A world of excitement awaits independent travellers who are interested in discovering all that Rwanda has to offer. Below, our travel company has catalogued just some of the experiences it’s possible to have when you visit this beautiful, unique part of the world. We can put together a tour, whether accompanied or not, that will ensure that you have a wonderful time through all your expectations being fulfilled.
Rwanda is home to a rich tapestry of history and a vibrant culture. Though the essential beauty of Rwanda was tragically marred by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the country is now designated as the safest in all of Africa. Many museums and memorial sites exist, offering an opportunity to learn about the important, turbulent history of Rwanda.
No matter where in Rwanda you choose to visit, you’ll always be greeted by the welcoming rhythm of Rwandan singing and the joyous display of traditional Rwandan dance. You’ll be hard-pressed to avoid joining in!
Because of our connection with the Amakuru Trust, Amakuru (UK) Ltd is able to facilitate visits to communities that exist beyond the tourist trail. You’ll have the opportunity to meet beneficiaries of the trust, and see the trust’s charitable work in action. You’ll even get to savour the taste of the latest batch of urwagwa, or “banana beer”!
As well as the more tourist orientated visits, you can choose from a number of experiences to be included in your tour. You can take a drive in the Rwanda countryside to see banana beer being made, visit local houses and even walk with widows as they tell their story of the genocide. You can visit schools and be entertained by the children singing and dancing. You can visit a streetchildren’s centre where they are given a roof over their head and taught the skills to be re-integrated successfully into society through a return to family, fostering or adoption. Or you can ask us if you have an idea of something that you want to do – it is your tour and your choice!
A broad variety of accommodation options are available. You may select from a number of luxury hotels, including the famous Hôtel des Mille Collines, which was featured in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. We also have a variety of luxury tented lodges available in the Akagera National Park.
Several of the hotels we recommend are based in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. These establishments offer beautiful food and are known for looking after visitors exceptionally well. All of the hotels are situated within easy reach of the city centre, as well as numerous restaurants that provide a variety of cuisines.
Seasoned advice regarding hotels is readily available. That’s because we have personally stayed in every hotel to verify their quality. Recommendations from past travellers are also available. Many of our customers decide to return to Rwanda following their first visit.
Volcanoes National Park is the home of Rwanda’s famous mountain gorillas. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in a trek that visits a family of gorillas, spending an hour in their midst. It’s a magical experience that simply won’t be forgotten. Walks of varying length and difficulty are available in order to accommodate to everybody’s abilities. The journey can be as short as 30 minutes, but will vary depending on the movements of the gorillas.
Nyungwe National Park is one of Africa’s most important conservation sites. It is home to 13 primate species, 75 different mammals, and 310 species of bird. A variety of activities are available, including walking trails, chimpanzee and colobus monkey spotting, and treetop walks. You can also visit tea plantations, or take a trip to the Nyabarongo river – considered by some to be the source of the Nile.
Akagera National Park is the largest of its kind in Rwanda. Its lakes are home to one of the largest hippo populations in Africa. An all-day guided safari (which includes a boat trip) or a night Game drive, means you’ll have the chance to view giraffes, elephants, zebras, buffalo, hippos, antelopes, crocodiles, baboons, monkeys, and an extraordinary number of birds at close range. New fencing has been erected around the site, allowing lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and leopards to roam the park in greater numbers.
Below, you’ll find an example of what is possible on one of our tours.
On the first day, you’ll catch a flight from either Heathrow or Gatwick airport to a transit airport in Brussels, Amsterdam, or Istanbul before travelling to Kigali. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a Amakuru (UK) Ltd representative who will accompany you to your hotel in Kigali. There, you’ll spend your first night in a room with a private terrace and a beautiful view of the city. You will probably arrive late, so it will be time for a good night’s sleep before the adventures to come.
