7 day Rwanda adventure in which you get to visit the most astonishing landmarks and wildlife in Rwanda. The safari includes activities such as gorilla tour, Game drives in Akagera national park, hiking in Karisimbi and chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN KIGALI & AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK GAME DRIVE
in your visit to Rwanda,Your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will meet you at Kigali Airport and give you a short briefing of the upcoming itinerary. You will then drive directly to Akagera National Park and check in to your accommodation, where you will have lunch. The drive from Kigali Airport to the Park is about 2.5 hours; the roads are good and there is little traffic once you are out of Kigali. There are opportunities to stop, and you should feel free to request your guide to stop whenever you so wish. If there are any supplies you may need for your week in Rwanda, this is a good time to tell your guide, as the shopping in Kigali is considerably better than on the road; in the park itself, there are no shops.
When reaching your accommodation, you will check in and prepare for lunch. After lunch and a rest, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you on an afternoon Game Drive. Akagera National Park is quite unusual, in that it does not have the huge number of tourists that the game parks in Kenya and Tanzania have; as such, you could spend hours in the park moving about and not see other vehicles with tourists. The park has recently re-introduced lions into the park and there is a program in place to re-introduce Rhinos as well. This will then give Akagera National Park Big 5 status; something Rwanda has not had for many years.
Before night fall, you will return to your accommodation for dinner. There is little entertainment in Akagera National Park in the evening, with the exception of the lodge you may be staying in. Many of the lodges arrange a local dance and drum group to come to the lodge to entertain the guests after dinner. As you are going on an early morning Game Drive, we suggest you make it an early night, as Day 2 of your itinerary could be exhausting with all the driving and the early start.
DAY 2: GAME DRIVE & VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After an early breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you on a morning Game Drive. This is the best time to get an opportunity to see the predators in the park going for a ‘kill’, as later in the day, when the sun is too hot, the animals tend to find shelter from the heat. There are a number of predators in Akagera National Park, including lions and hyenas, both of which enjoy early morning hunting. The park also has many other large mammals, as well as a great variety of birds. East Africa in general, is a haven for bird watchers, and this park is no exception, especially around the wetlands and marshes, there are many endemic species to be found.
You will return to your accommodation after the Game Drive for lunch. The Game Drive can be dusty and we always recommend you shower or bathe after being out in the field.
After lunch, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to Volcanoes National Park. You will go directly to your accommodation to check in, and take a rest. The drive is approximately 2.5 hours, door to door and it is a most pleasant drive; the roads are well paved and the scenery is enjoyable. This land of 1000 hills will not disappoint you with great vistas. One of the interesting things to view in Rwanda when driving between destinations, is the farming done on the hills. The challenges that these local farmers have with the high slopes; irrigation, soil erosion and just the mere steepness of the hills complicates the harvesting process. Most farms in Rwanda are less than 1 Acre in size, so the hills look like a quilt of crops being grown.
Again, it is a good opportunity to rest up a bit as Day 3 will again be an early morning with two sessions in the forest on foot; the first being the Gorilla Tracking, the second being the walk to Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Center. Dinner will be served at your accommodation.
DAY 3: GORILLA TRACKING & DIAN FOSSEY KARISOKE RESEARCH CENTER
After a very early breakfast, your GORILLA SAFARIS RWANDA guide will take you to the Park headquarters where you will be receiving your orientation for the Gorilla Tracking. Upon arrival at the Park Headquarters, you will be served coffee and tea while you have the opportunity to watch a group of local entertainers, dancing and drumming. Immediately afterwards, you will be assigned to one of the groups, headed by one of the Park Rangers. The Ranger will then give you a briefing of the Gorilla Tracking and the Park etiquette. You will then proceed to the track where you will begin your search for the Mountain Gorillas.
The Tracking of the Mountain Gorillas can take quite a few hours, as the Gorillas move about the park and, as a result, it may take some time to locate the specific group you are tracking; this can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. When you do meet up with the Gorilla Family, you are permitted to spend up to one hour watching and photographing them. Because of the uncertainty as to how long it takes, your accommodation will prepare a packed lunch for you to eat in the forest; you are not permitted to eat when with the Gorillas, so you should take your lunch either before or after you meet the Gorillas. We have a section on our website dedicated to the Gorillas, their habitat, what you can expect when tracking them, and data on the different families that are living in the Park. We suggest you consult this section prior to going on your adventure.
