4-Day Mombasa Beaches from $856pp (incl. return airfare Nairobi) - 4-Day Exotic Zanzibar from $1,298pp (incl. return airfare Nairobi) - 4-Day Victoria Falls from $2,548pp sharing (incl. return airfare Nairobi) - 4-Day Cape Town Extension from $1,947pp (incl. airfare from Vic Falls) - 5-Day Ethiopia Culture from $1,361pp (start/end Addis Ababa) - 7-Day Kilimanjaro Ascent from $1,445pp sharing (start/end Arusha)
Lowland and Mountain Gorillas in one Tour! A rare opportunity to see the Lowland Gorillas of Kahuzi Biega national park near Bukavu, and the Mountain Gorillas in the famous Virunga national park. The trip starts in Kigali, capital of Rwanda. Take a memorable tour of the city and genocide museum. Drive to nearby Butare to visit the National Museum of Rwanda, with its superb exhibits of the cultures and artefacts of East Africa, and continue by road to Bukavu. Your hotel features lush gardens overlooking Lake Kivu, Africa's highest lake. Your first gorilla encounter will be in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. These are lowland gorillas, a bit smaller but still majestic (and much bigger than the lowland gorillas of Gabon). The next day you will take a motor launch on a three hour scenic cruise through the misty island dotted lake to Goma on the northern shore. Nearby Nyiragongo Volcano erupted in 2002 and lava flowed directly through the middle of town and into the lake. Visit the Volcano Institute and talk to the scientists, and see preserved lava flows that went inside buildings and churches. Early the next morning you will set off to Virunga national park to see the Mountain Gorillas. Your second gorilla experience in the misty mountains of the Rift Valley. Your final night is at the Lake Kivu Serena in Rwanda, immediately across the border from Goma. Transfer by road to Kigali for your flight home.
Day 1 - Kigali
Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide. Your guide will take you on a tour of the new and vibrant capital city of Kigali. The new prosperity features a number of thriving markets and features the mountain terrain famous in Rwanda. A sober contrast to its recent history. For survivors and others whose families were murdered in Rwanda´s genocide 1994, the Memorial sites and centres are places of dignified remembrance for loved ones lost. It is also a place of reflection and learning for the wider community, both in Rwanda and internationally. Enjoy dinner at leisure (not included in tour price).
The Serena Hotel is considered the best hotel in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Meeting and surpassing the already high standards set by the luxurious Serena Hotels chain is no easy feat. The Serena Kigali manages this with its 104 rooms and suites, each individually immaculate, clean, and refined in decor. Dining is a treat, where one will never get sick of the extensive menus, which somehow manage to please all guests. Staff is always available, friendly, and hospitable, offering incomparable service and care. Activities include swimming pool, shopping, and fully equipped gym. On some nights, the hotel even has live music playing at the poolside.
Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is situated in the centre of the nation, and has been the economic, cultural, and transport hub of Rwanda since it became capital at independence in 1962. Beginning on April 6, 1994, Kigali was the scene of the Rwandan Genocide — the slaughter of approximately one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu by Hutu militias (interahamwe), and some members of the Rwandan army. The genocide memorials are a moving testament to this tragic history.
Day 2 - Kigali - Bukavu
Private transfer with guide from Kigali to Bukavu, with a stop in Butare before crossing form Rwanda to Democratic Republic of the Congo.
You will be stopping at The National museum of Rwanda, which is the finest ethnographic museum of East-Africa. It reflects well the time spirit at the end of 19th Century when the East-African Kingdoms came in contact with the first Europeans. The rich insights about Rwanda's traditional life and culture and the subsequent development during history will contribute to a better understanding of African history. A picnic lunch will be supplied by your guide. Lunch is included today. Bukavu is one of the hubs of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-eastern extent of Lake Kivu, the city borders Cyangugu, Rwanda. Originally named Costermansville (or Costermansstad in Dutch) until 1954, it had a prominent European population under colonial rule. Located on a peninsula, the city has grown along Lake Kivu's shores. Simple buildings rise from the lush vegitation as economic growth intertwine along the hills and shores of Lake Kivu. Spend some time exploring the city with all its sights and sounds, markets and shops. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.
