4 Days Best of Luxury Rwanda from US$3,651.-pp, plus gorilla permit US$1,500 per trek

Remarkable Rwanda is a scenic landscape of green undulating hills and tea plantations. The northwest is dominated by the magnificent Virunga Mountain Range – a group of six towering volcanoes standing sentry along the border of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Located inside the Volcanoes National Park is the home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Coming face to face with a mountain gorilla is one of the most thrilling experiences you will ever encounter.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Face mountain gorillas eye to eye and watch them go about their lives
  • Visit Kigali Genocide Memorial and City Tour
  • Drive through scenic hills of Rwanda and view Bulera and Rulondo Lakes
  • Visit cultural center or optional Golden Monkey Tracking

BEST TIME TO GO

June to September and December to February

March, April and beginning of May and November are rainy season with more slippery trail than usual.

ITINERARY MAP

Use the route map below to explore the destinations & accommodation on this tour

FULL DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

Start Accommodation Destination Basis Room Type Duration
Day 1 Kigali Serena Hotel or similar Kigali B&B 1x Deluxe Room 1 Night
Day 2 Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Volcanoes National Park FB 1x Cottage 2 Nights

Key
B&B: Bed and breakfast
FB: Dinner, bed, breakfast and lunch

Price

US$3,651.-pp, sharing occupancy. Plus permit to see gorillas US$1,500.-pp and Golden Monkey US$150.-pp
Price valid until end 2020 and based on 2 persons travelling together. Tour starts any day.

Included

Accommodation, meals as per package, all transfers, Private 4×4 tourist converted jeep with services of professional guide/driver, bottled drinking water while trekking and in vehicle, Kigali City Tour and Genocide Museum visit,

Excluded

Permit to visit gorillas US$1,500 pp,  permit for Golden Monkey trekking US%150, Visa, airport fees, optional tours, mandatory travel insurance

.

Included

Accommodation, meals as per package, transfers, airport meet & greet, 4×4 tourist converted jeep with services of professional guide/driver, bottled drinking water while trekking and in vehicle, Kigali City Tour and Genocide Museum visit,

Excluded

Permit to visit gorillas US$1,500 per trek , US$150 Golden Monkey permit,  Visa, airport fees, optional tours, compulsory travel insurance.
Note: Tour starts and ends in Kigali.

Day 1:      Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali

Rwanda

Rwanda is an amazingly beautiful country and success story of Africa.  Known as the “Land of Thousand Hills”, it features mostly highlands and hills at altitudes from close to 4,000 feet to 14,786 feet of Mt. Karisimbi in the northwest.  Due to its elevation, Rwanda’s climate is comfortable and temperate year round. The country is one of the cleanest in Africa with good infrastructure, shiny new buildings and a government the locals say isn’t corrupt. Many streets in Kigali’s city center are paved, complete with boulevards lined with grass and palm trees. Rwanda looks prosperous compared to neighbouring countries. More importantly, with the genocide behind them, there is optimism, peace and hope among the people who smile and sometimes hold hands in public to show unity, no matter what gender.

Rwanda’s tourism is best known for it’s gorilla trekking.  It’s hard to find the words to describe the sensation of looking into the eyes of a wild mountain gorilla standing so close you could touch it (but of course you won’t to avoid transmitting diseases). It’s a “bucket-list” experience not to be missed and Rwanda is a good place for doing it. Another fantastic primate-viewing area as well as a birders hotspot is Nyungwe Forst National Park.

Kigali

Rwanda’s capital and biggest city is built across an undulating series of lush hills surrounded by higher mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising 1,850 metres above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Centre, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops.

Activities

Transfer to your hotel

Overnight: Kigali Serena Hotel    or similar

Ideally located on one of Kigali’s most charming boulevards, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art. Relaxed yet elegant, the hotel centres on the Executive Lounge and Bar, which opens onto a wide sundeck overlooking the newly refurbished swimming pool. Also overlooking the pool, the popular Milima Restaurant offers a wide range of all-day buffet choices, while the relaxed Sokoni Café offers inside and outside poolside seating. The capital’s natural business hub, the hotel also boasts its own extensive conference centre, 500-seater auditorium and lavish ballroom.

The hotel features 148 rooms. Guests can choose from a selection of 60 Standard Rooms, 37 Superior Rooms, 19 Deluxe Rooms, 18 Junior Suites, 7 Prime Rooms, 6 Executive Suites and a luxury Presidential Suite. In-room facilities include 24 hour room service, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities, mini fridge, hair dryer, private safe and a flat screen satellite TV.

