AROUND RWANDA IN 12 DAYS

The Land of a Thousand Hills

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Dates

2024

January 9 – January 20
February 6 – February 17
July 16 – July 27
November 26 – December 7

2025

January 7 – January 18
February 4 – February 15
July 15 – July 26
November 25 – December 6

Private departures on request

Be inspired by the beautiful and resilient people of Rwanda while discovering their peaceful and prosperous home. Renowned as clean, safe and amazingly friendly, Rwanda – a small country in the heart of Africa – is a wonderful place to visit! From discovering hidden gems in the City of Kigali to spotting wildlife in Akagera National Park and more thrills in between, this unique trip, which includes primate tracking and hiking options in Nyungwe rainforest and Volcanoes National Park, has something for everybody!

History, culture, adventure and lots of fun await you! Read on…

Photo of rwandan art

Price

US$ 4,195 Per Person
US$ 775 Single Supplement

Highlights

  • Many meals and activities ranging from leisurely to difficult are à la carte to suit your taste
  • Join a delightful family for a home-made traditional lunch 
  • Encounters with gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, elephants, giraffes, birds and lots of other animals
  • Dazzling landscapes, including lakes, volcanic mountains and tropical flowers

Meet your tour leader

Hello everyone! My name is Lillian, and I look forward to meeting and welcoming you to my beloved Rwanda. After several years of travel to this land – for both humanitarian and tourism purposes – I invite you to join me on this fascinating and unusual trip!

Itinerary

Arrive at the Kigali International Airport and obtain a 30-day single-entry tourist visa from an immigration official. When you exit the airport, a tour representative will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel. Approximate driving time: 20 minutes

Accommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel (The Residence)

Meals included: None

Meet and greet your fellow travellers over breakfast. Your tour leader will also provide a brief trip overview and respond to any questions you may have. Then, all aboard for the city tour!

Kigali City Tour: A Must-Do in the Country’s Capital for Culture, History and Fun
Kick off your trip to Rwanda by exploring this bustling, colourful and fast-growing metropolis! Stops include Mount Kigali for views of the city and countryside, a milk bar to discover that sharing milk is a sign of friendship, a neighbourhood market, a mural walk, a delicious Rwandan lunch and the best coffee in town! The tour concludes with a poignant visit to the Genocide Memorial (highly recommended). Departure time: 9:30 a.m.

Accommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel (The Residence)

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Upon reaching Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of Africa’s oldest mountainous rainforests, we’ll take a walk on the wild side! Approximate driving time: 6 hours

Igishigishigi Trail/Canopy Walkway – 3:00 p.m. Hike (Easy)
This trail, with countless butterflies, orchids and colourful birds, as well as the chance of encountering primates, leads to a suspended metallic walkway (160m long and 70m high) for some stunning views of this simply magnificent rainforest. (2.1 km/2 hours)

Accommodation: Top View Hill Hotel (located in the park)

Meals included: Breakfast and packed lunch

This morning, here are your three optional activities to enjoy the park:

· Ndambarare Waterfall Trail – 9:00 a.m. Hike (Moderate)
This superb trail with views of the tea plantation follows flat, winding paths through fern-covered ravines and crosses several streams before reaching a waterfall and plunge pool. A variety of monkeys and birds are often seen along the way. (9.6 km/3.5 hours)
Departure time: 8:45 a.m.
Cost: Included in the park entrance fee

· Chimpanzee Trek (Moderate/Difficult)
“Go ape” over chimps! Track through thick vegetation to hear the calls of our closest genetic relatives and see them swing from tree to tree during a memorable hour in their presence.
Departure time: 4:45 a.m.
Cost: $150.00 USD

OR

· Leisure Time
Enjoy the hotel facilities and the stunning panoramic views of the forest and Lake Kivu while sipping a cup –or two – of fresh local tea!

Your afternoon activities include:

· Gisakura Tea Factory Tour
From the weighing and drying of the leaves to their grading and preparation for sale, get fascinating insight into the production of tea – one of Rwanda’s biggest exports!

AND

· Leisure Time
It never gets old! Kick back and gaze at the wondrous landscape from the hilltop setting of the hotel.

This evening, let’s reunite for dinner and a dramatic performance by traditional Intore dancers. You will be wowed!

Accommodation: Top View Hill Hotel (located in the park)

Meal included: Breakfast

As we leave the rainforest behind, get ready for lunch in Karongi, one of the most scenic towns in Rwanda! Approximate driving time: 2.5 hours

Lunch will be served at a lakeside oasis, where you will enjoy the breathtaking view while savouring a delicious meal!

