Rwanda Culture & Nature Safari
On this 11-day private, customized tour, you stay at the Hotel Mille Collines in Kigali, where Paul Rusesabagina saved 1268 people from the genocide in 1994. Take a visit to Nyungwe Forest, with its vicissitude of primates and birds; enjoy Lake Kivu; and get two opportunities to spend time amongst the gorillas.
Arrive at London Heathrow Terminal 4 for check -in for the Kenya Airways overnight flight to Nairobi.
On arrival at Nairobi, transfer onto the Kenya Airways flight for Kigali.
You will be welcomed by your private driver/guide and taken to Hotel Mille Collines to stay overnight, breakfast included. During the day, you will be taken on a guided city tour of Kigali and also have the opportunity to change money and relax by the hotel pool.
Kigali is a small capital city built on a hillside with less landmark buildings. The city tour takes a couple of hours and includes; the new handicraft village and other shops, the Batwa pottery the old town (Nyamirambo) and Muslim quarter, a dance centre and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial. The memorial is very moving, but I suggest that you do this later in your visit.
Hotel Milles Collines is a famous sanctuary that saved many hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide. At the moment, it is largely unchanged with a super pool and rooftop restaurant, and is soon to become internationally renowned with the anticipated release of the feature film, 'Hotel Rwanda', which is set in the hotel during those terrible times
After breakfast, travel by road to Nyungwe Forest for a two nights'stay at the simple Gisakura government Guesthouse, on the edge of the forest. Take a stopover in Butare (2½ hours from Kigali) to see the National Museum, and lunch at the Ibis restaurant. Opposite the restaurant is an excellent craft co-op shop stocking a wide range of items at fair prices. Inform the driver if you wish to stop at the Marimba Genocide site on the road to Nyungwe.
Extending for nearly one thousand kilometers square over the mountains of southwest Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest single tract of montane forest remaining in Africa. It is a remarkably rich centre of biodiversity, with 86 mammal species, 280 birds, 120 butterflies and about 100 varieties of orchid. It is the most important birding site in Rwanda.
The main attractions in Nyungwe the chimpanzees and the large troops of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys. Guides lead you through the forest in search of these elusive beasts. One of my clients realised a three high in the canopy during a three-hour walk and he believed it was worth it to be in the forest. sightings can be a lot better. Another one was impressed by also the good sightings of grey-cheeked mangabey monkeys and l'Hoest's. The national park has just been gazetted - and not a moment too soon! - to save this forest from the depredations of agriculture. Fields of maize, beans and bananas are intensively cultivated right up to the forest's edge.
Day for going chimpanzee tracking and for guided forest walks.
Take a panoramic drive (about 5 hours) on undone roads to Kibuye, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Stay overnight at Kibuye Guest House. If you get there in good time, you can take a boat out on the lake.
Longish drives on un-made roads may not appeal to everyone, but they do offer the opportunity to appreciate the life trends for centuries, and essentially constant.