Start in cultural Kigali, with its cosmopolitan restaurants, scenic views of Mount Kigali and sobering Kigali Genocide Centre. Transfer to Akagera National Park, where you can take guided game drives and boating trips to see lions, leopard, elephants, hippos and many more. Akagera – Central Africa’s largest protected wetland – is also home to more than 500 bird species. After your Big Five safari, travel to Volcanoes National Park on the DR Congo border for your gorilla trek. Setting out in small groups, you’ll spend a magical hour in these magnificent creatures’ company, before exploring the National Park’s five dormant volcanoes and numerous hiking trails. End your trip back in Kigali.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Kigali, Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park
Activity Activity Safari, Nature & Wildlife, Responsible Travel
Physical Level Physical Level Moderate
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore capital Kigali

Explore capital Kigali

Day 1 in Kigali

Rwanda’s bustling capital sprawls across several valleys and hillsides, bookended by towering mountains. This surprisingly attractive city has been the centre of Rwanda’s rebuilding efforts since the horrors of 1994’s genocide, and now offers luxury hotels, fine dining and safe streets. Look out for its atmospheric markets, colourful craft shops and the sobering Kigali Genocide Centre.

Don't miss

Experience contemporary Kigali

Experience contemporary Kigali

Spend time in bustling Kigali to experience its markets and nightlife. For a more sober experience, visit the Genocide Museum and Memorials just outside the city.

Big Five safari in Akagera National Park

Big Five safari in Akagera National Park

Day 2–5 in Akagera National Park

The savannah plains of Akagera National Park on Rwanda’s border with Tanzania are the perfect place for a Big Five safari. Here, you can see lions, leopards, rhino, buffalo and elephants, but it is the Park’s wetlands that offer the best wildlife watching. Swamp-fringed lakes, created by the Kagera River, are home to crocodiles, hippos and birdlife. Take a boat trip on Lake Ihema to see the animals up close.

Search for gorillas in the rainforest

Search for gorillas in the rainforest

Day 6–8 in Volcanoes National Park

Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda and named for the chain of dormant volcanoes that make up the Virunga Massif (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura), Volcanoes National Park is home to endangered mountain gorillas, rare golden monkeys and more than 200 bird species. The park also offers scenic hiking trails – look out for the tomb dedicated to primatologist Dian Fossey – canoeing and mountain biking.

Don't miss

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Spend a magical hour in the company of the world's largest living primate at Volcanoes National Park. Your guided trek will take you through the rainforest where you can watch these magical creatures eat, socialise and interact in their natural habitat.

Where to stay

Classic

The Bishops House

Bishops House is a newly renovated accommodation a convenient 30 minutes from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The hotel offers fine accommodation at a competitive price with the atmosphere of a colonial manor house. Bishops House has nine rooms - six standard and two junior suites, as well as a presidential suite. All rooms offer television, mini bar, and en-suite bathrooms. On the grounds, visitors will find a spacious lounge and terrace, as well as a small library, a smart dining area, and a gorgeous, walled garden with tropical trees and flowers.

Superior

Virunga Lodge

The Virunga Lodge is one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. Perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes, the lodge offers fine views, uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food and exceptional and personalised service.

Superior

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

The lodge is only minutes away from the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla – perhaps one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possible. Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises six double cottages, two suites and one family suite. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms.

Deluxe

Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone and has dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke and Karisimbi rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Six luxurious en-suite villas maximise comfort and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of rural Rwanda. Each guest contributes to Bisate’s biodiversity conservation and local community projects – making a far-reaching impact on an iconic Critically Endangered species: the mountain gorilla.

Deluxe

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Boasting breathtaking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes and surrounded by high-altitude forests, Singita Kwitonda Lodge offers an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. With its exceptional natural beauty, environmentally conscious luxury and transformative, purpose-driven experiences, the lodge was designed in response to this remarkable location, and the eight contemporary suites (as well as the private four-bedroom villa – Kataza House) are linked by volcanic rock pathways to the central lodge.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators may cost between $7,200 and $16,950pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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