Rwanda is a gem of a country in central Africa, entirely land locked, it sits in the Great Rift Valley and is known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’. These rolling verdant hills are blanketed in part by one of Africa’s oldest remaining forests, Nyungwe, which is renowned for its remarkable array of orchids and huge troops of striking black and white Colobus monkey.
Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda is the home of the mountain gorilla and the golden monkey, and was the base for the primatologist Dian Fossey. Mountain gorilla trekking at the Volcanoes National Park involves hiking up a steep volcano through dense bamboo jungle in search of one of the gorilla families. Encountering these primates is considered one of the most exciting and memorable Wildlife encounters in Africa.
Akagera National Park in Rwanda is an amazing conservation success story. It is Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda.
Arrive in Kigali - Welcome to the land of a Thousand Hills. You will be met by your representative who will help you with the formalities and then transfer you to The Retreat By Heaven.
This morning you will be taken on a city tour of Kigali, then drop you off at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. After your visit, enjoy a drive through the valleys and hills to the Volcanoes National Park. Upon arrival, you will check in with some time to spare, followed by dinner.
Wake up early in the misty rainforest of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey is endemic to the area and this is a great opportunity to hike in the park looking for them in the trees. After your trekking activity, visit the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, which gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of their culture and traditions.
After an early breakfast at 6:30 am this morning, you will head to the head offices for a briefing on your Gorilla Trekking. Volcanoes National Park protects the slopes of this magnificent mountain range - home of the rare mountain gorilla - and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp, and heath. You may spot a wide variety of birdlife but the high point will be spending an hour with the remarkably peaceful gorillas, despite their size and appearance as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting, and raising their young. You will be allowed an hour with these wonderful creatures. After the trek, you will return to the lodge for lunch.
Another early start and breakfast followed by a briefing at the Volcanoes National Park Head Quarters before departing for a hike to Mount Bisoke. Bisoke, like all of the peaks in the Virunga Mountain Range, is a volcano created by rift action on the forming divergent boundary of the East African Rift which is slowly bisecting the African plate. The mountain reached a height of 3,711 meters (12,175 ft) before becoming extinct. Bisoke has the largest crater lake in the range. The steep slopes of the peak are densely covered with equatorial rainforests and alpine meadows. The summit does not gather snow but is often shrouded in fog. Bisoke is one of the mountains considered a habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla, and the Karisoke Research Center founded by Dian Fossey is located in the valley to the west.
After the trek, rejoin your driver-guide for a transfer back to your lodge.
Early this morning you will meet your driver guide who will transfer you to Akagera National Park headquarters via Kigali, where you will stop for lunch. On arrival, you will register and proceed to check in at your lodge as you head for the cultural activity. You have three choices of Akagera Cultural Experiences here, and you are able to choose one of about 1.5 - 2 hrs in length.
Today, you will enjoy a Full-Day safari (driving and boat ride) in Akagera National Park, the only park in Rwanda where you can find all of the Big 5.
Akagera provides you with the opportunity to view gentle hills blending beautifully with lowland swamps and water bodies. You will visit the Giraffe area in the south and the lakes road up towards Birengero. Depending on the time of the game drive you will be able to view most of the game in different parts of the park.
The afternoon boat ride on Lake Ihema will reward you with a large number of hippos, huge Nile crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. For the bird-lover, you can be entertained by the majestic African fish eagles and the large concentration of water birds. In the marshes, keep an eye out for the papyrus gonolek and the often sought-after shoebill stork, cormorants, and many more.
This morning you have time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and possibly have some more time for a game drive in Akagera Park.
You will drive back to Kigali for lunch, before heading to the airport for your departure flight.