Rwanda Wildlife and Cultural Tour

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15 Days Wildlife and Cultural Tour

Our 15-day trip brings you the best of Rwanda: where the savannah meets the rainforest. Explore authentic Rwanda and learn more about the traditions and historical sites. Expect to see the animals of the savannahs (elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, leopard) and up to 15 primate species, including gorillas and chimps. Get to interact with the local communities.

Get to explore the most important and well-known national parks of Rwanda: Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Lake Kivu.

Safari Highlights

  • Visit the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Kimoronko Market, and the Kigali Museum
  •  National Museum in Butare (Huye) and Kings Palace 
  • Trek chimpanzees and 12 other monkey species in Nyungwe Forest
  • Canopy walk, Birding, Waterfall Trail in Nyungwe Forest 
  • Meet the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park
  • Visit Dian Fossey‘s Grave and Golden Monkey Trail
  • Game drives (safaris) in Akagera National Park
  • Boat trips on Lake Akagera and Lake Kivu 
  • Historical and Cultural Sites

Tour Itinerary – 15 days Wildlife and Cultural Tour

DAY 1: Arrival in Kigali

Arrive at Kigali Airport and thereafter you will be met by the company representative heading straight to your place for an overnight stay.  Accommodation at Hotel Des Mille Collines

DAY 2: Kigali  City Tour – Kigali Museum , Kigali Memorial Center and Kimoronko Market. 

Breakfast and then spend this day acclimatization and getting to know the city. Visit the Kigali Museum and learn about local and national history from both pre-colonial and colonial periods. You will have the chance to visit the Kandt House Natural History Museum and Rwanda Art Museum.

You will also see the Camp Kigali Memorial and the Kigali Genocide Memorial site, a somber reminder of the massacre in 1994. Thereafter head proceed to Kimoronko Giant Market and experience the colorful handmade arts and crafts market at Caplaki Craft Village.  Return to hotel for relaxation. Accommodation and Meals at Hotel Des Mille Collines.

DAY 3: Kigali – Butare 135kms / 3.5hrs

Breakfast and then head to Butare the second largest city of Rwanda which is regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. You will visit the National Museum, get an insight into Rwanda’s kingdoms, and the discovery of colonial architecture, and enjoy traditional dancers from the museum or the national university.

Explore Nyanza – 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. Thereafter head for an overnight stay at Hotel Ibis.

DAY 4: Butare – Nyungwe Forest National Park (158kms / 2.5 hrs)

After breakfast, we calmly transfer to the south of the country with a (lunch) stop in Butare. Here we will visit the National Museum, which houses one of the finest collections in East Africa. In the afternoon we continue to Nyungwe Forest. This protected area is a birder’s paradise and is known for its 13 species of primates. Accommodation and Meals at  Nyungwe Top View Hotel.

DAY 5: Nyungwe Forest National Park- Chimpanzee Trekking  and Canopy Walk 

Breakfast and then have an early start to go and trek the Chimpanzees. Depending on the availability you are likely to trek chimpanzees in Cyamudongo Forest, a very small, isolated ‘island’ of forest surrounded by tea estates a little over an hour’s drive from the park office at Gisakura. This group consists of about 40 individuals. 

Alternatively, you might be taken to see a second habituated group, the Uwinka group, which is the largest with around 65 individuals.  The duration of your trek depends on the location of the chimps – this could take between 30 minutes to 3 hours to find them depending on how far they have moved in search of food

After lunch,  have a Canopy walk a 3- hour round trip canopy walk along a 160m-long and 70m-high canopy walkway. Take in the scenery rewarding you with an entire forest covered with a few primate species. Get to view butterflies, birds, and blue monkeys that dwell in the upper levels of the forest.

The forest has 13 rare primate species, the world’s largest-ever recorded arboreal troop of black/white colobus monkeys, and nearly 300 species of birds and 154 types of orchids. Accommodation and Meals at  Nyungwe Top View Hotel 

DAY 6: Waterfall trail  and Birding watching

Today you will embark on a guided nature walk to the Kamiranzovu waterfall trail – Kamiranzovu is the largest wetland in the forest comprising lush, forested mountains, and it resembles a giant caldera and drains through a dramatic gap between two peaks.

On the more elevated western side of the trail, look out for the amazing views of the whole marsh, including its outlet. Through that gap, water flows about 3 km, to form Kamiranzovu Waterfall, then onward to Lake Kivu, Lake Tanganyika, the Congo River, and finally to the Atlantic Ocean.

After lunch, have a birdwatching nature walk – Nyungwe Forest is among the Top birding destinations in Rwanda with over 310 bird species. From the Albertine Rift endemics to the Forest endemics there are numerous species to set your eyes upon.

Bird species include the Great Blue Turaco, the Re-Throated Alethe, the Paradise Flycatcher, and the Gigantic Forest Hornbill.  Accommodation and Meals at  Nyungwe Top View Hotel.

