Rwanda Grand Tour

On Lake Kivu (Rwanda)

Experience Rwanda’s rich and diverse culture, history and breathtaking views as well as amazing wildlife while on this tour. You will travel to Nyanza (the first capital city of Rwanda), meet the chimps in Nyungwe, enjoy the beautiful lake Kivu, then meet the world-famous mountain gorillas in Volcanoes NP and wind down your trip in Akagera with game drives and scenic boat rides. 

Book this tour in the months between November and May, and get a discount of 30% on each gorilla permit. Conditions Apply: you must spend at least 3 days visiting any of the other two national parks; Nyungwe Forest or Akagera with activities in addition to gorilla trekking. Contact us for more Information!



Parks & Places
Discover Nyungwe
Discover Lake Kivu
Discover Volcanoes National Park
Discover Akagera National Park

Activities & Special Intrest
Rwanda Intore Dancers
Iby'iwachu Village
Virunga Gorilla Experience
Golden Monkeys


BUDGET (**): Hotel Chez Lando, Moriah Hill Resort, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kivu Lodge, Flame Tree Village

MIDRANGE (***): Ruzizi Tented Camp, Emeraude Kivu Resort, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Bishop’s House, Virunga Lodge, Akagera Game Lodge

HIGH-END (****): Kigali Serena Hotel, Kivu Serena Hotel, Magashi Camp, One & Only Nyungwe House, Cormoran Lodge, One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Bisate, Amakoro Songa Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge

More information on Rwanda Recommended Accommodations

ROAD MAP (Estimates): 

Kigali – Nyanza: 98Kms - 3h00
Nyanza – Huye: 46kms - 1h30
Huye - Nyungwe Forest NP: 142kms - 2h30
Nyungwe Forest NP – Kibuye: 85kms
Kibuye – Rubavu: 111kms
Rubavu – Musanze: 58kms – 1h30
Musanze – Kigali: 105kms - 2h30
Kinigi - Kigali: 1h30.
Kigali – Akagera NP: 110kms 3Hrs

  • Itinerary
    Rwanda Grand Tour

    Day 01: Arrival in Kigali
    Day 02: Transfer to Nyungwe National Park via Huye (Butare)
    Day 03: Nyungwe Forest - Guided Forest Walk and Canopy Walk
    Day 04: Chimp trekking and Transfer to Karongi (Kibuye)
    Day 05: Transfer to Rubavu by motor boat and Coffee tour
    Day 06: Lake Tours and Transfer to Musanze
    Day 07: Gorilla Trekking
    Day 08: Second gorilla trek or another activity
    Day 09: Transfer to Akagera National Park and Sunset boat trip
    Day 10: Lake Ihema Boat Trip and game drives
    Day 11: Transfer to Kigali for departure

  • Day 1
    Arrival in Kigali

    You will be met with your driver-guide who will transfer you to your hotel.

    Depending on your arrival time and your personal programme, your driver-guide may propose you a visit of Kigali city which includes the Genocide Memorial centre at Gisozi, the museums of Kigali, the art galleries or the markets.

    Dinner & overnight at your accommodation

    Founded in 1908 when Richard Kandt, the colonial resident, chose the site for his headquarters, citing its central location, views and security. Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is near the nation's geographic centre in a region of rolling hills, with a series of valleys and ridges joined by steep slopes. The city has been Rwanda's economic, cultural, and transport hub since it became the capital following independence from Belgian rule in 1962.

  • Day 2
    Nyungwe National Park via Huye (Butare)

    After an early breakfast, you depart for Huye - the second largest city of Rwanda and is regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. It hosts the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda, several academic (University) and research institutions.

    On your way, a brief visit to Nyanza the former Mwami's palace (King's palace). For a long time, Rwandan kings were very mobile, moving between numerous residences scattered throughout the kingdom. However, by the late 19th century the growing colonial presence risked undermining the authority of the crown. In an attempt to counteract this, Mwami (King) Musinga Yuhi V made Nyanza the first permanent royal capital of Rwanda in 1899 and it kept this status until the country became a republic in 1962.

    On the neighbouring hill of Mwima, rest the bodies of King Rudahigwa Mutara III, his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda who was killed in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against Tutsi and King Kigeri V Ndahindurwa, the very last king of Rwanda died in exile and whose body was repatriated to be buried in Rwanda.

    You will visit the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda (Formerly the National Museum of Rwanda) in Huye which is one the well set-up if not the finest of East Africa. It's a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region. 