Deluxe Room

Varying slightly in size between 25 and 30 sq metres, these rooms offer either twin or king-sized beds and a luxury bathroom with both tub and shower.

Included

Bed & Breakfast

Day 2:      Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park, referred to by locals as PNV, is best known as a sanctuary for the regions rare mountain gorillas. The Park is part the Virungas mountains which form the border between Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo and are one of the most beautiful sights in Africa. Approximately 480 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga complex and reside at an altitude range of 7,500’ to 14,700’. Rare golden monkeys, a subspecies of blue monkeys,  can also be tracked here. This corner or northwestern Rwanda is a breath-taking unforgettable place where culture and adventure intersect.

This morning you will be picked up for a Kigali city tour and Genocide Museum visit.

Kigali is a surprising African city – impeccably clean and safe, where potholed roads and unsightly litter are virtually non existent.

During April 1994, Kigali was the scene of the devastating Rwandan Genocide – the slaughter of approximately one million Tutsi by Hutu militias and some members of the Rwandan army. Rwanda today is a remarkable testament to the power of forgiveness and the resilience of the human spirit. Here you will find a fast growing economy and proud yet humble people.

A 3 hour drive on good roads brings us to Musanze/ Ruhengeri, at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park.

This is the place that Dian Fossey, the American primatologist and anthropologist, called home for 18 years. Her book, which was later adapted into the film Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. In 1988 it was adapted into a film. Sadly Dian was murdered in 1985, assumingly by poachers, although the mystery of her death remains unsolved.

Activities

View Bulera and Ruhondo Lakes
Drive to Ruhengeri
Kigali Genocide Memorial and City Tour

Escorted Cultural Walks

While staying at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, we recommend enjoying a guided community walk, which offers fascinating insight into Rwandan rural life today, as well as a glimpse into life in the historical past. An enriching experience, guests are invited to understand the agricultural lifestyle of Rwanda, including how crops are grown, how milling and processing is done by hand, traditional medicines, as well as enjoying the frenetic activity of traditional Rwandan dancing, which is an aspect of the culture still very alive today. A walk is from 1 to 3 hours.

Overnight: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge   View iBrochure

The lodge is only minutes away from the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla – perhaps one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possible. Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises six double cottages, two suites and one family suite. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms.

Cottage

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge has six cottages.  All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature sitting areas, fireplaces and stylish en-suite bathrooms. Space heaters supplement the log fire to create a haven of warmth. A verandah invites you to relax and enjoy the lush bird-filled gardens.

Included

Full Board

Day 3:     Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Volcanoes National Park

Activities

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Today is nothing less than a Lifetime Experience and a rare opportunity to encounter endangered Mountain Gorillas up close. The Volcanoes National Park, situated in north-western Rwanda, sits on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a spectacular park, encompassing five of the eight rainforest and bamboo covered volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains . With less than 650 gorillas left in the wild, Rwanda is a real success story as conservation efforts over the last decades see the population slowly increasing in numbers.

After a briefing with National Parks’ personnel your hike begins, and may take anything from 30 mins to several hours. Although Gorilla trekking requires no formal training, walking at altitude can be tiring, and with few clear cut paths through the bush, your focused concentration and flexibility is a must!

Once you reach your Gorilla family, you’ll spend a memorable hour watching them interact with each other: eating, grooming, playing or catching a nap. It’s a humbling experience to sit amongst our ‘cousins’ – and the hour will pass before you can blink – so take some photos and then simply soak up every moment of this incredible experience.

Presently, Rwanda not only enjoys the best security in the region but also has the easiest access routes for visiting the mountain gorillas. We organize thrilling treks to visit these gentle giants in their misty mountain home, also known as the Virunga Mountains (a chain of volcanoes with
altitudinal ranges of 3500m-4507m). Mountain Gorillas are found in the high altitude forests surrounding these volcanoes.

There are currently 7 habituated gorilla families that can be visited and 2 Golden Monkey Families (Kabatwa & Musonga).

