This very special departure for early 2025 offers the ultimate exploration of one of Africa’s most intriguing countries. In addition to unforgettable encounters with wild chimpanzees, golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, and other iconic primates, a breathtaking diversity of wildlife awaits in Rwanda’s national parks, including lovely Akagera—home to the Big Five and some of the most pristine landscapes in Africa. Join us for a unforgettable journey through Rwanda’s “Thousand Hills.”
Arrival to Kigali
Upon arrival of your flight into Kigali International Airport, you will be met by a Boundless Journeys representative who will transfer you to our luxury boutique hotel for the night, conveniently located in a leafy neighborhood in Kigali. We gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel's acclaimed restaurant this evening.
The RetreatKigali, Rwanda
Simple, organic luxury best describe the peaceful sanctuary found at The Retreat. An exclusive sister property to the famed Heaven Residence, The Retreat features 20 suites, an award-winning restuarant, and private, salt-water plunge pools, all centrally located on Kigali's leafy streets.
Kigali to Nyungwe Forest
This morning, we will visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Whether you choose to quietly explore the outdoor spaces or take in the entirety of the museum, visiting the Genocide Memorial is a powerful experience.
We will then depart Kigali for Nyungwe National Park (5.5 hours driving). We enjoy lunch along the way, ultimately arriving to our luxury lodge for the next two nights, peacefully situated in a hilltop tea plantation overlooking the forest.
One & Only Nyungwe House, Rwanda
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.
Nyungwe Forest Chimpanzee Tracking
Our first encounter with the fascinating primates of Rwanda will take place today in Nyungwe Forest National Park, which was established in 2004 and covers an area of 1,000 square kilometers of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, and swamps. 12 different primate species reside here, including 10 types of monkey, olive baboons, and most notably, chimpanzees.
Our focus this morning is tracking the troops of chimpanzees on a forest walk. While the numbers of chimpanzee in Nyungwe are good, they are very active and tend to move quickly, so length and quality of sightings can vary greatly. However, once encountered they are often curious and entertaining. There is no specific time limit to how long you may stay with the chimpanzees once found, but keeping up with them can be a challenge!
Once the tracking hike is finished, you'll return to Nyungwe House for lunch, and for the afternoon you are free to enjoy the activities offered at the lodge, including bird watching walks, spa treatments, tea plantation activities, or you may choose to venture back into the park for an elevated canopy walk.
Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Today we drive north from Nyungwe to Volcanoes National Park. The drive of about 170 miles covers a diverse landscape of rural farmland, small towns along the shores of Lake Kivu, and dramatic volcanic mountains. We enjoy lunch enroute, and ultimately arrive by late afternoon to our home for the next three nights, a serene hilltop lodge on the outskirts of Musanze just minutes from Volcanoes National Park.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda
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.
This morning, we'll drive to Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where we will be allocated to a gorilla tracking group. After a briefing by our National Park trackers, we will then continue to the trailhead for the start of an amazing adventure.
This exhilarating trek, seeking out the rare and critically endangered Mountain Gorillas, the largest living primate on earth, starts in the cultivated foothills of the Virungas with stirring views in all directions. Upon entering the national park, with paths marked by signs of the forest's elusive buffalo and elephant, you will be immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with colorful birds and butterflies. Through gaps in the canopy, the magnificent Virunga peaks—among the highest in Africa yet easily accessible—are glimpsed.
Weaving through overhanging vines, moss-covered hagenia, and giant lobelias, our experienced trackers bring us up close with our assigned gorilla family. Upon sighting the gorillas, we will stay with them for a magical hour as they go about their daily life: feeding, playing, resting, raising their young. Coming face to face with a giant silverback must truly be one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth!
After the hike and lunch back at our lodge, we will return to town to visit the campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. This conservation organization operated for 50 years out of a small space in downtown Musanze, and in the early 2020s donations of generous benefactors allowed for a permanent campus to be built, continuing the conservation mission and providing a robust interpretive experience for travelers to learn more about gorilla conservation.
Golden Monkey Tracking
This morning we venture into the forest again, this time in search of golden monkeys. True to its name, this beautiful primate has a golden body, cheeks, and tail, with contrasting black limbs, crown, and tail tip. Living in social groups of up to 30 individuals, their diet consists mainly of leaves and fruit, although it is believed they eat insects too. Restricted to the highland forest of the Virungas, especially near bamboo, they share this habitat with their relative the mountain gorilla, inhabiting a small area that overlaps the territory of one of the gorilla families. Together, they face the same threats: snares and human encroachment, and are listed on the IUCN Red List of critically-endangered species.
Tracking usually takes two to four hours. Once we find the habituated families, we will spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; adult males typically frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from perch to perch, while females carry their young, completely oblivious to onlookers.
After the hike and lunch back at our hotel, there is the option to visit the nearby ex-poachers village. Known as the "Gorilla Guardians," this community functions like an outdoor museum and provides an enriching tourism experience where travelers can learn about local culture from wedding dances to traditional healing methods, while also providing an alternative, sustainable source of income to local people who once had little opportunity to make ends meet without poaching from the forest.
