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9 Days / 8 Nights Trip to Kigali City, Volcanoes National Park, Lake Kivu National Park and Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda

Overview

The 9-day trip takes you to the dense Virunga forest to trek the Mountain Gorillas, a boat cruise on Lake Kivu, and a chimpanzee trek in Nyungwe Forest. A perfect way to explore the natural scenery of Rwanda.

Summarised Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive and overnight in Kigali city

Day 2: Drive to Volcanoes National Park. Drive time is approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Day 3: Gorilla trekking

Day 4: Drive to Lake Kivu from Volcanoes National Park. Drive time is approximately 2 hours.

Day 5: AM fishing trip. Bicycle tour/nature walk trip around Lake Kivu

Day 6: AM boat cruise. PM visit to the islands.

Day 7: Drive to Nyungwe National Park from Lake Kivu National Park. Drive time is approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Day 8: AM chimp trekking in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park

Day 9: Drive to Kigali International Airport. Drive time is a 4 to 5 hours drive for your international flight.

Price Inclusions:

  • Safari guide and vehicle
  • Accommodation on a full board basis in the park.
  • Activities as per itinerary
  • House drinks
  • Park Entrance
  • Primate permit trekking

Price Exclusions:

  • Visa
  • Premium drinks
  • Additional /Optional services
  • Travel Insurance

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive at kigali internatiol Airport and overnight in Kigali Capital City of Rwanda

Meet your driver at Kigali international the airport and transfer to your hotel for relaxation and later head out for the Kigali city tour.
Enjoy an exploration of the city to the Kigali Genocide museum in memory of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, the Umusambi Village Nature reserve a famous home for the endangered cranes, the Nyandungu Urban Wetland and Eco – tourism park the reclaimed swamp in the urban setting – a home to over 100 bird species, Kimironko and Kaplaki handicraft mark – one of the largest and busiest markets with aa range of products from wood carvings, pottery, paintings, sculptures, foodstuffs, crafts, shoes, bags, necklaces, and fabrics in plenty of designs buy a souvenir for the people back home, a visit to the state house museum where president Habyarimana was murdered from and lots of information you will get from here about the Rwanda Genocide, Visit the Kigali Convention center one of the largest buildings in Kigali designed with very historical and beautiful architecture to hold conventions, weddings, corporate dinners, meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions, visit the Kandt House museum set to present the social, economic, and political aspects of the before, during, and after colonial period of Rwanda and end with a visit at the Inema Art center Inema Art Center is the home of Rwandan Art, co-started by self-taught brothers Emmanuel Nkuranga and Innocent Nkurunziza in 2012 to explore and discover talent and hidden potential in art through organizing workshops, training, and hands-on classes in Rwanda, to use art as a means of expression in society and also to create different opportunities for the local artists in Rwanda.

Return to your accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation options in Kigali include

Kigali Serena Hotel
Kigali Serena Hotel situated in the heart of Kigali city the capital city of Rwanda just 10 minutes away from Kigali International Airport is among the chain of Luxury Serena Hotels that are positioned all over Africa.
Kigali Serena Hotel has a choice of rooms namely a presidential suite, standard rooms, deluxe rooms, superior rooms, prime rooms, Junior suite, and Executive suite among others. The rooms vary in price which causes a difference in the amenities and facilities per respective room type.
 However, all guests at Serena are entitled to the general amenities including 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, WI-FI and in-room modem hook-up,direct-dial phone, and voice-mail. in-room flat-screen satellite TV,mini-bar, private safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, hair dryers, porter/concierge, 24-hour on-call doctor, Business Centre,‘Maisha’ Health Spa, airport shuttle, taxi, and limousine service.
All rooms are ensuite and the staff are really welcoming to ensure your stay is the best.

Heaven Boutique Rwanda
Heaven Boutique Rwanda is located in the radius of the city surrounded by magnificent Buildings with a backdrop view of the daily lives of the Rwandese.
The facility is a four-star hotel with 28 rooms divided into 12 villas and 16 superior suites.
The villas have king beds or queen beds and all have balconies facing the garden, the villas are less costly than the superiors. The superiors have a lounge, balcony, solar heating, yoga deck, and swimming pool among others.
Be rest assured to enjoy your stay as the service team is top-notch.

