Gorillas and culture in Rwanda

Introduction

The cultural trip starts with a visit to Omwami’s palace in Nyanza, continuing to the locally revered hot springs of Rugarama near Nyungwe Forest in South West of Rwanda, the largest Afro-montane forest in central Africa. Sprawled across 10,000 sq. kms, Nyungwe is the undisputed giant in Central Africa. It is rich in birds, and butterflies. There are over 300 bird species and a large host of chimpanzees, monkeys and other primates. A visit to the forest is possible.

Proceed to Gisenyi, – Ross Carr’s orphanage with thousands of orphans. Explore Gisenyi and visit a local lake. You end your trip up north in Ruhengeri, where the Batwa pygmies live- they are an animist community that was recently re-settled here.

Those who wish can visit genocide memorials in Gisenyi, Butare and Ruhengeri as well. Back to Kigali, the capital, an attractive city spread over many hills for which Rwanda is well known. Enjoy local dances and see local cultures. The city has a pleasant, buoyant air and its people are some of the friendliest in the world. You can also purchase local handicrafts.

Ten Days Tour

Hotels and lodges mentioned in the itinerary are only indicative The same package can be booked with alternative accommodations.

DAY 1

Arrive Kanombe airport and transfer to Kigali.

You stay overnight at a hotel (BB).

DAY 2

You start for Nyungwe.

Along the way, you stop at places of interest including local markets, the traditional palace of Rwanda’s former king in Nyanza.

You drive past green fields of tea scattered across the hillsides and the small wooden houses unique to the areas surrounding the forest.

You arrive in the late afternoon. And stay overnight at a guest house (FB).

DAY 3

You can visit the botanical gardens and a cultural museum in Butare.

Visit the hot springs in Bugarama.· You stay overnight at the guest house (FB).

DAY 4

Your day’s programme includes a half-day visit to Nyungwe Forest or alternatively you can relax at the camp.

In the afternoon, drive via Kibuye on the stunningly beautiful Lake Kivu to Gisenyi; through beautiful countryside, crossing valleys full of agricultural produce.

Go water-skiing, or take a boat out on the lake to see the various islands.

You can swim in the refreshing, bilharzias free waters of the lake or stroll about in the nearby villages rambling across a number of hills.

Stay overnight at a hotel (FB).

DAY 5

You begin your day with a visit to Ross Carr’s Orphanage.

You can then stroll about at the lake or visit local villages.

You stay overnight at the hotel (FB).

DAY 6

You drive further northwards to Ruhengeri.

You can make an afternoon visit to the surrounding communities.

See local Dian Fossey projects.

You can make a visit to the Batwa pygmies and other local communities.

You stay overnight at a hotel (FB).

DAY 7

You are in the Parc Nationale des Volcans area.

You can go gorilla-tracking.

Gorilla-tracking is an arduous activity and it is best to be prepared for a tough, day in the jungle. But coming face-to-face with these primates is well worth it!

You stay overnight at the hotel (FB).

DAY 8

You trek to Karisoke Gorilla Research Centre which Dian Fossey, the famous primatologist, set up.

Alternatively you can visit local communities. Or simply relax at the camp.

Later in the day, you return to Kigali. [Approximate driving time: 3 hours]

You stay overnight at a hotel (BB).

DAY 9

You can visit the markets, the handicraft shops and the genocide sites.

You can also go for a tour of the city including shopping.

Time permitting, visit the Nyabugogo market, the Moslem quarter in Nyamirambo, the Franco-Rwanda cultural centre and a genocide memorial.

Many hotels and restaurants prepare local dishes. Buy works of local crafts. Attend a traditional dance.

You stay overnight at the hotel (BB).

DAY 10

Fly out.

SUGGESTED PACKING FOR GORILLA TREKKING

CLOTHING

Waterproof Jacket
Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight
Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight
Hiking Pants (convertible to shorts recommended)
Shorts (optional)

FOOTWEAR

Hiking Boots or Trail Shoes
Sandals

ACCESSORIES

Sunglasses
Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
Gloves, gardening or similar
Poncho, during rainy season (optional)
Stuff Sacks or Plastic Bags, to keep items dry

Equipment

Daypack, for you to carry your personal gear
Flashlight

OTHER (FOR TREL & SAFARI)

Toiletries
Prescriptions
Sunscreen
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent, containing DEET
Binoculars
First Aid Kit
Hand Sanitizer
Pencil and Notebook, miniature, for trip log (optional)
Camera, with extra batteries (optional)

Guest Speak

Dear Khadija

What a fantastic start to our East African Safari. Our 3 days here in Rwanda have been amazing. The Gorilla Trek was… I have no words for it. Coming so close to these animals was a dream come true. Thank you to you and the teams in Kigali and Tanzania for a truly glitch-free holiday. We will be back for more.

Denise and Benny Cheung
Canada

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