Wild Encounters in Rwanda

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07 Nights / 08 Days

The Wild Encounters In Rwanda trip starts and ends in Kigali. It is an explorer tour that takes 8 days taking you through Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Kigali in Rwanda.
Embark on an unforgettable expedition to track mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, in the rainforest of Rwanda. Visit a research centre set up by Dr. Dian Fossey, who spent 18 years studying gorillas in the Virunga Mountains with support from National Geographic, and get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Set out in search of the “big five”—lions, leopards, elephants, and Cape buffalo—while on safari in Akagera National Park, while learning about the incredible conservation efforts that brought this onetime battleground back from disaster.

Day 01: Arrive Kigali
Arrive at any time. If you arrive early, take some time to explore the city, known for its pleasant, friendly atmosphere. Kigali also has some interesting and historic sites outside of the city.

Day 02: Kigali/Volcanoes National Park
Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial and pay your respects to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, learning about this somber chapter of the country’s past. Travel to northern Rwanda in the afternoon and settle into our lodge, located at the edge of Volcanoes National Park and offering stunning views of the soaring peaks.
Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains can be found here. The volcanoes and highlands of the park are covered in lush rainforest and bamboo (a favourite snack of the gorillas). While the most famous resident is the mountain gorilla, there’s plenty of other wildlife roaming around: buffaloes, bushbucks, golden monkeys, hyenas, numerous bird species, and some elephants call this place home.

Kigali Genocide Memorial Visit
Duration : 2.0 hr
Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which serves as a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide in 1994. The centre opened on the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004, and was built on a site where more than 250,000 people are buried.
Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, Local Lunch
Located in Nyamirambo, the largest and most vibrant township in Rwanda, the centre provides women and girls from a diverse range of backgrounds, the opportunity to support each other and succeed, through education and training programs. Enjoy lunch prepared by women employed at the centre, allowing us to try local foods and popular dishes. After lunch, take some time to browse the centre’s shop, which features handmade, high-quality crafts and clothes, made by some of the women at the shop, as well as other women’s cooperatives throughout Rwanda. Proceeds from the meal and shop help support the centre’s education and training programs, including a community library.

Day 03: Volcanoes National Park
Set out on a trek in lush, jungle-covered hills with a park ranger to track a unique and endangered species—the golden monkey. Observe these playful, curious creatures in their natural habitat; then visit the Karisoke Research Center, founded by National Geographic Grantee Dian Fossey. Meet with a resident researcher to learn about ongoing efforts to protect endangered mountain gorillas, and deepen your understanding of these gentle giants during a talk by one of the park’s head wardens.

Golden Monkey Trek
Duration : 3.0 hr – 5.0 hr
Below is an example of how the day may go:
05.45 – 06.15AM. Breakfast at your lodge.
06.15 AM. Depart from your lodge with your guide to the National Park head quarters located only approx 30 minutes away.
07.00 AM. Short briefing from your designated “Golden Monkey guide” from the Volcanoes National Park authority.
07.30 – 08.00 AM. Depart with your guide and your vehicle to the actual starting point of the trek where your driver will wait for you while you do the trek with your guide from the Rwanda National Park authority * Travelling time from Park headquarters to starting point; 30 – 45 minutes.
11.00 – 14.00 PM. Return from the Golden Monkey trek and drive back to your lodge for a late lunch and have the rest of the day “at leisure”.
Mountain Gorilla Conservation Experience
Meet one of the resident researchers at the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda, which was founded by National Geographic grantee Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967 as a research facility dedicated to the protection and conservation of endangered mountain gorillas. Enjoy a tour of the centre and learn about their ongoing work.
Gorilla Lecture
Deepen your understanding of the world of gorillas through an in-depth lecture. Listen as one of the head wardens of Volcanoes National Park discusses topics including the history and behaviour of gorillas, threats to the animals, conservation activities, as well as the potential benefits of tourism.

Day 04: Volcanoes National Park
Embark on an unforgettable trek through the jungle alongside a park ranger to search for mountain gorillas. When we come across a group of gorillas, witness their fascinating social dynamics up close. Note that these treks can vary in length and difficulty depending on the location of the gorillas.
Approximately 800 mountain gorillas exist globally in the wild today. They are found in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda. In DRC and Rwanda, gorillas live in similar ecosystems/areas. The gorilla species found in these three areas are called highland gorillas.

In Rwanda there are ten habituated gorilla families that are open to visits – the visit to a gorilla family is done once per day, with a maximum 8 trekkers per group and the duration of a visit is limited to one (1) hour with the gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact on the day-to-day life of the gorilla family you are visiting. It is important to be well prepared for the trek — you never know if your total trek will be short or long. The total duration of a trek can vary and be anything between 4 and 9 hrs in length depending on the location of the gorillas, which are constantly moving. You will mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trail.

Touching the gorillas is not allowed (although in some cases they may touch you). Making loud noises or sudden movements is also not allowed. You should attempt to keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, however the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to slowly move away. At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.

