Itinerary Highlights

  • Time with the Mountain gorillas at PNV
  • Chimp tracking at Nyungwe National Park
  • Albertine Rift Endemics (AREs) and other wonderful birds in both parks
  • Scenic, high-altitude Lake Kivu
  • Learning about Rwandese culture and history

What's Included

  • Flights
  • Accommodation Throughout
11 nights from £16,085 per person

Candice Buchan

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

This itinerary is for people who wish to explore Rwanda's forested sites of biological importance; track its great apes and explore some of the countryside to learn about everyday Rwandan life

You first head to Nyungwe National Park, where visitors come to seek wild Chimpanzees and a variety of monkeys, along with many of the sought-after 'ARE' birds (Albertine Rift Endemics) which can be encountered along a well-mapped network of trails through Tolkinesque scenery.

One of the attractions at Nyungwe Forest is the canopy walkway, which allows one the chance to seek forest wildilfe and birdlife at canopy level. Do bear in mind though, that you're looking for rainforest wildlife in dense foliage, so it is not to be compared with the standard savannah experience. Here, your accommodation is the stylish One&Only Nyungwe House

Continue to Lake Kivu where you stay first for a night at Kibuye and then travel northwards to Gisenyi which is not too far from the Congolese border. One of the marvellous natural spectacles you can oftentimes see here at dusk, happens when clouds of Straw-coloured fruit bats fly overhead as they head for the Congolese rainforests in search of food.

Finally, travel to Volcanoes National Park where you visit the utterly magnificent Mountain gorillas, and if you wish, also take an excursion in search of either Albertine Rift Endemic birdlife, or smaller mammals such as Golden monkey. For this sample itinerary, we include two wonderful Gorilla treks in Rwanda, a really worthwhile idea.  Accommodation at Volcanos National Park, will be One&Only Mountain Gorilla's Nest.

At the end of the trip, travel to Kigali for your flight home.

Note: we recommend that ardent nature enthusiasts add a two-night stay in Akagera National Park onto this sample itinerary, as it allows for exploration of a much more open savannah and lakeland ecosystem