    After the visit of the museum, witness the powerful and spectacular performance of the Urugangazi group:  dances of men, women, warriors, singers and drummers follow each other and perform traditional dances with some outstanding choreography. This is probably one of the best troupes of Rwanda and their performance is regarded by many as one of the highlights of your safari! 

    Lunch is foreseen in Huye and in the afternoon we continue the drive to Nyungwe Forest.

    Dinner & overnight at your accommodation

    Urugangazi group (Rwanda Intores dancers)
    Urugangazi group (Rwanda Intores dancers)
    Urugangazi group (Rwanda Intores dancers)
    Urugangazi group (Rwanda Intores dancers)
  • Day 3
    Nyungwe Forest - Guided Forest Walk and Canopy Walk

    This morning, take a walk in the forest through this pristine forest to the waterfall. The trail will take you through the most densely vegetated and steepest ravines as the forest comes alive around you in form of bird songs, the flutter of butterflies, the ruffle of leaves as they brush past you and the sound of the waterfall. At a height of 17 metres, this is the Nyungwe’s biggest waterfall shooting through a narrow gap, it is lined with flowers and ferns.

    During the hike, you are likely to encounter some primates such as colobus monkeys and plenty of birds as well as non-poisonous snakes.

    You return to your accommodation for a hot lunch and relaxation. You will then embark on the canopy walk canopy and colobus monkey hike. The canopy walk is unique to East-Africa! It's a 60 meters high canopy walkway and offers some of the most spectacular rainforest views. The Walkway is accessible as part of a specialized guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail. The canopy walk is one of the most preferred activities for the park visitors. 

    It is only in Nyungwe forest that black and white colobus monkeys form extremely and unusually large super-groups, raging up to 450 individuals. This is the largest number ever recorded for this species.

    Meals & overnight at your accommodation

    Canopy (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Angolan Colobus Monkeys (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Angolan Colobus Monkeys (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Canopy (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Chimpanzee (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Chimpanzee (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
    Waterfall Trail (Nyungwe Forest Rwanda)
  • Day 4
    Chimpanzee Trekking and Transfer to Karongi (Kibuye)

    The most popular activity in Nyungwe Forest NP is chimpanzee trekking. Starting as early as 6:00 am, you will set off with your driver-guide to the park headquarters and you will then drive to the starting point. Trackers who go ahead of you will help locate the chimpanzees and when you get to where they are, you will only have 1 hour with them. Your ranger-guide will brief you during the hike about the behavior and characteristic of the chimpanzees. 

    Cyamudongo is a fragment of rainforest (4 km²) located at the outside boundaries of Nyungwe. The roundtrip hike and the excursion will take between 3 and 5 hours.  

    You will be transferred to Karongi for a hot lunch at your accommodation. 

    Karongi which is one of the three resort towns on Lake Kivu is the most beautiful. After Nyungwe, most participants will welcome some relaxing moments on the shores of Lake Kivu! Karongi has also a small harbour worth visiting by foot. Lake Kivu is Bilharzia free! 
    Dinner & overnight at your accommodation

    Lake Kivu is unique: Its deep waters contain an enormous quantity of dissolved gas. There are, in fact, 65 billion cubic metres of methane, in other words the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of petrol lying at the bottom of the lake under 250 m of water. If it were exploited, this energy, veritable manna from heaven, would provide Rwanda with an almost inexhaustible source of energy, freeing it from worry about energy needs linked to its development projects. There is a pilot station for the extraction of methane for energy.

    Gisakura tea plantation (Rwanda)
    Landscape Tea plantation (Gisakura Rwanda)
    Gisakura tea plantation (Rwanda)
  • Day 5
    Transfer to Rubavu by motor boat

    After breakfast, you will have an enjoyable boat trip to Gisenyi. Lake Kivu forms the border between Rwanda and the Congo. It's a beautiful and mysterious lake, alive with traders and fishermen in their dugout canoes. The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwanda markets. An experienced boat man will take you along the shores of Lake Kivu and show certain you fishing villages and markets. This unique boat excursion will give you the opportunity to see life as it has been lived for centuries, virtually unchanged.

    On the way you will do a coffee tour at Kinunu washing station. Lunch will be served at the nearby hotel, Rushel Kivu and you will continue to Gisenyi.
    In the meantime your driver-guide will travel by road to Gisenyi and he will be in contact with your captain at all times. You will be on time to enjoy Gisenyi in the afternoon.

