- Explore Kigali's diverse neighborhoods and go shopping at Kirimonko Market
- Learn about Rwanda's healing at the Nyamata Genocide Reconciliation Village
- Visit Ibyi Iwacu village to learn about rural life and traditions from locals
- See Rwanda's wildlife: chimpanzees, lions, zebra, and elephants
|Day 1||Arrival Kigali, Rwanda||Kigali|
|Day 2||Full day Kigali City Tour – Kigali Genocide Memorial||Kigali|
|Day 3||Visit Nyamata Genocide Memorial and Reconciliation Village||Kigali|
|Day 4||Transfer to Nyungwe via Aziz Life Village||Nyungwe Forest|
|Day 5||Canopy walk – Gisakura Tea factory tour||Nyungwe Forest|
|Day 6||Waterfall Hike – Relaxation||Nyungwe Forest|
|Day 7||Chimpanzee Tracking – Transfer to Gisenyi via Kibuye||Gisenyi|
|Day 8||Kayaking, Paddling and Jet Ski on Lake Kivu||Gisenyi|
|Day 9||Transfer from Lake Kivu to Volcanoes National Park||Volcanoes Park|
|Day 10||A day with the Community – Visit Diana Fossey Museum||Volcanoes Park|
|Day 11||Transfer from Volcanoes National Park — Akagera National Park||Akagera Park|
|Day 12||Transfer to Kigali with en route game drive, departure|
Day 1: Arrival Kigali, Rwanda
Welcome to Kigali! A tour representative will meet you in the airport outside of customs and transfer you to your city hotel. Check in and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Day 2: Full day Kigali City Tour – Kigali Genocide Memorial
Kigali is a peaceful and thriving city, nestled against scenic hills. Visitors and locals enjoy the cleanliness, order, and hospitality that the city offers. Start your trip to Rwanda by exploring this incredible cultural city. The city is renowned for its award-winning museums, burgeoning music scene, and some of East Africa's most memorable dining experiences. Enjoy exploring some of the following sites on today's city tour.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial Center is a memorial to the victims of the 1994 genocide. It is designed to commemorate the international significance of the genocide and challenge an international visitor base.
Inema Arts Center was founded in 2012 by brothers and self-taught painters Emmanuel Nkuranga and Innocent Nkurunziza to tap into the art potential in Rwanda and to use creative expression to bring the community and the country alive. It serves as a beacon in Rwanda to create exposure for Rwanda's artistic community. Shop here for souvenirs, art, traditional Rwandese crafts, and jewelry as gifts to bring home.
Located next to the Kigali International Airport, the Presidential Museum is a palace which served as home to two Rwandan presidents - Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu. It is also the location where Habyarimana's plane was shot down on its descent into Kigali in 1994. Visitors can gain insight into Rwanda's history, as well as see debris from the presidential plane.
Break for lunch at the Hotel des Mille Collines, which became famous after harboring 1,268 people from the violence of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The story of the hotel and its manager at the time, Paul Rusesabagina, were the basis for the film Hotel Rwanda.
Continue the tour to Kimironko Market, one of the largest in Kigali. Meet the local vegetable vendors and try your bargaining power at the fruit and succulent stands.
Day 3: Visit Nyamata Genocide Memorial and Nyamata Genocide Reconciliation Village
After breakfast, transfer to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial, which is located in a former church 18 miles (30 km) south of Kigali, and commemorates the 1994 genocide which claimed 50,000 lives. After the Rwandan Genocide began in April 1994, many Tutsi people gathered in churches to escape the violence. After 10,000 people locked themselves into the church, members of the Hutu-majority government threw grenades into the church through holes in the wall, and subsequently shot the people who remained inside, or slaughtered them with machetes. To commemorate this horrific event, much of the church has been preserved as it was—bullet holes, blood stains, and piles of clothing and identity cards, which were used to systematically target the Tutsi population, are left as reminders. Following the genocide of 70% of Rwanda's Tutsis (an estimated 50,000-1,000,000 people), the government was overthrown and 2 million Rwandans, mostly Hutus, were displaced and became refugees.
