The 11 days Rwanda Safari (Rwanda wildlife safari) is a comprehensive tour of Rwanda as a safari destination exploring all the country’s attractions except the mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
This 11 days Rwanda safari tour takes you through the golden monkey tracking, caves walk, cultural encounters at Iby’wachu and Butare, Dian Fossey hike, a boat cruise on Lake Ihema and Lake Ruhondo, primate encounter in Nyungwe including; Chimpanzee trekking and colobus monkeys tracking plus the famous Nyungwe forest canopy walk, wild game encounter in Akagera National Park, Bisoke volcano hike and recreational encounters on Lake Kivu.
Day 1: Transfer to Ruhengeri & do cave walk
Day 2: Do golden Monkey tracking & visit the Iby’wachu cultural village
Day 3: Hike Dian Fossey & boat cruise on Lake Ruhondo
Day 4: Hike Bisoke Volcano & transfer to Gisenyi (Lake Kivu).
Day 5: Encounter Lake Kivu destination
Day 6: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park
Day 7: Do Chimpanzee trekking & canopy walk
Day 8: Do Colobus monkey tracking & transfer to Butare
Day 9: Encounter Butare
Day 10: Transfer to Akagera National Park & do a boat cruise
Day 11: Do a game drive & transfer to Kigali city.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Ruhengeri in the northeast of Rwanda 116km about 3 hour’s drive from Kigali city.
You will enjoy great sights en route to the Rwandan hillsides that have prompted great travelers to nickname it the land of a thousand hills.
You will arrive in Ruhengeri early for Lunch and short relaxation after which you will embark on the cave walk.
The caves walk is a rewarding activity that exposes you to the natural wonders of Rwanda. The caves of Musaze are house-like structures that have existed for centuries past.
They are known to have provided supply storage and refugee for the Kings of Rwanda during the times of war in pre-colonial Rwanda.
Retreat from this activity overnight.
Accommodation: Mount Gorilla View Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), La Palme Hotel (Midrange/standard), or Muhabura Hotel (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, you set off for golden monkey tracking to encounter the rare and endangered golden monkeys that only dwell in the Virunga volcanoes.
The activity takes about 4 hours and starts at 08:00 from the park headquarters – Kinigi. The trek involves passing the lush vegetation of Volcanoes up to the Bamboo zone where the golden monkeys prefer to dwell.
Upon, reaching them, you will marvel at their golden skins and their distinctiveness from other monkey sub species.
Return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch after which you will embark on the visit to the iby’ wachu cultural village where you will be able to experience the traditional Kinyarwanda culture at its best.
The traditional huts, traditional cuisine and its preparation, arts and crafts among others are some of the interesting things to enjoy on this cultural tour.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, hike the Dian Fossey site to pay tribute to one of the gorilla conservationists the world is proud to have had.
This American Primatologist championed for the conservation of these critically endangered mountain gorillas.
The Karisoke center is located at a raised land scape thus involves a relative hike but less strenuous. The grave of the Silverback digit is also seen at this center.
The activity takes 3 – 4 hours. You will return for relaxation and lunch at the lodge after which you will embark on the afternoon boat cruise on Lake Ruhondo – one of the twin lakes.
The activity is very recreational and stretches to 1.5 hours.
Accommodation: You will have dinner & overnight at your previous lodge.
Hike Bisoke Volcano which takes 7 hours round trip. It involves a relative hike and like any other mountain, it involves steep ascend at certain levels.
Hiking this volcano exposes you to various vegetation covers, wildlife including monkeys, bird species while its summit offers views of the entire Virunga volcanoes and Democratic Republic of Congo.
You will return from the activity for simple relaxation and lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Lake Kivu (Gisenyi area) 110km about 2 hours drive.
You will arrive in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Hotel Gorillas Lake Kivu (Midrange/standard) or Paradise Malahide (Budget/Basic).
Wake up for a relaxed breakfast on the shores of Lake Kivu – the largest water body in Rwanda. The calm waters of Lake Kivu are free from crocodiles, hippos, Bilharzia, and gas outbursts and provide a basis for a range of recreational activities.
