Day 1: 5 Swiss Hotel, Kigali
Rwanda’s capital and biggest city stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising 1850 metres above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Centre, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, busy streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is said to be one of the most attractive cities in Africa and is definitely worth a visit.
Arrival of your flight at the Kigali International Airport.
Meet and greet assistance. Handed over to and warmly welcomed by our representative.
Transfer to your hotel in the city.
Arrive and check in assistance.
Tour briefing will take place at the lobby.
Dinner will follow and overnight stay.
Overnight: 5 Swiss Hotel
Located in the very heart of the city center – best known as Kiyovu, 5 Swiss Hotel is situated in a secured and peaceful area with a breathtaking view over the hills of Kigali. The hotel is at the center of a multitude of international and local restaurants and is only a few steps away from the city business center; including the National Bank of Rwanda - the country Central Bank.
5 Swiss Hotel offers a full range of services in order to meet your leisure, secretarial, business and logistic needs. Concierge Service: From organizing your gorilla trekking adventure to visiting local art markets, the front desk is there 24 hours to take care of all your requests in order to make your stay an enjoyable one. With complimentary WiFi internet connection in all guest rooms, restaurant and public area, you are guaranteed to stay connected to the world.
Day 2: Akagera Game Lodge, Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park
Bordering Tanzania in eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is central Africa's largest protected wetland and the last refuge for savannah-adapted species in the country. Stretching across a vast expanse of low-lying mountains and savannah plains, the park takes in the rolling highlands woodlands, swamp-fringed lakes, and wetlands of the Kagera River along the way. Crocodiles and hippos wallow in the park's watery basins, predators prowl through its acacia groves, and elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and other animals roam across its grassy plains. Bursting with a rich biodiversity, the park features a variety of rare species, as well as a plentitude of mammals and hundreds of bird species.
07h30: After breakfast at the hotel, you will check out and proceed to Kigali Genocide Memorial for a guided tour.
Highlight; Perhaps the city’s best known landmark, and with good reason, is the very insightful and moving Kigali Genocide Memorial standing amid beautiful rose gardens and fountains. The memorial sets out the history leading up to the genocide in Rwanda and also explains other genocides around the world. It includes poignant displays of victims’ photographs and belongings, bringing the realities of the atrocities to life. While it might seem an unusual tourist attraction and can be upsetting, it does help to put into context how and why the genocide happened and to better appreciate just how far the country has moved on together in the intervening years. It also plays a vital role in educating Rwanda’s new and future generations about the genocide.
10h30: Set off for Akagera national park.
Upon arrival at the park headquarters, you will have a briefing introduction to your park guide. You will then transfer to your lodge in time for lunch.
15h00: Depart for an afternoon game drive in the park. Return to the lodge before sunset.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Overnight: Akagera Game Lodge
Akagera Game Lodge is located in Eastern Province; about a 2 hour drive from Kigali. The lodge is within the boundaries of Akagera National Park.
Akagera Game Lodge has an attractive setting on a ridge overlooking Lake Ihema. The surrounding area has a wealth of big game and other wildlife on the open savannah, protected wood land, deep valley and lakes. Recognized as a superior venue, Akagera Game Lodge offers a superbly relaxed atmosphere, ideal for a successful conference, retreat, a tranquil gateway or an undisturbed encounter with nature.
Kigali Genocide Memorial & Museum
Kigali Genocide Memorial & Museum
Located just outside of Kigali City Centre in the Gasabo district, Kigali Genocide Memorial & Museum was created by a joint partnership of the Kigali City Council and the UK-based Aegis Trust. The centre is an extremely moving, challenging, educational and ultimately inspiring as well as a great place to understand the cause, tragedy and successful rebuilding post-genocide.
The memorial hosts a tour which is transparent and educational but very sombre and humbling when guests realise that over 250,000 deceased are buried on the site of the memorial.
Day 3: Akagera Game Lodge, Akagera National Park
Today after your breakfast, you will go for a boat excursion on Lake Ihema (10h00 to 11h00).
Lining the lakes are some of the continent’s densest concentrations of water birds, while the connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork - the latter perhaps the most eagerly sought of all African birds.
After this, continue with game drive until 13h30. Have lunch at your lodge.
Depart for another game drive in the park.
The game drive in Akagera National Park provides you with the opportunity to view gentle hills blending beautifully with lowland swamps and water bodies. You will visit the Giraffe area in the south and the lakes road up towards Birengero. Akagera National park is a home for animals like elephant buffalo, Giraffe, zebra and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world's largest antelope, the statuesque Cape eland.
