Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be met by a Safari-DMC representative and transferred to Kigali Serena Hotel for overnight.
The Kigali Serena Hotel is a relaxed yet elegant 5* hotel built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art, featuring an Executive Lounge and Bar opening onto a wide sundeck overlooking the newly refurbished Swimming pool. Ideally located on one of central Kigali's most charming boulevards just 10kms from the International Airport, the hotel offers 148 guests rooms in a variety of categories; 54 Standard, 25 Deluxe, 37 Superior, 7 Prime, 18 Studio Suites, 6 Executives Suites and 1 Presidential suite. Room amenities include Air conditioning, satellite TV and free Wi-Fi while other hotel amenities include the Milima Restaurant overlooking the pool, the relaxed and a’la carte Sokoni Café, The Maisha Spa & Health Club, an extensive Conference and Events center with a 500-seater auditorium and lavish ballroom, a Business Centre, Travel desk, Limo service and a Gift Shop.
Balance of the evening spent at leisure with dinner under own arrangements.
After breakfast, join your guide on a City Tour of Kigali including the Kigali Memorial Centre.
Kigali has been the political and economic capital of Rwanda’s since independence in 1951. A fast growing cosmopolitan town of 1m inhabitants with wide and landscaped boulevards, world class hotels and restaurants as well as an international airport, it is reputedly the best organized and cleanest city in Africa. Tour lower Kigali around Nyabugogo open air market which is a little crowded and considered the heart of Kigali’s informal economy and continue to the Kigali genocide Memorial Center; learn about the Rwandan genocide of 1994, how it was triggered and carried out, and what lessons we can learn from that past. In one section, learn too about other past genocides in world. We continue past the ‘skyscraper’ city center with her pave, maintained and clean boulevards and international hotels to the parliament building which was scene of some fighting in 1994. We culminate in the adjacent new developments around Kimihurura, Kimironko area and the Nyarutarama suburb popularly referred to as the Beverly Hills of Kigali and see firsthand Rwanda’s transition; the recovery has been incredible – a true testament to mankind’s resilience in the face of unfathomable odds.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you drive east to Akagera National Park (125kms/2½hrs).
Akagera National Park is an archetypal African savannah park of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland in eastern Rwanda dominated by a labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering Akagera River, the most remote source of River Nile; but above all, Akagera is big game country!, totally off the beaten track; herds of elephant and buffalo as well as lion and soon rhinoceros; lucky visitors might stumble across a leopard and tick off the entire African Big-5 in often times under a day of pure wonder and magic in the African bush, a spotted hyena. Giraffe and zebra haunt the savannah amongst more than a dozen types of antelope. In the picturesque lakes, schools of 50+ hippopotami grunt and splutter while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws menacingly agape. And then - her crowning jewel; lining the lakes are some of the continent’s densest concentrations of water birds amongst many other migratory and resident bird species.
With a game viewing en-route, you will arrive at Ruzizi Tented Camp for dinner and overnight.
Ruzizi Tented Camp is nestled on the shores of Lake Ihema in Akagera National Prk, Rwanda’s big game country and home of the African Big-5. Guest accommodation comprises 09 safari tents lined along the lake shore. Tent amenities include an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, either 1x Queen Size Bed or 2x twin Beds, a dressing area and with a small patio at the front and accessible by wooden board walks. Tucked among swaying palms and fruiting fig trees, the tents spaced way apart to afford maximum privacy. Other lodge amenities include a thatched reception and dining area, a boardwalk, and a large deck with a fireplace under a shady fig tree overlooking Lake Ihema and Solar power. Accommodating a maximum of 20 guests, Ihema is a quiet an intimate retreat and the perfect base to experience Akagera, one of the most scenic Savannah parks in Africa.RUZIZI TENTED CAMP AKAGERA – BLD
Full day spent in Akagera with morning and afternoon game viewing and bird watching drives in search of lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, many species of antelopes, hyenas, giraffe, zebra and even leopard although it is quite elusive.
Optional activities at extra charge:
After breakfast, check out and drive west via Kigali then south to Nyungwe National Park (8hrs).
