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Rwanda Chimps & Gorillas Discovery – 10 Days Safari

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This Rwanda chimps & gorillas discovery safari takes you on a journey to visit the chimps and gorillas of Rwanda as well as the beautiful Lake Kivu.

Your safari starts off in Kigali and heads to Butare for Cultural Experiences before proceeding to Nyungwe Forest National Park. In Nyungwe, you will track chimpanzees in the thick rainforest as well as other primates and birds.

We’ll then continue to Lake Kivu to explore the lake’s islands, the surrounding hiking spots, and some local orphanages. You will then proceed to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking.

In Volcanoes National Park, you will hike in the thick rainforest. You will spend 1 hour with the mountain gorillas before going back down to the starting point.

You will track gorillas twice on the 8th and 9th days before heading back to Kigali for a city tour before your departure flight. This safari is ideal for both individuals and groups.

Take a look at the detailed day-by-day breakdown to get a great feel of how this Rwanda chimps & gorillas safari would work out for you.

As with all our safari packages, we can customize this Rwanda chimps & gorillas safari program to fit your personal preferences. Just reach out to us and we’ll be eager to help you.

Safari Highlights

  • Kigali City Tour
  • Butare Cultural visits
  • Kibuye, Lake Kivu beaches & boat ride
  • Speed-boat trip to Gisenyi
  • Visit Ross Carr’s Imbabazi Orphanage
  • Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kigali Rwanda

When you arrive at Kigali International Airport you will be met by our driver/guide. He will then transfer you to Kigali city which is 30 minutes away for an overnight stay & dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel des Mille Collines, Hotel Chez Lando.

Meal plan: Dinner.

 

Day 2: Drive to Butare for Cultural Experiences.

After breakfast, you will depart for Butare, the second largest city of Rwanda and is regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. It hosts the National Museum, and several academic and research institutions.

On your way to Butare, you will visit Nyanza (currently Nyabisindu) the former Mwami’s palace (King’s palace), and the seat of the feudal monarchy. The palace has been reconstructed to its 19th-century state and shows a traditional dome that can be compared with the Kabaka’s palace of Buganda.

You will visit the National Museum which is one of, if not the finest ethnographic museums in East Africa. It’s a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region.

The National Museum in Butare was donated in 1989 by the Belgium government and gave back a part of the ethnographic collection acquired during the colonial period. The design and concept of the museum were realized in cooperation with the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Tervuren, Belgium.

The modern building has different sections and displays a wide collection of monochrome pictures, traditional artifacts and objects, tools, and different craft products. Ethnographic objects are grouped together according to theme giving excellent information on daily life.

Traditional ceramics and basketry are still manufactured and belong to the finest handicrafts of the region. The National Museum remained surprisingly untouched during the civil war of 1994.

Accommodation: Butare or Nyungwe.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 3: Butare cultural visits, Drive to Nyungwe

Visit the Botanical Gardens. Visit the locally revered hot springs in Rugarama.

Lunch at Butare and later we will drive to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Your driver/guide will stop at the Uwinka offices to have the last update on the presence of the semi-habituated groups of chimps and colobus monkeys.

This will help you to prepare your activities for the next day.

Accommodation: Gisakura Guest House

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe National park

Early morning visit to Nyungwe Forest for a guided nature walk and chimpanzee tracking as well as other primates. Of particular interest are the large social groups of Angolan Colobus, which may be over 300 individuals.

These are the largest troops of this species known in the world! Nyungwe forest counts for 25% of the African Primates.

Accommodation: Gisakura Guest House

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 5: Drive to Kibuye on Lake Kivu, Boat cruise

Drive via Kibuye on the stunningly beautiful Lake Kivu to Gisenyi; through beautiful countryside, crossing valleys full of agricultural produce. Kibuye which is one of the three resort towns on Lake Kivu is the most beautiful.

We shall arrive in Kibuye, just in time for lunch. After the tasking hikes in Nyungwe,  those relaxing moments on the shores of Lake Kivu are a godsend.

Take a boat out on the lake to see the various islands. Swim in the refreshing, bilharzia-free waters of the Lake or stroll about in the nearby villages rambling across a number of hills. Rest of the day at leisure.

Lake Kivu is unique: Its deep waters contain an enormous quantity of dissolved gas. There are, in fact, 65 billion cubic meters of methane, in other words, the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of petrol lying at the bottom of the lake under 250m of water.

If it were exploited, this energy, veritable manna from heaven, would provide Rwanda with an almost inexhaustible source of energy, freeing it from worry about energy needs linked to its development projects. There is a pilot station for the extraction of methane for energy in this place.

Accommodation: Molia Hill Resort Kibuye

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 6: Kibuye to Gisenyi, Encounter the local lives

After breakfast, either drive to, or you will have an enjoyable speedboat trip to Gisenyi.

The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, and fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwanda markets.