On day 2, you’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the private terrace before meeting your guide for the rest of the trip. Your guide will explain the programme before taking you on a tour of Kigali. The tour will include a trip to the Gisozi Memorial Centre, where you will learn more about the history of Rwanda – including the genocide that occurred in 1994.
In the afternoon, your guide will drive you to the Akegera Park in the Eastern Province. This 3-hour drive will take you through some delightful countryside. Then, you’ll stay at the Ruzizi Tented Lodge. After settling in, you’ll tuck into an early dinner before departing on a night game drive. There, you’ll see many nocturnal animals – including the remarkable leopard.
Day 3 will begin with an early start. After breakfast, you’ll experience a game safari in Akagera Park accompanied by your driver and an extremely knowledgeable, personal park guide. The animals you see will depend on your luck on the day. However, you are likely to see elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, buffalo, many species of antelope, baboons, monkeys, warthogs, and more. You’ll also enjoy a boat trip on lake Ihema, the home of hippos, crocodiles, and many bird species. After this wonderful day, you’ll return to Ruzizi to stay another night.
After enjoying breakfast – and the sight of animals around the lake – your driver will take you on a journey to Volcanoes National Park – home of the famous mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Though this is a 4-hour drive, the scenery is truly worth it. You will wind your way around many of the hills that Rwanda is famous for. Before you arrive in Ruhengeri, you’ll notice the temperature drop slightly – of course, it will still be much warmer than the UK! You’ll stay in a quality hotel in the Musanze District. After relaxing for the remainder of the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a hearty dinner before retiring for the night.
Today is the day that you’ll undertake your gorilla trek. After an early breakfast, you’ll find yourself at Kinigi Headquarters with a number of other excited trekkers. There, you’ll have tea or coffee while being entertained by traditional singers and dancers. Then, you’ll be allocated a gorilla group and a guide. You can choose whether to take a short, medium, or long trek. The medium trek is 2-3 hours of energetic walking at altitude before reaching the gorillas; anyone in reasonable physical condition can do this – it’s not just for fitness fanatics! Hiking sticks will be provided. If you’ve brought a rucksack, a porter service will be made available at the start of the walk.
Once you find the gorilla group, you’ll be able to spend a full hour with them before trekking back. It’s a glorious, unmissable experience. Once the trek is finished, you’ll re-join your driver and take a short drive (1-and-a-half hours) to Gisenyi and lake Kivu. There, you’ll stay on a hotel that rests on the lake’s shore. Dinner and relaxation will be the programme of the evening.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven along the shore of lake Kivu, towards Kibuye. There, you’ll have lunch and a boat trip around the islands that includes a visit to a fruit bat colony. Then, you’ll continue south toward Cyangugu before entering Nyungwe Forest Park – your home for the next few days. You’ll be staying at what is undoubtedly the best hotel in this area: Nyungwe Forest Lodge. Over the next few days, you’ll be exploring in search of more primates.
On day 7, you’ll undertake the chimpanzee trek. Your driver will advise you of what time the journey will begin, as it will depend on where the chimpanzee family is on that particular day. The length of the trek may also vary. Once you find the chimpanzees – which is not guaranteed, but is very likely – you’ll enjoy their company before returning to your hotel for the rest of the day.
On the 8th day, you will trek in search of the colobus monkey. This adventure will have a later start, allowing you to enjoy a bit of extra time in bed. Your driver will let you know when the journey is due to begin. Depending on the time, you may also be able to walk along the canopy trail – as long as you have a head for heights! It is a suspended treetop walk with a great expanse of rainforest stretching out below you.
After breakfast, you’ll leave Nyungwe and begin the trip back to Kigali, which takes around 5 hours. You will stop at Butare for lunch and visit the national museum. You’ll enjoy a further stop at the Nyanza Memorial Site as you draw closer to Kigali. Then, you’ll be taken to your hotel, where you’ll have the opportunity to take a shower, nap, and pack before having dinner. Afterward, you’ll travel to the airport to check-in and fly home.