Young wet gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Highlights of Rwanda

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

11 Days

Prices Start from

£14,595pp (ex. flights)

Rwanda has become synonymous with gorilla trekking, but this holiday also showcases the diverse wildlife and landscapes elsewhere in this fascinating country. As well as trekking for endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Virunga Massif, explore the lakes, savannah and hills of Akagera in the east, and the chimpanzee inhabited forests of western Nyungwe.

With African Parks assuming management of Akagera National Park, conservation and community became the focus. Once devoid of wildlife, the animal populations there are now flourishing.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Silverback gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda 1

Gorilla Trekking

Includes permits for two mountain gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park – twice the magic.

Virunga Lodge, Volcanoes National Park 2

Positive Impact Lodges

Stay at three lodges, renowned for their locations and sustainability credentials.

Zebra & Giraffe in Akagera National Park, Rwanda 3

Conservation in Action

Explore the diverse landscape of Akagera National Park, home to elephants, rhinos and big cats.

Chimpanzee in tree, Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda 4

Chimpanzee Tracking

Search for chimps and colourful birdlife and walk high above the verdant forest canopies in Nyungwe National Park.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Kigali (Kigali Marriott Deluxe)

  • Day 2

    Kigali (Kigali Marriott Deluxe)

  • Day 3

    Kigali - Akagera National Park (Ruzizi Lodge)

  • Day 4

    Akagera (Ruzizi Lodge)

  • Day 5

    Akagera (Ruzizi Lodge)

  • Day 6

    Akagera National Park - Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

  • Day 7

    Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

  • Day 8

    Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

  • Day 9

    Volcanoes National Park - Nyungwe National Park (One&Only Nyungwe House)

  • Day 10

    Nyungwe Forest National Park (One&Only Nyungwe House)

  • Day 11

    Nyungwe National Park - Kigali

Day 1

Arrive Kigali (Kigali Marriott Deluxe)

Arrive in Kigali and meet your driver guide, who will accompany you for the duration of your trip. Transfer to your hotel in the city.

Day 2

Kigali (Kigali Marriott Deluxe)

After breakfast, explore the city of Kigali including a visit to the Genocide Museum. In the afternoon take a walking tour of Nyamirambo neighbourhood visiting local cooperatives, shops and markets.

Day 3

Kigali - Akagera National Park (Ruzizi Lodge)

After breakfast, drive approx three hours to Akagera and check in for lunch. In the afternoon take a game drive through the park. Stay at Ruzizi Tented Lodge.

Day 4

Akagera (Ruzizi Lodge)

In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Ihema, before heading out on a game drive in the afternoon.

Day 5

Akagera (Ruzizi Lodge)

Set out on a full day game drive, heading to the north of the park with a picnic lunch. This is where lions are most commonly sighted, as well as large herds of buffalos. Head back out for a night game drive later this evening.

Day 6

Akagera National Park - Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

After breakfast, return to Kigali to stop for lunch before driving around two and a half hours to Kinigi and Virunga Lodge.

Day 7

Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

Leave the lodge early in the morning and drive to the park. Accompanied by a park ranger, trek up into the montane forest in search of a family of gorillas. Spend an hour watching them play, eat and groom, before you trek back down. In the afternoon, relax back at the lodge or take a guided walk through the neighbouring village.

Day 8

Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Lodge)

Leave early again to trek into the park for a second opportunity to spend an hour with mountain gorillas. The hour you spent with them yesterday will have likely flown by so most of our clients appreciate a second opportunity.

Day 9

Volcanoes National Park - Nyungwe National Park (One&Only Nyungwe House)

After breakfast, drive approximately seven hours to Nyungwe stopping for lunch in Kibuye.

Day 10

Nyungwe Forest National Park (One&Only Nyungwe House)

An early start to drive 60 minutes to Cyamudongo Forest for the start of your chimpanzee tracking experience. Return to your lodge in the afternoon for time at leisure or to experience the canopy walkway.

Day 11

Nyungwe National Park - Kigali

After breakfast, drive six hours to Kigali stopping for lunch and to visit the National Museum in Huye and the Kings Palace in Nyanza. Upon arrival transfer to the airport for onward travel.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Gorilla peering through leaves, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Setting off into Volcanoes National Park, you will be led by knowledgeable guides and park rangers. Climbing steadily, leave the terraced crop fields behind and enter the dense forest that carpets the lower slopes of these dormant volcanoes. Trekking can take several hours.
Once you find a gorilla family, leave your bags, and holding cameras at the ready, creep closer to enter their domain. Spend an hour amongst the mountain gorillas, as they play, groom and eat. Watch as youngsters roll through the lush grass and see the dominant silverback stalk through his relaxed family. A magical and humbling experience.