After visiting the church you will visit the Nyamata Reconciliation Village, a 45-house town located in Bugesera. The village is extraordinary because it is home to both pardoned genocide criminals and victims of the genocide, who live side-by-side in the communal village. Thanks in part to the efforts of Jeanette Mukabyagaju, the town's development coordinator, survivors and perpetrators joined forces to build towards a mutual goal. Meet with the locals and hear their powerful stories of survival, healing, and forgiveness. After lunch with the community, transfer back to Kigali for the evening.
Day 4: Transfer to Nyungwe via Aziz Life Village
After an early breakfast, transfer to the Aziz community to learn about its role in the community. Started as a Christian non-profit food relief program, Azizi Life has grown to include opportunities for entrepreneurs and artisans to expand their businesses internationally.
Stop and visit the Rwanda National Museum before proceeding to Nyungwe National Forest. This biological hotspot is like something from a fairy tale—old Mahogany trees, giant ferns, orchids, and other epiphytes grow in a lush canopy. Check in to your hotel and enjoy the jungle views.
Day 5: Canopy walk – Gisakura Tea Factory tour
After an early breakfast at the lodge, head out to explore the forest canopy on walkways which are built high into treetops. Learn about the importance of the forest canopy in the jungle and the animals that live there, then continue to the rest of the Igishigishigi Trail. After the 3-hour trek, enjoy a picnic lunch in the jungle.
In the afternoon visit the Gisakura tea estate and factory to learn about local tea production from members of the community. Return to the lodge for dinner.
Day 6: Waterfall Hike – Relaxation
In the morning hike to the Kamiranzovu waterfall, a 4-hour round trip through steep forested slopes and fern-lined ravines. Return to the hotel in time for lunch, then relax in the afternoon.
Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking – Transfer to Gisenyi via Kibuye
Nyungwe Forest National Park is a famous destination with visitors hoping for a visit with some of the park's 13 species of primates. The treks to see a chimpanzee group are especially popular. Starting from the lodge at 4:00 A.M. you will hike deep into the forest with a guide to find the chimp family. Once located, visitors are allowed one hour to view the animals before returning to the lodge. The dense forest can make seeing the chimps difficult but their playfulness, curiosity, and human-like characteristics make the long trek worthwhile. Keep an eye out for Colobus Monkeys and other primates.
Return to the lodge for a late breakfast and transfer to Gisenyi, stopping for lunch at the Cormoran Lodge in Kibuye. Check in to your hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening.
Day 8: Kayaking, Paddling and Jet Ski on Lake Kivu
After an early breakfast head out onto the water to explore the lake by kayak. Enjoy views of the surrounding landscape, spot local wildlife and bird species, and see traditional fishing boats out for the day. Return to the hotel for a free afternoon.
Day 9: Transfer from Lake Kivu to Volcanoes National Park
In the morning drive through the hilly northern province to reach Volcanoes National Park. Settle into your lodge then break for lunch before visiting the nearby Ibyi Iwacu cultural village, which relies on tourism to support itself. Many of the locals are former poachers who now share their traditional rural culture and livelihoods and educate visitors. You will tour the village with a local, hear local songs, see different traditional dances, prepare food with a family, and visit a healer and the king's palace.
Day 10: A day with the Community – Visit Dian Fossey Museum
After breakfast, visit the Gastura Village to spend a day with the local community to see everyday Rwandese life. Learn about traditional basket weaving, local dances, and meet village elders and schoolchildren to learn about rural life. Return to the hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon visit the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded by Dian Fossey to continue her work protecting the endangered mountain gorillas.
Day 11: Transfer from Volcanoes National Park - Akagera National Park
Start your day with a transfer to the Akagera National Park headquarters, where you will break for lunch at the lodge. The diverse park is comprised of papyrus swamps, savannah plans, and rolling highlands. In the afternoon head out for a wildlife viewing cruise on Lake Ihema. Look out for hippos and giant Nile crocodiles, as well as a variety of bird species, including the African fish eagle, the papyrus gonolek, and the sought-after shoebill stork.
Day 12: Transfer to Kigali with en route game drive, departure
Transfer to Kigali with a game drive on the way as you depart Akagera National Park. Lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and more than a dozen types of antelope are a common sight on the game drive. Keep an eye out for impala, oribi, the secretive bushbuck, and the Cape Eland—the world's largest antelope
Arrive in Kigali in the afternoon and transfer to the airport for your connecting flight home. Travel safe!