On this 11-days safari, you will stay at the Hotel Mille Collines Kigali where Paul Rusesabagina saved 1268 people from the genocide in 1994. Visit Nyungwe Forest,for amazing primates and bird experience; enjoy Lake Kivu; and get two opportunities to spend time amongst the gorillas.
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali
On arrival at Kigali Inernational Airport you will be welcomed by our representative driver/guide and taken to Hotel Mille Collines to stay overnight, breakfast included. During the day, you will be taken on a guided city tour of Kigali and also have the opportunity to change money and relax by the hotel pool.
Kigali is a small capital city built on a hillside without any major landmarks. The city tour takes a couple of hours and includes; the new handicraft village and other shops, the Batwa pottery the old town (Nyamirambo) and Muslim quarter, a dance centre and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial.
Hotel Milles Collines is a famous sanctuary that saved many hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide. At the moment, it is largely unchanged with a super pool and rooftop restaurant.
Day 3: Kigali City Tour
Transfer to Nyungwe Forest for a two nights’ stay at the simple Nyungwe Guest House on the edge of the forest. Have a stopover in Butare (2½ hours from Kigali) to see the National Museum, and lunch at the Ibis restaurant. Opposite the restaurant is an excellent craft shop stocking a wide range of items at fair prices. Inform the driver if you wish to stop at the Marimba Genocide site on the road to Nyungwe.
Extending for nearly one thousand square kilometers over the mountains of southwest Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest single tract of montane forest remaining in Africa. It is a remarkably rich centre of biodiversity, with 86 mammal species, 280 birds, 120 butterflies and about 100 varieties of orchid. It is the most important birding site in Rwanda. The main attractions in Nyungwe are the chimpanzees and the large troops of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys. Guides lead you through the forest in search of these elusive beasts.
Day 4: Chimp trekking in Nyungwe Forest
Day for chimpanzee tracking and for guided forest walks.
Day 5; Lake Kivu
Take a panoramic drive (about 5 hours) on undone roads to Kibuye, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Stay overnight at Kibuye Guest House. If you get there in good time, you can take a boat out on the lake.
Long drive on duct road may not appeal to everyone, but they do offer the opportunity to appreciate the life trends for centuries, and essentially constant. This scenic route provides the opportunity to see the people at work - cultivating ordinary food crops like sorghum, beans, bananas, cassava, rice, potatoes, and even coffee in their steep and tiny fields. In addition, there are several massive tea plantations, villages, innumerable tiny brickwork's, and surprises around every corner.
Lake Kivu forms the border between Rwanda and the Congo. It's a beautiful and mysterious lake, always alive with traders and fishermen in their dugout canoes.
Day 6: The colourful town of Gisenyi
Drive northeast, parallel to Lake Kivu, to Gisenyi for a two nights'stay at the Kivu Sun on half-board. This beautiful drive (3-4 hours) is largely on unmade road and takes you through an area of intensive subsistence farming, as well as the remains of the Gishwati Forest.
Gisenyi is a pretty faded lakeside resort - and also a border crossing point into the Congo. The shore monologue is lined with crumbling colonial villas. Today, it is enjoying a renaissance as it boasts its first international standard hotel - the newly opened Kivu Sun. It is a pleasant hotel, right on the lakeside, with its own private pool.
Take a launch cruise on the beautiful lake. Visit the Imbabazi Orphanage where you can still find the founder, appealing Rosamund Carr, now in her late 80s; take a drive into the ancient Gishwati Forest. When the border is open, cross into the Congo to visit Gomo, site of the volcanic eruption three years ago.
Day 8: Magical Encounter with the Gorillas
Early morning take a 2-hour drive to Kinigi at the Parc National Des Volcans for the first gorilla trek. On arrival at 0700 hrs, hosted by staff from ORTPN Park Headquarters, you are given breifing on conduct during gorilla tracking. The rangers then lead you into the forested slopes to seek one of the groups of Mountain Gorillas. Reaching the gorillas is unpredictable but if you are lucky enough, it can take a few hours. Return for lunch at the Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge. In the afternoon, visit the panoramic twin volcanic lakes of Burera and Ruhondo.
Day 9: Another Day for Gorilla Tracking
Another day for a beautiful encounter with the gorillas, if you are sufficiently fit, we recommend the Susa group for the second expedition. In the afternoon, you are driven to Kigali (2½ hours) to stay overnight in Hotel Milles Collines, breakfast included.
Day 10: Reserved for Departure from Kigali International Airport
Depending on your time for departure, you can opt to tour the Genocide Memorial Museum before you transfer to the airport for your flight to Nairobi for your onward safari.