Explore Akagera National Park, home to the African Big Five and one of the most scenic national parks in Africa; visit the King’s Palace Museum, former home of King MusingaYuhi V; trek the iconic, critically endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park; and enjoy a leisurely ramble on the shores of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes that spans Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Airport pick-up and return
Fully escorted by our guide
Travel within Rwanda
8nights luxury accommodation
All sightseeing and park entry fees as per itinerary

Day
1
Welcome to Rwanda!

You will be picked up by our guide/driver when you arrive at the Kigali International Airport who will transfer you to your hotel where you’ll spend the night.
Distance from airport to hotel:15 minutes
Hotel options:Kigali Serena Hotel | Hotel des Mille Collins | Lemigo Hotel

Day
2
Game drive in Akagera National Park

Today you will wake up as early as 6:00 am and begin your journey to Akagera National Park, northeast of Kigali on the border with Tanzania. The trip to Rwanda’s most prominent national park – which spans 1,085 km² – takes about two hours.
The park was named after the river that runs along Rwanda’s eastern edge, and it’s the country’s counterpart to the famous savannah reserves of Tanzania and Kenya farther afield. It’s a stunningly beautiful park, boasting more than 10 freshwater lakes and more than 80 and 500 animal and bird species respectively.
Today’s game drive will reward you with an authentic African Big Five safari experience in a less touristy destination where lions and rhinos returned in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Some of the park’s most famous residents include lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, buffalos, giraffes, monkeys, hippos, bush pigs, warthogs, baboons, crocodiles, leopards and antelopes.
Distance from Kigali:2 hours
Hotel options:Rusizi Tented Camp

Day
3
Multiplegame drive and boat ride on Lake Ihema

A visit to Akagera National Park is never complete without a boat ride on Lake Ihema, the country’s second-biggest freshwater lake after Lake Kivu. Lake Ihema is a birder’s paradise; here you’ll be fascinated by sightings of water birds such as cormorants, fish eagles, African jacana, papyrus gonolek and kingfishers, among many others.
But the highlights are usually sightings of the monstrous elephants grazing by the lakeside, crocodiles enjoying the morning sun, and hippos playing in the water.

Day
4
Visit Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre

In the morning, you’ll embark on a one-hour journey to Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre. Initially a church, this memorial will introduce you to the horrors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which left an estimated one million Rwandans dead.
Here you will be moved by Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre’s exhibits: the walls are still blood-stained, clothes of the victims still piled on the pews, and the bones and skulls that were recovered are neatly arranged on shelves.
During the genocide in 1994, the church building went from holy house to the sight of one of the most appalling acts of brutality – it’s estimated that over 2,500 Tutsis who had sought refuge here were mercilessly slaughtered by Hutu extremists.
From here you’ll be driven to your hotel room for dinner and overnight.
Distance from Akagera:One hour
Hotel options:Nyanza Heritage Hotel

Day
5
King’s Palace, Rwesero Art & Ethnographic museums

From Nyamata you’ll be driven to Nyanza town, Rwanda’s first capital city and home to the King’s Palace Museum. You will explore the traditional palace that was built by King MusingaYuhi V and the first house built by King RudahigwaMutara III, which were recently restored to form the King’s Palace Museum.
Still in Nyanza, you’ll also visit the Rwesero Art Museum, the newer house built by King Mutara III, before setting off for a one-hour journey to Huye (formerly Butare) district to explore the Ethnographic Museum, formerly the National Museum of Rwanda.
From Huye, you will travel to Rwanda’s vacation town of Kibuye, located on the on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu, which straddles Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You will be a guest at the Cormoran Lodge, where you will spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beachfront.
Hotel options:Cormoran Lodge
Distance from Nyamata:5 hours

Day
6
Boat ride/visit to nearby islands

Today you’ll have a relaxed breakfast and then go for a half-day kayaking excursion on the scenic Lake Kivu.
In the afternoon after lunch, you’ll take a boat ride to the nearby bats-infested Napoleon Island – named so because of its shape, which is said to resemble Napoleon’s hat. You’ll wrap up today’ excursions with a trip to Amahoro Island and an evening with the singing fishermen of Nyamishaba who will introduce you to their fascinating fishing culture.
Hotel options:Cormoran Lodge

Day
7
Travel to Musanze

After breakfast and a relaxed morning, a four-hour drive north of the country will lead you to Musanze, Rwanda’s second-largest city and the country’s tourism hub. You’ll be taken straight to your hotel, from where your gorilla trekking expedition will begin tomorrow.
Distance from Kibuye to Musanze:5 hours
Hotel options:Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes

Day
8
mountain gorilla trekking

Your 9th day in Rwanda will begin at 6:00 am as gorilla trekkers are required to be at the park headquarters by 7:00 am. Critically endangered and currently numbering about 1,000 individuals (according to the 2018 census results), the mountain gorillas can only be found in two places in the world: the Virunga Massif, a volcanic range that straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
After equipping yourselves with the essential gorilla trekking gear (hiking boots, long trousers, gloves, etc.), the park’s head ranger will divide you and other trekkers into different groups basing on your fitness. Usually, the more physically fit track gorilla groups that require a shorter, less strenuous trek while the fit ones can scour the forest for a longer time, and at a relatively higher altitude.
The mountain gorillas you’ll be allowed to view are families that have been habituated. As the excursion progresses deeper into the forest, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity – dung, nests, chewed bamboo shoots, etc. Once you find them, you’ll be allowed to stay with them for one hour. And despite their intimidating, massive size, don’t fret! Habituated gorillas are not aggressive; they’ll just stare at you blankly.
When you are done with the mountain gorillas, a visit to Kinigi Community Commercial Center (KCCC) will introduce you to some reformed poachers and other Rwandan artisans who are now doing well by doing good. KCCC is an initiative of the Rwanda Development Board, the government agency that is in charge of the country’s tourism and conservation space.
From KCCC you’ll be driven back to your hotel where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing or swapping stories with fellow travellers.

Hotel options:Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes

Day
9
Departure

Today marks the end of your trip with Eco Community Tours. After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Kigali International Airport for your flight back home.