Alternatively, you may choose to simply enjoy a well-earned afternoon of relaxation at the hotel.
This morning, we depart Musanze and make our way across this small country to the remote northern region of Akagera National Park. Our accommodation for the next three nights is Magashi Camp, situated in the wildlife-filled northeastern corner of the park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. Upon arrival at the park's northern gate, we say farewell (for now) to our guide, board safari vehicles, and join the camp's naturalist guides for an immersive three days exploring this gem of a national park.
Akagera is comprised of incredibly scenic savanna—open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp, and grassy hills—and is home to one of Africa's highest hippo densities, large crocodiles, and rare sitatunga antelope. But this is not all: far from much human influence, this area is pure nature. Teeming with plains game including zebra, buffalo, giraffe, and more, Akagera now also boasts a healthy population of lion, which were reintroduced in 2015 after a 20-year absence. Black rhino were reintroduced in 2017, and the area is also home to a healthy elephant population. Wildlife censuses taken in recent years have revealed that the north area of the park is the most prolific for a wide variety of species, and we have it to explore in almost complete solitude as Magashi is the only private access area in Akagera.
Our intimate, comfortable camp is influenced by traditional Rwandan design and includes a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar, and pool, as well as an expansive viewing deck with convivial fire pit.
Magashi CampAkagera 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.
Our days exploring Akagera typically include morning and afternoon activities, with a restful midday siesta back at camp in between. Activities (shared with other camp guests) depend on where the gameviewing is best and will likely include both day and nighttime game drives in open vehicles, nature walks, and even exploring the lake by swamp boat. A three night stay should allow a reasonable chance to encounter all of the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant), as well as other iconic African species such as giraffe, zebra, hippo, and all manner of plains game.
In addition, Akagera's varied landscape makes for prime birding habitat, with over 500 species having been recorded, including the gorgeous lilac-breasted roller, the grey hornbill, the crested barbet, Heuglin's robin-chat, black headed gonalek, and Ross's turaco, among others. But perhaps oddest and most exciting prospect is the elusive shoebill stork, whose giant bill and large stature make for a feeling of having encountered a pre-historic creature.
Each evening, we'll enjoy swapping stories of the day around the campfire with our fellow explorers.
Departure from Kigali
Today, we will transfer back to Kigali in time for flights departing in the mid-afternoon or later.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Jan 12-21, 2025
From $15,495 Per Person
First one reserved:$3,095
See single supplement policy below.
Permit Fees (chimpanzee, golden monkey, gorilla) $1,765
MAKE IT PRIVATE
8+ Guests: $15,495 per person
5-7 Guests: $15,995 per person
Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.
Single Supplement for Scheduled Group Departures. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement. This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and request a roommate but one is not available, you will receive a $500 reduction from the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary for your specific trip).
Single Supplement for Custom Tours. Custom Tour prices are generally based on two or more participants; therefore, single supplements for “solo” Custom Tours will vary and are available upon request.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. This trip is rated 3, moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). While in Kigali and on safaris, the activity is easy with walking, boating, and game driving. The days of chimpanzee, gorilla, and golden monkey trekking can vary from moderately challenging to strenuous. It is difficult to predict, and therefore we suggest you be prepared for at least medium length days of hiking on unpaved and uneven paths through a hilly, jungle environment.
Most Convenient Airport: Kigali International Airport, Kigali, Rwanda (airport code: KGL)
Meeting Time and Place:Upon arrival of your international flight to Kigali International Airport in Kigali on Day 1 of the trip.
Departure Time and Place: Kigali International Airport in time for departures no earlier than late afternoon.
Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys live at high altitude in Virunga Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzees life at similar altitudes in Nyungwe National Park. Primate families are visited by no more than 8 guests along with the trackers and guides, per day. Primate trekking may involve walking long distances through thick vegetation, up steep, wet and muddy terrain, which may cause difficulties for some visitors. Guides will typically make an assessment of abililties in order to best match the group with the particular primate family based on the difficulty of reaching their typical home range. We recommend you pace yourself: walk slowly and drink plenty of water. For a small fee, porters are available to help you carry your day pack.
While in Akagera National Park, we enjoy full and half-day game drives. Typically, we will depart our camp early and spend the morning tracking various animals in our 4WD safari vehicles. Each day is unique and unpredictable, which is why our guides say never put away your camera!
Drives may last from a few morning hours to a full day. As we come upon groups of animals, we allow plenty of time to simply observe and also take photographs. Our guides are experienced naturalists and will add greatly to your understanding of the wildlife. We keep a respectful distance - although the same cannot always be said about the animals; it is not unusual to come nose-to-car with zebras, gazelles, and elephants!
Other activities in Akagera National Park may include walking safaris and a boat cruise on Lake Rwanyakizinga.
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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