Start your adventurous trip in Kigali and visit historical museums, browse local art, and see the 1994 Genocide Memorial. Visit Ibyi Iwacu and Gastura villages to learn about traditional life and support local tourism, then trek into the forest to see golden monkeys and rare mountain gorillas. End your journey with a trip to Akagera National Park to see Africa's largest game—elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and the magnificent African lion.

Highlights

  • Explore Kigali's hospitality, find bargains at Kirimonko Market, and browse local art
  • Trek in Volcanoes National Park to see a gorilla family up close
  • Visit Ibyi Iwacu village to learn about rural life and traditions from locals
  • See Africa's big game—elephants, hippos, crocodiles, antelope, and lions

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kigali Kigali
Day 2 Kigali City tour Kigali
Day 3 Aziz and transfer to Nyanza Nyungwe Forest National Park
Day 4 Canopy Walk Nyungwe Forest National Park
Day 5 Transfer to Lake Kivu via Kibuye Gisenyi
Day 6 Boat ride, transfer to Volcanoes National Park/ Ibyi Iwacu  Volcanoes National Park
Day 7 Golden Monkey Tracking Volcanoes National Park
Day 8 Gorilla Tracking Volcanoes National Park
Day 9 Community and Cultural interactions in Gastura Village Volcanoes National Park
Day 10 Transfer To Akagera National Park/ Boat on Lake Ihema Akagera National Park
Day 11 Full day game drive Akagera National Park
Day 12 Game drive in the southern sector of the park Akagera National Park
Day 13 Transfer to Kigali/ Visit Mount Kigali Kigali
Day 14 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kigali

Kigali City Tower in the Pension Plaza
Kigali City Tower in the Pension Plaza 

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: Kigali city tour

Kigali's wide streets and beautiful landscaping
Kigali's wide streets and beautiful landscaping

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. On today's city tour you will see Kirimonko Market, the Kigali Genocide Memorial dedicated to the 1994 genocide, the Presidential Museum, and the Nyamirambo Women's Center. 

Day 3: Aziz and transfer to Nyanza

Bronze sunbird in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Bronze Sunbird in Nyungwe Forest National Park

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 expanded to include opportunities for entrepreneurs and artisans to expand their businesses internationally.

Later, head to the Nyanza King's Palace and the Rwanda National Museum to see the headquarters of the ancient Rwandan Kingdom before the arrival of the Europeans. You will see the modern palace, which was constructed by King Mutara in 1934, and the nearby reconstructed King's Hut. From here transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Day 4: Canopy Walk

Canopy walk above the treetops
Canopy walk above the treetops

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. Return to the lodge for lunch. 

In the afternoon visit the Gisakura tea estate and factory to learn about local tea production. Return to the lodge for dinner. 

Day 5: Transfer to Lake Kivu via Kibuye

Lake Kivu at dusk 
Lake Kivu at dusk 
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In the morning transfer to Lake Kivu with a stop in Kibuye for lunch at the Cormoran Lodge. The scenic drive will parallel Lake Kivu, with spectacular views of the countryside on the way. Arrive in Gisenyi in the late afternoon and enjoy a free evening.

Day 6: Boat ride, transfer to Volcanoes National Park/ Ibyi Iwacu Cultural Village

Dancers performing in Ibyi Iwacu
Dancers performing in Ibyi Iwacu

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast next to the lake before heading out on a 2-hour boat cruise on Lake Kivu. Enjoy views of the surrounding landscape, spot local wildlife and bird species, and see traditional fishing boats out for the day.

Head back to the lodge for lunch, then visit the Ibyi Iwacu village in the afternoon for an immersive cultural experience. The village relies on tourism to support itself, and many of the locals are former poachers who now share their traditional rural culture and livelihoods and educate visitors. You will get to tour the village, hear local songs, see different traditional dances, prepare food with a family, and visit a healer and the king's palace. 

Day 7: Golden Monkey Tracking

A young Golden Monkey and her mother on the volcanic slopes
A young Golden Monkey and her mother on the volcanic slopes 

Start your morning with a 6:00 A.M. breakfast before heading out for your hike at 8:00 A.M. There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkeys that live in the park at the foot of Mt. Sabyinyo, and visitors are permitted one hour to spend with the monkey troop. In the afternoon explore the twin lakes and see more of the local scenery. 

Day 8: Gorilla Tracking

A young gorilla in Volcanoes National Park 
A young gorilla in Volcanoes National Park 

Start your day with a hearty breakfast, as you will be trekking for 3-6 hours today to see mountain gorillas. A reasonable degree of fitness, as well as a sturdy pair of boots, are required for today's hike. The rangers will escort you through the thick bush, occasionally clearing away dense undergrowth as you search for the gorillas. For their own safety, the gorillas are under 24-hour monitoring, so you are almost guaranteed to see them. 

The population of gorillas is slowly increasing, but the species remains critically endangered. Gorillas and humans share nearly identical genetic material and the transmission of disease, via food or proximity to humans, could be lethal. To avoid this you will be required to maintain a distance of at least 23 ft (7 m) from the animals. 

Once the ranger has located the gorilla family you will be allowed to approach, leaving your belongings to one side. The guides will interpret the animals' behavior and explain their habits to you. You will see females and their young, young males, and possibly even a dominant silverback as they eat, play, interact with each other, or just sleep. After an hour with the gorillas, return to base. 

Day 9: Community and Cultural interactions in Gastura Village

Local artists exhibiting their work
Local artists exhibiting their work

Today you will have a chance to visit with a local community to learn about regional customs and traditional rural ways of life. As an honored guest, you will be invited into homes and farms to see everyday life and learn to cook a typical lunch. Spend time with the families and listen to local stories and legends before returning back to the lodge for lunch. 

Day 10: Transfer To Akagera national park/ Wildlife viewing on Lake Ihema

Nile crocodiles basking in the sun
Nile crocodiles basking in the sun

Start your day with a transfer to the Akagera National Park headquarters, where you will break for lunch at the lodge. 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 11: Full day game drive

Antelope and zebras in Akagera National Park
Antelope and zebras in Akagera National Park

In the morning, go for a game drive in the southern region of the park. This area is famous for its gently rolling hills, lowland swamps, and numerous bodies of water. Visit the giraffe area in the south and the lakes road near Birengero. 

Akagera National Park is home to Africa's most iconic wildlife: 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. 

Day 12: Game drive in the southern sector of the park

Giraffes in the park
Giraffes in the park

Today is another day for wildlife viewing in the park. Enjoy driving through sections you may have missed yesterday, then return to the lodge for a leisurely lunch.

Day 13: Transfer to Kigali/ Visit Mount Kigali

View of Kigali from a hilltop
View of Kigali from a hilltop

Transfer to Kigali in the morning and arrive by lunchtime. In the evening enjoy a relaxing hike to the top of Mount Kigali, one of the city's tallest hills, for panoramic views. Enjoy a relaxing dinner and restful night on your last evening in Rwanda. 

Day 14: Departure

One of the buses of the Royal Express bus company
One of the buses of the Royal Express bus company

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Safe travels!