• 10 Days from
    $5540 p/p in USD
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Kingfisher Journeys

  • Rwanda
Destinations

Destinations

Rwanda,

Tour Type

Tour Type

Guided

Safari Standard

Safari Standard

Mid Range

Tour Overview

Set in the shadow of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Albertine branch of the African Rift Valley, this is a fantastic adventure full of amazing wildlife, spectacular scenery and beautiful insights into a proud African nation. Starting in Kigali, the vibrant capital city, you’ll journey to one of the oldest continuously forested ecosystems on the planet, kayak on Lake Kivu, the largest and safest lake in Africa without a single hippo or crocodile, explore off the beaten track, journey by canoe through the countryside and spend an hour with a family of mountain gorillas, a close wildlife experience unlike any other on Earth.

2 Days Lake Kivu Getaway
Vr 0376 [visit Rwanda] Arsenal Legend Tony Adams
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General Information

  • Safari types:
    Gorilla Safari, Guided Safari, Kayak Safari, Primate Safari, Trekking Safari
  • You will visit:
    Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest NP, Kigali, Kigali Genocide Memorial, Lake Kivu, Gishayu Island
  • Wildlife:
    Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Colobus Monkey, Birds, Owl-Faced Monkey, Silver Monkey, L’Hoest Monkey, Red Tailed Monkey, Crowned Monkey, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboon, Black & White Colobus, Otter
  • Activities:
    Trekking, Canoe, Kayak, Boat Cruise, Nature Walk, Sightseeing Tour, Birding, Canopy Walk/Tower
  • Getting around:
    Transfer Vehicle
  • Start/end:
    Start/end in Kigali
  • Minimum age:
    15

Note:

With a great mixture of wildlife, cultural insights and adventure activities, our tours are led by experienced, knowledgeable, English speaking tour guides who are as passionate about their country as we are about taking you there. Our adventure activities are also led by Rwandan leaders who are qualified British Canoeing Paddlesport Leaders and have British ITC Outdoor First Aid training, so you’ll be in safe hands.

Price Per Person – USD

From USD 5,540 per person

What's Included

  • Accommodation and meals as per itinerary
  • Private transfers with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide
  • Qualified, experienced, English speaking and government-registered activity leaders
  • National Park entrance fees and National Park guides
  • Specifically for the kayaking adventure
    • Single modern kayaks and safety equipment for the duration of the activity
    • Qualified, experienced, English speaking Paddlesport leaders (1:6 ratio)
    • 24/7 military emergency and security services on call from the Rwandan Defence Force
  • Recommended packing list and advice for Rwanda
  • Helicopter emergency medical evacuation service insurance policy within Rwanda (compulsory)
  • First aid kit access for emergency non-personal medication items
  • Reasonable advance support and advice
  • All drinking water from reusable containers (Note: we do not supply water in single use bottles)
  • Local taxes and local bank fees

What's Excluded

  • International flights & visas
  • Additional meals, soft or alcoholic drinks
  • Tips, porter fees
  • Optional & proposed add-ons and activities
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. laundry, mini-bar, calls, WiFi charges)
  • Photography fees
  • Medical evacuation or treatment costs
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

Disclaimer

  • This itinerary is owned and delivered by ‘Kingfisher Journeys
  • All prices are ‘From’ and may vary at the time of booking
  • Display price is usually based on two people sharing
  • Kingfisher Journeys‘ reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
  • All itineraries are subject to availability

Day by Day Overview

Arrival in Rwanda and check-in to your hotel in Kigali. Most flight options from Europe / USA arrive in the evening (KLM/Brussels Airlines). However, you can also travel overnight if you arrive by 08:00 on the morning of Day 1.

Accommodation
Mid-range: Heaven Boutique Hotel / Ubumwe Grande Hotel / Others

Superior: Heaven The Retreat / Kigali Serena Hotel / Milles Collines / Marriott Kigali

Meal Plan: Welcome drink included. Option to buy dinner/snacks on arrival.