Nyungwe rain-forest National Park in southern RWANDA is one of the most beautiful and the largest remaining stretch of montane forests in East Africa. It is home to a wide variety of mammals and 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees and large troops of Angola Colobus Monkeys that inhabit her fairytale world of ancient trees, bushes and shrubs species some dating back to the ice ages; all grown over steep and fertile green valleys and ridges surrounded by beautiful tea plantations. Amidst her well maintained hiking trails, guests enjoy regular guided Forest Hikes down to stunning valleys with beautiful waterfalls; Track the semi-habituated family of Chimpanzees at dawn as they de-nest, or track large troops of Black & White Angola Colobus Monkeys in Gisakura or down in the valleys below. Nyungwe is also a bird lovers’ paradise with numerous species including many endemics recorded. A guided Bird Walk from Uwinka will return many species ticked. The adrenaline pumping Nyungwe Canopy Walk, a foot-wide suspension bridge hang over huge pylons across two ridges at 80m above a deep valley’s ground is the only one of its kind in East and Central Africa. With your specialist guide, enjoy stunning views over the forest canopy extending as far as the Virunga volcanoes; and learn about unique canopy species of plants, mammals, birds and butterflies as the bridge sways in the breeze and your heart threatens to pop-out, still amazing anyway. At the adjacent tea plantations, we offer cultural encounters meeting and mingling with local peasant farmers as they harvest tea, an activity they eagerly welcome our guests to participate in as they share their stories. In the evening, you may partake of the tea tasting ceremony offered at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. There is so much to do and love in Nyungwe forest National Park, one of Rwanda’s best kept secrets.
You arrive at the ultra-luxurious O & ONyungweHouse Lodgein time for dinner and overnight.
The 5* and ultra-luxurious NyungweHouse is situated on high ground in a tea plantation right next to Nyungwe forest National Park, southern Rwanda effortlessly rhyming with her natural surroundings of tea estates and ancient rain forest. Completely refurbished as recently as 2017, guest accommodation comprises twenty two luxury rooms and two presidential suites in seven wooden villas. All rooms are super spacious and beautifully decorated with traditional fare. Room amenities include a King size Bed or 2x Twin Beds, en-suite bathrooms, hair dryers, air conditioning, mini-bar, coffee/tea making machine, WiFi, a fire place, digital TV, in-room safe, international telephone and a private verandah overlooking the forest canopy. Other lodge amenities include a main building housing a luxurious dining restaurant around an open fire hearth, private dining terrace, bar, tea lounge and a boutique store as well as a heated infinity pool overlooking the forest, a poolside boma, treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi pool, fitness center with treadmill, cycle and free weights and conference facilities for 16, laundry service and free WiFi in main areas. All within a short distance from Uwinka the park HQs where all the amazing activities in this rain forest begin. Some specials from the lodge include the Isumo waterfall hike (5kms/4½hrs) and tea factory tours to witness the crop-to-cup tea process from withering, cutting, tearing and curling, fermentation, drying, sorting, storing and packing.O & ONYUNGWE HOUSE – BLD
After breakfast, transfer to Park HQ for the Colobus Monkeys Tracking with a specialist guide. You will have an opportunity to visit with one the habituated families of Angola Colobus Monkeys in this stunning rainforest; some families can be as large as 400 members!! Whilst the hike up and down the valleys in Nyungwe’s terrain can be challenge, encountering these beautiful monkeys in their natural habitat is an absolute delight. After spending an hour with them with potential for amazing photos, you will hike back to Uwinka base and transfer back to lodge or proceed to your next activity.
In the afternoon, you will return to the Park office for the Nyungwe Canopy Walk experience.
On arrival at the park offices, you will be met by your specialist park guide for a briefing, then hike down the steep slope to the beginning of the canopy walkwaywhere you climb the massive pylons by stairs onto the bridge.Elevated across a valley and over the forest canopy (over 70m at the valley’s lowest point), this single file, foot only 200m long swaying bridge, the only one of its kind in east and central Africa, allows you to observe and learn about unique forest canopy features and creatures including flowers, shrubs, insects, monkeys, other small mammals as well as birds and butterflies. From its vantage point on a clear day, one can enjoy splendid and extensive views across most of the forest even to Lake Kivu and the Virunga volcanoes. O & ONYUNGWEHOUSE – BLD
Arise at dawn with coffee/tea and cookies then at 04.30hrs: transfer to Cyamudongo forest (35kms/1½hrs) with your specialist park/guide for a morning Chimpanzee Tracking. Our object is to catch the 35member habituated family as they de-nest at day break. Chimpanzee tracking entails hiking in steep and sometimes wet and muddy conditions in the thick vegetation of cyamudongo. Participants are advised to pace themselves and follow the guide’s advice.
Upon sighting the chimpanzees (60% chance), you will spend time observing them as they go about daily life; up in the trees or down on the ground, feeding, or grooming, mating, sparring, trammel beating or just howling and screeching as they do so powerfully.
At the ready, you will hike back to base where your driver/guide will be waiting to transfer you back to lodge. Usually, guests are back around 11.00am for a late breakfast.
Balance of day spent at leisure or enjoying the resort’s amenities and stunning surroundings,lunch, dinner and overnight at the lodge.O & ONYUNGWE HOUSE – BLD
After breakfast, check out and drive to Gisenyi(7hrs) on the shores of Lake Kivu overlooking Goma town in DR Congo and the Nyiragongo volcano – still active and with a molten lava lake whose glow is visible from Gisenyi at night.
