9-Day Rwanda: the Full Works in Luxury
Rwanda is a rollercoaster of awe, emotion, and utter amazement. We recommend spending at least two nights in Kigali to visit the genocide memorial before departing for the Volcanoes National Park. Here, you’ll track gorillas and search for endangered golden monkeys. A stop at the beautiful Lake Kivu gives you a couple of days to put your feet up before continuing to Nyungwe. The forest is one of the continent’s most important areas of biodiversity and the big drawcard is chimpanzee trekking.
Start : Kigali (Day 1)
Day 2-4: Volcanoes National Park
Day 5-6: Lake Kivu (Lake)
Day 7-8: Nyungwe National Park
End: Kigali (City) (Day 9)
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Kigali
You will be met and transferred to your first lodge.
There are African cities, noisy, bustling, and glorious in their own right, and then there’s Kigali. Having not only survived its turbulent political past, the capital has also positively blossomed into one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan hotspots. Safe and clean (the last Saturday of every month is reserved for hedge-clipping, rubbish-collecting, and other novel community activities), it’s also remarkably picturesque, surrounded by emerald-green hills and sweeping valleys.
This large, modern hotel in central Kigali lies just 10km from Kigali International Airport. The rooms are quiet, so take some downtime, enjoy the varied cuisine at the restaurants, wander around the lush gardens and laze around the pool. And do visit the blissful spa.
Day 2-4: Volcanoes National Park
Make all your wildlife dreams come true with gorilla treks in an enchanting forest setting.
Straddling the border of Uganda, DRC, and Rwanda, the Virungas are the luscious, magical, and utterly spellbinding home of 480 mountain gorillas (sadly, that's more than half the world’s remaining population). On the Rwandan side, the Parc National des Volcans, or Volcanoes National Park, is the place to go for face-to-face encounters with these wonderful primates, an experience worthy of every superlative in the dictionary. But don’t stop at the gorillas; the Virungas is also home to the rare golden monkey.
Brand-new Bisate Lodge, near Kinigi where the park's headquarters are located, lies in an extinct crater that offers one-of-a-kind views of Karasimbi, Mikeno, and Bisoke volcanoes. This eco-lodge with a twist of glamour is not only close to the forest for a quiet gorilla encounter but promises to be remote enough to allow you to feel at one with the park.
Day 5-6: Lake Kivu
An enormous, freshwater lake in the heart of the Albertine Rift, Lake Kivu is bordered by Rwanda to one side, and the DRC to the other. The setting is dramatic and beautiful: steep escarpments and terraced tea plantations plunge into the glassy water, pretty islets and peninsulas are draped in thick forest, and crescents of golden sand peek out from under the greenery.
This lovely inn on the white, sandy shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth-largest lake in Africa, is the perfect location for a quiet weekend after gorilla trekking. You're just 160km from Kigali here, but the atmosphere couldn't be more different. The gardens are tropically dramatic, the pool is welcoming and the food and accommodation are perfectly acceptable, but it's the lake that is the main attraction. Watch the changing light on the water, enjoy boating and swimming and nod off to the waves lapping the shore.
Day 7-8: Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe National Park is Rwanda's most important area of biodiversity and is currently the highest priority for forest conservation in Africa. A pretty good claim to fame, and for good reason too. The vast rainforest is truly enchanting: dense stands of mahoganies tangled with ancient ferns tower overhead; herbaceous plants and cornucopias of colorful orchids and butterflies charm every sense. As for wildlife, more than a quarter of Africa’s primates live here. The big drawcard is chimpanzee trekking, but 400-strong troops of monkeys, baboon, mongoose, otter, bushpig, civet, and genet also deserve your attention. And don't forget East Africa’s highest canopy walk, a metal bridge suspended 50 meters above the forest floor, offering vertiginous views of the enchanting scenery.
Nyungwe House is a sophisticated, homestead-style hotel on an expansive working tea plantation, it's the first five-star property in the area and an ideal base from which to explore.
Day 9: Back to Kigali
Today you will travel back to Kigali to finish exploring the city and end your trip here.
- Park fees
- Gorilla permits
- Chimp permits
- All activities
- All accommodation
- A professional driver/guide
- All transportation
- All flights during the tour
- All taxes/VAT
- Roundtrip airport transfer
- International flights
- Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour
- Personal items (Souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)
- Government imposed increase of taxes and/or park fees