12 Days Rwanda Safari tour
12 Days Rwanda Safari tour is a lengthy tour around the land of a thousand hills i.e. Rwanda where you get to visit its premium national parks of Rwanda and explore the wildlife species. This is a 12 Days Rwanda Safari tour which starts and ends in Kigali City. This tour package covers all the 3 National Parks in Rwanda i.e. Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe National Park, and Akagera National Park. Major highlights of this primate and wildlife safari include; Chimpanzee Trekking, Nyungwe Canopy Walkway, Gorilla Trekking, Game drive, Boat cruise, Golden Monkey Tracking, Hike to Dian Fossey tomb, Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, Twin lakes Ruhondo and Burera, Exploring Lake Kivu and its neighboring towns of Kibuye and Gisenyi, and the Kigali City tour.
Highlights of the 12 Days Rwanda Safari Tour
- Day 1: Arrival in Kigali.
- Day 2: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
- Day 3: Chimpanzee Trekking.
- Day 4: Nyungwe Canopy Walkway.
- Day 5: Transfer to Lake Kivu.
- Day 6: Drive to Volcanoes National Park via Gisenyi.
- Day 7: Gorilla Trekking and Iby’iwacu cultural village.
- Day 8: Golden Monkey Tracking or Hike to Dian Fossey Gravesite.
- Day 9: Transfer to Akagera National Park.
- Day 10: Morning Game Drive and Sunset Boat Cruise.
- Day 11: Explore the northern part of the park and Drive back to Kigali.
- Day 12: Kigali City tour and Departure.
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali.
- Arrival: This day marks the beginning of your adventure thrilling Rwanda safari. Meet and greet at Kigali International Airport and later transfer to your Hotel in Kigali.
Accommodation options include:
- Luxury: Kigali Serena Hotel
- Mid-range: Kigali City Blue Hotel.
- Budget: Golf Hills Residence/ Country Inn Hotel.
Day 2: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
- Transfer to Nyungwe National Park: After early morning breakfast, your guide will pick you from your hotel and drive 268km to Nyungwe Forest National Park. This journey takes about 4-6 hours’ drive and will take you through the beautiful and terraced rolling hills of Rwanda. You will have a stopover in Butare and pay a visit to the ethnographic national museum, Nyanza and Murambi genocide memorial sites as well as the King’s palace in Nyanza.
Accommodation options include:
- Luxury: Nyungwe Forest Lodge
- Mid-range: Nyungwe Hill Top View Hotel
- Budget: Gisakura Guesthouse.
Day 3: Chimpanzee Trekking.
- Chimpanzee Trekking: This day marks one of the highlights of your 12 day Rwanda safari tour. Have an early breakfast and then head to the Park’s headquarters in Uwinka where you will be briefed by the park’s head ranger and placed in trekking groups of 8 members per group. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park begins at exactly 8 am, so endeavor to keep time and make sure you are at the Uwinka center by 7 am. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to approximately 80 habituated chimpanzees. While tracking chimps in the forest, you might as well spot other primate species such as; the black and white colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, golden monkey, and other monkey species. You will have your packed lunch after your chimp trekking activity or return to your hotel for lunch and a good rest.
- Cultural Encounter: Later in the evening, you can opt to go on a cultural encounter to one of the nearby villages. While there, you will get to learn more about the Rwandan culture, interact with the local people, get to see their daily lifestyles and even enjoy performances from the local dance groups.
Later return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Nyungwe Canopy Walkway.
- Canopy Walk Experience: Wake up early in the morning, have your breakfast and head back to the park’s headquarters at Uwinka Centre. This is where you will being your hiking trip, which will lead you to the Canopy Walkway. Nyungwe’s canopy walkway is 90 meters long and 50 meters above the ground. While on the canopy walkway, you will get a good look at the forest from a bird’s eye view and also get to experience the adrenalin-charged 200m long series of walkways in the forest canopy.
- Tea Estate Experience: Later in the evening, you can head to Gisakura Tea estate. Here, you will be taken through the process of tea growing, harvesting, processing and packaging. You will even get to taste the delicious taste of the final product. Return back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Transfer to Lake Kivu.
- Transfer to Lake Kivu: After having your breakfast, you will drive for about 3 hours to Kibuye town leading straight to Lake Kivu. The lake is about 90 km long and 50km wide making it the 8th largest lake in Africa. You will have lunch upon your arrival at this beautiful lake and later go on a boat cruise on the lake. While on the boat cruise, you will get to see some of the spectacular bird species around like; the yellow-billed kites, common waxbill and cardinal woodpecker among others. You will also get to visit the peaceful island of Amahoro and Napoleon Island which is well known for its bat caves. Later return to your accommodation lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
- Luxury: Golf Eden Rock.
- Mid-range: Cormoran Lodge.
- Budget: Saint Marie.
Day 6: Drive to Volcanoes National Park via Gisenyi.
- Transfer to Volcanoes National Park: After breakfast, you will transfer to the headquarters of Pac National des Volcans in Kinigi. This journey will take you about 5 hours with a stopover in Gisenyi town. While in Gisenyi town, you will take some time to relax and unwind at one of the town’s beaches on the shores of Lake Kivu. You will then proceed to drive to Kinigi, where you will check into your lodge and have dinner.
- Luxury: Virunga Lodge
- Mid-range: La Palme Hotel.
- Budget: Kinigi Guesthouse.
Day 7: Gorilla Trekking and Iby’iwacu cultural village.