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Morning coffee at a Question Coffee (or similar venue) – a very welcome stop for those who arrive on the overnight flight! Over a cup of some of the best coffee in the world one of the Question Coffee team will give a short talk about how they are “brewing better livelihoods” for farmers around Rwanda. Afterwards driving though the city centre, we see the huge redevelopment that is taking place as Rwanda strides confidently into the modern world, with tech hubs, universities and shopping malls. However, just outside of the central business district we join the Nyamirambo Women’s Center walking tour, which is the best way to experience the real Kigali, immerse yourself in Africa and help you orientate for your trip. It offers a taste of life in a vibrant local community. You’ll visit a milk bar, several small shops, learn about local food and ingredients and see a local fabric cooperative where a small army of women make clothes, bags and a myriad of other items, many of which make great souvenirs. (If purchased during the tour, clothes can be made to measure and if requested, delivered at the end of the tour).

Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Rwandan lunch supplied by the women of Nyamirambo or a classic local restaurant. This local restaurant serves delicious food, has great views, is popular with local people and is unlikely to have too many other tourists.

A short drive from the city centre is the Genocide Memorial where you will take a journey of quiet reflection on a dark time in Rwanda’s past. Self-guided (or guided on request) as you walk around the memorial, it is shocking and moving to learn about the dark days of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, events that took place over 25 years ago. However, whilst the images on display will stay with you, as you continue your tour of this amazing country, it also highlights how so much progress has been achieved in the meantime. We include the genocide memorial at the start of the tour so you will finish on a high after realising how far Rwanda has come since her darkest days.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-range: Heaven Boutique Hotel / Ubumwe Grande Hotel / Others

Superior: Heaven The Retreat / Kigali Serena Hotel / Milles Collines / Marriott Kigali

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Images

Driving from Kigali (by 08:00) this is the only long drive of the tour. As we head though the countryside towards Nyungwe Forest, stop at either the Kings Palace Museum for an optional guided tour and an insight into the lives of Rwanda’s pre‑colonial kings or at the Ethnographic Museum which explains Rwanda’s history from prehistoric to modern times.

Lunch: Set on a hill overlooking Nyungwe Forest, we will stop at an Eco-centre or small restaurant for a scrumptious meal with all the flavours of a traditional Rwandan buffet. A community guide can optionally take you on a short walk through a nearby tea plantation. They will explain more about their work with local communities and how conservation depends on creating new opportunities for local people who were once poachers.

Entering Nyungwe Forest itself the trees rise all around and there is a huge contrast to the open views in much of the rest of Rwanda. This is a very special place. We stop at Uwinka Visitor Centre to meet a Forest Ranger who will lead a walk through the forest. With an eye for the some of the 310 bird species, butterflies, orchids, centuries old trees and 75 mammals including 13 primates that live here this walk is a spectacular journey in the largest surviving example of an afro montane ecosystem and one of the oldest continuously forested locations on Earth. The walk includes a 200m long canopy walkway that takes you high above the forest floor providing a unique platform for observing the forest. If you’re interested in seeing birds, please let us know so we can select a birding walk instead of the canopy walkway which takes place in a quieter location.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-Range: Nyungwe Top View hotel if available or Emeraude Kivu Resort in Cyangugu

Superior: Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel in Cyangugu

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Pd 0001 Canopy Walkway

Today you will spend an amazing hour watching a troop of wild chimpanzees in the forest! Setting off very early at 5am, you will transfer to a section of Nyungwe Forest known as Cyamudongo, where most of Rwanda’s habituated chimpanzees are located. You’ll meet your local ranger at a small visitor centre, and then as soon as the trackers locate the family of chimpanzees – that number about 40 individuals – you’ll be off, trekking along the paths but also possibly scaling short sections of the steep rainforest slopes immersed in the forest.

Listen carefully and you may hear the chimps before you see them literally swinging from the trees or possibly running around on the ground all around you – this is a wonderful wildlife encounter! However, there’s more because chimps are not the only primate species that are found in Nyungwe Forest. There’s a good chance you may also encounter some of the others primates such as silver monkey, L’Hoest monkey, owl faced monkey, red tailed monkey, crowned monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, vervet monkey and olive baboon. And if you’re into birds then make sure to ask your guides to point out the species that you may find on the trails, which if you’re really lucky may include the rather impressive blue turaco!

Waterfall Walk (selected for all group tours): Whilst wildlife sightings on this walk are less common than in other locations, this is perhaps one of the best and most beautiful walks in Nyungwe Forest. Following a beautiful stream for much of the walk you will pass through several different types of habitat with numerous interesting insights that an expert ranger will share with you. The finale is an impressive waterfall rising above a canyon, of course it’s more spectacular after rain, but flows all year round.

