: 1 - 2 hours each way 
Accommodation: Top View Hotel 
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner inclusive

 

Day 5 - Forest Canopy Walk and Waterfall Hike
Visit East Africa’s only canopy walk! This walk takes place above a deep gorge cutting across the massive forest. During approximately 1,5 hours, the walk takes you through some beautiful vegetation and animal habitat. Along the way you'll have the chance to spot blue monkeys and unique birds that dwell in the upper levels of the forest canopy. 

In the afternoon, a waterfall hike is in your program. This trail begins from Gisakura Guesthouse next to the ORTPN offices (a 15 minute drive Hotel) and takes between 3 and 6 hours round trip, depending upon how frequently you stop to sightsee and whether you choose to drive a little further or walk from the guesthouse. The first part of the trail is basically following the road to the vehicle park and before delving into the forest. You will have to cross various streams before making a steep descent to the base of the small, refreshing waterfall. Monkeys are frequently seen along the way and the steep slopes provide excellent views into the canopy. 

Journey time: 45 minutes each way 
Accommodation: Top View Hotel 
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner inclusive

 

Day 6 - To Kibuye on the shores of Lake Kivu
Today, after a relaxed breakfast, you shall travel to Kibuye on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu. Time allowing, you can visit the Ndaba Falls or take a walk around Kibuye town. In the afternoon you can relax at the resort or you can rent a boat and visit a few islands in the lake. All activities today are at your own costs. 

You will sleep in Moriah Hill Resort, right on the shores of Lake Kivu. This resort is a good 4-star accommodation with a sauna, private beach and a good restaurant. All rooms have a balcony overlooking the lake. 

Journey time: 3 - 4 hours 
Accommodation: Moriah Hill Resort 
Meal plan: Breakfast is inclusive

 

Day 7 - Gisenyi
You continue to drive along the scenic Lake Kivu coast, winding through valleys and small villages. Your destibation today is the northern town of Gisenyi, just next to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

In the afternoon you can visit the local market and see the day-to-day life of the people. You may have a local lunch at Auberge de Gisenyi or Bistro Restaurant. Another possibility is to make a boat tour on Lake Kivu. 

Tonight's accommodation is spacious and quite authentic. You'll stay in the traditional rooms with African decoration! 

Journey time: 1½ - 2 hours 
Accommodation: Palm Garden Resort 
Meal plan: Breakfast is inclusive

 

Day 8 - To Volcanoes National Park
Today you shall drive northeast to the town of Musanze close to the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful area represents the gateway to the gorilla tracking. 

The Gorilla View Lodge is situated on the edge of the dense forest of Parc des Volcans. From the large rooms, you can look out over the expansive lawns and tropical rainforest, with the mighty Mount Sabinyo rising up in the background. In the evening, enjoy a camp fire and some entertainment from a local dance troop.

Journey time: 1½ hours 
Accommodation: Gorilla View Lodge 
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner inclusive

 

Day 9 - Gorilla Tracking
You'll have an early start on this special day. It is a 30 minute drive from the lodge to Office Rwandais du Tourisme et Des Parc Nationaux (ORTPN) inside the park. The head ranger of the ORTPN will divide you into groups based on interest and fitness. The gorillas you will track belong to one of seven habituated family groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.

Matoke Tours purchases the permits in advance. However, we are unable to reserve a specific gorilla group as it is for the head-ranger to decide this in the morning of the gorilla tracking.

Your driver/guide will take you as close as possible to the starting point of your tracking. The track will be an exciting hike along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ current location. En-route, your guide will point out signs of previous Gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. 

The time taken to track the gorillas can take as little as 30 minutes to as much as 8 hours! Once the gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a Mountain Gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Rwanda’s own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’. For most people this encounter is the absolute highlight of the tour!

Journey time: 30 minutes by car, tracking time varies
Accommodation: Gorilla View Lodge 
Meal plan: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner inclusive

 

Day 10 - Back to Kigali and departure
After a relaxed breakfast you drive back to Kigali, in time to catch your flight back home. Unfortunately it is time to say goodbye to Rwanda. But you may also decide to extend your trip to another country in the region. Matoke Tours offers extensions to Uganda, Tanzania or Zanzibar. Contact us for all possibilities and details.

Note: Departure today is only possible when your flight departs from Kigali at 3 p.m. or later. If your flight is before 3 p.m. or if you need a night in Kigali, we will be happy to make a booking for you. 

Journey time: 4 hours 


Accommodation: NOT INCLUDED!
Meal plan: Breakfast is inclusive

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Kinigi Guest House at Volcanoes National Park.
  • Malahide Resort at Lake Kivu.
  • Step Town Motel at Kigali City.

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