With happy bellies, we will then take a leisurely boat ride, winding past nearby islands on our way to the beachfront resort for sundowners and dinner. Consider a dip in Lake Kivu!

Accommodation: Rushel Kivu Resort

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Before hitting the road, we will go for a short walk to the coffee farm in Kinunu Village to grab some packaged java and a cup to go!

This morning’s scenic drive leads to Rubavu, an attractive town located along the shores of Lake Kivu, for a rare lunch treat! Approximate driving time: 2 hours

A lovely family will welcome us into their home and host a traditional meal, including the best beans in town, for genuine insight into local life. A truly unique cultural experience!

After lunch, a member of the local family will join us for a lakeside stroll as we digest such a hearty feast! Then, a short drive to Kigufi, where the resort is an ideal spot to enjoy happy hour while watching the sunset and local fishermen as they paddle by in traditional dugout boats. Fresh tilapia for dinner, anyone?

Let’s gather around the fire to end a great day!

Accommodation: Kivu Paradise Resort

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

After a relaxing start to the morning, today’s transfer will bring us to Volcanoes National Park – home of endangered mountain gorillas! Approximate driving time: 2 hours

Your afternoon activities include:

· Visiting the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund to learn about gorillas and their habitat as well as the importance of conservation efforts.

AND

· Leisure time to simply enjoy the grounds of the lodge.

Before dinner, how about connecting in the garden for drinks to chat about tomorrow’s fun?

Accommodation: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast, here are your five optional activities to enjoy the park:

· Golden Monkey Tracking (Easy/Moderate)
Seeing these bright-coloured creatures in the bamboo forest is a real delight! Views can be fantastic, both in the forest and while hiking along the eucalyptus-lined nature trail where some – as an added bonus – may be spotted raiding potatoes from a local crop! Visits last for one hour.
Departure time: 6:30 a.m.
Cost: $100.00 USD

· Gorilla Tracking (Easy, Moderate OR Difficult)
Leave with no regrets! Standing feet away from enormous silverbacks, nurturing mothers and chest-beating youngsters is one of life’s most exhilarating moments. Believe me, a magical hour with these gentle giants is an experience unlike any other!
Departure time: 6:30 a.m.
Cost: $1,500.00 USD

· Dian Fossey’s Grave (Moderate/Difficult)
This popular hike leads to Dian Fossey’s former Karisoke Research Camp, the location of her tomb and the adjacent cemetery of her much-loved gorillas. While her old living quarters are now in ruins and other areas of the camp are now marked only by signposts, her legacy will never be forgotten!
Departure time: 6:30 a.m.
Cost: $75.00 USD

· Mount Bisoke/Crater Lake (Difficult)
This demanding hike to the rim – famous for the beautiful crater lake that can be seen on a clear day – may just be your thing! Along the trek, the scenic backdrop of hagenia and lobelia trees is fantastic! Equally impressive are the fields of daisies which, as note of interest, are used by locals to make natural insecticide.
Departure time: 6:30 a.m.
Cost: $75.00 USD

OR

· Leisure time to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding area.

Let’s get together for lunch to share stories and photos about your morning adventures and then go shopping for souvenirs at the craft centre and the Red Rocks Arts Gallery.

Accommodation: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today’s road trip leads to Akagera National Park. With its many lakes, mountains and ever-changing vegetation, it is truly one of the most scenic savannah reserves in Africa! Approximate driving time: 5 hours

This afternoon’s activities include:

· Leisure time to enjoy the lodge and pool and to admire the spectacular views of Lake Ihema and the neighbouring countryside of Tanzania.

AND

· Sunset Boat Trip on Lake Ihema (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.)
A chance to see elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, pods of hippos and an abundance of birds, such as weavers (known for building intricate nests), fish eagles and storks – all while enjoying the day’s end!

Accommodation: Akagera Game Lodge (located in the park)

Meals included: Breakfast and packed lunch

After an early breakfast, get set for an exciting full-day game drive to the northern section of the park! Approximate driving time: 6 hours

All eyes will be scanning for the BIG 5 – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo – as well as giraffes snacking on acacia leaves, zebras, hippos, a variety of antelopes, warthogs, baboons and several species of birds, including gorgeous lilac breasted rollers and crowned cranes. Lunch will be in a picnic area where we may be joined by some long-necked friends!