- Gorilla Trekking Experience: Have your breakfast early in the morning and proceed to the park’s headquarters in Kinigi; where you will be briefed and placed in groups of 8 members each. Your Rwanda gorilla trekking safari will commence at 8 am, therefore it is important to always keep time. Usually, tracking gorilla groups can take between 2-8 hours with an hour of direct contact with the gorillas once they have been located. Hiking through the forest might prove to be a bit cumbersome and thus calls for one to be physically and mentally fit for the vigorous activity. Also remember to come with a good pair of hiking boots and a raincoat, in case it rains while you are in the forest.
- Cultural Tour: After your gorilla trekking, you will have your packed lunch and later proceed to Iby’iwacu cultural village where you will been taken through the interesting cultural history of the people of Rwanda. While there, you will have a short peek into the day-to-day lifestyle of the locals, get to check out their traditional handcrafts and also watch dance performances from the local dance and drummers troupe. Later head back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 8: Golden Monkey Trekking/ Hike to Dian Fossey Gravesite and Twin Lakes.
- Golden Monkey Trekking: On this day you have the option of either doing golden monkey trekking or you can opt to hike to the gravesite of the famous primatologist Dian Fossey. In case you choose to do golden monkey tracking, you should know that tracking rules and time are similar to that of mountain gorilla trekking. Golden monkey tracking beings at 8 am at the park’s headquarters in Kinigi. Do make it a point to be at the park by 7 am for your briefing from the head ranger. Once you locate this monkey species, you will be delighted to watch these amazing creatures jump from tree to tree in the forest.
- Dian Fossey Hike: In case you choose to hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb, you will have the opportunity to learn more about her life and scientific study up until her death. Dian Fossey’s scientific research on mountain gorilla families has given us a better understanding of these endangered primate species. She was murdered on 26th December 1985 in her camp in Volcanoes National Park and was laid near her favorite gorilla ‘Digit,’ along with 20 other mountain gorillas. Aside from her gravesite, you will also pay a visit to the Karisoke Research Centre which she used as a base for carrying out most of her scientific studies with the help of her staff.
- Twin Lakes Tour: Have lunch and then proceed to visit the splendid and beautiful twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera in the evening. Enjoy the scenic beauty at the lakes and the surrounding hills. The scenery at twin lakes makes an excellent spot for both water and birding activities. You can also take a boat excursion on the lakes and get to explore the lush green hills and wildlife at the lakes and their surroundings. Later return to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 9: Transfer to Akagera National Park.
- Transfer to Akagera: Wake up early, have your breakfast and check out of your lodge. You will then proceed to drive 214km to Akagera National Park. This drive will take you between 3-4½ hours from Kinigi to the park. Upon your arrival at the park, you have lunch and then embark on an evening game drive in the national park. Get to see wildlife species such as; elephants, hyenas, jackals, zebras, and antelopes among others. Later retreat back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
- Luxury: Akagera Game Lodge.
- Mid-range: Akagera Game Lodge.
- Budget: Magashi Safari Camp.
Day 10: Morning Game Drive and Sunset Boat Cruise.
- Morning Game Drive: Have your breakfast early in the morning and head out for a morning game drive. Get to explore the beautiful savanna and landscape in the park. You will also have the opportunity to see wildlife animals in the park like; elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, rhinos, waterbucks to mention but a few.
- Boat Cruise: You will return back to your lodge for lunch, rest for a short while and later embark on an evening boat cruise on Lake Ihema. While on your boat cruise, you will get to see the splendid wildlife at the park like; Nile Crocodiles, Hippos and some water birds like; the marabou stork, herons, and the African fish eagle. After your boat cruise, you can opt to go guided nature walk and explore the marvelous flora and fauna species that Akagera National Park has to offer. Return back to your lodge for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 11: Explore the northern part of the park and Drive back to Kigali.
- Game Drive: After an early breakfast, you will embark on a morning game drive in the northern part of Akagera National Park. The part of the national park has large concentrations of wildlife and you will get to see beautiful and breath taking sights like; the savanna plains of Akagera, the Karagwe highlands of Tanzania and lakes; Rwanyakazinga, Mihindi, and Gishanju.
- Return to Kigali: You will then proceed with your journey back to Kigali City where you will check into your hotel and rest. If you wish, you can have a short evening tour of the city.
- Luxury: Kigali Serena Hotel.
- Mid-range: Kigali City Blue Hotel.
- Budget: Golf Hills Residence/ Country Inn Hotel.
Day 12: Kigali City tour and Departure.
- Kigali City tour: This is your last day with us and we hope you enjoyed most of your 12 Days Rwanda Safari tour. Take your breakfast at leisure and then head out for a half-day tour of Kigali City, depending on when your flight back home departs. While on your Kigali city tour, you can visit places like the Kigali genocide memorial center, Camp Kigali Memorial, house of Richard Kandt, Nyamirambo Women’s Center, Caplaki craft village and Kimironko market; where you can grab yourself and your loved ones back home some souvenirs. Your guide will then drive you back to your hotel or straight to Kigali International Airport in time for you to check-in and board your flight back home.
End of Tour 12 Days Rwanda Safari tour
This tour package includes;
- Gorilla trekking permit
- Chimp trekking permit
- Golden monkey tracking permit (optional).
- Accommodation and meals as per your itinerary.
- All activities as per your itinerary.
- An English speaking tour guide.
- 4×4 wheel safari vehicle.
- Bottled mineral water.
This tour package excludes;
- All purchases of personal nature like toiletries and alcoholic beverages.
- Rwanda visa
- Flight tickets
- Porter fees
See also: 3 Days Rwanda Gorilla Safari