Return to the lodge before sunset for dinner and overnight stay.
(it is possible to have a picnic lunch instead of having hot lunch at the lodge)
Day 4: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park
Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is best known as a sanctuary for the region’s rare mountain gorillas. Visitors flock here to experience a face to face encounter with these intriguing creatures. The park is set high on the jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Highly regulated treks through the reserve allow visitors to spend an hour at a time with these incredible primates in their natural habitat. While the gorilla’s are without a doubt the main drawcard, visitors can also look forward to exploring a network of scenic hiking trails, visiting the tomb of the world-famous Dian Fossey and the Karisoke Research Centre, and enjoying a beautiful day hike to the crater lake on Mount Bisoke.
Breakfast at the lodge and check out.
Set off for Musanze and Volcanoes National Park via Kigali.
Stop for lunch at the Khana Khazana Restaurant or Chez robert.
Continue on a scenic drive to your hotel.
Arrive and check in assistance with welcome drinks (non alcoholic).
Enjoy the evening.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Overnight: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel in Musanze (Ruhengeri) located on the road going to Kinigi is the perfect starting point to go for different activities that the Volcanoes National Park is offering but also gives you lot of opportunities to rest and to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the lodge. With 13 bedrooms (double/twin), a VIP cottage, a restaurant, a pool, a traditional sauna and a steam sauna awaits, the staff looks forward to make your stay a pleasant one.
Day 5: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Volcanoes National Park
Early breakfast at the hotel then transferred to Volcanoes National Park in time for Golden monkey trek briefing that’s scheduled to take place at 07h00. At 08h00, proceed to start point of trek and begin the adventure.
Trekking to see the golden monkeys is another highlight of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.
There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 - 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo.
After this experience, transfer to your hotel in time for lunch.
This afternoon at 15h30, you will have an exclusive visit to the Gorilla Guardians Village.
This Village offers an adventurous visit to a traditional rural Rwandan village that has existed for centuries living with and next to mountain gorillas at Parc National des Volcans. The visit will genuinely welcome you as a special guest while they proudly present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The village also gives a chance to the visitors to enjoy the eight different local dances, listen to Gorilla songs, local food preparations, visit the local healer, visit the king’s place and get to hear all the old stories.
Return to the hotel in the evening. Dinner and overnight.
Volcanoes National Park Golden Monkey Trekking
Volcanoes National Park Golden Monkey Trekking
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offers Golden monkeys trekking. This unique experience allows guests in groups of up to eight to look for and discover golden monkeys within their natural habitat.
The monkeys are incredibly active and enjoy showing off for tourists and researchers that they encounter daily. The monkeys can be found closer to the base of the volcano and enjoy eating the bamboo vegetation in the area.
Situated in the rural Rwandan village of Kiningi, Gorilla Guardians is a non-profit organisation that offers accommodation and a tour of the traditional village set alongside Volcanoes National Park. Guests are accommodated in local grass-thatched mudhouses. Visitors can enjoy gorilla trekking in the national park and explore the community with a guided community walk. Other highlights include becoming a king for a day, visit local schools, learn about banana brewing and discover the techniques and methods in which ex-poachers would hunt mountain gorillas.
Day 6: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Volcanoes National Park
Early breakfast at the hotel then proceed to the park headquarters in time for your Gorilla Trek briefing at 07h00. Your guided walk begins at 08h00.
The largest gorilla group or family ever studied is in Rwanda and was led by Cantsbee (died in 2017). This was the oldest known mountain gorilla in the whole world. A gorilla family is led by a silverback. These troops also include several younger males, adult and juvenile females, and infants. In addition to providing protection to group members, silverbacks maintain order and decide all activities within their troop. They schedule feeding trips, resting time, and travel. They also father the majority of the young in the group.
After this exciting experience, return to your hotel in time for lunch.
The afternoon will be at leisure to rest or it is possible to visit the twin lakes of ruhondo and burera.
Return to the hotel in the evening.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trekking
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trekking
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trekking offers visitors the unique opportunity of discovering the 10 families of gorillas that live within the national park. Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee before the trek starts and will be separated into groups of 8 depending on their physical abilities. Each group is guided by a guide and two scouts who are well trained in emergency situations. The amount of time set aside per trek is different depending on where the gorilla family is situated. Some trips may take as little as half an hour and some taking the better part of the day.
