Renowned as “the land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is a scenic country with countless eye-catching sites that can be explored on a road trip to its different corners. On this 7 days Rwanda safari adventure travelers visit the three wildlife destinations; Akagera, Nyungwe forest & Volcanoes national park. It is a tight but very adventurous tour. It is best done as a guided safari with a professional driver-guide with whom all activities on the itinerary can be covered because they are familiar with all the destinations and distances and are able to manage time perfectly.
Exploring the magnificent Akagera national park means exploring the only savannah protected area in Rwanda. It is a great place for wildlife and scenic viewing. The main activities of the park are game drives and boat cruise. To get the best during game drives, hire a 4X4 vehicle that can easily navigate through the tracks to areas where lots of wild animals including elephants, zebras, buffaloes, giraffes and antelopes are spotted. A few years back, lions and rhinos were re-introduced in the savannah park and game drives offer chances to sight them at any time of the year.
We cannot let you leave Rwanda without getting a golden time at Volcanoes national park, the only gorilla home in Rwanda. The park is located in northwestern Rwanda and boasts housing the endangered mountain gorillas that can as well be traced any time of the year, though the dry season is more preferred because hiking is easier. Volcanoes national park is a luxury gorilla trekking destination that offers thrilling experiences of gorilla trekking. It is also home to the beautiful golden monkeys which are tracked with the help of a ranger guide, another exciting experience adventurers ought not to miss. Other things to do at Volcanoes national park include hiking to Dian Fossey tomb and birding.
And then a visit to Nyungwe forest, the biggest forest in Rwanda and the oldest Afro-Montane forest in East Africa. It is a natural habitat for chimpanzees and many other primates especially monkeys and baboons. This area gives a special retreat to travelers who spend a night or more in one of the lodges around the forest, think about the tranquility, the spectacular views and the cool temperatures plus the sounds of the numerous birds that live here. Almost every tourist that visits this place engages in the canopy walk on top of Nyungwe forest. It is an exciting experience that also checks ones adrenaline, walking over 50m above the ground and enjoying the stunning views of canopy, surrounding areas and sightings of primates plus birds.
Detailed itinerary of the 7 day safari in Rwanda
Day 1: Arrival at the airport in Kigali
Our company representative awaits at Kigali international airport and once you arrive and meet them, you are transferred to your preferred hotel in Kigali, check in and relax. Before the safari guide or company representative leaves, they give a briefing about the safari and the programme for the next day including the time of departure to our first destination.
Day 2: Transfer to Akagera national park
We raise up in the morning, have breakfast, meet the driver and leave Kigali to Akagera national park. It takes about 3 hours from the capital to the park. On entrance into the park, we are likely to spot a few animals as we drive to the lodge for lunch. Have your best meal here, and you can choose to try out the local dishes of Rwanda to discover her food tastes.
After lunch and a relaxation, we head out for a boat cruise on Lake Ihema. There is a lot to see during the boat ride such as hippos, crocodiles. Buffaloes and other animals that visit the lake to drink and cool their bodies. Bird lovers have a lot to record on the shores of the lake and around its swampy sections with birds like kingfishers, herons, storks, cormorants and sandpipers, among others. At the end of the boat cruise, we drive to the lodge, freshen up, have dinner and rest.
Day 3: Game drive in Akagera national park, then transfer to Volcanoes
This is our third day of the safari and we start it very early. Wake up and get ready for breakfast at the restaurant, and hit the trails before sunrise to catch the early grazers and also look out for predators; lions, leopards and hyenas which are occasionally sighted and getting in the jungle early increases our chances of spotting them. A 4WD with a pop-up roof is effective fro game drives because they enable tourists to get good views of wildlife and the scenes. After about 4 hours of the game drive, we return to the lodge, freshen up, pack our property, have lunch at the restaurant and thereafter check out.
It’s another drive through the rolling hills of Rwanda to Volcanoes national park where we arrive in the evening, check in at the lodge, have dinner and relax as we prepare for the next day’s gorilla trekking.
Day 4: Gorilla trekking
As we get breakfast, lunch is also being prepared and packed. We move with it because we are never certain of how long it can take us to find the mountain gorillas. We therefore carry our packed lunch and drinking water so we shall enjoy it in the forest in case the activity takes longer. The driver transfers us to the park headquarters for briefing and then join other visitors allocated to the same gorilla family.
With a ranger guide, we penetrate into the forest and start searching for the giant apes. We can’t wait to meet the apes but before that, it is also a wonderful experience hiking on the rugged terrain on these slopes of the Virunga Mountains. Coming face to face with mountains gorillas is unforgettable, watch them feed, play and take care of the infants. Tourists are given maximum of one hour to spend with the gorillas. We later on leave the forest, get back to the headquarters and retire to the lodge and rest. An optional activity to do in the afternoon is visiting the Iby’iwachu cultural village to get an insight about the culture of the people of Rwanda and their social life. Dinner and the overnight at the lodge.
Day 5: Golden monkey tracking
We raise up early, have breakfast and drive to the headquarters of the park for briefing about golden monkey trekking. Tracking these primates is quite less tiring compared to gorillas because they do not make new nests every day and can therefore be found in the previously spotted location in about 3 days. They are lovely and playful, enjoyable to watch.
Alternatively, you can choose to hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb in honor of her effort to conserve mountain gorilla in the Virunga Massif. There’s a chance to visit Karisoke Research Centre and know more about conservation of the primates in Volcanoes national park.
We get back to the lodge to freshen up, then pack and check out. Proceed with the safari to Nyungwe forest national park in the southern part of Rwanda with an en route lunch. Arrival at the park in the evening, check in at the lodge, have dinner and rest.
Day 6: Chimpanzee trekking
After breakfast at the lodge, our safari driver takes us for briefing in the park where we meet our next guide to lead us through the forest. Be sure of your hiking boots. We enter the forest, move up and down within the forest with sightings of monkeys until we come across the chimps. Depending on the mood of the chimps, they can be playful, quite silent and curious or busy feeding or resting. Visitors have an hour of observing, taking pictures ad learning about these primates. We return to the lodge for lunch.
Get you boots tightened again and set off for the canopy walk. The 2 hours walk is a remarkable experience of discovering Nyungwe’s top view and more of the wildlife around the forest. After exhilarating experience, we drive to the lodge for the overnight.
Day 7: Returning to Kigali
This is our last day of the 7 day trip in Rwanda. After a long relaxation, we wake up, get all our property packed and go for breakfast. Check out of the lodge and set off for Kigali. Tour around the city at Kigali Memorial Centre, insightful about the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
End of the 7 days Rwanda trip.
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