Kigali Marriot
Kigali Marriot is one of the most tranquil luxury boutique hotels in Kigali providing a luxurious and cozy stay for your time in Rwanda. The ensuite rooms are well facilitated with unique and up-to-date amenities like air conditioners, a flat-screen, bathrobes, slippers, a safety box locked with a password, a desk, and an electric kettle in case you want to prepare yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
The property has a 24-hour front desk, a shuttle service, a shared kitchen and free Wi-Fi, a secure parking space, and a swimming pool catering for both the young and the adults. Clients are free to enjoy their time in the lounge with free house drinks provided in case they need a breeze out of the rooms.

Day 2: Drive to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Drive time is approximately 2 to 3 hours.

After your breakfast, depart the Hotel for the 2 – 3 hours’ drive to Musanze province the home for Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park stretches 160 square kilometers in the Northern part of Rwanda in Musanze province, with an approximately 3hrs drive from Kigali International Airport which makes it the most accessible national park compared to all the other parks.
The name Volcanoes comes from the fact the park is composed of dormant volcano mountains that once erupted but years have passed since they last did. The park was initially made of Karisimbi, Mikeno, and Visoke volcanoes and these were gazetted to mainly protect mountain gorillas from poaching.  However, it was later expanded to 8 volcanoes including Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura, and Mount Sabyinyo among others forming the Virunga volcano conservation covering Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Volcanoes National Park is home to the highest number of Mountain gorillas in the Virunga conservation area with 22 gorilla families in the Volcano National Park including the Agashya, Amohoro, Muhoza, Kwitonda, Kwisanga, Umubano, Hirwa, Igisha, Isimbi, Susa, Sabyinyo which provides the best interaction and experience with the Gorillas as each family has its own characteristics.
Apart from the gorillas, the park is home to the golden monkeys, hyenas, buffaloes, elephants, bushbuck, and over 178 bird species including 29 species of Albertine endemics to the Virunga Mountains, reptiles, amphibians, and insects among others.
Afternoon at leisure. Optional activities available.

Optional Lodges around Volcanoes National Park Include:

Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
Five Volcanoes Hotel is located at the edge of Musanze City within a 2 to 3-hour drive from Kigali City and a 10-minute drive from the Volcanoes National Park head offices.
The lodge has 9 Deluxe bedrooms (double/twin/triple), a Family Suite, a Honeymoon Cottage, 3 Standard rooms (double/twin/triple), and the Volcano Manor and all the rooms have similar amenities except bathtubs are in the deluxe room and master bedroom in the volcano manor.
All rooms are ensuite with 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, WI-FI and in-room modem, in-room flat-screen satellite TV, mini-bar, private safe, tea and coffee-making facilities,
Enjoy the spa services inclusive of a massage after your trek and all kinds of drinks and delicious meals from the bar and restaurant plus a swimming pool to cool off.
 
Virunga Lodge- Rwanda
Virunga Lodge part of the Volcanoes safari lodges offers undisrupted views of nature to guests staying at the lodge. The lodge faces the Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo in the East, and the magnificent Volcanoes in the West.
The lodge is a composition of 10 luxurious cottages constructed to portray the feel of a traditional Rwandese home and each cottage is well spaced from the other to offer an exclusive comfort and escape. The cottages are made out of wooden and sustainable materials that make them cozy and tranquil; each room has a large bed (6 by 6), with soothing beddings, a bed lamp, and a telephone to contact the reception. All rooms are ensuite with hot and cold water plus an eco-friendly flushing toilet, each room has a robe and a dressing mirror plus a Hair dryer provided on request, also to mention a private verandah in each room where you can have a cup of tea or coffee after your trekking.
All staff at Virunga Lodge are always commendable for their warm welcome and attentiveness towards the clients, the food is on point with different menus every day from the professional chef, and you can also enjoy your meal and drink from the dining area which has a direct view of the Lakes. Enjoy a campfire in the evening as you chat away with a drink that can be accessed from the bar section and the elevated lounge is also a perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate at any time of the day with so many informative books available to read and understand more about the gorillas and the culture of Rwanda.