Day 7: End of Itinerary
Breakfast at the lodge.
Check out time is 10h30.
Set off for Kigali. Arrive in time for lunch at the Pili Pili Restaurant.
If time permits, visit the Haute Baso shop, where they have unique art pieces and crafts that could be of interest.
Later, transer to the Kigali International Airport. Bid farewell to your driver guide and proceed to check in for your outbound flight.
End of our services, Wishing you an excellent safari.
Meet and greet assistance on arrival
Airport and inter-hotel transfers from day 1 to the last day
Accommodation at hotel in Kigali on Half board basis
All activities, visits, entrances and extra meals/drinks mentioned in the itinerary
Full board from day 2 to lunch on last day
Use of a private safari land cruiser 4x4
Park entrance fees in Akagera National Park
Boat ride in Lake Ihema (Akagera National Park)
Services of a professional, experienced English speaking driver guide
Bottled mineral water in the vehicle during the tour
1 Gorilla permit per person (this includes briefing at RDB offices, guide, trek – US$1,500.-)
1 Golden monkey permit per person (US$ 100)
Emergency Medical Evacuation Services
International and domestic airline tickets unless where indicated,
entry visa fees,
optional extras whilst in Kigali
drinks throughout the trip,
tips and gratuities,
Personal expenses such as telephone calls, mini bar, porter-age, travel insurance, etc.
Date Company Pick Up Drop Off Time Vehicle
Kigali International Airport [KGL] 5 Swiss Hotel Transfer
5 Swiss Hotel Akagera Game Lodge Fully Guided Trip
Akagera Game Lodge Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel Fully Guided Trip
Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel Kigali International Airport [KGL] Transfer
The first thing that springs to most people’s minds when thinking of Rwanda is its turbulent political history. But today’s Rwanda is a far cry from the nation it was in the mid-90s: the country has emerged from the shadows and has much to offer visitors, most notably the tracking of endangered mountain gorillas in the lush Virunga National Park, which extends across the peaks and jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Other major tourist attractions include expansive Lake Kivu, ancient Nyungwe Forest with its rich population of primate species, and the game-rich savannah lands of Akagera National Park.
Banking and Currency
Rwanda Franc (RWF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of RWF 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of RWF100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.
The import and export of local currency is limited to RWF5000. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, but must be declared upon arrival and exchanged within 8 days.
Banking hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1400-1700, Sat 0800-1200.
Credit cards are only accepted at a few hotels in Kigali. MasterCard and Visa are the preferred cards.
International Visa cards are accepted at the ATMs at Ecobank head office in Kigali and at Kigali airport. They can also be used at the ATMs at Access Bank head office in Kigali. However, these ATMs are often affected by power cuts. It is best to travel with US dollars, some banks won’t accept pound sterling.
It may be difficult to change traveller's cheques outside Kigali.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Akagera Aviation (+250 788 308 382 / +250 252 580 234) provides helicopter flights all over the country. Rwandair flies internally to the southeastern town of Cyangugu.
There is a lot of work being done to improve the roads, and in some places you will find smooth tarmac, while in others you will be going along pot-holed dirt paths.A 4-wheel drive vehicle is needed for some local roads. There can be landslides on some of the major roads during annual rainfall in spring and autumn.Extra care should be taken at night, as headlight use is erratic. During rainy season some roads can become impassable.
There are no international car hire companies operating in Rwanda, but there are several local companies. You will find these listed in the Eye magazine given away at the airport and in hotels (www.theeye.co.rw)
Taxis can be found in large towns and cities. Look for the official orange stripe. Fares are reasonable, but should be agreed in advance (ask a local if you think you are being overcharged). Tipping is not expected.
Bicycle and scooter taxis are the quickest and cheapest way to get around in the towns, however they are risky.
Minibus taxis provide links to and from all towns and some villages. Although it is not common for foreigners to travel this way, they are quite safe and efficient. However you will have to wait until they are full before departure if you get on at the start of the route. The Virunga Express (www.virungatravel.com) and Onatracom Express provide more direct intercity links.
Rwandans drive on the right. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless with a hands-free set. Seat belts must be worn in the front. It is advised not to drive after drinking, breathalisers are in use and if found to have more than 0.8 mg of alcohol per 1 litre of blood, you are likely to face imprisonment. Speed limits are 40km/per hour in the city and 60km outside the city. If the car in front is using the left indicator it often means it is not safe to overtake, the right indicator tells you the road ahead is clear.