1- Sabyinyo Group -This is a family of 10 gorillas, led by the biggest Silverback known in the
entire jungle called Guhonda.
2- Amahoro Group – 17 members including two Silverbacks
3– Umubano Group – 12 members including one Silverback
4- Group 13- 25 members including one Silverback
5- Susa Group – The largest family with 43 members including 6 Silverbacks, it split in two groups
recently.
Susa A- 28 members
Susa B- 15 members
6- Kwitonda Group- 18 members including three Silverbacks
7- Hirwa Group- 11 members including one Silverback

In order to minimize behavioral disturbances to the gorillas, only 8 people are allowed to visit each of the families and for a period not exceeding 1hour. This means that only 56 people are allowed in the park daily. The limits serve to protect gorillas from the risk of exposure to human- borne diseases.

For more information on gorilla tracking please see here.

Included

Full Board

Day 4:      Departure

Choose from an optional tour and depart for Kigali at noon.

Optional – choose 1 from:

Escorted Bird Watching Walks

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge property extends over some 7 hectares (about 17 acres) and is a heaven for all kinds of local birds that do not easily thrive in the surrounding agricultural plots, where natural shelter is rare and disturbance by human activity high. Over 40 species of birds (of which a few species and or subspecies are endemic to the Albertine Rift forests) have been identified on and around Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

Some of our staff members are interested in birds and will be pleased to escort you around the lodge’s property to observe the local birdlife. The staff members speak English and have a genuine knowledge of the birdlife around Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

If you have a special interest in birds and would like a more professional guiding service, we can arrange the service of a professional, ornithologist who is resident in the area and has an excellent knowledge of the local birdlife. There is a small charge for this service and our receptionists will be happy to advise you of rates and book the bird walk for you.

Binoculars are a must! Birds are especially active in the morning between 7am and 9.30am and in the afternoon between 4pm and 6pm.

Golden Monkey Trekking US$100pp

Trekking to see the golden monkeys is another highlight of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.

There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo. As with treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Departure for the Golden Monkey trek is from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00am. The number of visitors is not limited and the fee for a Golden Monkey permit is currently USD$100 per person per trek. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. Porters can be hired at the entry point of the park.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is conveniently located 15 minutes drive from the park headquarters and is the perfect base to trek to see both the Mountain Gorilla and Golden Monkeys.

Escorted Mountain Bike Rides

We have four good quality and well serviced mountain bikes available at the lodge for guests to use. We can arrange for one of our staff members to take guests on an escorted mountain bike ride to explore the local area. The staff members are keen mountain bikers and share their enthusiasm and knowledge of the local area during the excursion. The biking excursions take between one and two hours, and this activity is offered free of charge to all guests staying at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Please note that due to the very hilly terrain and the poor general conditions of most local tracks, biking in the area can be tough and physically demanding and as it is easy to lose ones way on the small rural tracks in the area, all bike rides must be accompanied by a member of the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge staff.

Iby Iwacu Cultural Village

Iby’iwacu cultural village is located 15 minutes drive from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and is an interesting cultural excursion. The village convinced ex poachers to turn their back on poaching and instead perform for visitors.

Visiting the village you can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area.

The guided walk of the village takes around an hour and you can freely take photographs.  A tip of USD$ 20 minimum is normally expected.

It is also possible to walk to the village from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. The walk is downhill all the way, takes around an hour.

Trek to Dian Fossey Research Camp and Grave

For those interested visiting Dian Fossey’s original scientific base Karisoke, a trek is available from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters. Karisoke scientific base was established by Dian Fossey in the saddle area between two volcanoes; Mt Visoke and Mt Karisimbi (from which the name Karisoke is derived). The camp site stands at an altitude of around 3000m (over 9000 ft) and was abandoned during the unrest of the 1990’s. All that remains today is the graveyard where several of Dian Fossey’s favourite gorillas were buried. Dian Fossey is  also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas.

The trek to the Karisoke research camp takes around 3 – 4 hours and takes you through some of the most beautiful stretches of Hagenia – Hypericum forest in the Volcanoes National Park.

The Park fee for this Karisoke Trek is currently USD$ 95 per person, which includes the fee for the guide. The trek starts at 07:00am from the Park Headquarters in Kinigi, from where visitors will have to drive / be driven to the start point for the trek. Permits can be purchased on the day of the trek at the Park headquarters and porters can be hired at the start point for the trek.

Why not stay longer?

Although the gorillas are a real highlight, Rwanda has so much more to offer. We highly recommend you extend your stay to include Nyungwe Forest, Lake Kivu and Akagera National Park. We’ll tailor make the perfect trip just for you. If you do plan to trek the gorillas twice, it’s worth considering staying an additional night either at Gorilla View or back in Kigali so you’re not rushing to catch a flight.

E&OE

 

Comments are closed.