There is no experience quite like seeing a mountain gorilla in the wild—and there’s no place quite like Rwanda to see these majestic primates. It’s a country that experienced great tragedy during the genocide of 1994. But the last 30 years have seen an incredible transformation that is a testament to the resilience of its people, and the pride of this beautiful nation.
Explore the many sides of this beguiling country on Boundless Journeys’ custom tours of Rwanda, which can best be described as "exclusive, low-impact, and epic." Our experienced naturalist guides will introduce you to the native wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds, and dozens of species of mammals and primates. Encounter gorillas in the mist… in the middle of a pristine forest.
Along the way, you’ll stay in accommodations ranging from five-star hotels to cozy lodges, all beautifully situated in the very best of locations. Boundless Journeys partners with Rwanda’s most respected logistics teams, ensuring that your customized safari is thoughtfully planned and well executed.
Based on our years of designing custom safaris to Rwanda, we believe that the combinations below deliver the best experiences in each region. Our Boundless Journeys trip specialists can further customize these options to match the interests of your group, and can mix and match the experiences below. Don?t worry: If you don't see what you are looking for, there are many more options to explore! Give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 to start the conversation.
As the capital and largest city of Rwanda, Kigali is the cultural and economic hub of the country, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Although it was once an epicenter of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, it is a testament to the resiliency of its 1,000,000+ population that Kigali has rebounded so successfully from such a tragedy.
Today, Kigali is a pleasant surprise for travelers, with its lush hillsides, lively markets, up-and-coming restaurants, bars, and cafés, and bustling streets that are spotlessly clean.
Just two hours from the capital city of Kigali is Volcanoes National Park (officially "Parc National de Volcans" or PNV for short). It’s celebrated for its spectacular beauty, native wildlife like golden monkeys and forest elephants, sights like the Musanze Caves and the Iby’lwacu Cultural Village, and its six active and three extinct volcanoes.
Of course the main reason people come here is for the population of endangered mountain gorillas. They were made famous by the legendary gorilla advocate Dian Fossey, as depicted in the autobiographical movie Gorillas in the Mist, which was filmed throughout Volcanoes National Park. Be sure to visit the tomb of this extraordinary woman and one of the many conservation non-profit centers that are now based here.
Follow mountainside paths through mist-shrouded forest to come face-to-face with the magnificent mountain gorilla in its natural habitat, in Rwanda's beautiful Volcanoes National Park.
Kigali | Volcanoes National Park
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali Day 2: Transfer to your lodge near Volcanoes National Park; optional Kigali city tour or hike near the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo, two shimmering volcanic crater lakes located high in the VirungasDay 3: Mountain Gorilla trek; ex-poacher's village visit or explore Musanze caves.Day 4: Option for second Mountain Gorilla trek, optional Golden Monkey trek, or guided tour of local markets in Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri) and Kinigi; afternoon return to KigaliDay 5: Depart from Kigali at leisure
On the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. This fresh water lake sits upon a rift valley and is heated by volcanic activity in the area, which explains its average temperature of 75F (24C). Surrounded by majestic mountains, tea plantations, and local farms, Lake Kivu is popular for swimming, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and other water sports, as well as island hopping.
In the southwest corner of Rwanda is the incredibly pristine mountain rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park. It’s believed to be "one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age" – which may explain its spectacular biodiversity.
It is home to over 300 bird species, hundreds of orchids and butterfly species, and over 75 species of mammal, including 13 different primates like the Rwenzori Colobus Monkey and the Grey-Cheeked Mangabey. Popular activities include chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, canopy walking, and hiking along the 80+ miles of trails throughout Nyungwe Forest.
An extended Rwanda experience for those who want to delve deeper into iconic primate encounters.
Kigali | Nyungwe Forest National Park | Lake Kivu | Volcanoes National Park
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali and city tourDay 2: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park; visit Nyanza Royal Palace and museum en routeDay 3: Colobus monkey trek and tea plantation tourDay 4: Transfer to Gisenyi on Lake Kivu; visit local markets en routeDay 5: Morning at leisure at Lake Kivu; afternoon transfer to Volcanoes National ParkDay 6: Mountain Gorilla trek; ex-poacher's village visitDay 7: Option for second Mountain Gorilla trek, optional Golden Monkey trek, or guided tour of local markets in Ruhengeri and Kinigi; afternoon return to KigaliDay 8: Depart from Kigali at leisure
The Manor at Ngorongoro combines a dash of opulence with easy access to the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. Set amid glorious gardens and lush coffee fields in the Tanzanian highlands, it oozes Old World glamour: think polished-wood floors and antique furnishings, fine dining, billiards and cigars. Each of its elegant Cape Dutch-styled cottages has a private deck, sitting room, open fire and enormous Victorian bath, which will be ready-filled with bubbles, awaiting your return from the day’s adventure.
Bordering Tanzania in eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is central Africa's largest protected wetland and the last refuge for savanna-adapted species in the country. Stretching across a vast expanse of low-lying mountains and savannah plains, the park takes in the rolling highlands woodlands, swamp-fringed lakes, and wetlands of the Kagera River along the way. Bursting with a rich biodiversity, the park features a variety of rare species, as well as a plenitude of mammals and hundreds of bird species.
Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Located in the only private access area in Akagera, Magashi Camp is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse northeastern corner of Akagera National Park. Six spacious and airy tented guest rooms offer uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga, while Magashi’s main area comprises a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar, and pool, as well as an expansive viewing deck with convivial fire pit. Fittingly, the architecture and interiors pay homage to traditional Rwandan culture.
