Nyungwe Forest Chimpanzee Trek
Head out today to search for Rwanda's other famous, but less visited southern cousins, the chimpanzee, in the beautiful Nyungwe forest. After a short briefing from your guide, walk through stunning tea plantations acting as a buffer to the park, before entering the forest. Nyungwe itself is considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in Rwanda and whilst lying at a lower altitude, it can be very steep and challenging in places.
The rewards however, are well worth it, with over 13 species of monkey found here and some excellent birding, along with over 100 species of butterfly and the occasional chameleon.
With an estimated 500 chimpanzees in the forest, the chances are you will hear them long before you see them, but trekking can take anything from one to four hours. The ongoing habituation process gives you a good chance of seeing them but nothing is guaranteed. If you are lucky enough to find them, you will spend one hour watching them play, fight and eat in the atmospheric forest, before retracing your steps back to the lodge.
Drive from Nyungwe to Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo
After leaving Nyungwe Forest, drive to the DRC border at Cyangugu, a journey of around 30-40 minutes. Here, go through visa formalities, which can take some time, before crossing into the town of Bukavu and on to your lodge.
Bukavu could well lay claim to being the most scenic town in the whole of the DRC. Built over a number of hills jutting out into Lake Kivu, the town features lakeshores dotted with faded colonial mansions, whose colourful gardens spill over into the lake itself.
Small pirogues glide across the lake, with fishermen casting their nets in the setting sun, as children play alongside mothers washing clothes in the shallows. The town itself is set back from the shores of the lake. Winding dirt roads - and occasional tarmac - are crowded with market stalls and dusty shops, with spectacular views of the lake from the hill above town.
You will be staying at The Orchids Safari Club, Bed & Breakfast