Mount Gorilla View Lodge
Mount Gorilla View Lodge is located at the bottom of the mighty Muhaavura Volcano, guests at the lodge enjoy undisrupted views of the great Mountain with its peak lost in the clouds.
The lodge is also just a few minutes from the park headquarters.
The thirty rooms of the lodge were constructed to reflect the African beauty and setting, it is made out of raw materials like rocks and eucalyptus trees with each room ensuite and also has a private balcony with the perfect views of the volcano and the Virunga Forest.
Each room has coffee and tea-making facilities in case you need refreshment plus a campfire to provide warmth from the cold breeze from the mountain.
The lodge has a 247 running water system for a shower and flushing the toilet, it uses hydroelectricity as a source of energy with solar energy as a backup.
Besides the rooms, the lodge has a main area with a sitting and dining room plus the bar section where you can always sit for refreshments and meals.

Day 3: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda

The day starts with clients departing the lodge to the park headquarters for a briefing and registration. Clients need to be awake by 0600hrs and 0700hrs should find you at the park headquarters in Kinigi.
Guests visit different Gorilla families based on their location in the park and some treks start with a drive to the start point for example the Igisha Gorilla family trek requires an hour and 45 minutes to the start point and the Karisimbi gorilla group is found on Mount Karisimbi.
At the starting point, you will find porters who can assist you in carrying your bags during your trek and give you a hand whenever need be (You will need to give them some tipping at the end of the trip).
In the accompaniment of a gorilla tracker and ranger, you embark on your hike through the different vegetation zones of Volcanoes National Park. After an hour or more or less, you will find the Gorillas. Guests spend an hour with the gorillas taking photographs, filming, and listening to the sounds made by the gorillas, watching them feeding on the short bamboo trees, their infants suckling, and jumping from tree to tree creating memorable shots.

Tips for Trekking                     
Wear fully covered clothes like long trousers and a full-sleeved shirt
Wear hiking boots and gaiters are important.
Carry along your cooler box with enough water like 3 litres of water or more and pack lunch.
Hand gloves to protect you from pricking of the thorns.
Hire a porter to carry your bag and act as your support when the terrain gets tough.
No flashlight is allowed when taking photos of the gorillas.
After your one hour of enjoyment with the gorillas, return to the starting point where you will meet your guide and drive back to your accommodation. Most of the lodges offer a complimentary massage after the trek, feel free to enjoy it to release the tenacity from the trek.
You can choose to relax at the lodge for the afternoon or a stroll through Musanze city is also possible to interact with the local people, sip a drink in the restaurants, and buy some gifts among others.

Day 4: Drive to Lake Kivu from Volcanoes National Park. Drive time is approximately 2 hours.

After your breakfast, drive to Lake Kivu National Park. Lake Kivu National Park is located on the western border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo at a stretch of 2700 square kilometres making it the largest Lake in Rwanda and the sixth largest in Africa with 89km in length and 48km in width with an estimated depth of 480m and a water volume of 500 cubic meters flowing into Lake Tanganyika at the foot of Albertine western rift through River Ruzizi. The lake is surrounded by magnificent mountains and its waters look so beautiful with the green emerald colour, the beautiful islands of Idjwi are amazing and popular for being the 10th largest islands in the world.
The presence of fertile soils and relief rainfall has increased the population density at the shores of Lake Kivu, a factor that has led to agricultural and tourism growth around the park. People around the shores of Lake Kivu, which include Bukaru, Goma in Congo, Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu are farmers growing coffee, tea, tobacco, quinine, and strawberries which have attracted so many tourists as they are taken through the growing process of the crops. The Rwandese are also popular pastoralists and they rear cattle as part of their daily lives so this is a good chance to experience life as a cattle keeper like grazing cattle, milking cows, and making products like yogurt (bongo), muzigo,(cheese) out of milk.
The lake is home to different fish species like Haplochromis, Clarias, Barbus, and Nile Tilapia with a few new species introduced like catfish, Barbel, and Tanganyika sardine, and plenty of bird species are spotted around the park like waxbill, spotted yellow-throated green bul, bronzed sun bids, cardinal woodpecker, speckled pigeons, ashy flycatchers, chin spot Batis, sacred ibis, hadaba ibis, yellow-billed stork, African kingfisher, etc
Lake Kivu is also a source of minerals like methane that is used for power supply.
 
Optional Lodges around Lake Kivu Include:
 
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel situated at the shores of Lake Kivu is among the chain of Luxury Serena Hotels that are positioned all over Africa.
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel has a choice of rooms namely a suite, superior rooms and family room. The rooms vary in price which causes a difference in the amenities and facilities per respective room type.
 However, all guests at Serena are entitled to the general amenities including 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, WI-FI and in-room modem hook-up,direct-dial phone, and voice-mail. in-room flat-screen satellite TV,mini-bar, private safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, hair dryers, porter/concierge, 24-hour on-call doctor, Business Centre,‘Maisha’ Health Spa, airport shuttle, taxi, and limousine service.
All rooms are ensuite and the staff are really welcoming to ensure your stay is the best.
 