    One of the most spectacular sights on Lake Kivu is night fishing. Your experience will start as the sun sets with a visit to one of the hot springs in the region and then you follow the fishermen as their set out in search of isambaza (sardines) – a delicacy in the region. The fishermen use wooden canoes and throughout will be singing melodic songs to keep them in the mood. It is a beautiful sight with kerosene lamps hanging on their canoes.

    Dinner & overnight at your accommodation

    Market on Lake Kivu (Rwanda)
    Market on Lake Kivu (Rwanda)
    Market on Lake Kivu (Rwanda)
    Isambaza Fishing (Lake Kivu Rwanda)
    Isambaza Fishing (Lake Kivu Rwanda)
    Isambaza Fishing (Lake Kivu Rwanda)
  • Day 6
    Kayaking on Lake Kivu and transfer to Volcanoes NP

    Lake Kivu is perfect for kayaking.  With a professional guide who will make sure you have an enjoyable and safe time of the lake as you kayak even if it is your first time. You will go at a pace you prefer and enjoy the sceneries – watch the traditional fishing boats, enjoy the open water and the abundant birdlife. 

     Your driver will then pick you up from the lake shore and you will have a hot lunch in Gisenyi –   hopefully of what was caught during the night   fishing.
     Then you visit Tea factory in Pfunda and walk   into the plantation. Assisted by your driver-guide,   have a chat with the tea pickers as they go   about  their day and then continue to the factory   where you will be shown the process of how
     turning the green leaf into a brew enjoyed  worldwide.

    You then continue to Musanze for your overnight near Volcanoes National Park.

    Dinner & overnight at your accommodation 

    Kayaking on Lake Kivu
    Kayaking on Lake Kivu
  • Day 7
    Gorilla Trekking

    After breakfast you will report at the Park headquarters where your driver-guide will accomplish the necessary formalities for you. You will meet your ranger guide(s) for a briefing about the greatest animal experience ever.  Your driver-guide will drive you to the slopes of one of The Virunga volcanoes for your trekking. More Information about the Rwanda Gorilla Experience.

    See here the Magic Safaris Video

    After the trekking, lunch at your hotel or in Musanze (Ruhengeri) and in the afternoon, if time allows, an excursion to explore the beautiful “twin” lakes in the region: Lake Burera & Ruhondo. An excellent view of the Virunga chain of Volcanoes can be seen while there depending on weather conditions. 

    Dinner and Overnight at your accommodation

    Baby Mountain Gorilla (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda)
    Baby Mountain Gorilla (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda)
    Baby Mountain Gorilla (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda)
    Golden Monkeys (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda)
    Golden Monkeys (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda)
  • Day 8
    Second gorilla trek or another activity.

    Today, you have second opportunity to trek the mountain gorillas. If you are up for it, we propose that you visit a different gorilla family located in a different part of the park. 

    However, the park still has more to offer other than gorillas. On this day, you may choose one of the below activities that will equally give you a thrilling experience:

    The observation of the Golden Monkeys: the Golden Monkey (cercopithecus mitis kandti) is listed as “endangered”, these magnificent primates are habituated in groups of about 30 - 40 individuals on the Rwanda side of the Virunga regions. The Kabatwa troop is located not so far from the Park Headquarters and the Musanga troop lives near the Karisimbi volcano and has a much longer walking distance.

    A visit to the golden monkeys is very different experience from gorilla-viewing, the monkeys react and interact differntly; they will keep on playing hide-and-seek much to the delight of the visitors. 

    - An excursion to the grave of Dian Fossey and the former Karisoke Research Centre. The excursion will provide excellent background information and this is a wonderful site to see!

    Dian Fossey is one of the greatest and most prominent primatologist of the 20th century. She was considered an authority in all issues related to the endangered mountain gorillas from 1967 till her death in 1985.

     This is a great way to pay homage to one of the greatest mountain gorilla researchers. You will learn about her work with the mountain gorillas in these remote mountains of Rwanda. While on the hike, you will get to see the beauty of this park: spot rare birds, forest elephants, buffaloes etc.

    For those trekking gorillas or visit Dian Fossey’ s tomb, you will go with a packed lunch. On return from the activity, you will join your driver-guide for the drive back to Kigali.  Those trekking golden monkeys, you will have a hot lunch at your accommodation and then drive to Kigali.

    On arrival in Kigali, you have time to visit the Genocide Memorial Centre. In commemoration of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, this memorial centre serves to educate about how the genocide took shape. It is also a burial ground for 250,000 victims of the genocide. 

