10 Days Drive Gorilla Safari – Akagera National NP, Nyungwe NP & Volcanoes NP

Destination Overview

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is located in the northeast of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. It is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes, of which the largest is Lake Ihema.

The rolling hills of Acacia and Brachystegia Woodland coupled with scattered grassland and swamp-fringed lakes along the meandering Akagera watercourse combine to create a park of breath-taking scenic beauty.

Nyungwe National Park

Located in the South West corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is an untouched natural rainforest filled with exciting biodiversity. Covering over 1000 square km, Nyungwe is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age.

Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primate’s species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus). It’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics. It is home to 75 different species of mammal.

Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans)

In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”.

Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. The mysterious rainforest is alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. The magnificent peaks are glimpsed through gaps in the forest canopy, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.

TOUR SUMMARY

  • This tour starts and ends in Kigali
  • You'll visit Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park & Volcanoes National Park
  • Activities: Gorilla tracking, Cultural Village Visit and Genocide Museum
  • Accommodation: Kigali Serena Hotel, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel & Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Kigali 

Upon arrival at Kigali international airport, you are met by a Great Lakes Safaris representative; you will then transfer to your hotel in Kigali to have a briefing on your safari. Overnight at Kigali Serena Hotel (Bed and Breakfast).

 Day 2: Kigali –   Akagera National Park (2.5 hrs)

Have breakfast at your hotel; Take up a city tour of Kigali, including a visit to the Genocide Memorial site, a grim reminder of a senseless massacre of innocent’s lives in 1994. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide; learn about other genocides globally and how this country has dealt with that past.

Tour more and see the new developments in Rwanda; the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience. The history of Rwanda dates back centuries. Kigali has been a part of it for 100 years. Founded in 1907 as a German settlement, Kigali did not become the capital until Rwanda’s independence in 1962, when it replaced the colonial seat of power in Butare.

You will have lunch in Kigali; Then drive to Akagera National Park. Once you arrived, you will enjoy an afternoon game drive—dinner and overnight at Ruzizi Tented Lodge.

Day 3: Game drive– Boat ride

Today in the morning, depart to the park for a scenic game drive. The Akagera National Park is home to a variety of game, and it’s an exciting reserve in which to spend a few days and an exciting contrast to the more mountainous central and western parts of Rwanda. There are plenty of animals around, and the birdlife is quite exceptional.

Mammals include a healthy population of Elephant and Buffalo, lions, plus 11 species, including Impala, Common Duiker, Defassa Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Tsessebe, Cape Eland and the rare Sable Antelope. Zebra and Giraffe still roam the more open acacia dotted plains.

In the afternoon, you will enjoy a boat ride on Lake Ihema, where you can catch sight of hippos and crocodiles. Dinner and overnight at Ruzizi Tented Lodge.

Day 4: Akagera National Park –– Volcanoes National Park

With a packed breakfast, early in the morning, drive to Volcanoes National park with a stopover in Kigali for lunch before continuing to Musanze. Upon arrival, check-in at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

Day 5: Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking

Early breakfast at your Lodge; 0630 hrs: transfer to the Volcanoes National Park HQs 0700 hrs: Registration, where the park staff determines which group of gorillas you will visit. The park staff discusses your fitness level and advises you of the trekking times and conditions to the various groups based upon their location in the park the previous evening. There are 80 gorilla permits available each day, with a maximum of eight trekkers visiting any one group.

Once the trekkers are put into groups, each group’s Lead Guide briefs the trekkers of the trekking procedures and the “do’s and don’ts” while in the presence of gorillas. After the briefing, trekkers return to their respective vehicles to drive up the mountain to the starting point. Porters may be hired for the trek to carry your backpack and gear. The cost, US$10 per person/per day. We advise that you utilize this service.

 Please remember to bring your passport for registration, appropriate, waterproof hiking boots and a light raincoat. To protect from stinging nettles, we recommend long pants and long-sleeved tops. A pair of old gardening gloves can help grab onto the vegetation, while most hotels/lodges provide a walking stick that comes in very handy, especially when hiking downhill.  A small waterproof backpack is an excellent idea to carry a light snack, bottled water as well as protection for your camera.