Cleo Lake Kivu Hotel
Cleo Lake Kivu Hotel is one of the most tranquil luxury boutique hotels around Lake Kivu overlooking the lake providing a luxurious and cozy stay for your time in Rwanda. The hotel has 18 different room in 3 types like the king suite,Villa and apartments for those who wish to stay longer. The ensuite rooms are well facilitated with unique and up to date amenities like the air conditioners, a flat screen, bathrobes, and slippers, a safety box locked with a password, desk and an electric kettle in case you want to prepare yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
 

Day 5: AM fishing Trip and afternoon Bicycle tour/nature walk trip around Lake Kivu in Rwanda

Embark on an early morning fishing trip on Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is home to many fish species like Haplochromis, Clarias, Barbus, and Nile Tilapia with a few new species introduced like catfish, Barbel, and Tanganyika sardine,  among others a factor that has attracted so many anglers who would want to spend a day on the lake.
Clients enjoy different kinds of fishing trips including multiple-day trips, camping trips, full-day trips, and morning or afternoon trips on a catch-and-release policy.
You can either do the fishing in a canoe or a speedboat; we can arrange it according to your preference. All safety and fishing gear plus camping equipment is provided however, you are free to come on board with yours.
Each boat has a cool box with drinks for refreshment, snacks can be added on board if you wish plus packed lunches are mandatory for full-day fishing trips.

Return to the lodge for lunch and later head out for a bicycle tour or nature walk around Lake Kivu

Here is a chance to learn a lot about Lake Kivu and its beautiful corners, the best chance to see many different things and hidden gems in Lake Kivu, It is absolutely a never-miss activity for our clients who like cycling and really want to dive deep into the history, culture, and nature of the Rwanda and Lake Kivu.
Many clients can book the bike tour on the day of arrival in Lake Kivu to stretch their legs after long flights and to prepare for the great trekking experience ahead of their safari but you can also leisurely ride around.
The cycling tours below come with lots of options and customizations for various levels of riders on high-quality bikes plus a guide who is knowledgeable on various topics like the different types of plants, animals, birds, history of Lake Kivu, and Rwandese culture among others, definitely, a skilled cyclist who knows how to make your journey seamless as possible, from correcting breathing techniques to enjoy the ride is remarkable and memorable for everyone.
For clients who are not interested in cycling, they can decide to do the activity on foot in accompaniment of ranger guide walking around the shores of the lake.

Dinner and overnight at your accommodation.

Day 6: AM Boat cruise. PM visit to the Lake Kivu Islands.

Embark on your morning boat cruise around Lake Kivu. The trips can be done in the morning and afternoon either as scheduled or exclusively based on your choice.
The boat cruise lasts for over 2 hours with great sightings of wildlife resting along the shores of the lakes, plenty of bird species are spotted around the park like waxbill, spotted yellow-throated greenbul, bronzed sun bids, cardinal woodpeckers, speckled pigeons, ashy flycatchers, chin spot Batis, sacred ibis, Hadaba ibis, yellow-billed stork, African kingfisher, etc.
Drinks and snacks are provided on the boat like coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening with different snacks inclusive like locally roasted groundnuts, samosas, chicken drumsticks, etc.

Return to the lodge for a hot lunch and later embark on a visit to the 10th largest islands in the world.
Lake Kivu is popular for being in the tenth position for lakes with the largest islands in the world. It is one of the most visited tourist sites in Rwanda because of its beautiful sands, vegetation, hospitable people, and exclusiveness as they are located in the middle of the lake.
Some of the visited islands are Nyamindi Island, known for coffee growing and clients get a chance to experience the entire coffee-making process from planting, harvesting, drying, roasting, brewing, and the last stage of consumption, and Napoleon Island fond of bats hanging in trees silently during the day and very active at night. Other islands around include Peace Island, Amahoro Island, Serene Island, and many more.

Dinner and overnight at your accommodation

Day 7: Drive from Lake Kivu National Park to Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda. Drive time is approximately 1 to 2 hours.

