Why this adventure works…
First and foremost, we’re prepared to bet you’ll fall in love with Rwanda by the end of it. But until you know that for yourself, we’d say the great appeal of this kind of adventure is that you can experience so much variety and beauty as you’re gently beguiled by a country with huge heart.
A starting point for your bespoke itinerary:
EXPERIENCE THE CULTURE AND HISTORY in Kigali (1-2 nights) Kigali’s a really pleasant city- it’s a great place for a wander and an excellent cup of coffee. We loved visiting the Islamic Quarter and getting fully immersed in the local market. Most importantly of all, we’d wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Genocide Memorial at the start of your adventure. It’s tough, and harrowing, but will put the rest of your trip into stark perspective.
SAFARI in Akagera National Park (2-3 nights) this hugely pretty little park is part of a story of renewal in this beautiful little country. While you may not get the same wildlife densities you find in better known parks, you don’t get the crowds either. We loved the boat safari here – a G&T probably isn’t mandatory, but we tested one just in case. Elephant sightings were a particular highlight for us, but there are now rhino and lion in Akagera too.
GORILLA TREKKING in Volcanoes National Park (2-4 nights) This is easily one of the most magnificent wildlife experiences going. You do need a reasonable level of fitness, but you’ll forget every moment of the hike once you’re there. If you have more than a couple of nights there are some excellent hikes around Volcanoes, lovely scenery and cultural experiences.
R&R on Lake Kivu (1-3 nights) Beautiful Lake Kivu stretches along Rwanda’s western border. It’s a pretty peaceful spot of terraced villages and simple lodges. It’s an ideal spot to break the journey between Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe, and a lovely base if you want a quiet afternoon on a canoe, with a book, or being seduced into birdwatching with a pair of binos.
CHIMP TREKKING AND HIKING in Nyungwe Forest (1-3 nights) Nyungwe has a huge number of really excellent hiking trails, so how long you spend here really depends on how much you like walking. The chimp trekking is an absolute must, despite the early start, but if you want to do more hiking, or are being spoiled rotten at Nyungwe House, a longer stay is definitely worthwhile.
Other ideas for your Rwandan adventure…. Enthusiastic shoppers (Rwanda is particularly known for its gorgeous baskets) may like to allow a night in Kigali at the end of their trip to buy some treasures before coming home. You may also like to take advantage of the direct (if expensive) flight from Kigali and zoom straight into the Serengeti for a few additional days of world-class safari. Or hop across the border for more gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Make your trip extraordinary by…. Upsetting your bank manager and chartering a chopper between Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe. Or get the insider track on gorilla conservation by visiting the Gorilla Doctors at their HQ (by appointment only).
When to go… Well, it can rain torrentially at almost any time of year in Rwanda so you should plan accordingly. However, the driest months are probably June and July, and it’s most likely to be dry underfoot then, which makes gorilla trekking easier. The only months you may choose to think twice about are the wettest months of April and May.
Want to know more about how we can customise this trip for you?