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Rwanda Cultural Safari

This tour explores the history and culture of Rwandan people. Visit Kigali, the modern capital city of Rwanda, as well as the genocide memorial at Gisozi, explore local markets, tour the king’s palace (reminiscent of the old Rwanda before colonialism), visit Imbabazi farm and former orphanage, visit the shores of Lake Kivu, continue to Musanze to visit local communities, and have the rare privilege of tracking mountain gorillas and golden monkeys (on separate treks) in their natural habitats.

Day 1: Kigali

Accommodations: Gorillas Golf Hotel

Meals: Dinner

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by your safari guide and transferred to your hotel for your first orientation/safari briefing. Later in the day (if time permits and depending on when your flight arrived), visit Kigali city, a local market, and the Genocide museum and memorial to learn about the horrible atrocity that shook this country just 2 decades back.

Day 2: Kigali to Nyanza to Huye

Accommodations: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, travel to Nyanza and visit the King's Palace, seat of the former feudal monarchy until 1959. The palace has been reconstructed to it's 19th century state using local traditional materials, and is one of the most magnificent traditional structures in Africa today. The resident cultural guide will describe the cultural, political and social organization of society before the advent of Christianity and other recent religions in this area. Later, travel to Gisenyi passing through a beautiful rural countryside with terraced hills and village life.

Day 3: Visit Lake Kivu and Imbabazi

Accommodations: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The morning will start with a visit to beautiful Lake Kivu, one of only three lakes that contain a high concentration of methane under the surface. The government of Rwanda is taking steps to reduce the methane under the lake, turning it into electricity and also making the lake much safer for all who live nearby. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on this beautiful lake, nestled in the mountains.

 

Later in the day, visit and take a tour of Imbabazi, the former orphanage (and current pre-school and museum) that was started by American Rozamund Carr, who lived in East Africa for the majority of her life. Horrified by the 1994 genocide, Mrs. Carr started the orphanage on her own property, and orphans were housed on site until 2013. Mrs. Carr passed away in 2006 and is buried on site. The land is now run by a trust. Mrs. Carr owned 54 hectares of land (roughly 100 acres), and much of the land is still used as a flower and vegetable garden, raising most of the food served to the children who study here. Over the course of its history as an orphanage, hundreds of children were helped even during the toughest of times. The beautiful Virunga Mountains are clearly visible from this property. Some of the scenes from the movie "Gorillas in the Mist" were filmed here on location. Rozamund Carr and Dian Fossey were both friends and Dian sometimes visited her at the property. Enjoy lunch on premise, followed by a cultural dance to finish your Imbabazi experience.

Day 4: Gorilla tracking

Accommodations: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hike the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes to track a group of mountain gorillas, part of the population made famous through the work of primatologists such as George Schaller and Dian Fossey. These volcanoes are part of the Virunga conservation area which is shared between Uganda, the DRC and Rwanda. This mysterious and beautiful national park is also home to the rare and charismatic golden monkey, not to mention a variety of bird species like the Rwenzori Turaco which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley. After a short briefing with your guide, there will be a drive to the forested park where you will begin the hike. Time taken to locate and track the gorillas group varies from a few minutes to 8+ hours. Please note that this can be a very difficult hike, especially if it has rained. You may hike from an elevation of about 6,000 ft above sea level to 10,000+ ft above sea level, depending on where the group you are tracking happens to be located on that day. After locating the gorillas, spend some time with them, then return to the lodge. You will be given a packed lunch to bring for the hike, though you are also welcome to eat lunch at the lodge if your hike finishes by lunch time. This is another excellent opportunity to use your hiking poles, or to rent one. You will also have the option to hire a porter to help you with your belongings. 

Day 5: Karisoke, Golden Monkeys, more...

Accommodations: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, there are various options on offer: track golden monkeys, visit Mt. Visoke, or hike to the Karisoke Research Center (a moderate to difficult hike).

 

This afternoon, continue exploring the cultural highlights of this area and visit a cultural group to learn about traditional dancing and an enjoy an informative experience about traditional local medicines and more.

Day 6: Kigali

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, slowly depart for Kigali to catch your return flight. Time permitting, we may stop at a local market, and at a cafe for lunch before returning to the airport. 

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Tour price includes:

  • Pick up from and transfer back to the Kigali airport

  • Accommodations as listed above 

  • Meals as listed above

  • Vehicle transportation (includes gas and mileage)

  • All park entrance fees 

  • Bottled water on all drives

  • Guides/Drivers who will accompany you throughout the tour

  • Gorilla tracking permit

 

Not included in the tour price:

  • International airfare to/from Uganda and Rwanda

  • Personal expenses

  • Souvenirs

  • Tips for service

 

Be sure to bring:

Sturdy hiking rain boots, hiking poles, mosquito repellent, sunblock, rain jacket, and a sense of adventure!

 

Call (678) 243-0080 or fill out the form below to customize your tour!