Reopened Rwanda – Best Of Experience
Ah little known Rwanda, a gorgeous country in the heart of Africa, home to mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and big-game safari. August and September are usually the busiest months of year but there are no visitors in Rwanda right now.
Did you know Rwanda has been open since June 17th, to visitors of all nationalities, coming from all destinations. To visit Rwanda you must do a PCR coronavirus test within 72 hours of your departure, then send negative test results to email@example.com. You will re-tested upon arrival at the airport. The results are delivered to your hotel and you’ll get a certificate saying your covid-free and can do any tourist activity.
It’s a great system. Everyone can visit and the precautions ensure gorillas and other animals aren’t exposed to human disease. So what do you do in Rwanda? Here is an example experience which includes a selection of rare and extraordinary wildlife highlights.
As with all experiences on Kated, this is an example itinerary and your actual travel will be fully adapted to you.
Day 1 - Welcome to Rwanda
Kigali Genocide Survivors Tour
The 1994 genocide remains raw. You can see machete marks on school walls, clothing soiled with blood, bones and remains piled together. It is not comfortable viewing. You can only glimpse the brutality of what took place and that is enough to bring you to tears. Coming face to face with the Rwandan genocide is heartbreaking. Yet it also increases your admiration for the people and the transformation that has taken place since. On this private tour you will meet genocide survivors, visit memorial sites, including the national memorial, and see the places that hint at what happened. While tough going, it’s essential viewing if you really want to get to know Rwanda. And there is a positive message to come out of it all.
Day 2 - Cultural Experiences on Route to Chimpanzees
Nyanza Kings Rwanda Cultural Tour, Butare
Rwanda was home to one of the world’s richest kingdoms. It was designated a German colony ten years before any European had ever set foot inside its borders! This is a country with a proud history that goes back far before colonial times. The first white people only came here in the early 20th century. For centuries the land was a peaceful kingdom led by the Nyanza kings. Their culture remains strong in their old capital Butare, a town halfway between Kigali and Nyungwe.With a local guide you will explore the ruins of palaces and settlements. You will hear the stories and come to understand the culture that came before the colonisation of East Africa.
Days 3 & 4 - Chimpanzees & More
Nyungwe Forest Chimpanzee Trekking
Damp scents float across a mysterious Congo Basin landscape. The forest is thick and the guide chops a fresh path with his machete. Sounds envelop you. Monkeys are chirping. And chimpanzees are communicating. Deep in Nyungwe Forest you will trek along remote trails to meet a chimpanzee troop. While this is possible in various parts of East Africa, Nyungwe is the most exclusive and remote location. A chimpanzee stares back at you. And another. They are all staring, an entire troop fixated on you. They are curious, inquisitive, wondering about their visitors. And now you have an entire hour to wonder about them.Slowly the chimpanzees become accustomed to your presence and you settle into the experience, just you and a wild chimpanzee troop in the Congo Basin.
Congo Basin Monkeys & Mangabeys Safari, Nyungwe
Long elegant tails alert you to a troop of colobus monkeys, high in the forest canopy. A golden monkey chirps as it swings past. Soon you’re surrounded by what seem to be hundreds of vervet monkeys.Onwards you walk, deeper into the Congo Basin, further along paths where no vehicles have even ventured. Extremely rare monkey and mangabey species live here and your guide helps you find them. They are species you cannot see anywhere else. The Nyungwe Forest is possibly the finest destination on the planet if you’re interested in monkeys. 25% of Africa’s primate species live here. And it remains completely off the beaten path, even if there is now a luxury lodge helping to bring in visitors.
Day 5 - Aerial Safari
Rwanda Scenic Flight & Safari Transfer
Green hills roll onwards in all directions. You’re soaring across Rwanda in a light aircraft, peering down on bucolic landscapes and distant volcanoes. There are few prettier scenes anyway else on the continent. Rwanda is framed by volcanoes and lakes. It’s oh so lush and green. You look down and think of a place you could live in forever. Rainforest, farmland, savannah, every piece of land is another shade of green. A Rwandan scenic flight is more than a sightseeing experience. It’s also the fastest way to travel around, so you can combine the gorillas with other destinations.
Kwitonda Lodge, Volcanoes National Park
Opened in 2019 and the most luxurious of all the gorilla trekking accommodation, Kwitonda is a Singita property that borders Volcanoes National Park. As with any Singita property, expect superb service, contemporary design, and a really high-end, five-star-hotel experience. Except you’re not in a city, but in a rainforest looking out on a volcano, within earshot of gorillas. Kwitonda is just one exceptional lodge in Rwanda. The country pioneers high-end tourism as a means of wildlife conservation and a travel designer can discuss other accommodation options with you.
Days 6 & 7 - Gorillas!
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
It seems surreal, the world’s largest primates marooned on these volcanic mountains in the sky. But take just one step beneath the rainforest canopy and the experience is real. You walk through dense tangled forest, tracking a troop of critically endangered mountain gorillas. And there’s a moment when time stands still.A wild mountain gorilla is staring at you, gesturing, communicating, revealing. Welcome to their world. Welcome to the world’s most intimate wildlife experience.Only 1000 of these animals remain. None have ever been captive (this is an animal you can only see in the wild, in Rwanda or Uganda). You will spend an hour with an entire troop, from a distance of around seven metres. Sometimes the troop spreads and the gorillas are all around you. And an hour can feel like a lifetime when such rare nature is so close.
Go Gorilla Trekking Twice
Volcanoes National Park is remote. It’s literally the very heart of Africa. Getting here is a challenge and trekking gorillas will take time. It’s as far from a zoo experience as you can ever possibly be. So after you come to Volcanoes National Park why go gorilla trekking only once? On a second gorilla trek you will visit a different troop, a different family with their own behaviours. Some troops have multiple silverback males, others have newborns. You can experience contrasting emotions and gorilla trekking is too good to only do once.Most preciously, a second gorilla trek will give you time. The first trek will fill you with anticipation, adrenaline and understanding. On a second trek you know exactly what to expect. You can put your camera down and let the entire experience sink in.