Lions in Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Lions in Akagera National Park

Akagera Safari

The eastern fringes of Rwanda are made up of a series of lakes and rich marshlands that fill the valleys of Akagera National Park, with savannah and acacia forests dotted between rolling hills. Explore by boat and 4×4, in search of the wildlife that fills this recovering park. Once all but empty of game, it now supports a wide variety of species, including a small pride of reintroduced lions, as well as translocated rhinos.
The watery, verdant landscape attracts a variety of birdlife, whilst the lakes are home to hippos and crocodiles. Elephants roam the savannah and woodlands, occasionally wallowing in the muddy marshlands. Inland, on the rich grasslands, numerous antelope species graze.

Golden Monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Golden monkey

Chimp Tracking

The swathes of verdant montane forest that make up Nyungwe Forest National Park, in the west of the country, are home to a colourful array of birdlife, as well as monkeys, frogs and chimpanzees. One of the chimp families is habituated to humans, meaning visitors have the chance to trek in search of them. Unlike in Uganda, trekking group numbers are strictly managed here, making for a superior experience once you encounter the chimps. Also resident are the endangered golden monkeys.

Tour of African Parks Headquarters, Akagera, Rwanda
Akagera, Rwanda

Behind the Scenes

The story of Akagera is a remarkable one. Once a park devoid of wildlife and overrun by cattle and poaching, it is now a Big Five reserve. This all thanks to a partnership between the Rwandan government and the NGO African Parks, which began in 2010.

Since then, borders have been secured, wildlife has returned and tourism has flourished. Learn about this journey and the day-to-day running of the park on a behind-the-scenes tour of the park headquarters, led by one of African Parks’ staff.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Ruzizi Tented Lodge £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Perfectly located for exploring Akagera National Park, Ruzizi Tented Lodge is built on the shores of Lake Ihema.

View Property

Virunga Lodge £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Sitting atop one of Rwanda’s “thousand hills”, Virunga Lodge lies between cloud-topped volcanoes and shadowy blue lakes.

View Property

One&Only Nyungwe House £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Set amongst the working tea plantation of Gisakura on the edge of Nyungwe National Park, One&Only Nyungwe House offers a one-of-a-kind escape.

View Property

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

In 2014, Virunga Lodge established its “One Sheep per Family” project, which aims to distribute one sheep to each of the families in the local community. These sheep provide manure for growing crops, generate income by producing lambs and can even provide meat for the families. This relatively small investment reaps long-term rewards, helping to lift people out of poverty.

When Rwanda’s gorilla permits rose from $750 to $1,500 in 2017, this also triggered a significant increase in tourism sharing revenue. Local communities benefit from 10% of total tourism revenue, which is reinvested into public services and local infrastructure. This means that Rwandans living on the edge of Volcanoes National Park see the tangible benefits from tourism on a daily basis, ranging from better schooling to the provision of clean drinking water.

Not only does this holiday support primate conservation through Rwanda’s gorilla permit scheme, but it also supports the continuing conservation of the Akagera ecosystem. This beautiful park was once heavily poached and littered with snares, but it is now flourishing under the stewardship of African Parks. Key species, such as lions and rhinos, have been reintroduced, significantly helping to increase biodiversity.

Kenya: Masai Mara Safari

Fly north to the open plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara, where safaris were born. Stay in a classic tented bush camp and spend several days amidst the open plains and endless vistas in search of the wide array of wildlife that inhabits this famous region. Explore on game drives at dawn and dusk, when predators are at their most active.

4 days. Price on request

End of the migration, Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara, Kenya

Start planning your trip


Send us an enquiry

Complete our enquiry form and start your next journey.

Review Contact Form

Name(Required)
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden

A note on price

This cost includes permits for two gorilla treks and one chimpanzee trek. Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From £14,595 Per person

When to travel

Rwanda in January

From late December until early February the weather is typically drier, although showers are still very possible. This is the hottest time of year and can feel very tropical. However, the altitude means that temperatures remain manageable and still drop quickly at night.

Rwanda in February

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in March

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in April

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in May

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in June

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in July

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in August

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in September

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in October

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in November

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in December

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge, curiosity and expertise set us apart, driving us to create remarkable holidays and Beautiful Adventures tailored perfectly to you, carefully curated to help protect and conserve our planet.

Are you ready to Discover Extraordinary?


More about Steppes

Get in touch

  • By sending your enquiry you are stating that you agree to our T&C

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.