The 10-day self-drive safari to Rwanda starts with hiring a 4×4 safari vehicle in Rwanda for 10 or 9 days. This adventurous self-drive to Rwanda’s most interesting wildlife and cultural destinations. In addition to the visit to mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda is also famous for other rare, beautiful, unique, and endangered species of animals and birds that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. With stunning beautiful views of volcanic ranges, majestic hills, plains, and rain forests, the warm and friendly smiles from the local people, and the opportunity to participate in day-to-day local traditions, culture, activities, and community development, Rwanda is the ultimate holiday destination in Africa.
Itinerary in Brief
- Day 1: Arrival at Kigali International Airport – Kigali City Tour
- Day 2: Transfer to Akagera National Park, boat cruise on Lake Ihema
- Day 3: Morning Game drive – Transfer back to Kigali – Butare town
- Day 4: Butare city tour, connect to Nyungwe Forest National Park
- Day 5: Chimpanzee trekking and cultural walk
- Day 6: Morning transfer to Gisenyi Town
- Day 7: Iby’Iwacu Cultural Excursion – Transfer to Ruhengeri
- Day 8: Gorilla Trekking – Parc National des Volcans
- Day 9: Golden Monkeys Trekking or Hike to Diana Fossey’s Graveyard.
- Day 10: Depart to Kigali
Day 1: Arrival at Kigali Airport – Kigali City Tour
On the day of arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be welcomed by a driver from Hire Cars Rwanda Ltd who will brief you about the vehicle, do the car inspection, and after he will give you the gorilla permit sign the car rental agreement and there you will be set to start your 10-day Rwanda self-drive safari. From the airport, you will transfer to your hotel for breakfast and later you will take a city tour in Kigali, where you will visit genocide memorial sites and local people in markets, art, and craft shops.
Spend the evening at the Crystal View Cocktail Lounge on the 8th floor of the Top Tower Hotel where the panoramic views overlooking the entire city of Kigali are second to none! Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Transfer to Akagera National Park & Boat Cruise on Lake Ihema
In the morning after breakfast at the hotel, You will hit the road to drive over 120km to the eastern part of the country to Akagera National Park through Rwanda’s amazing landscapes. You will reach the park in the late afternoon for lunch at Akagera Safari Lodge. in the evening you will gather your strength for an after boat cruise on Lake Ihema.
After the game drive in the evening, you can enjoy a relaxed evening at the lodge poolside, or take evening strolls around the lodge where you can see different species of bird or partake in day-to-day local pastoral lifestyle.
Day 3: Morning Game drive – Transfer back to Kigali – Butare town
This morning you will wake up for an early morning for a cup of tea/coffee and then check the oil level, radiator water, brake fluid, tire pressure, and other parts on your safari vehicle because you going to have a long drive on this day. Then after all that you will enjoy another game drive in the northern circuit of the Akagera National Park. Enjoy the excellent view and landscape through the northern circuit where you will see hippos, crocodiles, and even more wildlife than on the lake circuit. After return for full breakfast and afterward depart for Butare town with lunch in Kigali.
The drive goes through the magnificent hills and cultivated countryside; have an en-route visit to the famous King’s Palace in Nyanza, and the art museum at Rwesero. You will have dinner and an overnight stay in Butare.
Day 4: Cultural walk and Primates watching
Have an early morning breakfast and visit the National Museum of Rwanda, rewarding you with a deeper knowledge of Rwandan history and culture. Later continue to Nyungwe Forest National Park reaching there by lunchtime. Have lunch and go for optional colobus monkey tracking and hike through the lavish forest, green tea fields and take in the stunning views of your surroundings. Dinner and overnight will be at Nyungwe Forest Lodge or Gusakura Guest House.
Day 5: Chimps Tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park
On this day you going to explore Nyungwe Forest National Park the oldest rainforest in Africa well-known for being home to over 13 different species of primates including Chimpanzees. The park is also famous for being home to over 322 different species of birds the thing which makes it a perfect destination for bird lovers. over 75 different species of mammals can be spotted in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
After having breakfast at the lodge, your go to the park headquarters for a short briefing from the ranger guide before transferring to the starting point for chimps tracking, after entering Nyungwe forest in search of the rare chimpanzees and 13 primates species and over 300 species of birds, making it a bird watcher’s heaven! There are large concentrations of habituated chimpanzees whose troops can incorporate 400 to 500 individuals! the tracking process can take something like 2 – 8 hours depending on the movement of chimpanzees in the jungle. after tracking down the chimpanzee, you will be given a maximum of 1hour hour to spend with them. after the experience you will return to your lodge for lunch and relaxation.
You can choose to just relax at the lodge or go for a cultural walk around the local communities where you will be entertained with local dance and drummers, and get to know more about the local cultures. and after you will return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Nyungwe Forest – Gisenyi Town
Enjoy morning breakfast and transfer Gisenyi town; an excellent place to relax, having a captivating feel of a tropical beach resort because of its waterfront, sandy beaches, and fabulous views of Lake Kivu. After lunch, visit hot springs and unwind at Lake Kivu shores in the evening. Dinner and overnight stay will be at Regina Hotel or Peace Land Hotel.
Day 7: Iby’Iwacu Cultural Excursion: Rwandan Culture
Visit Iby’iwacu Cultural Village for a superb and interesting experience, and learn more about Rwandan culture, traditions, dance, and songs. You may also take part in the local activities and taste local foods and wines. You will spend the night here in traditional houses and partake in Gitaramo, a cultural tradition of sharing stories, melody, and dance while sitting around a warm fire. Alternately you can have dinner and overnight at Kinigi Guest house or Gorilla’s Nest.
Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Enjoy an early breakfast at the lodge and transfer to Kinigi Park headquarters for a short briefing about mountain gorilla trekking. Trekking gorillas is an exceptionally strenuous and tiresome activity, however, meeting and staying with them for one hour is worth the effort. You will be allowed to stay with gorillas for a maximum of one hour for observation and photographing. Gorilla tracking is the highlight for all Rwanda tours. In the evening you can go out for a walk to Ruhengeri Market, giving you a chance to see and buy local Rwandan fabrics, foods, arts, and handicrafts. Dinner and overnight will be at Kinigi Guest House/Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
Day 9: Golden Monkeys Trekking or Diana Fossey’s grave tombs
The trek for golden monkeys exposes you to excellent birding and other primates like Colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, and Grey Cheeked Mangabeys among others. After the trek, we can have a brief visit to the spectacular panoramic views of the Twin Lakes; Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo, and the Virunga mountain chain. Alternatively, you can hike to Diana Fossey’s grave tombs nestled between the beautiful volcanic peaks of Karisimbi and Bishoke.
Day 10: Depart to Kigali
Depart for Kigali after breakfast and if time allows, you can have a stopover in Nyirangarama for a tour of the Urwibutso Eco-tourism Project which supports local farmers and contributes to social and economic development in the area, providing schools and education, creating jobs, and opportunities, etc. Proceed to Kigali Airport for your scheduled flight back home and that is where you will have to drop the safari vehicle.
End of the tour