An International Driving Permit is required. An entry permit is needed if you have travelled from outside the country, insurance document and driving licence.
You can hire a boat to take you from Gisenyi to Kibuye if you ask at one of the lakeside hotels.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Food is generally safe to eat if well-cooked and hot. If in doubt, veer towards larger restaurants in cities and those aimed at tourists, which will have undergone government safety checks. Avoid buying food from the side of the road and don’t drink tap water. Use bottled water or otherwise boil or sterilise. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products that are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
The majority of the population in Rwanda live off subsistence farming and so their meals rely heavily on starchy crops such as potato, maize and cassava. This is generally served with kidney beans and cabbage and where meat can be afforded it is most often goat. However, the restaurants of Kigali and other towns will generally serve grilled meat with french fries and sometimes rice with spicy stews.
Hotels generally serve a reasonable choice of European dishes, and there are Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern restaurants. Some restaurants also serve Franco-Belgian cuisine and African dishes. A fairly good selection of beers, spirits and wines is available. Beer is also brewed locally.
You will see brochettes on most menus, these are basically a skewer of your chosen meat or fish served with rice or chips. Other local specialities include: tilapia, a white fish found in Lake Kivu and also farmed locally and appears often on menus; Matoke, cooked plantain, which may be served when you are expecting potatoes (and usually tastes a lot like potatoes!)
Primus is the local beer of choice. Mutzig is very similar but more expensive and often comes in large 700ml bottles. The local banana wine is for the brave, it is called urwangwa and you should be able to pick up a bottle in a supermarket to try in the privacy of your room.
There is no clear principle on tipping in Rwanda, but most staff in the bigger hotels have come to expect it, as have guides and trackers. A general rule is to tip 10% in restaurants if you feel inclined and give $5 - $10 to guides, trackers and porters.
Climate and Weather
Despite its proximity to the equator, due to the high altitude of most of the country, Rwanda has a temperate climate with temperatures seldom climbing above 25C. The long dry season is from June to September and there are two annual rainy seasons, the first from mid-March until the beginning of June and small rains from mid-September to December. The best time for gorilla and monkey tracking is the dry season - if only to spare you getting drenched (you can still see them in the rain, they just get a bit grumpy).
The dry season is also good if you want to see game in Akagera National Park because thirst will draw the animals to the watering holes. You will also find at this time the roads are less dangerous and the risk of malaria is lower. The rainy season is the best time to see chimpanzees and is also the time when the place is at its most lush and green.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Lightweight cotton or linen clothing is recommended for most of the year with warmer clothes for cooler upland evenings. Rainwear is advisable especially during the rainy season and sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat are recommended year round. A good pair of walking shoes is essential.
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Rwanda are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for both types.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Republic of Rwanda (République du Rwanda) usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts.
Terms and Conditions
Itinerary Terms and Conditions
Gorilla permit note: Once permit is bought, it cannot be refunded or inter-changed. Before confirming the tour, please ensure that you request for availability of permits based on the number of participants because there are only 96 permits issued per day.
- In case of non-availability, we may have to reroute and provide alternative accommodation at lodges of similar category.
- Passengers should bring only soft sided bags on safaris as our vehicles have limited luggage space
- All the passengers must have Identification Card/Passport with them throughout their travel.
Makario safaris Terms and Conditions
• 100% payment for the gorilla trek permits is required upon confirmation (US$ 1,500.- each)
• 30% of other services is also required at the time of booking.
• The balance or final payment is due 60 days prior to the commencement of your trip. If the reservation is made within 45 days of commencement, full payment is required at the time of confirmation.
Cancellation Policy :
In the event that you decide to cancel a safari after booking it, certain cancellation charges, will be payable to our supplier as your payments are immediately used to obtain lodging, tours and services at the best rates. You understand and accept when booking through us that you are bound by our supplier's terms and conditions and accordingly any policies they may have on cancellation charges.
Cancellations received by us 60 days or more prior to departure are subject to a 30% (deposit paid on confirmation) per person cancellation penalty; cancellations received 45-40 days prior to departure are subject to a penalty of 20% of the total retail tour rate; 39-30 days is 50% of the tour rate. Cancellations received 29 days or less are subject to forfeiture of 100% of the entire tour rate. Payment for Gorilla Permits is non refundable. Trip cancellation coverage is strongly recommended.