Take a daytime flight on KLM or Brussels Airlines to Kigali. (If you prefer other carriers, we'll be delighted to quote based on them). On arrival into Kigali, will be welcomed by your experienced, private, English-speaking driver/guide and taken to the Kigali Serena to stay overnight. Built on a hillside, Kigali is a small capital city, without many landmark buildings, the city tour takes a couple of hours and includes the old town (Nyamirambo) and Muslim quarter, the new handicraft village and other shops and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial. The memorial is very moving and something we recommend all visitors to see.
After breakfast, travel by road to Nyungwe Forest National Park and stay three nights in lovely One&Only Nyungwe House, all meals included. On the way, you stop in Butare (2½ hours from Kigali) to see the National Museum, and for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch you will be taken to see a performance by the astonishing Intore dancers and musicians. You may also want to see the near sacred Ankole cattle which here, are trained to respond individually to different, special tunes created for them (!). When you leave Butare, inform the driver if you wish to stop at the Murambi Genocide site on the road to Nyungwe. Otherwise, the drive from Butare to Nyungwe is about 2½ hours. Extending for nearly one thousand kilometers square over the mountains of southwest Rwanda, beautiful Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest single tract of montane forest remaining in Africa. This forest is a remarkably rich centre of biodiversity: species lists include 86 mammals, 280 birds, 120 butterflies and about 100 orchids. It is the most important birding site in Rwanda and during forest walks you are sure to see a variety of Albertine Rift Endemics including Alethes, Akalats, Ant-thushes and even sought-after gems like Dusky and Shelley's crimsonwings.
Activities today include Chimpanzee tracking in the early morning and a guided nature walk into the rainforest. You will also be able to enjoy Africa's highest canopy-walk, which is at this national park.
This morning, enjoy another guided forest walks in search of primates, birds and to enjoy the stunning scenery in the forest. The main attractions in Nyungwe are its various species of monkey and of course, the resident Chimps. Experienced guides lead you through the forest in search of these elusive apes. Rainbow Tours' specialists Derek and Craig have both observed the Chimps high up in the canopy during three-hour early morning walks. Other primates seen during the same walk were Grey-cheeked mangabey and many l'Hoest's monkeys. Birding is generally very rewarding. In the afternoon, you can be taken to a different spot to seek what is the largest known barrel of Rwenzori colobus, which usually allow a reasonably close approach (pictured).
A very scenic drive takes you to Kibuye, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Stay overnight at the rustic but charming Cormoran Lodge. All meals are included. Longish drives on un-made roads may not appeal to everyone, but they do offer the opportunity to see life as it has been lived for centuries, virtually unchanged. This is a scenic route and provides the opportunity to see the people at work - cultivating bananas, cassava, sorghum, beans, rice, potatoes, and even coffee in their steep, tiny fields. In addition there are several massive tea plantations (pictured), villages, innumerable tiny brickworks, and surprises around every corner. Lake Kivu forms the border between Rwanda and the Congo. It's a beautiful and mysterious lake, alive with traders and fishermen in their dugout canoes.
Staying at   Cormoran Lodge
Today you head north-east, parallel to Lake Kivu, to Gisenyi to overnight at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, all meals included. This beautiful drive (3-4 hours) is largely on unmade roads and takes you through an area of intensive subsistence farming, as well as the remains of the Gishwati Forest. Gisenyi is a somewhat faded lakeside resort - and also a border crossing point into the Congo. The shoreside is lined with crumbling colonial villas. Today, it is enjoying a renaissance as it boasts its first international standard hotel - the Kivu Serena It is a pleasant hotel, right on the lakeside, with its own private pool.
Relax at your hotel or explore some of the town of Gisenyi (pictured), before the 3 hour afternoon drive to Musanze at Parc National des Volcans. Stay three nights at One&Only Gorillas Nest lodge, all meals included. Well located for the main activity which draws tourists to PNV, Gorilla tracking, this lodge provided top notch accommodation and superb service.
Make an early start for the Parc National des Volcans, where you will make your first gorilla trek. On arrival at 07h00, you are met by staff from ORTPN Park Headquarters who brief you on conduct during gorilla tracking. The trackers then lead you into the forested slopes to seek one of the resident and habituated family groups of Mountain gorillas. Reaching the gorillas can be quick, or it can take a few hours.
Your second excursion to seek and spend time with one of the resident, habituated family groups of Mountain gorilla. *We personally highly recommend a second gorilla trek for the following reasons: a) The experience is so intense that the hour you are permitted to spend with the Gorillas, feels like 5 minutes. b) Although chances of seeing the Gorillas exceed 90%, nature cannot ever be guaranteed. So its wise to have a backup day to avoid disappointment, rare as that may be. c) Just in case you have any communicable human illness (eg colds or flu) on your first day, you will not be allowed to visit the Gorillas since they have no resistance to human illnesses.
Today you can either do a third gorilla trek*, or, choose one of the following activities: * visiting the golden monkeys, * a nature walk (birding in PNV is excellent), * climbing Mt Bisoke or visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey. The latter two activities are suited for those who are reasonably fit. In the afternoon, you will be driven to Kigali (2½ hours) where you will be taken to the airport to check in for your late night flight home.
Staying at   Kigali Serena
Early morning arrival back into London Heathrow or selected other airports, if you are flying to UK

Candice Buchan

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Pricing Information & Dates

11 nights from £16,085 per person

Candice Buchan

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Price Includes

  • Return International Flights as per the itinerary
  • All airport taxes and security charges
  • Accommodation and meals as specified
  • Transfers as specified
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • All entrace fees on sightseeing tours as specified
* Return international flights from London (or selected other UK airports) to Kigali * Airport taxes * All accommodation based on double or twin room occupancy * Meals as indicated * Private transportation in your 4WD vehicle * Services of your dedicated, professional driver-guide * Activities and excursions as per the itinerary * Park ranger fees and park permits * Two Rwanda Gorilla permits per person.

Price Excludes

  • Travel Insurance
  • Any meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional excursions
* Personal items (drinks, tips, phone calls, laundry & travel insurance).

Pricing Notes

* This itinerary is focused on One&Only's two lodges in Rwanda. For other accommodation alternatives at PNV, do contact us - we'll be happy to advise and quote.

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

Personal & tailor-made

  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

Responsible by nature

  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
  • We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours
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