With gorilla permits included in the price of the trip, seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Uganda’s steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.. Learn about Rwanda’s devastating history with visits to different genocide museums and churches of significance. Visit Mikozi Village and become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar. Spend two nights in beautiful Gisenyi at a resort on the north shore of Lake Kivu. Here, spend free time hiking, taking a boat cruise, touring the town or simply walking the lakeside.
Rwanda is oft-missed destination that every human should visit. Not only will you learn about the devastating events that took place here, you’ll also witness a beautiful country that’s continuously striving to move forward. Combine this with an unforgettable adventure searching for the mountain gorillas of Uganda and you’ve got a trip that can sometimes be physically and emotionally challenging, but will be talked about for the rest of your life.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 4
Welcome to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda since it gained independence in 1962. Most associate Rwanda with the the horrific genocide that took place in 1994, but this is a country that has been striving to rebuild its economy for years and offers so much to the Intrepid traveller. And though the past won't, and shouldn't, be forgotten, the future of Rwanda's tourism is looking bright thanks to its welcoming people, an abundance of lakes and the beautiful Virunga Mountains. Your adventure begins by meeting your fellow travellers at 6 pm.
After breakfast you'll proceed to Ntarama Church, approximately 30 km outside of Kigali. Today presents some confronting reminders of the country's past, and this church is now a chilling memorial to the 5000 people slaughtered inside during the 1994 genocide. Inside, shelves of skulls and piles of bone can be seen as well as the clothes of victims hanging from the walls and rafters. Afterwards, the group will travel to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, a former church where some 50,000 people were murdered. This site pays particular attention to the atrocities suffered by women during the genocide. We take some time out from the devastating history with a local lunch and an afternoon city tour, including a trip to the craft market. This evening your leader will take you to their favourite restaurant for an optional dinner.
Gisenyi (Lake Kivu)
This morning we visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which was opened in 2004 to mark the 10th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi people. It serves as both a museum, detailing the history and consequences of Rwanda's genocide, and a place for people to grieve for lost friends and family. The group will then head to Gisenyi (approx 3.5 hours), a town on the shore of the beautiful Lake Kivu. Enjoy a free afternoon at your waterfront hotel.
Gisenyi (Lake Kivu)
Enjoy a free day in Gisenyi on Lake Kivu's northern edge. Kivu is one of of Africa's Great Lakes – Rwanda's largest and Africa's sixth-largest – and is a natural border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Your leader can help you plan how to spend the day: perhaps take a boat cruise around the lake spotting birdlife and visiting some of the small islands, or maybe take a trip to Napoleon Island to go hiking and encounter birds and its large colony of fruit bats. Alternatively, spend the day getting to know Gisenyi and the colonial-era mansions and bars that sit by the lake.
Enjoy breakfast by Lake Kivu then transfer across the border to Kisoro (approx 2 hours plus the border crossing), a Ugandan town on the shore of Lake Mutanda. Kisoro, located near the Virguna Mountains, is the jumping-off point for several national parks and, of course, those in search of the country's mountain gorillas. In the afternoon you'll head to Mikozi Village to become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar before returning to Kisoro.
Kisoro (Gorilla Trek)
Join a local guide and trackers as you climb through the rugged, mountainous terrain of Bwindi National Park in search of mountain gorillas. A quick lock of eyes with these creatures is a truly primal moment and visits are strictly controlled to minimise disturbance. Make no mistake, tracking gorillas is no walk in the park – it's called Bwinidi Impenetrable National Park for a reason. It can be wet, muddy, strenuous and uncomfortable, but the indescribable elation at coming across a group of gorillas is worth the effort. Spend a mesmerising hour with the gorillas as they eat, sleep, groom and play as the male silverback watches over them, then return to the lodge for dinner and to reflect on this incredible experience.
Transfer this morning back to Rwanda and the town of Ruhengeri (approximately 1 hour plus the border crossing), still buzzing from your gorilla encounter. Settle into your hotel on arrival then have a free day to take the optional cycling tour to Rwanda's twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo. This area is characterised by steep green hills and magnificent views of the mountains surrounding the lakes. Here you can pedal through the stunning countryside, stopping in small towns and villages to spend some time interacting with the local community.
Today is free for you to choose from several optional activities after breakfast at the lodge. Perhaps you'd like to pursue your passion for primates and join a park ranger tracking golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. These monkeys are much quicker than gorillas and you'll see them swinging from branch to branch and scampering up trees. Alternatively, take a hike focused on the work of Dian Fossey, the groundbreaking gorilla researcher. It's an incredible experience, both physically and emotionally, and you'll trek through the jungle to her grave and the house in which she was mysteriously murdered in 1985. She's buried next to her favourite gorilla – Digit – as well as number of other mountain gorillas killed by pochers. In the evening, choose whether to attend an optional dinner with the rest of your group.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then head back to the hotel in Kigali (approx 2.5 hours). Here the trip comes to end and there are no other activities planned.