You will be picked up in Gisenyi for lunch and if time allows we make arrangements to cross the border to Goma (Optional).

Goma was devastated by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. The visit shows the fantastic capabilities of the local population to overcome this natural catastrophe. The Nyiragongo volcano (3470 m) erupted on the 17th of January 2002 and destroyed part of Goma town.

More recently, Nyiragongo’s hot lava flowed into the town and people were forced to evacuate the town.

Accommodation: Stipp Hotel or Serena Kivu Sun

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 7: Explore local orphanages in Gisenyi, Transfer to Kinigi

Visit Ross Carr’s Imbabazi Orphanage. Stroll about at the lake and visit other local villages. Imbabazi Orphanage was founded by Mrs. Rosamond Halsey Carr in late 1994 at Mugongo to care for the genocide orphans.

Rosamond Halsey was a young American fashion illustrator when she married an adventurous hunter-explorer, Kenneth Carr. Together they journeyed to then “Congo Belge” (now Congo DRC) in 1949 but where they later came to a pungent divorce.

Kenneth left but Rosamond stayed in Congo until 1955. From there on she moved to northwest Rwanda where she stayed for the next 50 years. She witnessed all of Rwanda’s historical events, including the vinegary genocide of 1994. She is the author of “Land of a Thousand Hills: my life in Rwanda.”

Have Lunch then transfer to Ruhengeri & Kinigi outside the famous Volcanoes National Park, and check into your lodge.

Accommodation: Hotel La Palme, Virunga Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, you will report to the park headquarters where your driver-guide will accomplish the necessary formalities for you.

You will meet your ranger guide(s) for a briefing about the greatest animal experience ever. Then we will drive you to the slopes of one of the Virunga volcanoes for your gorilla trekking experience.

After the trekking, lunch at your lodge or at Ruhengeri, and in the afternoon, if time allows, an excursion to explore the beautiful lakes in the region: Lake Bulera & Ruhondo. An excellent view of the Virunga chain of Volcanoes can be seen while there depending on weather conditions.

Accommodation: Hotel La Palme, Virunga Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 9: Second gorilla trekking or another activity – Transfer to Kigali

Second gorilla tracking (subject to availability and payment of $1500 gorilla permit supplement); or do one of the other options (at extra cost).

An excursion to the top of the Bisoke volcano (3.711 m) of which the distinctive feature is a beautiful crater lake. Or an excursion to the grave of Dian Fossey and the former Karisoke Research Centre.

The excursion will provide excellent background information and this is a wonderful site to see. Alternatively, a visit to the Golden Monkeys – the little-known Golden Monkey is listed as endangered, can be enthralling.

The Kabatwa troop is located not so far from the Park Headquarters and the Musanga troop lives near the Karisimbi volcano and has a much longer walking distance.

Alternatively, visit local communities and visit the surrounding communities. Visit the Batwa pygmies and other local communities then later transfer to Kigali city after your lunch.

Accommodation: Chez Lando Hotel or Mille Collines

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 10: Kigali city tour, and departure

Today, you will go for a tour of Kigali city including a visit to the local markets, the handicraft shops and the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, which takes a few hours – such a touching visit.

Time permitting, visit the Nyabugogo market, the Moslem quarter in Nyamirambo, and the Franco-Rwanda cultural center. Many hotels and restaurants here prepare local dishes. Buy some crafts and other items as souvenirs.

In Rwanda, you will find many 1994 genocide memorial centers all over the country. The most important Genocide Memorials are those of Kigali (Gisozi) and Murambi (Gikongoro) and the most prominent ones are at Nyamata ( 70km south of Kigali) where the history of the genocide is explained.

A visit to the genocide memorial is for most visitors an emotional event, but equally a learning experience. Transfer to Airport for departure.

This will mark the end of your Rwanda chimps & gorillas discovery holiday.

Accommodation: None (last day)

Meal plan: Breakfast & Lunch

 

Inclusions;

  • Transport in a 4WD vehicle with a pop-up roof.
  • All fuel for the tour
  • English-speaking driver/guide.
  • Accommodation and Meals on Full Board (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
  • Park-entrance fees for all National parks
  • All activities described in the itinerary
  • 1 Gorilla tracking permit per person.
  • 1 Chimpanzee tracking permit per person
  • Drinking water throughout the safari.

Exclusions;

  • International airfares
  • Entry visa for Rwanda
  • Meals that are not part of your accommodation.
  • A porter. Helps to carry your backpack & push/pull you on the slippery slopes.
  • Personal (medical/travel) insurance
  • Tips and gratuities to rangers, driver/guide, porter, hotel staff, etc.
  • Expenses of personal nature (e.g. drinks, laundry, optional activities.)

 

This Rwanda Chimps & Gorillas safari can be customized to add or remove extra elements such that it suits you best. Here are some relevant alternatives that could inspire your safari some more.

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