Arrive at Kigali Airport where you are met by your guide. Transfer to your hotel for a briefing and overnight. Overnight at Kigali Serena Hotel (B).
After breakfast you will depart for Huye (Butare) the second largest city of Rwanda,regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. It hosts the National Museum, as well as several academic and research institutions. On your way to Huye (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 to the Kabaka’s palace of Buganda.
You will visit the National Museum in Huye which is one the well set-up if not the finest ethnographic museum of East Africa. It’s a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region.
After the visit of the museum, enjoy a spectacular performance of the Urugangazi group of Intore-dancers. This is probably the best group of Rwanda and their performance is regarded by many as one of the highlights of your safari! Lunch is foreseen in Butare. Afterward, we will drive to Nyungwe Forest NP. Your driver-guide will stop at the Uwinka offices of Nyungwe Forest NP 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 of the next two days.
Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge.(BLD)
This is the Day to track chimps in Nyungwe Forest, the only remaining high altitude rainforest in East Africa. After an early breakfast, we leave for a guided nature walk in Nyungwe Forest in search of primates like the colobus monkey, l’hoests monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey or blue monkey. Birdwatchers will also appreciate the exceptional rich bird life. Nyungwe is a primate and bird nirvana! We take all the time needed to explore Nyungwe and have a second overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. (BLD)
After breakfast we start our exploration of lake Kivu. Along the shores of lake Kivu you have three resort towns: Cyangungu, Kibuye and Gisenyi. Kibuye with his Guest House is the most beautiful of the three. On our way to Kibuye we visit the Genocide Memorial of Bisesero. After lunch, we take time for some relaxation on the shores of lake Kivu. Overnight at Serena Hotel on Lake Kivu shores.(BLD)
After breakfast, you will have an enjoyable speed-boat trip to Gisenyi. The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwandan markets. You will be picked up in Gisenyi for lunch and if time/security allows, we make arrangements to cross the border to Goma (Optional -Congo visa is $30 and you will need to pay for a re-entry visa into Rwanda). 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! We drive to Ruhengeri and Kinigi for an overnight at your hotel. Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View or Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (BLD).
After breakfast we report at the headquarters for your gorilla trekking day. After the trekking, lunch at your hotel 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. Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View or Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge.
For those who would like to have a second gorilla trek, we invite you to visit one of the groups with a longer hiking time; the Susa group which is located on the slopes of the Karisimbi has 35 members and will give you a great sense of achievement ! (extra gorilla permit not included).
Have early breakfast and visit the grave of Dian Fossey, situated at the former Karisoke Research Center where Dian spent some twenty years studying the Mountain Gorillas. The trek to the site is quite spectacular, passing through bamboo forest and afro-montane habitats, criss-crossed trails with tracks of forest buffalo and elephant! You may see all sorts of wildlife as you make our way up and down to Karisoke, nestled between the volcanic peaks of Karismbi and Visoke. Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View or Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (BLD).
Have early breakfast and visit Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village for a wonderful and interactive experience, learning all about Rwandan traditions, culture, songs and dance. You may also participate in the local activities and taste local foods and wines. You will spend the night here, in traditional houses and participate in Gitaramo, a cultural tradition of sharing stories, song and dance while sitting around a warm fire. Or you can have dinner and overnight atMountain Gorilla View or Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge.
After breakfast, a half day Kigali City trip includes a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, which takes a few hours. It’s a touching visit! Transfer to Kigali Airportafterward, in time to catch your homebound flight.