9 Days Rwanda Adventure Tour – Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes National Park and Gisenyi

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Kigali International Airport

Upon arrival at the airport, your driver guide shall be available to warmly receive you and then transfer you to your hotel in Kigali. If you arrive in the morning, you will do a tour of Kigali City in the afternoon and visit some of the interesting places including the local crafts market, Gisozi genocide memorial and Kigali museum. Kigali is arguably the tidiest, cleanest, safest and most vibrant of capital city in Africa.

Journey time to your hotel: 10 – 30 minutes

Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation to choose from:

Luxury: Kigali Serena Hotel

Moderate: Lemigo Hotel

Budget: Golf Hills Residence

Day 2: Kigali – Butare – Nyungwe National Park

Have early breakfast and at 7.00am depart for Nyungwe Forest National Park, southwest of Rwanda. You get to visit some of the tourist sites along the way to Nyungwe such as is the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda (formerly National Museum of Rwanda) in Butare, Huye District. The museum has a collection of historical, ethnographic, artistic and archeological artifacts, which are an important source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the East African region. After the museum visit, you have lunch in Butare, and thereafter proceed to Nyungwe, arriving in the evening.

Journey time: 5 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation options

Luxury: Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Moderate: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel

Budget: Gisakura Guesthouse

Day 3: Waterfall Hike, Canopy Walk

After early breakfast set out for your first activity in Nyungwe Forest which is the Waterfall Hike. The activity offers a beautiful trek into this ancient forest that dates back to before the ice age. Taking a slow paced trek, you get to observe a diversity of beautiful life which includes several tree species, different monkey species, butterflies, chameleons, beautiful flowers, orchids, old trees with moss, plenty of forest birds, and breathtaking views of the forest.l'hoest monkey nyungwe forest The hike leads to a beautiful waterfall where you relax off the tiredness and sooth in the freshness of the cold sprinkles and cool breeze from the waterfall, before you trek back and transfer to the lodge for lunch. The hike is about 4 hours and is excellent for a satisfying nature experience of this remarkable forest. The trail is neat and properly maintained though it does get muddy and slippery during the rains. Due to some challenging climbs along the way, this is considered moderate trek, hence requiring some fitness preparation for a less strenuous experience.

In the afternoon you will go for the popular canopy walk which starts off at the main reception center of Uwinka. The walkway measures close to 200 meters in length and hangs 50 meters off the ground, providing a bird’s-eye view of nature in the upper storey of the forest. canopy walk nyungwe forestEnjoy exhilarating views of the lush forest and observe some wildlife which lives in the canopies such as monkeys, squirrels and lots of birds. This activity is about 2 hours long, after which you return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking in Cyamudongo Forest, Tea Experience

Today you will be up as early as 5.30am for breakfast then transfer to the main reception center to meet the rangers. After pre-trek briefing you head to Cyamudongo Forest for the Chimp trek. Cyamudongo is a small isolated patch of forest that lies to the south of Nyungwe. It is however an annex of park and hosts the second community of habituated Chimps (about 30) after the one in Nyungwe Forest. The small size of the forest gives a bigger chance to find the Chimps compared to Nyungwe Forest hence the preference. chimpanzee in nyungwe national park rwandaThe trek could take from less than an hour to several hours before finding the Chimps. You have one hour with the Chimps after which you return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation. In the afternoon you go out to a tea estate, tour the tea plantations, discover how tea is harvested, and go through the processing of the leaves to the final product that is ready for consumption. Tea being Rwanda’s largest export you will observe that a good portion of the scenic green mountainous landscape is of large tea plantations. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Nyungwe – Twin Lakes – Volanoes National Park

After breakfast, check out and travel to the northern province of Rwanda for exciting tours in Volcanoes National Park. Your first visit is to the twin lakes Ruhondo and Burera, which are situated on the outskirts of Musanze and Volcanoes National Park. You will observe from a view point, the lakes are dotted lush with green islands, surrounded with cultivated hills and back-dropped by the magnificent Virunga Mountains. twin lakes rwandaAfter taking in this brilliant sight, continue to Musanze and transfer to your lodge situated outside Volcanoes National Park. Have dinner and overnight.

