Brief description of 5 day safari package
This 5 day itinerary gives travelers ample time carry out three major activities in the Rwanda safaris, they include gorilla tracking,golden monkey tracking and game drives in the various parks as stipulated in the the detailed itineraries below.
|Tour Rates (Price Person -pp)|
|1||$ 2670 pp||$ 2790 pp||$ 2900 pp|
|2||$ 1830 pp||$ 2100 pp||$ 2150 pp|
|4||$ 1580 pp||$ 1850 pp||$ 1900 pp|
DAY 1: ARRIVE KIGALI & AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
In your safaris in Rwanda,Your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will meet you at the Kigali International Airport and give you a quick briefing of the upcoming schedule for the next few days. You will then board the vehicle and commence the journey to Akagera National Park, a 2-3 hour journey. En route, you will stop in a local Rwandese restaurant for an opportunity to taste some traditional foods.
After lunch, you will proceed to your accommodation at the Park and rest up for the early morning.
Dinner will be served at your accommodation.
DAY 2: GAME DRIVE & VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After an early morning breakfast, you will go for a post-dawn Game Drive into the park. This time of the day is the best for viewing many of the animals, particularly the predators, who usually do their hunting in the early hours of the day, when the sun is not so strong.
After your Game Drive, you will return to your lodge for lunch. After lunch, you will pack up and begin your journey to Volcanoes National Park. You will go directly to your accommodation and check in. If time permits, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you on a Village Walk. This will give you an opportunity to meet and greet some of the local people, and at the same time be able to look around the communities that exist around the National Park. The walk takes about 2 hours.
Before night fall, you will return to your accommodation for Dinner and an early night.
DAY 3: GORILLA TRACKING & IBYIWACU CULTURAL CENTER
After an early breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to the Park Headquarters for the orientation prior to your gorillaTracking. Here at the HQ center, you will be served coffee and tea while watching a local group performing their drum and dance routine. You will be allocated to one of the 8-person tracking groups and receive a brief orientation of the park and the park etiquette by your assigned Ranger. Afterwards, you will travel a short distance to the spot where you will begin your tracking.
The tracking can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, depending on where the Gorilla Family that you have been assigned to, is exactly. The Gorillas move about the forest, creating new nests to sleep in every evening. Once you meet up with your Gorilla Family, you are permitted to spend up to one hour viewing and photographing. You will be given a packed lunch to bring along; this must be eaten either before or after the Gorilla encounter, as no food is allowed to be consumed when you are with the Gorillas.
Immediately after you have spent the hour with the Gorillas, you will re-unite with your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide and return to your accommodation for a rest. If time permits, your guide will escort you to the Ibyiwacu Cultural Center where you will see local people performing their traditional Wedding Ceremony, in full dress. They will also be dancing and drumming for your entertainment. These people at the center, were previously poachers and through a Community program to preserve the wildlife and find alternate income for these people, this center was set up. It is a unique model that is hoped to be repeated in other communities.
Before night fall, you will be taken back to your accommodation for Dinner.
DAY 4: GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING & MUSANZE CAVES
After an early morning breakfast, you will be taken to the Park Headquarters, as for the Gorilla Tracking. Again, you will be served coffee and tea while you get an opportunity to be entertained by the local drummers and dancers. Afterwards, you will be assigned to your Golden Monkey Tracking group with a Park Ranger; you will then be highlighted on the tracking procedure and protocol for the Park. After this orientation, you will be taken to the location of the start of the tracking into the forest.
Unlike the Mountain Gorilla Tracking, the Golden Monkey tracking does not take as long, in terms of meeting up with the primates, as they are usually feeding in the Bamboo Forest at the base of the mountain. You will get to spend an hour with the Golden Monkeys, after which you will then return to your vehicle and re-unite with the GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide, who will escort you back to your accommodation for lunch.
After lunch, you will be taken to the Musanze Caves, a short distance from your accommodation. These caves have been used by local people to live in; now they are an attraction for visitors. The largest of the caves is 2 kilometers in length.
You will be taken back to your accommodation before night fall. Dinner will be at your accommodation.
DAY 5: RETURN TO KIGALI & GENOCIDE MEMORIAL CENTER
After breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you back to Kigali for your onward flight. If time exists, your guide will take you to the Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali, a museum set up to commemorate the Holocaust of 1994. When the time is right, your guide will escort you to the airport to catch your flight.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera National Park is located in the north east sector of Rwanda, along the Tanzanian border. The park, which is 1200 square kilometers in size, was founded in 1934, to protect the wildlife and vegetation in the three eco-regions of savanna, mountain and swamp. Because of its proximity to Kigali, the capital, it is possible to actually visit the park on a day-trip; although there is much to see in the park and it is not recommended. The park is named after the Kagera River which flows along the park’s eastern boundary, feeding several lakes including the largest, Lake Ihema. One third of the park is a complex system of lakes and papyrus swamps which is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
The park is home to many species which live in the papyrus swamps, such as the Sitatunga and the elusive Shoebill Stork. The plains area is the habitat for elephant, buffalo, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope, eland, duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. The primates consist of olive baboons, vervet monkeys and blue monkeys, as well as bushbabies seen in the night. There are large predators in the park including leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and lion; which has recently been introduced into the park. The lions came from South Africa; the first in the park in 15 years.. The black rhino is also being re-introduced to the park; which will give the park their Big 5 status.
