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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 3 Involves a high level of physical activity over an extended period, in terrain that may often be uneven, slippery and steep. You would be expected to carry your own backpack and equipment. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: Rwanda Gorillas and more Safari
Duration: 7 days
Pickup location: Kigali International airport

Overview

On this multi-activity adventure you will meet proud mountain gorillas, animated chimps and Rwanda’s extraordinary and welcoming people.

Rwanda - ‘The land of a thousand hills’ - is a beautiful, lush and green country which is exceptionally safe and immaculately clean. There are a wide variety of cultural and community projects that visitors can experience, which have successfully rebuilt the country from its disturbing past. Now it is the incredible wildlife experiences on offer, that make Rwanda world famous. National parks visits to see cheeky chimpanzees and of course, the amazing mountain gorillas, are a highlight of any trip. But this journey takes you beyond the obvious, with exciting adventures on land and lake, all of which allow you to get under the skin of this enchanting country and its people.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary:

Day 1 - Kigale
Day 2 - Nyungwe Forest
Day 3 - Nyungwe Forest
Day 4 - Lake Kivu
Day 5 - Kinigi/Lake Ruhondo
Day 6 - Volcanoes National Park/Mukungwa River
Day 7 - Volcanoes National Park, Kigali and home

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Full Itinerary

Day 1 - Kigale

Arrive at Kigali International Airport and transfer to the city. Morning coffee hosted by a cooperative organisation who are “brewing better livelihoods” for farmers around Rwanda. Join the Nyamirambo Women’s Center walking tour, which offers a taste of life in a vibrant local community. You’ll visit a milk bar, market, and see a local fabric cooperative where women use local fabric to make souvenirs and tailored clothing (which can be delivered at the end of the tour). Enjoy a traditional Rwandan lunch supplied by the women of Nyamirambo.
In the afternoon you will visit the Genocide Memorial where you will take a moment to reflect on a dark time in Rwanda’s past. This visit, although shocking, highlights how so much progress has been achieved in Rwanda since that time.

Included meals: Lunch and dinner
Accomodation: Heaven The Retreat

Day 2 - Nyungwe Forest

Departing after breakfast, we drive towards Nyungwe Forest. En-route we’ll have a quick stop at the Ethnographic Museum which explains Rwanda’s history from prehistoric to modern times. Set on a hill overlooking Nyungwe forest, we will stop at an Eco-centre for a traditional Rwandan buffet lunch followed by a short walk through a nearby tea plantation with a community guide. Entering Nyungwe forest we stop at Uwinka Visitor Centre to meet a Forest Ranger who will lead a spectacular walk through the forest pointing out flora and fauna that may be seen on the way. The walk includes a 200m long canopy walkway high above the treetops providing a unique platform for observing the forest.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accomodation: Nyungwe Top View Hotel

Day 3 - Nyungwe Forest

Setting off very early you’ll meet your local ranger and then as soon as the trackers locate the family of chimpanzees, you’ll be off, trekking along the paths but also possibly, scaling short sections of the steep rainforest slopes immersed in the forest. Listen carefully and you may hear the chimps before you see them, literally swinging from the trees or possibly running around on the ground all around you! This is a wonderful wildlife encounter! There’s a good chance you may also encounter some of the many other primates in this forest, as well as a huge number of birds. After lunch we drive down to Lake Kivu, passing along the lakeshore and arriving at the resort of Kibuye in time to relax with sundowners at sunset.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accomodation: Cleo by Mantis

Day 4 - Lake Kivu

After breakfast, your qualified tour leader will brief you about the kayaking adventure across stunning Lake Kivu. As you set off though the uninhabited forested islands, you’ll be looking out for Vervet Monkeys jumping in the trees, African Fish Eagles flying to catch fish and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll also spot Congo Clawless Otters swimming in the water.

After a few hours you’ll stop on Munini Island for lunch. A raucous colony of Fruit Bats usually roost here during the day and there is a lovely short hike to the summit with some of the best views in Rwanda. In that afternoon transfer by motorboat to the village of Cyimbili for a fascinating tour of the artisanal coffee plantations.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accomodation: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Day 5 - Kinigi/Lake Ruhondo

After a relaxed breakfast transfer to Kinigi set on the lower slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes.
After a lunch overlooking the Twin Lakes, walk along the shores of Lake Ruhondo, past villages and small fishing boats spotting many water birds on the way. There will be a motor boat on hand so the distance walked can be flexible.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accomodation: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel

Day 6 - Volcanoes National Park/Mukungwa River

After a breakfast transfer to the Volcanoes National Park and head off on an easy one hour walk to see a troop of up Golden Monkeys. With up to 40 individuals often encountered as they run around on the ground and jump energetically from tree to tree, they make a real spectacle!

In the afternoon transfer to the Mukungwa River for a guided canoeing trip. Set in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, you will float along soaking up impressive views, spotting abundant birds and waving hello at curious children from the friendly local communities. The river is mostly very gentle and flat with one short, easy rapid.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accomodation: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel

Day 7 - Volcanoes National Park, Kigali and home

Today you will wake up early and head to the National Park Headquarters to be allocated a ranger for your trek to visit the Mountain Gorillas. The trek can take around 1-3 hours on the slopes of the volcano for the trackers to find where the gorillas are. The hour you spend with these incredible primates is a true privilege that you will never forget. Boisterous adolescents will be misbehaving, whilst playful children are constantly demanding the attention of their parents, all under the watchful eye of the dominant silverback. You may only be a visitor, but you will briefly be part of their family in a really remarkable way. It is a wildlife encounter unlike any other on Earth.

Enjoy a final celebration lunch on your return, before transferring back to Kigali for your international flight home

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Ground transfers as specified
  • Accommodation, meals and local drinks as specified
  • Chimp tracking permit and national park fees
  • Gorilla tracking permit and national park fees
  • Safaris and activities specified
  • English speaking guide

What's not included

  • International flights
  • visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks (unless specified)
  • Phone calls
  • Laundry
  • Personal purchases
  • Tips and gratuities

Important information

  • Vaccinations are recommended for Rwanda. Please consult your doctor for advice.
  • US Passport holders require a visa to visit Rwanda which can be obtained on arrival.
  • Rwanda gorilla trekking age limit is currently at 15 years and above meaning that children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek to visit the gorillas in the volcanoes National Park Rwanda.
  • Please let The Big Safari Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Cancellation 90 - 0 days prior to departure: cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable. Balance payments due 14 weeks prior to departure.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Safari Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

talk toll free to our well travelled team of experts

Call us on:UK 0800 048 5698
USA 1 800 949 3295

Monday to Thursday 09:00am - 8:00pm. Friday 09:00am - 05:30pm. (London time)

or Send us a message

Anytime, day or night

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Safari Company - a subsidiary of The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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