Gisenyi is a typical Rwandan town; totally clean and spotless, well organized, great weather, stunning views, hospitable people; and relaxing. Sitting on the border with the mystical DR Congo on the northern shores of Lake Kivu, Africa’s 6th largest and one of her most gorgeous lakes which forms the natural border between the two countries, it overlooks DR Congo’s low lying Goma town with the Virunga volcanoes in the backdrop. A well-developed town with nice roads, tourist class hotels, a relatively cosmopolitan population and an airport, her weather is typically beach warm without being too humid and her earth; sprinkled with clear-colored sand granules that sparkle like jewels. The best beach sections are on the northern edge leading to the grand barrier (main border) with DR Congo and fronted by several tourist hotels and a public beach section. Interesting tourist activities include walks on the beach, boat rides, a variety of water-sports, swimming in the lake (being methane filled, it has no bilharzia), guided town tours, in jeep and on foot, to the grand barrier and the petit barrier (small border) as well as to the local border-market where you can mix and mingle with merchants from both Rwanda and DR Congo as they exchange all manner of merchandise from food stuffs, farm produce and livestock to colorful clothing fabrics and garments. But even more magical are the evenings, when from a vantage point one can see the luminous glow of the still active Nyiragongo volcano, part of the Virunga volcanoes across the border in the Congo.
With lunch en-route, you will arrive at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel in time for dinner and overnight.
Lake Kivu Serena Lodge is a beautiful 4* beach resort nestled on the northern banks of the gorgeous Lake Kivu barely minutes to the Rwanda/DR Congo grand-barriere. Renowned for the high class service and warm hospitality of the ‘Serena’ brand, guest accommodation comprises Superior Rooms, Family Rooms and Executive Suites on two levels. Room amenities comprise either 1x King size Bed or 2x comfortable Queen size Beds, en-suite bathroom facilities with options for a stand up shower or bath tub, hair dryers, study desk, tea and coffee making machines, an in-room safe, telephone and satellite TV. Other resort amenities include the Kiyaga Restaurant, Lake View Bar, extensive Lounges and Balcony, Conference Facilities, a large Swimming Pool, private Beach, water sports, boat rides and free WiFi.
Morning spent at leisure with breakfast at the hotel and lunch on own account.
Optional: A sightseeing tour of Gisenyion foot or by jeep with your guide including to the Grand Barriere and Petit Barriere where you may encounter local Rwandan and Congolese merchants at the fruits and clothes market. A stop over at ParadisMalahide where you may enjoy a traditional lunch of fish and rice using local wooden cutlery is memorable.
In the afternoon, you will be drive to Volcanoes National Park (80kms/1¼hrs)
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda encompasses the Rwanda section of the Virunga Volcanoes, a series of eight volcanic mountains which sit astride the border triangle between Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo and include the still active Nyiragongo and Nyakagezi located in DR Congo. Situated 115kms/2½hrs drive north-west of Kigali and encompassing five of the volcanoes, the park’s 160km² of bamboo montane forest are habitat for the rare and critically endangered Mountain Gorillas of which only approx. 800 members remain in the world! Immortalized in the movie “Gorillas-In-The-Mist” depicting the life and times of American zoologist Dian Fossey who spent almost 20yrs in the 60s to the 80s studying the gorillas, they inspire great human curiosity owing to their being massive wild animals that genetically, socially and physically so closely resemble humans. Other mammals include the beautiful Golden Monkeys, a variety of antelopes, hyenas, bushbucks, and some buffaloes and forest elephants, as well as over 170 species of birds. Of the many gorilla families, 10 have been habituated and opened for controlled Gorilla Tracking, one of the most popular tourist activities. Other activities in and around the park include Golden Monkeys Tracking, guided Hikes up several of the Volcanoes as well as scenic tours and cultural tours in the outlying areas.
You will arrive at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge in time for dinner and overnight.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is 3* Bush Lodge situated in Kinigi at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park’s Mount Karisimbi, in northern Rwanda. At barely a 10mins drive from the National Park offices where gorilla tracking starts, the lodge’s accommodation facilities comprise 30 spacious and en-suite chalets made from local materials scattered across the beautiful natural grounds. Each chalet comes complete with 1x King size Bed or 2x Twin Beds, a sitting area, fireplace as well as tea/coffee making machine. They are complimented by a spacious dining room with a center-piece hearth and expansive lounge areas from where to enjoy great Rwandan hospitality for which the lodge is renowned.
Arise early for breakfast then at 06.30hrs: transfer to the National Park HQs for your Gorilla Tracking adventure. After registration, participants are divided into groups of 8, allocated a gorilla family to track and a specialist Gorilla Tracking Guide to lead them.
