Experience 10 fantastic days as you explore the Pearl of Africa on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with the opportunity to track the mountain gorillas of Bwindi, view the Murchison Falls, and explore the Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Day 1: Kigali Serena HotelOn arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be welcomed by a member of Australken team, who will transfer you to the Hotel and assist you at check in. The rest of your day will be spent at Leisure. Lunch and Dinner will be on own arrangement. Overnight Stay at The Kigali Serena Hotel BB.
Day 2-3: Nyungwe Forest National ParkAfter breakfast, drive to Butare, the cultural heart of Rwanda and home to the former Mwami Palace (King’s Palace), as well as several universities. Also visit the Butare National Museum – a fascinating ethnographic museum containing items of traditional clothing, maps, photographs and historical artefacts. After lunch at a local restaurant in Butare, continue on to Nyungwe National Park. At an altitude of 1600-2950m above sea level, this mountainous rainforest reserve is rich in flora and fauna, with over 260 species of trees and shrubs, and over 100 types of orchid and giant lobelia alone. As well as incredible biodiversity, the park also has breathtaking views. Stay for 2 nights at Nyungwe Forest Lodge LDBB. Enjoy an early breakfast at your lodge on the third day before embarking on a thrilling hike in search of chimpanzee communities. The Rwandan chimpanzee population is thought to consist of approx. 400-500 individuals, confined to the Nyungwe National Park, including a small community in the Cyamudongo Forest. Prepare to hear these excitable primates before you see them, as their pant-hoots travel through the deep forest. During your hike you may also spot migratory birdlife including the Ross’ turaco, grey-cheeked hornbill, red-breasted sparrow hawk and regal sunbird. After lunch, spend the afternoon at leisure making use of lodge facilities, or explore the surrounding area. All meals and Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge LDBB.
Day 4: KibuyeAnother early start this morning and a long trek into the forest to seek out rainforest birdlife and possibly also encounter other troops of primates, with colobus monkeys and grey-checked mangabey amongst the forest’s 13 different species. This afternoon, drive to the ‘beach city’ of Kibuye, the capital of the Western Province of Rwanda, home to rocky beaches, peaceful islands and the lovely Ndaba Falls, which lie a short drive from the city. Dinner and Overnight at Moriah Hill Comoran Lodge DBB
Day 5: Lake KivuDrive to Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu, a picturesque lakeside town on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, often referred to as the ‘Martha’s Vineyard of Rwanda’ with its pretty shoreline and colonial-style hotels. One of the greatest freshwater lakes in Rwanda, Lake Kivu lies in the Albertine Rift – part of the Great Rift Valley – and has a secluded inland beach lined with swaying palms, enclosed by green terraced hills. Spend your day at leisure, exploring the local area. Overnight at the Kivu Serena Hotel BB.
Day 6: Volcanoes National ParkAfter a very early breakfast at the hotel, depart on a two hour drive to Volcanoes National Park – Africa’s first national park and the main region where celebrated naturalist Dian Fossey carried out her research into gorillas. Upon arrival, register at the park’s headquarters. A short briefing on trekking procedures follows, before a drive up the mountain to your starting point. The trek itself can be arduous and range from one to four hours, depending on the location of the gorillas, but your guide will allow frequent stops to rest and allow for photo opportunities. Home to around 295 habituated mountain gorillas, the park is dominated by bamboo forests, grasslands and giant lobelias. Once rangers have located a gorilla family, you will spend a maximum of one hour observing these fascinating primates. Just watching and being close to a huge silverback is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Return transfer for lunch, dinner and overnight at the Governors' Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge LDBB.
Day 7: KigaliAfter breakfast re-enter the park for a second trek, visiting a different gorilla family. The Rwandan side of the park is home to eight families ranging in size from 10 to 33 members. Depart from the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes and enjoy a scenic drive south past fertile green hills, coffee, tea and banana plantations en route to Kigali. Overnight stay at Kigali Serena Hotel BB.
Day 8: DepartureThis morning, embark on a city tour of Kigali. Visit the Genocide Memorial Site – a reminder of the chilling events of the 1994 genocide, but also learn of how this remarkable country has recovered from its terrible ordeals. Transfer to Kigali airport where your safari with us will end.