Please note that porters are available and its chargeable basis (Not Included). The porters are all hired from local villages and not only can carry your day pack, but assist you with a welcome hand over difficult spots. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the most fit person. It also provides employment and supports the local community.

Gorilla Trekking
Duration : 4.0 hr – 9.0 hr
Below is an example of how the day may go:
05:45 Breakfast at your hotel/lodge.
06:15 Drive to the check-in at the registration office.
07:00 Registration and briefing by your designated gorilla guide.
08:00 (approx) Proceed by vehicle with guide to the actual starting point. The driving time from the check-in point can be anywhere between 30 mins and 1.5 hrs depending on which gorilla family you have been allocated.
09:00 (approx) Start your gorilla trek. Your driver/guide will wait for you at the road head while you trek to the gorillas with your guide from the Rwanda National Parks Authority.
12:00 – 16.00 (approx) Return from your gorilla trek and drive back to your hotel/lodge.
Iby’iwacu Village Visit
Visit a small farming village where the locals have put a stop to poaching and put their focus on sheep farming. Meet the local people and get a first hand look at rural life in this area.

Day 05: Volcanoes National Park/Akagera National Park
Head back to Kigali for lunch, then continue east to Akagera National Park. Armed conflict once devastated this part of Rwanda, and many years of neglect and misuse followed. Yet dedicated work by the local communities resulted in the return of wildlife to the park’s savannas, forested hills, and wetlands. Learn more about this fascinating conservation success story in a behind-the-scenes visit to the African Parks headquarters here. Later, check into our comfortable lodge overlooking stunning Lake Ihema.
Akagera National Park offers a remarkable conservation story and is home to the Big Five, zebras, giraffes, elephants and hundreds of bird species. Running directly along the boarder with Tanzania, the park covers 1,122 km2 (433 sq mi) and offers a variety of landscapes including highlands, savannah plains, swamps, wetlands and lakes.

Akagera National Park – Conservation and Community
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the African Parks headquarters here. Gain insights into issues of modern wildlife conservation, the day-to-day process of managing a protected zone, and the importance of community support to protect the park. Visit the anti-poaching room to learn about monitoring and methods of protection, including the use of a canine unit. Then head to the Akagera Village and learn about an outreach project that helps educate the local community about conservation and sustainability.

Day 06: Parc National de l’ Akagera
Wake before sunrise for an early morning safari drive in search of the “big five.” Keep an eye out for lions, buffalo, hyenas, and antelopes grazing freely here. Return to the lodge for lunch and some free time to relax or take a dip in the pool. In the afternoon, glide along Lake Ihema by boat, watching for hippos and crocodiles. Spot more wildlife, such as elephants and buffalo, as they gather at the lakeshore to drink water. Keep an eye out for a variety of birds including herons, shoebill storks, fish eagles, and kingfishers.

Akagera NP Morning Safari Drive
This morning, wake early and head out into the park for sunrise and try and spot the early risers. Look out for lion, elephants, buffalo, hyenas and others who graze freely in the park. Giraffe are a popular site as well as others in the growing park such as; warthog, waterbuck, zebras, roan antelope, eland, topis, and impala.
Wildlife Cruise on Lake Ihema
Enjoy safari by boat on Lake Ihema. The cruise will give you a chance to spot more wildlife, such as elephants and buffalos who tend to gather at the banks to have a drink of water. Search out Nile crocodiles and observe birds; there are over 500 species around the lake and its surrounding wetlands. Keep an eye out for shoebill and papyrus Ganolex as well as endemic species such as; herons, ibis, jacanas, plovers, malachite Kingfisher and Hawks.

Day 07: Parc National de l’ Akagera/Kigali
Head out with a packed breakfast for our final safari drive in the early hours when animals are most active. Look for giraffes, gazelles, impalas, baboons, Butchel’s zebras, leopards, and lions. Later that morning, depart through the northern edge of the park and travel overland back to Kigali for our last evening.

Akagera NP Morning Safari Drive
This morning, wake early and head out into the park for sunrise and try and spot the early risers. Look out for lion, elephants, buffalo, hyenas and others who graze freely in the park. Giraffe are a popular site as well as others in the growing park such as; warthog, waterbuck, zebras, roan antelope, eland, topis, and impala.

Day 08: Kigali
Depart at any time. Transfer to airport for flight back to home.

City Night (s) Hotel
Kigali 01 Kigali Marriott Hotel
Volcanoes National Park 03 Amarembo Gorilla Village
Akagera National Park 02 Akagera Game Lodge
Kigali 01 Kigali Marriott Hotel

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– 07 Nights accommodation
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– National Park entrance Fees as per program
– Mountain gorilla trek with permits
– Golden monkey trek with permits
– Local village walk
– Safari drives in Akagera National Park
– Wildlife boat cruise on Lake Ihema
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.

– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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