Luxury Rwanda Safari
As one of only three places in the world where you can trek with endangered mountain gorillas, a luxury safari in Rwanda is all about the wildlife. On this nine-day safari, look out for the glorious gorillas, as well as chimpanzees and colobus monkeys in Nyungwe National Park, and golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Get to grips with Rwanda's troubled history on a guided tour of Kigali, including a visit to the Genocide Memorial
- Go in search of chimpanzees and endemic colobus monkeys in Nyungwe National Park
- Enjoy luxury accommodation and treetop views from two lovely lodges and a tree canopy
- Trek to spend time with endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
Why Book with Original Travel?
When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: Arrive in Kigali
When you land in Kigali today, a member of our on the ground team will be waiting to greet you and take you to your waiting transfer. After a long journey we've organised for you to stay in Kigali tonight and can arrange for dinner to be waiting for you at the hotel when you arrive. Having filled your hungry stomachs, get to bed before the fun really begins tomorrow.
Day 2: From City Sights To Beautiful Nyungwe Forest
Wake up feeling refreshed after a good sleep and enjoy a hearty breakfast before meeting your friendly local guide in reception.
From here you'll be heading out on a morning tour of the city. Though the tour can be tailor-made to your personal preferences, there are several places we recommend visiting to get the most out of the morning, including the sobering-but-important Genocide Memorial, the Kandt House Museum of Natural History, some of the lively local markets, and the Inema Arts Centre.
Following the tour, you will return to your hotel for lunch before departing for the next stop of your trip - Nyungwe Forest National Park. The drive is around five hours and the last section will take you into the beautiful forest so keep your eyes peeled for some lush views. Dinner will be waiting for you on arrival before heading to bed.
Day 3: Cheeky Chimp Spotting
Today your luxury Rwanda safari really gets off the ground as you meet your specialist guide for a morning of chimpanzee tracking.
Follow your guide deep into the forest and keep your eyes peeled for cheeky chimpanzees dashing through the foliage around you. Breakfast will be served on-the-go as the chimps are most active in the morning and you'll want to allow as much time as possible to spend watching these fascinating creatures. As you'll be traversing thick forest ground, this is not an easy walk, but the rewards should be well worth it for any wildlife lovers.
When you get back to the lodge, enjoy a leisurely lunch while looking through your photos before an afternoon for you to spend at your leisure. We recommend joining one of the senior chefs for a tour through the kitchen garden to learn more about the menu you'll have just enjoyed, and how ingredients are (wherever possible) locally- and organically-sourced. In an area where the flora is key to everyone's survival, sustainable food sourcing is incredibly important.
- If you are staying during the last Saturday of the month, join the locals to devote your morning to working in the community as part of the nationwide 'Umuganda' volunteering programme
- Learn about the ancient art of spear throwing and then give it a go with the help of a guide
Day 4: More Monkey Madness
Another day in Nyungwe means another early start for some resident wildlife spotting; this time you'll be heading into the forest in search of colobus monkeys.
These black and white bearded monkeys are as adorable as they are entertaining to watch swinging in the tree tops. Since Nyungwe is home to one of the world's largest populations of both mangabey and Rwenzori colobus monkeys you can hope (fingers crossed) to see lots of them over the course of the morning walk.
This afternoon, after lunch at the lodge, test your head for heights on a spectacular canopy walk. Hanging 196 feet up in the air and suspended between giant trees, the walkways offers fantastic views of both the treetops and the forest floor. Keep your eyes peeled for all manner of wildlife and take your time to simply enjoy the stunning views. Dinner is then back at the lodge, with more forest views from the dining room.
- Learn more about Rwanda's tea industry with a visit to a nearby tea plantation. Spend time learning all about the production process and, of course, sampling some of the local brew.
- Borrow bikes from your hotel and head off on a guided cycle around the lush surroundings, travelling along dirt tracks to find pretty hilltop viewpoints
Day 5: Venture to Volcanoes National Park
After an action packed few days in Nyungwe National Park, today head off for part two of your luxury Rwandan safari.
This part of the trip will take you north to Volcanoes National Park, which is around a five-hour drive away. Keep your eyes peeled for some lovely views as you are driven along the easterly shores of Lake Kivu.
When you arrive, settle into your lodge and (if there is time) join one of the guides for a short nature walk in the surrounding forest. As darkness falls, enjoy a leisurely dinner in the lodge's cosy dining room.
Day 6: Gorilla Spotting
For most, gorilla trekking is the highlight of a holiday to Rwanda and we're sure you'll be incredibly excited to have secured a permit to be among the lucky few who get to see these endangered primates in the wild.
Leave your lodge bright and early to head to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters where the trek begins. Here you will meet your expert guide who knows each gorilla individually and journey into the forest to find one of the 12 habituated gorilla groups living here. When you find a group, spend an hour watching these majestic beasts interacting with each other and building their nest for the night - a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that you'll remember a long time to come.
After the trek you will be driven back to your lodge from the national park headquarters and have the afternoon to spend at leisure. We recommend making the most of the time by visiting the local community with one of the lodge guides, or planting a tree in the lodge's dedicated tree nursery, where the in-house agronomist will also teach you more about the importance of preserving the forest.
Day 7: Golden Monkeys
Today you have a new challenge to go in search of yet another primate, this time the playful golden monkeys.
Led by an experienced guide, you'll trek into the forest and keep your eyes peeled for the endemic monkeys, usually found jumping between bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.
After the trek, make your way back to the lodge for lunch. You can then spend your last afternoon in Rwanda relaxing at the lodge or enjoying some more of the beautiful scenery on another guided walk.
- Swap more monkey spotting for a full-day guided hike to the summit of Mount Bisoke
- Hike to visit the grave of renowned gorilla researcher Dian Fossey
Day 8: Return Home
After a week of wildlife adventures in Rwanda it is sadly time to say goodbye to life on safari and make your way home. Enjoy a final breakfast with a view before meeting your driver for the two-and-a-half-hour drive back south to Kigali airport. Check in here for your flight back home.
Charlotte C is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.