From epic wildlife to vast plains, from idyllic beaches of the Indian Ocean to fascinating people, east Africa’s extremes are exactly what makes her magnetic. Join us for a bucket list journey that will expertly guide you deeper into the majestic and still enigmatic land.
Upon your arrival into Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport, you will be met by our local representative who will
assist you with immigration, baggage collection and customs procedures, after which you will be escorted to your waiting private transfer vehicle and driver for the 15-minute drive to your hotel. (NOTE 1: As in all airports in the world, at times of heightened security, including visits by Heads of State etc., our Fast-Track intentions may be adapted to suit the situation of the day, NOTE 2: If you are travelling from another time zone or want time to visit the city, we recommend adding 1 night in Kigali)
Overnight: Kigali Serena Hotel
Departing after breakfast, you will be taken on a morning tour of the city of Kigali, including a visit to the Genocide Museum, followed by lunch. In the afternoon you will be transferred (approximately 3 hours) to Virunga Lodge where the rest of the day is at leisure. Take time to settle in to your new surroundings or enjoy some of the on property activities
Located at the base of the Volcano Muhabura in northern Rwanda, the Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo are picturesque blue water masses surrounded by the Virunga High Hills and separated by a 1-kilometre strip of land. Visitors can take canoe or boat trips along the waters. The highlight of course include gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking (or both) in the neighbouring Volcanoes National Park. We recommend visiting Iby’iwacu Cultural Village or the tropical Musanze Caves.
The magnificent Virunga Lodge is the premier luxury gorilla lodge of Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. The lodge is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east. Uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food, exceptional and personalized service, Virunga Lodge is the first accommodation choice for the luxury traveller tracking the endangered mountain gorilla. Each guest will have their own luxurious banda with a private terrace from which to watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes. Each banda has an individual fire place, a luxury shower room with a double vanity, and charging station.
The group of Intore Dancers is made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers.
The troupe perform the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, also known as “The Heroes” for Volcanoes Safaris guests, which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan Mwami (kings). Being selected as an Intore in times of old was a great honour – they would receive a privileged education; intensive combat training and they held a high status within the court.
Rwanda offers some of the world’s best bird watching
Guests of Virunga lodge have easy access to the Virunga chain of volcanoes, which offer challenging hikes and stunning panoramas. The three most popular volcanoes to climb are Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabyinyo, and Mt. Muhavura. These hikes are of varying difficulty and typically take a full day. The treks starts at 7:00am from the park headquarters, from where visitors will have to drive / be driven to the base of the volcano. This might not be possible for those including a gorilla trek.
On a free afternoon at Virunga Lodge we recommend taking advantage of the lodge’s unique position by meandering down the mountain slope, through local villages, and to Lake Bulera, which sits at its foot. Passing through the local communities offers a colorful peek into village life and opportunities to visit local schools and community centers.
The Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge has been built in honor of Dr. Dian Fossey, the pioneer primatologist who set up the Karisoke Center high in the Virunga volcanoes in 1967. The exploration and conservation of the Virunga volcanoes is a unique story and has been brought together for the first time in the amazing exhibition at the Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge.Opened on 2 March 2017, a permanent exhibition has been set up in the Map Room charting the ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga Volcanoes’ from 1850 to 1985 when Fossey died.
Tracking mountain gorillas through the dense African forests is a magical and for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Only eight visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day, and to minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. Permits are required and advance purchase of 12-18 months prior is recommended. Typically, tracking can take from 3 to 8 hours and requires some agility. Once you find your gorilla family, you have an hour to spend with them, watching as they interact, play, feed … and even sleep.
The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or enjoy any of the optional activities available (extra charges may apply).
With only a small number remaining in the world, the Golden Monkey can be found in the foothills of the volcanic mountains of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The walk will take you from the bamboo stands and forested gorge on the lower levels of the volcanoes, to the elevated heath and moorland higher up.
This morning transfer to Nairobi Wilson Airport for the 10h00/11h00 scheduled service flight to Musiara airstrip in Kenya’s Masai Mara (NOTE: luggage is restricted to 15 kilograms per person in soft sided bags only). You will be greeted by a member of the Camp.
Activities commence in the afternoon. For those wishing to start the adventure with part 2 you will need to arrive in Nairobi one day earlier. We will take care of all the arrangements.
Overnight: Ole Sereni Hotel
The Maasai Mara represents the quintessential safari and no visit to Kenya is complete without staying in the region.
Overnight: Cottars 1920
The capital of Zanzibar – Stone Town – has distinct Arabic influence dating back to her prominence during the ancient spice trade. Stone Town still holds a fascination with a maze of narrow streets, old leaning house, and colourful spice markets.
The islands of Zanzibar lie in the Indian Ocean. The Zanzibar archipelago offers excellent diving and a great destination for those wanting to get away from it all.
Extend your stay in Zanzibar or return home.
Note 3: This trip can be done in a few ways.
Option 1: Part 1 Rwanda plus Part 2 Kenya Maasai Mara
Option 2: Part 2 Kenya plus part 3 Zanzibar, Tanzania
Option 3: Part 1, 2 and 3
Option 4: Use this itinerary as your guide and we will customize your dream trip to create your perfect journey.
Pricing upon Request
Plastic bags are now banned in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, and are likely to be confiscated by customs officials on arrival, whether in clients’ baggage or carried by hand or from Duty-Free shops.
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