Black and White Colobus: With more than 40 of these primates literally swinging from tree to tree above you, seeing them is a (practically) guaranteed spectacle that is as exciting as it is unexpected! It is also an easy mostly flat walk from the car park, and very close to Nyungwe Top View and One & Only.

Additional Nature or Birding Walk: With hundreds of kilometres of trails available, if you prefer you can opt to spend this morning enjoying a nature or birding walk with an expert guide who will point out many of the hundreds of species of birds living in Nyungwe. Whilst there will be no chimpanzees seen on a nature walk it is common (but not guaranteed) to see other species of primate.

Lunch: A la carte options from the menu of Top View Hotel served on the terrace overlooking Nyungwe Forest with views to Lake Kivu in the distance. After lunch we drive down to Lake Kivu, passing along the lakeshore and arriving at the resort of Kibuye in time to relax with sundowners at sunset.

Notes

  • All group tours include the waterfall walk
  • On private tours we will contact you after booking to ask which of the options you would like to pick. However, all clients must select the same option (or an additional fee will need to be charged)
  • Chimpanzees – there are just 16 chimpanzee permits available on any given day, with eight available at 05:00 and 07:00, so chimpanzees may always not be available. Chimpanzee viewing is not suitable if you are infirm or consider yourself unfit because they are agile and often move rapidly through the trees which means that trekking to see them can involve moving over steep ground to keep up. This is especially the case for visitors who are allocated the 07:00 timeslot as they are increasingly active later in the morning. Note that whilst we can request timeslots, the National Park make the final decision on the day.
  • Waterfall walk – the vast majority of the waterfall tail is relatively easy and well maintained but access to the waterfall viewing platform requires some slightly challenging steps on a low steep rock (which the ranger will assist with), but which infirm or overweight people could find difficult.


Dinner:
 Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-Range: 3B Kivu Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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This is the very best way to experience Lake Kivu, see the birds and, if you’re lucky, spotted necked otters in the water, as well as to meet the fishermen and communities that call it home, is to go on an overnight kayaking journey on Lake Kivu. Led by Kingfisher Journeys own British Canoeing qualified Paddlesport Leaders, there are spectacular views around each corner and often incredible sights of Mount Nyiragongo an active stratovolcano just over the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is an immersion in Africa like none other anywhere on the continent.

Highlights

  • Experience the beauty and tranquility of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes
  • Meet the fishermen, farmers and communities of local people who live on the shores and ply the water
  • Gently explore far from the tourist trail for a unique way to experience Africa
  • Stop for a picnic lunch in a shady spot and maybe go for a short walk along the shore


Dinner:
Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-Range: Rwiza Village / Cormoran Lodge / Moriah Hill Resort
Superior: Cleo by Mantis

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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One of the most common birds we’ll see on the water is the pied kingfisher. It’s special because it is one of the largest birds in the world that can truly hover. Many small birds like the beautiful red-chested sunbirds (that also dart in and out of the bushes) are well known for their aerobatics. Larger birds like kestrels can hover in a breeze, however the pied kingfisher hovers in still air before diving into the water to catch a fish. Sometimes as we paddle along, our kayaks surprise the fish, so these majestic birds will plummet into the water just ahead of us and emerge with one of the small fish.

Highlights

  • Explore Rwanda’s ‘Bay of Islands’
  • Pass small protected, uninhabited islands which are a haven for birds, vervet monkeys and if you’re lucky, spot Congo clawless otters in the water
  • Hike to the summit of Munini, popularly known as Napoleon Island (because it’s shaped like his famous hat!)
  • See a raucous colony of thousands of fruit bats that usually roost here during the day
  • Go on a short hike to the summit for a spectacular 360° view of Lake Kivu, over to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the lush green hills of Rwanda
  • Enjoy a delicious lunch, served on the island under the trees
  • Continue to Gishayu island, passing several further small islands
  • See the singing fishermen at sunset
  • Enjoy dinner served under the stars


Accommodation

Camping on Gishayu island with either:

  • Adventure tents and self-sufficient (and optionally, client participatory) catering OR 
  • Mid-range tents with fully catered service.