    Dinner and overnight at your accommodation

    Children (Iby'iwacu village Rwanda)
    Children (Iby'iwacu village Rwanda)
    Children (Iby'iwacu village Rwanda)
  • Day 9
    Transfer to Akagera National Park

    Set off early after breakfast, you will drive for 3 hours to Akagera NP, via Rwamagana and Kayonza to the Eastern part of Rwanda. We will arrive before lunch and enter the park for an introductory game drive. 
    During the game drive, expect to see zebras, elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes and much more.
    You will have a hot lunch at your accommodation.
    After lunch, continue your exploration of the park and then conclude with a sunset boat cruise on Lake Ihema. The boat cruise is excellent for bird viewing   and also water animals such as crocodiles and hippos. After the boat cruise, your driver-guide will take you back to your accommodation.

    Meals  & overnight at your accommodation

    Cape Buffalo (Akagera National Park (Rwanda)
    Masai Giraffes (Akagera National Park (Rwanda)
    Zebra (Akagera National Park (Rwanda)
    African Eland (Rwanda)
  • Day 10
    Lake Ihema Boat Trip

    After an Early breakfast your exploration starts with a boat trip on Lake Ihema which is a very rewarding for seeing the large number of hippos, the huge Nile crocodiles and many birds. After the boat trip you will continue your exploration along the lakes Kivumba, Hago, Mihindi and Rwanyakizinga.

    They are the most interesting part of the park especially for birders. You will break for your lunch and enjoy a fresh swim at the Lodge. In the late afternoon you will return to the giraffe valley which is usually full of surprises. Overnight at the Akagera Game Lodge (or one of the other lodges.)

    You will wake up early in the morning and leave after breakfast for another day of exploration. This time you will start with a visit to the height of Mutumba, the highest point of the park. You will have a view on all the Akagera lakes and the Karagwe Mountains in Tanzania. You will descend to the Lake area where you will have a picnic lunch on edge of one of the beautiful lakes.  

    In the afternoon you will drive back to the lodge before returning to Kigali where we will drop you at the airport or at your hotel (overnight is optional).

    Diner and overnight at your accommodation

    Great Cormorant (Akagera Rwanda)
    Papyrus Gonolek (Akagera Rwanda)
    Black-headed Weaver (Akagera Rwanda)
    Great Egret breading (Akagera Rwanda)
    Black Egret  (Akagera National Park (Rwanda)
    African Harrier-Hawk (Akagera National Park (Rwanda)
  • Day 11
    Kigali Visit and Departure

    Your last day in the park, rise with the birds as you enjoy a sunrise boat trip which is a very rewarding for seeing the large number of hippos, the huge Nile crocodiles and many birds. After the boat trip, you will continue your exploration along the lakes Kivumba, Hago, Mihindi and Rwanyakizinga. They are the most interesting part of the park especially for birders.

    You will return to your accommodation for a hot lunch and then continue with a visit to the height of Mutumba, the highest point of the park. You will have a view on all the Akagera lakes and the Karagwe Mountains in Tanzania.

    You will then drive back to Kigali where your drive-guide will drop you off at the airport.

    This is the end of what has been a memorable tour of the country of a thousand hills!

Your lifetime experience

This safari idea can be tailor-made to create a unique holiday for you. With our intimate knowledge of both Rwanda and Uganda, we look forward to designing and organizing a personalised and memorable holiday.

Contact us for a free quote

The Tour package includes: Return ticket for domestic flight, Airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, plenty of mineral water, the services of a driver-guide, all park and entry fees, all activities as per programme:  King's Palace, visit of the national Museum at Huye (Butare), performance of the Intore dancers, guided primates walks (Chimps) in Nyungwe, Canopy Walk, boat excursion Kibuye to Gisenyi (2h30), 1 gorilla trekking, Another Activity (option), visit of the Iby'Iwacu traditional village and visit of Kigali including the Genocide Memorial at Gisozi, boat trip on Lake Ihema and game drive in Akagera NP

It Excludes: International airline ticket, the domestice flight Kisoro-Entebbe, beverages, tips, visas and personal expenses. 

Options at extra cost:  ..... 

What to bring with you? Money for your personal expenses, outfit with adapted colours for wildlife observation, good walking shoes, raingear, a few long-sleeve shirts, slippers, sweater for cool evenings, sun protection: hat, sunglasses, sun cream, video/photo camera, a 200 mm or longer telepholens is very usefull, reserve batteries, films and a torch.

Rwanda Visa & Travel Requirments: Find out more.

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