Accommodation: Karenge Bush Camp (located in the park)

Meals included: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Last chance to capture your perfect wildlife photo! After breakfast, a morning game drive awaits to spot more animals in the northern plains of the park before returning to Kigali. Approximate driving time: 5.5 hours

After some rest, get ready for an evening out on the town to raise a glass to Rwanda and celebrate at our farewell dinner!

Accommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel (The Residence)

Meals included: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Depending on your flight departure time, you may have a chance to do some last-minute shopping, have lunch and relax before your transfer to the airport. Approximate driving time: 20 minutes

Meal included: Breakfast

Inclusions

  • Transfers from/to the airport on days 1 and 12

  • Transportation (4×4 safari vehicle with pop-up roof and minibus)

  • Water and sodas in the vehicles

  • Accommodation

  • Meals and activities as outlined in the itinerary

  • Tour leader, drivers, guides and trackers

  • Park entrance fees

  • Emergency evacuation insurance

  • Information on COVID-19 requirements

Exclusions

  • Travel insurance (medical and trip cancellation)
  • International flights from/to your home country
  • COVID-19 tests, if required
  • Visa fee, if required
  • Cost of optional activities as outlined in the itinerary
  • Museum donations
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcoholic beverages, phone/internet, etc.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary and most drinks
  • Hiking porters
  • Tips (tour leader, drivers, guides, trackers and restaurant)

FAQ

Small group adventures are one of the most popular ways to travel!

  • Enjoy hassle-free travelling and unparalleled local knowledge
  • Be with like-minded travellers and make life-long friends
  • Solo travellers usually make up 50% of the group
  • Groups often have a mixed age range

Groups will include a maximum of six travellers plus your tour leader and driver.

Booking this trip is as easy as completing the online booking form.

For your convenience, Bernard Bacle, your dedicated travel agent at Club Aventure, can assist you in booking your flights and any trip extensions and in purchasing your travel insurance once your trip is confirmed.

Extensions – before and/or after this trip – are a great way to enjoy some downtime or more time to explore! Why not consider a relaxing beach stay on Zanzibar Island, climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, tasting wine in South Africa or visiting Europe on your way to/from Rwanda?

NOTE: If possible, you are encouraged to arrive in Rwanda at least one day before the start of this trip to recover from jetlag.

You have the option of paying the single supplement or finding a friend to join you.

The per person price of this trip is based on double occupancy. Therefore, the single supplement applies to solo travellers to offset the difference in various costs, such as accommodation.

Even though Rwanda can be visited at any time of the year, this trip is scheduled during the usual dry seasons. Since the ground should be dry and the chances of getting wet are minimal, the dry seasons are the best times for hiking, travelling on dirt roads and when the risk of malaria is lowest.

Peak temperatures rarely exceed 30°C (86°F) in the daytime or drop below 15°C (59°F) at night. The eastern part of the country is generally the warmest and the northern part the coolest. The average daily temperatures range from a high of 21 to 27°C (70 to 80°F) to a low of 13 to 18°C (55 to 65°F).

All travellers should consult their government’s Travel Report on Rwanda for the latest information on safety and security, entry and exit requirements, health, and laws and culture.

Here is the Government of Canada’s Travel Report for Rwanda

Here are some other noteworthy travel publications from the Government of Canada:

Citizens of many countries, including Canada, get a 30-day single-entry tourist visa (without prior application) upon arrival at the Kigali International Airport without a fee.

However, citizens of some countries, including the United States of America, get the same tourist visa (without prior application) upon arrival at the Kigali International Airport for a prescribed fee of $50.00 USD. The fee can be paid by cash, Visa or MasterCard.

To find out if you are exempt or non-exempt from paying the visa fee, please contact Bernard at [email protected].

As part of the trip booking process, Bernard will ask for your selected optional  activities. With your agreement, he will then pre-book and pay for them with your credit card. Given the popularity of these activities, especially gorilla and chimpanzee tracking and the canopy walkway, booking and paying in advance is highly recommended in order to avoid any disappointment.

They can be paid by Visa, MasterCard and local cash (Rwandan francs/RWFs).

It is best to use RWFs to purchase items at local markets and shops, to hire hiking porters and to give small tips.

You can get local currency, including a little extra for any back-up needs, at a foreign exchange bureau or at an ATM at the beginning of the trip.