Newly opened for 2020, the Heaven Boutique Hotel Residence builds on the reputation of the Heaven property in Kigali as a place of charm and comfort, and offers 16 spacious rooms, a large pool, and balconies.
Ideally located in central Kigali on one of the city’s most charming boulevards, the relaxed yet elegant five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, showcasing a selection of Rwandese art. A range of room choices are complemented by two restaurants, including the relaxed Sokoni Café, offering poolside seating. A fully equipped gym and spa round out the amenities.
Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Serenely situated on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa, the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is an excellent stopover en route to or from trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Overlooking a private beach, all rooms offer balconies and extensive views of the lake. The hotel features a panoramic restaurant, a beachside bar, luxury swimming pool, and a fitness center. Activities available include relaxing in the spa, boating, swimming, beach volleyball, tennis, fishing, and hiking.
In the southwest corner of Rwanda is the incredibly pristine mountain rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park. It's believed to be "one of Africa's oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age" - which may explain its spectacular biodiversity.
One & Only Nyungwe House, set amongst the rich tea-plantations of Gisakura on the edge of the iconic Nyungwe National Park, was completely renovated in the 2018. Designed to fit harmoniously within their natural surroundings, the 22 luxury rooms are split among six villas. Each room is equipped with ensuite bath, fireplace, and private decks offering views of the forested hills. In addition to an indoor lounge and outdoor boma for dining, there is a swimming pool, spa treatment rooms, Jacuzzi, and fitness center.
Just two hours from the capital city of Kigali is Volcanoes National Park (officially "Parc National de Volcans" or PNV for short). It's celebrated for its spectacular beauty, native wildlife like golden monkeys and forest elephants, sights like the Musanze Caves and the Iby'lwacu Cultural Village, and its six active and three extinct volcanoes.
Intimate in scale, with just six sumptuous en-suite rooms, Bisate Lodge (opening June 2017) is located in the natural amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone and boasts dramatic views of the peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi, of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Located within easy driving distance of Park Headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily, the lodge is also a leader in biodiversity conservation efforts, as well as offering opportunities to engage and meet the local community.
Conveniently located on the road from Musanze to Volcanoes National Park, Five Volcanoes offers 11 rooms, restaurant, pool, and verdant gardens. Rooms are basic but comfortable, with standard amenities such as hairdryers, in-room coffee making supplies, mini-bar, and wifi.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is close to the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, an ideal jumping off point to experience one of the most thrilling wildlife encounters possible – tracking the magnificent Mountain Gorilla. Five cottages, two suites and one family cottage built of stone, feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish ensuite bathrooms, and a sheltered veranda. The main lodge features a sitting room, dining room and bar, and library, all heated by the warm fires. Patio areas offer al fresco dining and dramatic views of the volcanoes.
Situated overlooking the magnificent Virunga volcanoes and the shimmering twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, Virunga Lodge is an eco-lodge consisting of 10 elegant and comfortable stone and tile bandas set along the hillside and a main lodge. Each cottage offers a spacious bedroom area, ensuite bathroom, and private terrace featuring spectacular views of either the lakes or the Virungas.
From providing accommodation options based on your budget, to recommendations for pre- or post-safari travels, assisting you with booking regional air, and meeting you at the airport when you arrive: Boundless Journeys can help you with each step in planning your custom safari. We will seamlessly guide you, so that you can simply relax and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime in Rwanda.
Mountain gorillas live at high altitude (approximately 8-10,000') in Volcanoes National Park. There are currently 10 habituated families, and each family can be visited by a maximum of eight visitors per day. Viewing time is limited to a maximum of one hour.
Gorilla trekking may involve walking long distances through thick vegetation, up steep, wet and muddy terrain that may cause difficulties for some visitors. We recommend you pace yourself; walk slowly and drink plenty of water. For a small fee, porters are available to help you carry your daypack.
With its relatively high altitude, Rwanda has a lovely tropical climate combined with its fair share of rain. The rainy season lasts from March to May, so the best time to visit is during the dry seasons from June to September and from December to February. (October and November is characterized by shorter periods of rain.)
In the capital city of Kigali, the average daily temperature is 75F year-round, while in other places of Rwanda the temperature can vary depending on the altitude.
You may obtain other regional weather information at www.weatherbase.com.
Because the issuing of gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda is highly regulated, it is recommended that you plan your trip well in advance to ensure availability, especially if you want to go during the popular dry season. Contact Boundless Journeys and we'll be happy to start the planning for you.
The cuisine of Rwanda is based on the commonly available produce of subsistence farming; namely plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, and the like. Chicken, freshwater fish (mostly tilapia), and to a lesser extent, beef and pork, are the main protein sources. Traditional dishes using these ingredients can be found on many menus, blended with international cuisine typically influenced by Indian, Italian, and Asian spices.
Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice, though choices tend to be more limited.
A member of the Rwanda Safari Guides Association, Arthur has more than a decade of experience guiding safaris throughout both Rwanda and Uganda. With a diverse knowledge set ranging from wildlife to current affairs, and a social nature, Arthur is a favorite of Boundless Journeys' guests.
While preservation of the native mountain gorilla population is a source of great pride for Rwandans, Arthur's favorite natural area in Rwanda is the Nyungwe forest, where he enjoys searching for chimps, hiking to waterfalls, and just being in nature.
As Rwanda's first licensed female tour guide, Lynn is a trailblazer. While her guiding experiences have taken her all over Rwanda, her heart lives with Rwanda's impressive primates.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
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