Journey time: 6 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Budget: Kinigi Guest House

Day 6: Golden Monkeys Hike/Dian Fossey Hike

golden-monkey-volcanoes-rwandaGolden Monkey tracking will open your adventures in the Volcanoes National Park, Africa’s oldest national park established in 1925. Have early breakfast and transfer to the park headquarters in Kinigi by 7.00am. Meet the rangers for briefing and thereafter transfer to the start of the trek, just outside the park. You will be tracking a large troop of habituated Golden Monkeys in Mt. Sabinyo. The monkeys live in the bamboo vegetation at the bottom of the mountain. The trek is relatively light, and it doesn’t take long before encountering these striking primates. You will have a wonderful time following them through the bamboo vegetation, and they are incredible good for pictures, moreover flash is allowed and the monkeys actually seem to love it! After one hour, return to meet your driver and transfer to the lodge.

Alternative: Instead of the Golden Monkeys, you may opt to hike the Dian Fossey Tomb Trail which leads to the tomb of the famous Gorilla researcher Dian Fossey and the Karisoke Research Center. It is a relatively challenging trek through Hagenia – Hypericum vegetation zone, but very rewarding with wonderful views, birdlife, orchids, and sometimes Mountain Gorillas are encountered. The round trek is roughly 3 – 4 hours.

In the afternoon you make a visit to the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village for a number of Rwandan cultural performances and traditional experiences such a traditional mock wedding at the King’s palace, performance from traditional Intore dancers, shooting arrows with the Batwa hunters, prepare a local delicacy, etc…  Iby’Iwacu literally means, treasures of our home, our heritage. intore-dancersReturn to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Mountain Gorillas trekking

Mountain Gorilla Trekking RwandaMountain Gorilla trekking is arguably the biggest highlight of this trip and it is befitting to make it the last wildlife adventure of the trip! Like the day before, you are up for early breakfast and transfer to park headquarters by 7.00am, taking packed lunch from the lodge and not forgetting a rain jacket and enough drinking water (Refer to end of this itinerary for other relevant items). The driver guide will work with the rangers to assign you a gorilla group, then meet with the ranger for pre-trek briefing and thereafter drive to the start of the trek. There will be porters you can hire to carry your stuff and offer assistance, a hiking stick is provided free. Get into the park and look for the Gorillas, trekking through thick vegetation and on tough terrain. You have just an hour to be with the Gorillas, return and find your driver to take you back to the headquarters to pick your Gorilla trekking certificate and thereafter get back to the lodge. Check out and travel to Gisenyi for a relaxation experience by the shores of Lake Kivu. Dine and overnight.

Journey time to Kivu: 1 hour

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Moderate: Paradis Malahide Hotel

Budget: Palm Garden Hotel

Day 8: Gisenyi

lake kivu rubavu rwandaAfter all the intense activities there is no better place to chill and relax than at the beautiful sandy beaches of Lake Kivu, enjoy the beautiful weather and wonderful scenery, see lots of water birds, eat fresh fish. There also water activities you can do on the lake such as boat rides.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Gisenyi – Kigali

After breakfast, check out and travel to Kigali. Depending on your flight time, you may do a tour of Kigali City and visit some of the important landmarks, and purchase some souvenirs from the local crafts markets. Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Journey time: 3 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour includes:

  • One Gorilla permit (USD 750) per person
  • One Chimpanzee permit per person
  • One Golden Monkey permit per person
  • All the activities included in the itinerary
  • Transport – tour vehicle, driver guide, fuel
  • Full board accommodation for 8 nights
  • All meals
  • Bottle water

Tour Excludes

  • Porter fees
  • Tips
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Souvenirs and other curios shop purchases
  • Visa fees
  • Phone bills, laundry, and other personal expenditures
  • Luxury drinks, e.g beers, soda, wines and spirits

What to bring

  • Rain jacket
  • Hiking shoes
  • Long trousers & shirt to protect from stinging nettles
  • Gaiters
  • Gloves
  • Cap/hut
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