The wide variety of habitats has made Akagera National Park an important ornithological site, with almost 500 bird species. There is a 2-tiered system of guides in the park; there are the park rangers which are employed by the park authority, plus there are local guides from the community. Both of these options are equal in terms of their information; the advantage of hiring the local guides is that the money gets poured back into the community and also strengthens the relationship between the park and the communities around it.
The park has a bit of a troubled past, in that there were many refugees from Rwanda’s civil wars that returned to the area in the 1990’s, disturbing the environment through cattle-grazing and poaching of the wildlife. As a result, the government reduced the size of Akagera by half to its present size, giving the new residents a place to live in one sector and the wildlife in the other. The park for many years was called a ‘vegetarian safari’ park, because of the few animals; but with Rwanda’s renewed commitment to tourism, the wildlife numbers have increased and although the numbers are not anything like those in Kenya and Tanzania, the Rwandans are working on it. The one most positive side effect of Akagera’s recent history is that there are few tourist vehicles in the park, which can be a most annoying issue in the other East African safari countries.
AKAGERA GAME LODGE
The Akagera Game Lodge is within the boundaries of the Akagera National Park, just inside its south entrance. The Lodge is located on a ridge overlooking Lake Ihema. The Lodge is recognized as a superior venue with beautiful views and tranquility next to the forest.
The Lodge has a swimming pool with a snack bar at its side, as well as a tennis court for the Lodges’ guests.
The Lodge is designed to for guests to enjoy the outside gardens and surrounding natura forests. The Lodge has a bar/lounge, grills for barbequing, free WiFi and parking. There are bicycles for hire and the property has a children’s playground, and picnic area. There are 9 guestrooms at th e lodge; the main building is terraced.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK/PARC NATIONAL DES VOLCANO
Volcanoes National Park, approximately 160 square kilometers in size, is situated in the Northern part of Rwanda. This is the oldest National Park in Africa, established in 1925; initially a very small conservation area to protect the Mountain Gorillas from poachers. The park was enlarged a few years later, then split in two with the political boundaries between Rwanda and the Congo being established. Dian Fossey, the American Zoologist who conducted her research originally in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, shifted into Volcanoes National Park in 1967, because of security concerns. Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center, where she continued with her Mountain Gorilla Research and advocacy work to protect these primates from poachers. In 1985 she was murdered at the Center, where she was buried. The Center has expanded its work, now employing over 100 people; in addition to the research and advocacy work, the Center is a tourist attraction that can be easily reached by a two-hour trail from the park headquarters.
There is little doubt that the main attraction to Volcanoes National Park is tracking the endangered Mountain Gorillas, the foremost wildlife experience on the continent. The park does offer many other attractions for visitors; there are daily Golden Monkey Tracking tours, one-day and two-day volcano climbing to the summits of Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke, respectively. In September every year there is a baby gorilla naming ceremony; it is called Kwita Izina. There are lakes and caves to be explored, as well as a number of unusually interesting cultural encounters with local people. The Park is home to almost 200 bird species, 29 of them endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains and the Virungas.
Due to the large altitudinal range in the park, there is a large variety in the types of vegetation that exist; everything from grasslands to dense forests. These different flora support equally as diverse fauna. In the park one can see black-fronted duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena, bushbuck, and even a few elephants. Tourism is the main function of the park; the majority of the revenues generated by the park are put back into the park for maintenance and for the conservation of the wildlife that lives within its borders. Around 10% of the revenue goes to local projects in the area to help the indigenous people benefit from the large revenue stream generated by the park.
FIVE VOLCANOES BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel is located in Musanze Province, on the road to Kinigi, where the Volcanoes National Park head office is situated. This 5-star accommodation has beautiful views of the rolling hills and the neighbouring forest. There are 13 rooms, a VIP cottage, each with air conditioning, flat screen TV, a refrigerator and a kettle. The hotel has a restaurant, pool, traditional sauna and a steam sauna.
SABYINYO SILVERBACK LODGE
The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is also located in Musanze District, close to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters. The views of the Virunga Range from this foothill location are excellent. The lodge comprises of 8 cottages, all with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes, and are well spaces for privacy. Each cottage has a sitting room area with a fireplace, a bedroom and dressing room. The large bathrooms have both a bath and a shower with 24 hour hot water.
There is a sheltered balcony on each of the cottages, where one can have a relaxing breakfast. There is a library and games room in the main lodge building; also a bar and restaurant.
Virunga Lodge is located an hour’s drive from the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters, with one of the most magnificent views in Africa; the lodge is on a ridge overlooking Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo. There are 8 spacious stone rooms, all with wooden floors, locally made wooden furniture and large verandas. The private toilet and shower for each is connected by a short covered walkway. Toilets at the lodge are low-flushing eco toilets and the showers are solar heated hot water. They offer free evening entertainment in the form of local Indoor dancers.