0700hrs: Briefing by your guide then drive to the trail head from where the trekking begins. Your guide will lead you, first, through local homesteads and small scale pyrethrum farms then into the forest and up the volcanoes through interspersed bamboo forest and grassland with stunning views in the footsteps of the rare yet critically endangered Mountain Gorillas. And he/she never seems to run out of interesting stories about the forest, conservation, the vegetation and the gorillas and other of this forest’s inhabitants.
Upon sighting the gorillas, you will stay with them for one unforgettable hour as they go about their daily life – feeding, playing, resting, sleeping, raising their young; almost oblivious of your presence but definitely curious, especially the little ones who sometimes come rather close. It is a magical and breathtaking experience.
But the hour is always over too soon and you hike back to base where your Driver will be awaiting to transfer you back to the lodge for a deserved shower and lunch.
Later, enjoy aa tour of the Ibyi’Iwacu ex-Poachers Village for a Rwandan cultural experience.
Situated in Kinigi at the foothills of the Sabyinyo Volcano, 'ex-Poachers' as it is popularly referred to, is an award winning conservation initiative where former poachers were persuaded to desist from poaching and instead come together to form this replica of a Rwandan traditional village with a king’s palace and four traditional huts where they showcase aspects of Rwandan culture, traditions and customs and earn a living as conservationists. On arrival at the village, guests are welcomed with cultural drums, song and dance then led by a village guide through the various exhibitions including traditional rural life, cookery and foods, weaving, grinding, fire-making, a traditional healer with a herbal and spiritual medicine’s ‘laboratory’, archery, javelin, a blacksmith and architecture, Rwandan kingship, palace life and coronations as well as the villagers’ previous life as poachers and their new found passion in conservation and how they have benefited. At the end of the tour, you will have an opportunity to learn a few steps and moves in the very captivating Rwanda cultural dance as well as buy some local curios and crafts including the popular agaseke (traditional baskets), calabashes, hammocks, traditional wooden crockery, dancing bows, arrows and beautiful drums of all sizes.
You will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast transfer to the Park HQs for a Golden Monkeys Tracking experience.
The beautiful Golden Monkeys are considered the little sisters of the Mountain Gorillas with whom they share the Virunga Volcanoes; suffering the same threats ranging from human encroachment, habitat loss, poaching and snares as well as wars and together are listed on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. A primate species of the Old World Monkeys and endemic to the Virunga Volcanoes and KahuziBiega in eastern DRC, they are a relatively big monkey, similar to the blue monkey but with a beautiful Golden-Orange flowing cape on the back and rear as well as contrasting black limbs and face more reminiscent of the Colobus Monkeys. They live in social groups of up to 30 or 40 members feeding on fresh bamboo shoots, leaves, fruits, branches and insects and tend to sleep in the same location high up the bamboo trees day in and day out.
After registration and briefing by your guide, 0700hrs: you will proceed to the trailhead where the trekking into the forest begins. Our guests visit/track one of the two habituated families, in groups of maximum 8 persons; Your guide is always at hand to tell all the amazing stories about the monkeys – they know some of them by features and name – their place in the eco-system, their proclivity to being poached as well as why should be conserved.
Upon sighting the Golden Monkeys, you will spend a fascinating hour in their presence as they go about their daily life. They are ample fun to see, and also excellent to photograph although it can be a little difficult even as they jump from tree to tree.
After the hour is over, you will hike back to base where your guide will be waiting to transfer you back to the lodge for a shower and lunch; the excursion normally last 3 to 4hrs round trip.
In the afternoon, you check out, drive back to Kigali (115km/6hrs) and check in at Kigali Serena Hotel for overnight; balance of the evening spent at leisure with dinner on own account.
After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airport for your international departure flight.
END of Safar-DMC’s service – BL – safirisalama, kila la kheri!
Tour Price in USD
Net and Non-Commissionable
Valid from Dec.2017/Jan. 2018
Based 01Paxusing a 4WD vehicle
Per Person in a Single Room US$ 195 per person
Airport transfers;Ground transportation, game viewing and adventure activities as shown, using a safari-customized 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser; services of courteous and professional English speaking driver/Guide; Mineral water in the vehicle; applicable Park entrance Fees;*Nyungwe Canopy Walk Permits-once, *Colobus Monkeys Tracking Permits-once, *Chimpanzee TrackingPermits-once, *Gorilla Tracking Permits-once; *Golden Monkeys Tracking Permits-once,Accommodation at the indicated hotels as shown; Meals as shown (B-Breakfast; L-Lunch and D-Dinner);Medical Emergency Evacuation Cover and Taxes.
International flights; Entry Visa fees; Items of a personal nature such as crafts & curios shopping, laundry, bar drinks; Tips and gratuities for your driver/Guide, Tour Leader, Hotel amd/or Restaurant Staff, other primates tracking Guides and Rangers; International airport departure taxes, any other items not shown or expressly mentioned as included.