After your breakfast, drive to Nyungwe National park for 1 to 2 hours. Nyungwe forest has been in existence since 2004 and it is believed to be the largest and the most conserved montane rainforest on the African continent with the largest number of endemic species in the Albertine Rift Valley montane region this is evidenced by the biodiversity of the ecosystem rich in landscapes, swamps, marshes, bamboo thickest, heath, woodland, and microhabitats.
The park is home to 13 primates including the Ruwenzori colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, Silver monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Olive baboon, Red-tailed monkey, Velvet monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey but majorly famous for Chimpanzees who are divided into two families found in different sections of the park: one family of 30 chimpanzees tracked in Cyamudongo forest and the other of 60 chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is a bird paradise with over 322 bird species, for example, Robin-Chat, Barred long Tailed Cuckoo, Blue Turaco, Chapin’s flycatcher, Doherty’s Bush Shrikes, grey-chested Kakamega, Handsome Francolin, Lagden’s Bush Shrikes, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rockefellers’ sunbird, Purple Throated Sunbird, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Rwenzori Double Collared Warbler, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, White Bellied Robin-chat, White Tailed Flycatcher and the Yellow Eyed Black Flycatcher and 29 Albertine rift endemic species.
 Other species you are most likely to encounter include 85 mammal species, 200 tree species and 248 orchids, 1068 plant species.
Dinner and overnight at your accommodation.
 
One and Only Nyungwe House
One and Only Nyungwe House is a luxury lodge on the outskirts of Nyungwe National Park – south of Lake Kivu on Burundi Border.
The lodge has perfect views of the dense canopy of Nyungwe forest from all corners on site. Its rooms are luxurious, and beautifully designed using natural raw materials like stones.
Each Banda is ensuite with a luxury shower room, fireplace, and an exclusive porch. The lodge is strategically located with a direct flight to its helipad.
Enjoy the complimentary spa and massage treatment in the beautiful spa at the lodge and also mention the delicious meals prepared by an experienced chef, every room is entitled to a personal butler plus free internet access and the open bar for all premium and house drinks.
 
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
Nyungwe top view Hill Hotel  is a strategically located lodge built on one of the beautiful hills hence the perfect stunning views of Nyungwe Forest, Lake Kivu and the Volcanoes far North in Musanze.
The lodge has 12 rooms arranged in 2 columns with 6 rooms on each side and the main area. The rooms are constructed to face each other and the main area at the front of both compartments. The main area is two storage unit, the ground floor with the administration offices, reception, kitchen, store and laundry while the upper floor has the restaurant, bar and the lounge.
Each room has a mini lounge on the front with chairs and coffee table and a fireplace. The beds are king sized – very comfortable.
The lodge is also 30 minutes away from Lake Kivu.
 
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
Nyungwe Forest Lodge offers the best view of Nyungwe Forest as it is located at the edge of Nyungwe Forest surrounded by a tea plantation. It has a range of rooms from Bandas to suite and all of them are forest facing. Enjoy the additional amenities offered like the well-stocked bar, fireplace, air-conditioning, satellite LCD screen, hair dryer, and restaurant, free internet access, 24-hour front office reception and a secure parking lot so much more.

Day 8: AM Chimp Trekking in Nyungwe National Park of Rwanda

Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular activity done in Nyungwe National Park. The park is home to over 90 chimpanzees with 30 found in the Nyungwe forest and the other 90 in Cyamudongo forest.
All these chimps are habituated to get familiar with human surroundings, which makes them entirely welcoming, and entertaining however only eight people are allowed to trek with the chimpanzees therefore booking a permit in advance is essential.
The trek starts in the morning hours at approximately 0700hrs and it continues for unpredictable time, as the chimps are wild animals they move from one place to another looking for food and water before returning to their nests. Once you track the chimpanzees, you are allowed to spend one hour with them as you watch them feed, play, and breastfeed as well as relax on the tree branches. In addition, the guides provide you with more information about the chimpanzee’s lifestyles, and defense mechanisms and interpret the sign languages used.
These are some of the essential commodities that you require during the chimpanzee trekking; binoculars, permit, Identity card, drinking water, snacks, walking sticks, hiking boots/gum boots.

Return to the lodge for a massage and relaxation. You have the afternoon at leisure for any optional activity it can be paid for directly.
Dinner and overnight at your lodge.

Day 9: Drive to Kigali International Airport. Drive time is a 4 to 5 hours’ drive for your International flight.

End of your 9 days Rwanda Safari