Note: There are basic flush toilet facilities here and (currently) no shower

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Highlights

  • Continue along the shores of Lake Kivu
  • See the most spectacular views of Mount Nyiragongo steaming in the distance
  • Meet local people as they head back and forth across the water to an island
  • Call in for a (surprise) cold drink at Rushel Kivu Lodge
  • Continue past coffee islands, where local people have planted coffee bushes that grow the best coffee in the world
  • At Cyimbili, go on fascinating tour of the artisanal coffee plantations and coffee-washing station where the beans are harvested, selected, washed, and of course roasted to become the freshest coffee you will ever taste!
  • Motorboat transfer to Gisenyi


Dinner:
Options include hotel restaurant or a visit to a great local bar popular with locals where you can party the night away (if staying at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel)

Accommodation
Mid-Range: Nirvana Heights / Kivu Paradis

Superior: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Muhungwe mountain trek is a moderate trek to the summit of the highest peak in Rwanda, which is not one of the Virunga volcanoes. The route takes you through a varied landscape with pastures, forests and amazing views towards the Virunga volcanoes including the active Nyiragongo volcano over the border in DRC.

Highlights

  • See some of the best scenery in Rwanda
  • Hike up a ridge on the watershed between the mighty Nile and Congo river basins
  • Watch local shepherd and cowherds tending their livestock
  • Descend though native forests and small villages
  • Packed lunch during the trek


Dinner: 
Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-Range: Classic Lodge / Le Bambou Gorilla Resort / Gorilla Mountain View
Superior: Five Volcanoes Boutique / Tiloreza Volcanoes Ecolodge or similar

High End Luxury available on request: Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Bisate, Gorilla Nest and numerous other options from $1000+ per person per night

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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The Lake Ruhondo lakeshore walk is a mostly flat and gentle walk in the countryside. Your guide will take you around the headlands and across the wide open bays of this beautiful lake where you will see many birds and witness local life up close.

Lunch: Being next to the lake, when you have walked long enough, your guide will call a motorboat to transfer you either to a local restaurant for a freshly cooked Rwandan style lunch, or to a small uninhabited island where, with table and chairs set up under the shade of a tree, you’ll enjoy your lunch in sight of the volcanoes. It’s the best lunch spot in Rwanda!

The Mukungwa River canoe trip is a fascinating journey down a gentle river and the most popular privately run tourist activity in Rwanda. Meandering on the water allows a remarkable interaction with the abundant birds that are found here and we have a little surprise here right the middle of nowhere.

Highlights

  • Walk on a flat trail as far as you like around Lake Ruhondo, one of the most beautiful lakes in Rwanda
  • Picnic lunch transfer by motorboat to an uninhabited island for a delicious lunch with tables and chairs in the middle of nowhere
  • Canoe on the Mukungwa River surrounded by the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes
  • See dozens of species of aquatic and other birds
  • There is a nice surprise along the way too!


Dinner:
 Hotel restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-Range: Classic Lodge / Le Bambou Gorilla Resort / Gorilla Mountain View
Superior: Five Volcanoes Boutique / Tiloreza Volcanoes Ecolodge or similar
High End Luxury available on request: Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and numerous other options from $1000+ per person per night

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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First meet at the National Park Headquarters where everyone will be split into groups of up to 8 people – and maybe joined with other tourists – before being allocated a ranger. You will then drive a short distance to the start of the trail from where you will trek in the forest for around 1-3 hours or so to meet the gorillas. When you find them, the hour you spend with these incredible primates is a true lifetime experience that you will never forget. To see – and walk amongst – a family of mountain gorillas is a wildlife encounter unlike any other on Earth. You’ll be so close to the individual gorillas; boisterous adolescents will be misbehaving whilst playful children are constantly demanding attention of their parents as aunts and uncles wander together in an extended family group under the watchful eye of the silverback. You may only be a visitor, but you will briefly be part of their family in a really remarkable way.

Lunch: Celebration lunch at your lodge followed by a transfer back to Kigali.

Dinner: Hotel or nearby restaurant

Accommodation
Mid-range: Heaven Boutique Hotel / Ubumwe Grande Hotel

Superior: Heaven The Retreat / Kigali Serena Hotel / Milles Collines / Marriott Kigali

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Depart with an airport transfer or other arrangements.

Meal Plan
Breakfast

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