DAY 7: Nyungwe Forest National Park – Lake Kivu (380 km / 6 hrs drive)

From Nyungwe we continue to Gisenyi the largest port on the Rwandan shore of Lake Kivu. Have a relaxed lunch and thereafter enjoy the view from your hotel. Accommodation and Meals at Kivu Lodge

DAY 8: Lake Kivu

Have a relaxed breakfast and then head for a boat ride on the lake, while exploring the small islands and rich birdlife. After lunch, you will head to the local market or wander through the leafy streets admiring the old colonial buildings. Dinner and Overnight at Kivu Lodge

DAY 9: Lake Kivu – Volcanoes National Park (100kms/ 2 hrs)

After a calm breakfast, we proceed to one of the most beautiful safari parks in the country: Volcanoes National Park. It is an area with rich montane ecosystems, from bamboo forests to open grassland and swamps. Accommodation and Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

DAY 10: Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking and Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village

After a pre-tracking briefing by your guide about gorillas generally, your assigned gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure – participants can expect to walk long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be challenging.

However, the thrill of coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla silverback far more than makes up for the effort in their quest. Granted the time taken can be quite unpredictable taking anything from 2 to 5 hrs or longer.

You will have a packed lunch from the lodge for this hike. Upon sighting the gorillas, you spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; grooming, feeding, moving, playing, and sometimes wrestling with the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience!

Thereafter the gorilla trekking, relax and then head out for the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of our culture and traditions. Be genuinely welcomed by the community as a special visitor while they present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs.

Accommodation and Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

DAY 11: Golden Monkey Hiking and Dian Fossey Grave – Karisoke Research Station.

Breakfast and then head for the Golden Monkey Trekking: Originally thought to be a subspecies of the blue monkey, this playful and gregarious primate is now classified as a species in its own right and with a single known viable population in the Virungas; this is one of Africa’s rarest primates.

The monkeys can often be found playing and feeding in the rich bamboo forests where tourists can expect a close encounter with these beautiful animals.

After lunch,  visit the Dian Fossey project- Karisoke Research Station.  This takes a 3 -4 hour activity to the graveyard where several of Dian Fossey’s favorite gorillas were buried and Dian Fossey is also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas. The clients can have a look at the facility- labs, and research center and meet the researchers plus staff who work on the Dian Fossey project.

After any of these activities, you will see you return to your hotel for a late lunch relaxing into the evening as you enjoy the beautiful views of the backdrop of the three Volcanic mountains. Accommodation and Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

DAY 12: Volcanoes National Park – Akagera National Park 270kms / 7hrs)

Early morning breakfast and then head for the low-lying undulating plains of Akagera National Park the home to elephants, buffalo, giraffes, and zebras, more than a dozen types of antelope species, and elusive lions and leopards, you with a stopover in Kigali for early lunch.

Proceed to Akagera arriving for an evening game drive heading to your lodge for a cool relaxed evening, Accommodation and Meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp

DAY 13: Akagera National Park – Game Safari and Lake Ihema Boat Cruise.

Have breakfast and then enjoy a game drive experience in search of animals like the:  elephant, giraffes, hippos, zebra, and crocodiles.  After lunch head for a boat cruise on Lake Ihema for 2.5 hours, look out for crocodiles and hippos, and over 40 water bird species, this is also the best way to view the park’s abundant water birds including breeding colonies of noisy cormorants and open-bill storks.  Accommodation and Meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp

DAY 14: Imigongo Arts and Crafts Center –  Kigali – Niyo Art Gallery (120kms / 3hrs)

Breakfast and then head for the Imigongo Arts and crafts center. The Imigongo Cultural Center was established by Prince Kakira who established a center to ensure cultural preservation through art, storytelling, poetry, cultural dances, cultural practices, local culinary and so much more.

You will participate in the honey-making process, you will also be taught the modern and the traditional styles of beekeeping, and participate in the beer-making process using bananas, you will then head to the beer warehouse that can be accessed across the arts center. Have lunch in Kigali and thereafter head to Niyo Art Gallery.

The gallery was established by musician Niyonsenga Pacifique to help underprivileged street children in Kigali. Donations to the gallery are being used to pay for food, education, medicine, and other daily essentials for the children. Children benefiting from this support give presentations to visitors by playing drums and performing dances. Accommodation and Meals at Kigali Marriot Hotel

DAY 15: Departure 

Breakfast and depending on your flight time, you will end the 15 days on Rwanda Wildlife and Cultural Tour heading to the Airport for your international flight back home.

Included in the 15 days Wildlife and Cultural Tour

Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Land cruiser with gasoline/fuel, Mineral water in the vehicle, services of an English speaking Driver/guide, Accommodation,  Meals,  all Park Entrance Fees, *Gorilla Tracking USD 1500 pp, Chimpanzee Permits, Golden Monkey Hike, Canopy Walk, Birdwatching excursion, All historical and cultural activities, Boat rides where applicable, Statutory Taxes.

Excluded in the 15 days Wildlife and Cultural Tour

International Airfares; Excess baggage charges; Rwanda Entry Visa Fees USD 50 per person; Room service, Beverages, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff, Shopping charges for Curios and Crafts, International Airport Departure Taxes, Optional activities unless specified as included, Any other services not expressly shown in the itinerary or indicated as included.

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