When you are finished the Gorilla Tracking adventure, you will return to your vehicle and re-unite with your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide, who will then take you back to the Park Headquarters where you will begin your walk on the trail to the Karisoke Research Center, located between Mount Visoke (a.k.a. Mount Bisoke) and Mount Karisimbi. This is the place that Dian Fossey, the famous American Zoologist, conducted her research on the Mountain Gorillas. Fossey was murdered and buried at the Center. Visitors are welcome to come to the center to learn about the Gorillas and the history of the center itself. The roundtrip from the Park Headquarters to the Karisoke Research Center takes 3 hours. Besides viewing the grave of Dian Fossey, the Center is a haven for information on Gorillas and other Primates living in the Rwandan forests. There are tours to be taken at the center and many very informative people to enhance your Primate knowledge.
Before night fall, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to your accommodation, where you will have dinner. The lodges in the park usually arrange some form of local entertainment for their guests; usually in the form of dancing and drumming.
DAY 4: MOUNT KARISIMBI CLIMBING
After an early breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to the track where you can begin your 2-day climb of Mount Karisimbi; which is the 5th highest snow-capped peak in Africa, the highest of the peaks in the Virunga Range. Mount Karisimbi sits on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The first day you spend 6 hours hiking and climbing to the 3,700 meter level. Here, you will overnight; camping gear is required for this journey. Everything you will need for the 2 days will have to be brought with you, including food; porters are available to carry your gear.
Lunch and Dinner will be prepared by the guide that is leading the way up the mountain. The hike is not an ordinary one, in that there are many wondrous things to see; several bird species as well as primates are a usual sight when climbing. There are 4 belts of vegetation from the dense forest at the base of the mountain to the barren volcanic core at the summit. During the rainy season one should expect muddy trails; although even in the dry periods, there is rain at these high altitudes. There are many photo opportunities along the way and as climbs go in Africa, this is one of the most interesting in terms of the different terrain and the fauna that exists in every stage of the climb.
DAY 5: MOUNT KARISIMBI CLIMBING & NYUGWE NATIONAL PARK
After an early morning breakfast, you will continue your ascent up to the summit, which is 4,507 meters above sea level. The vistas at the top are quite extraordinary. The descent takes approximately 6 hours. When you get to the starting point, at the base, you will rejoin your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide who will then take you to a Rwandese restaurant for lunch, this will be en-route to the Nyungwe National Park, a distance of 115 kilometers.
After lunch, you will be driven to your accommodation at Nyungwe National Park; you will check in and have a rest before dinner at your accommodation. The drive is 2 hours from the base camp of Mount Karisimbi to Nyungwe National Park, not including a stop for lunch.
DAY 6: CHIMPANZEE TRACKING & CANOPY WALK
After an early morning breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to the Park Headquarters where you will receive an orientation for the Chimpanzee Tracking. You will be assigned to a group and a Park Ranger; when everything is organized, you will begin your tracking of the Chimpanzee. Unlike the Mountain Gorillas, the Chimpanzee are always moving about the forest, swinging on the branches of the trees, chattering the whole time. It is not unusual for the Chimpanzees to engage with you; at times coming right up to the visitors and holding their hands as they walk along the path. The Chimpanzees are the closest to humans of the Great Apes; their similarities are numerous.
You will return to your accommodation for lunch. After lunch, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will escort you to the starting point of the walking trail that takes you through the rain forest to the Canopy Walk, a 50 meter suspension bridge that hangs over the top of the trees. From this vantage point you get a birds’ eye view of the forest and its inhabitants. This is the only such Canopy Walk in East and Central Africa, and it does provide a unique opportunity to view the forest from above.
Before night fall, you will return to your accommodation for a rest and dinner.
DAY 7: RETURN TO KIGALI
After breakfast, you will pack up your things and start the journey to Kigali to catch your departure flight from the International Airport. If time permits, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will give you a guided tour of Kigali City, including the Genocide Memorial Site, commemorating the 1994 unrest in Rwanda.
Your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to a local Rwandese Restaurant in Kigali for you to try some traditional foods. When it’s time, your guide will escort you to the airport.
End of tour