After the trek, join your driver-guide for a transfer back to your Lodge. You will enjoy a visit to iby’I wacu cultural village where ex-poachers were turned into eco-warriors in the afternoon—dinner and overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

Day 6: More Gorillas – Volcanoes National Park

Have an early breakfast at your Lodge; 0630 hrs; Transfer to the Volcanoes National Park’s Office to undergo the now-familiar gorilla trekking formalities. Then enter the forest for the second trek, visiting a different family from yesterdays. After the trek, rejoin your driver Guide for a transfer back to your Lodge.

Later in the afternoon, you will visit the little known but compellingly beautiful twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo and have a cup of Rwandan coffee while admiring the scenic view. Dinner and overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

Day 7: Volcanoes National Park – Gisenyi

Today after breakfast, you will drive to Gisenyi in western Rwanda on the shores of Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu one of a string of huge freshwater lakes which lie along Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Dominating the border between Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth-largest lake in Africa. You will have lunch in Gisenyi. Dinner and overnight at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel.

Day 8: Gisenyi – Nyungwe National Park

Today you will have a town tour of Gisenyi, including a visit to the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, BRALIRWA (the local brewery) and the hot spring. Water activities available (to be paid directly).

You will be transferred to Nyungwe National Park after lunch. Dinner and overnight at Nyungwe House Lodge.

Day 9: Nyungwe National Park

Early in the morning, hike into Nyungwe Forest, the natural habitats for a massive population of Chimps. Chimpanzees are great apes that are closely related to humans. Nyungwe Forest hosts these intelligent primates who are an endangered species.

You will go for the canopy walk in the afternoon, which offers a splendid view over the lush forest with its magnificent biodiversity. Complex wood trees dominate the upper canopy, while the lower part is beautified with a large selection of orchids, flora and fauna that flourish better in the higher altitudes—dinner and overnight at Nyungwe House Lodge.

Day 10: Volcanoes National Park – Kigali – Departure

Today you will enjoy the scenic drive back to Kigali; on your way, you will go through Butare, the second largest city of Rwanda and regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. It hosts the National Museum, several academic (Universities) and research institutions, visit Nyanza, the former Mwami’s palace (King’s palace), and the feudal monarchy’s seat.

You will also visit the Butare National Museum in Huye, one of the excellent set-up, if not the finest ethnographic museum of East Africa, a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda. You will have lunch in Butare, and afterwards, proceed to and proceed to the airport for your departure flight.

Pricing

Number of Pax Peak season ( June, July, Aug, Sep, Oct, 16 Dec -05 Jan ) High season (06 Jan-31Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov, 1st-15Dec) Low season (April and May)
Travelling with 1 pax US $ 15,928 US $ 14,168 US $ 12,098
Travelling with 2 pax US $ 10,902 US $ 9,660 US $ 8,453
Travelling with 3 pax US $ 10,143 US $ 8,901 US $ 7,682
Travelling with 4 pax US $ 9,775 US $ 8,476 US $ 7,245
Travelling with 5 pax US $ 9,522 US $ 8,280 US $ 7,015
Single Supplement US $ 2,668 US $ 2,185 US $ 1,346
Primates Tracking Permits (to be added to the package)
Gorilla Permits US $ 1,500 US $ 1,500 US $1,500
Chimp Permits US $ 90 US $ 90 US $90

Package Inclusive:

  • Pick up and drop off at Kigali International Airport
  • Safari vehicle
  • All specified accommodation
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Bottled mineral water in the safari vehicle
  • Activities and excursions mentioned in the program
  • Entrance fees and ranger fees for national parks
  • Evacuation insurance (AMREF - Flying Doctors)
  • English speaking driver-guide
  • 24/7 phone support

Package Exclusive:

  • International Flights
  • Visa (USD 50, available upon arrival)
  • Optional activities
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking and Permits
  • Items of personal nature
  • Souvenirs
  • Laundry service
  • Tips