The foreign exchange rate for 1 CAD = 750 RWF (approximately)

For meals and alcoholic beverages purchased at stores, restaurants and hotels, here are the approximate prices in CAD:

Lunch and dinner range from $7.00 to $30.00

A bottle of beer (local and imported) ranges from $1.50 to $9.00. Local beer includes Heineken as it is brewed and bottled in Rwanda.

A bottle of mid-range wine ranges from $25.00 to $32.00

A glass of wine ranges from $6.50 to $9.00

A mixed drink ranges from $4.00 to $9.00

Generally speaking, tipping is not common in Rwanda. However, after a meal at a nice restaurant, it is polite to leave 1,000 – 1,500 RWF but this is not necessary at budget eateries.

It is also customary – and appreciated – to tip your tour leader, drivers, guides and trackers, assuming that you are pleased with their service.

Appropriate amounts to budget:

  • Tour leader: $12.50 CAD per person/per day

  • Local drivers: $12.50 CAD per person/per day

  • Local guides and trackers: 2,000 RWF per person/per activity

The dress code is informal yet respectful. Pants and knee-length skirts, dresses and shorts are fine. Walking around in public places without a shirt is unacceptable.

For the following optional hikes, elevations are between 2,500m and 3,700m above sea level. Therefore, there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Feeling fatigued and difficulty breathing may be experienced by anyone, regardless of fitness or age.

Gorilla Tracking: 2,500 to 3,000m
Dian Fossey’s Grave: 2,800 to 3,000m
Mount Bisoke/Crater Lake: 3,700m

By spending a week in Rwanda before trekking in Volcanoes National Park, you will be better acclimatised to altitude by travelling through areas that lie between 1,500m and 2,000m above sea level.

Porters, if required, can be hired for 10,000 RWF. ($15.00 CAD approximately)

Guides offer wooden walking sticks for free.

Reaching the gorillas in the bamboo forest involves a combination of steep slopes, dense vegetation and high altitude with some possible muddy and slippery conditions.

You should wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots with good ankle support and tread, thick pants and gaiters, as well as a long-sleeved top and garden gloves to protect from stinging nettles and thorny vegetation. Bring as little as possible, ideally in a waterproof packsack: camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, water and snacks. Binoculars are not necessary to see the gorillas, so it’s your choice. Just in case of rain, you may also want to include a lightweight waterproof jacket or plastic poncho.

Wear suitable clothing and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots with good ankle support and tread. Bring the same items as noted above plus binoculars to see the chimpanzees, monkeys and birds.

Like gorilla tracking, please keep in mind that all hikes may include some muddy and slippery terrain.

You have a few options to keep in touch with family and friends back home.

Wi-Fi is common in hotels for sending email and using WhatsApp. International text messages and phone calls are surprisingly cheap from local numbers. However, before purchasing a SIM card, please ensure that your mobile phone is unlocked.

4G LTE data bundles are also inexpensive and can be added to a local SIM card.

Food standards are high! Restaurants serve Western dishes, including healthy choices, and Rwandan favourites, such as goat kebabs, grilled tilapia (lake fish), bean and meat stews, plantain (cooking banana), chapatti (flat bread) and the “best” chips.

In Kigali, there is an impressive range of international cuisines, such as Indian, Italian, Chinese and French.

If you have any dietary requirements, you should consider bringing some personal supplies to supplement what can be provided locally.

As a small country, medical help is rarely far away. For basic treatment, most towns have pharmacies with a limited range of medication while larger towns have hospitals. King Faisal Hospital in Kigali is the most advanced in Rwanda.

Please refrain from bringing plastic bags to Rwanda. They have been banned by law since 2008. Any plastic bags in your luggage will be confiscated at the airport.

Rwanda strives to protect the environment – a matter that is carefully observed by its citizens who all participate in a community service called Umuganda on the last Saturday of every month.

Visitors are respectfully asked to help keep Rwanda the cleanest country in Africa by disposing of all litter responsibly.

Yes, of course! Here is some for you:

Time zone: Central Africa Time (GMT/UTC + 2 hours)
Electricity: 230V / 50Hz
Plug adapter: Type C (two round prongs)
International telephone country code: 250
Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English and French. Swahili is widely spoken.
Population: 13 million (approximately)

Here are some useful phrases in Kinyarwanda to impress the locals:

Muraho = hello
Nitwa = my name is …
Amakuru = how are you?
Ni meza = I am fine
Murakoze = thank you

Who can I contact for other questions?

If you have any additional questions about this trip, please contact Bernard at
[email protected].

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