Activities include; swimming, water sports like Kayaking, windsurfing, catamaran and Jet skiing, boat cruising, cycling, and hiking among others.
You have all the chances of participating in any of these activities. The whole day encounter on this Lake will reward you with ultimate refreshment.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous hotel.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park 294km about a 6 – 7 hours’ drive from Gisenyi.
The drive takes you along the scenic views of Lake Kivu that stretch through the Kibuye town up to Cyangungu in the south.
The farmed hillsides of Rwanda and the views of the Nile-Congo divide reward you with great scenic views en route.
You will have lunch en route and arrive in Nyungwe Forest National Park in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Nyungwe Forest Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Nyungwe Hill Top Hotel (Midrange/Standard), or Gisakura Guesthouse (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, embark on the Chimpanzee trekking experience that starts at 08:00 am. You will set off to the montane forest of Nyungwe which is praised to be among those few forests that survived the last ice age in search of man’s close relative – the common chimpanzee.
The 2 -5 hours trek is very interesting as it involves passing through the jungle, hiking steep landscapes, and descending on the same terrain amidst bird sights and other wildlife including monkeys.
Upon encountering Chimpanzees, you will marvel at their intelligent tactics, how they gather fruit, swing in tree branches, socialize, and their general characteristics for one full hour.
After this, you will return to the lodge for relaxation. In the afternoon, you will embark on the rewarding Nyungwe canopy walk that takes you through the views of the Nyungwe forest canopy that is filled with birds and primate species like monkeys.
The 90m long and 40m high Nyungwe canopy is an exciting adventure to undertake on Rwanda safari.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, set off for colobus monkey tracking in Nyungwe forest where you have chances of encountering the largest grouping of colobus monkeys in Africa.
The colobus monkeys appear in their white and black coat and their appearance makes them unique and worth trekking.
The colobus monkey tracking on Rwanda safari is beyond colobus monkeys as it involves trekking through the jungle full of birds and other wildlife species, the raising landscape of this mountain forest adds spice to this colobus monkey tracking experience.
It takes 2 – 5 hours and involves one full-hour encounter with Colobus monkeys. In the afternoon, you will embark on the transfer to Butare town 155km about 3 hour’s drive. You will arrive in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Barthos Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Faucon (Midrange/Standard), or Shalom Guest House (Budget/Basic).
This full day is dedicated to you to encounter the heritage of Butare which was the traditional capital of pre-colonial Rwanda.
After breakfast, you will embark on the tour to various sites including the Ethnographic Museum formerly known as Butare National Museum with over 100,000 artifacts considered to be among the largest museum collections in East Africa, you will also visit the Nyanza Palace the home of the former kings of Rwanda that is King Musinga and his successor King Rudahigwa.
The traditional hut crafted in unique architecture coupled with the Inyambo cows in the area makes this site worthy of visiting.
You will also visit the Murambi genocide memorial to pay tribute to thousands of Rwandese who lost their lives in the bloody genocide.
You can also visit Butare University – the highest and largest tertiary institution in Rwanda. Retire for overnight.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, transfer to Akagera National Park 247km approximately 4 hours’ drive from Butare. You will enjoy the scenic landscapes en route including the farmed hill sides before approaching the low-lying landscapes of Akagera National Park.
You will arrive early for lunch after which you will embark on the boat cruise on the second largest lake in Rwanda – Lake Ihema.
The boat will expose you to sights of aquatic wildlife like Hippos and Nile crocodiles. The wild game drinking on the lake side might not be missed on this afternoon boat trip. Retreat for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Akagera Game Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Ruzizi Tented Camp (Midrange/Standard), or Dereva Hotel (Budget/basic).
You will wake up early enough for a cup of coffee before embarking on the game drive in the National game park of Akagera.
The early departure gives you chances of spotting early risers and night hunters retreating to their hiding places.
The drive will expose you to wildlife like Zebras, Giraffes, Elephants, Antelopes like Impala, and Waterbuck among other wildlife.
The scenic landscapes of the Akagera plains and overlooking Tanzanian plains also make sightseeing rewarding on this trip.
Return to the lodge for relaxation till lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Kigali city 130km about 2.5 hours’ drive from Akagera.