Set in a flamboyant garden, the friendly Orchids' Safari Club waterside hotel has the most spectacular views over the Lake Kivu. A cozy 22 rooms with onsite restaurant. This is the starting point for an exciting safari; rafting on the Luhoho river, visiting a tea plantation or trekking through the dense rain forest of Kahuzi-Biega in search of lowland gorillas who despite their formidable strength are gentle and rare patriarchs. To spend a little moment (maximum an hour by local rule) with one of nature's great endangered species and also one of our closest relatives is definitely .....The experience of a lifetime !
Bukavu is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-eastern extent of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the South Kivu province. Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, a World Heritage Site and one of two homes of the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, is close to the city and can be accessed from the road to Kavumu. The park headquarters at Tshivanga is located 31 km from Bukavu.
Day 3 - Bukavu
Wake up early, eat breakfast and depart on one hour drive to Kahuzi Biega National Park, and your opportunity to see the Lowland Gorillas. After a briefing by the park ranger, you will set off into the mountainous jungle area of Kahuzi Biega National Park. Trekking for 2 to 3 hours to find the large lowland gorilla family (bring comfortable hiking boots, hat, long sleeve clothes and mosquito repellant). The species here are Eastern Lowland Gorilla, very different from the more famous Mountain Gorillas found in the Virunga National Park. Unlike the chimpanzee-like lowland gorillas found in Gabon and Congo Brazzaville, The Kahuzi Biega gorillas are large, about the size of the mountain gorilla, so you definitely won’t be disappointed. Return in late afternoon to the hotel in Bukavu. A picnic lunch will be supplied by your guide. Lunch is included today. Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening. Overnight at Orchids Safari Club Hotel.
Day 4 - Bukavu - Goma
Transfer to Bukavu port to board a motor launch to Goma across Lake Kivu. This two hour cruise will pass by small islands and provide great views of misty rainforest, terraced plantations, and steep cliffs that border Africa's highest elevation lake. A picnic lunch will be supplied by your guide. Lunch is included today. Enjoy a short city tour of Goma town. In 2002 Goma was destroyed by lava from the Nyiragongo volcano which flowed straight through the middle of the city and buried most of the streets, particularly the town centre. Since then, Goma has been a city under constant construction. The post-eruption scene is eerily intimate, only a few years ago. You can still see homes and buildings where the river of lava flowed in and cooled. Visit the Volcano Information Center and speak with the resident volcanologists. You can also tour a vibrant city market and have opportunity to purchase souvenirs. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.
Ihusi is on the water front of Lake Kivu in Goma. The location of the hotel is brilliant, and the layout of the buildings, especially the bar on the water front, the swimming pool and the restaurant is fantastic. Rooms are clean and the grounds are well groomed and private. Specialty of the house is fresh tilapia from the lake. The hotel is convenient to downtown, and only 500m from the Rwanda border.
Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, and Goma lies only 13 to 18 km (8-11 mi) due south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano. The recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fuelled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events was still having effects on the city and its surroundings in 2010. Goma is capital of North Kivu province, ethnically and geographically similar to South Kivu (capital Bukavu); the two provinces are known as "the Kivus".
Day 5 - Goma - Gisenyi
Wake up early, eat breakfast and prepare for this incredible experience. Depart hotel at 6am for the one hour drive to the Virunga National Park headquarters. Covering 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) Virunga National Park was established in 1925 as Africa's first national park. It was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1979. In later years it has become known for its mountain gorillas. It borders Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. The park guides will brief you and at 8am the group will set off into the forest in search of mountain Gorillas. The time you will take searching these mystical apes is unpredictable but expect between 2-5 hours depending on their movements. Nothing beats the feeling of coming face to face with a gorilla family! Transfer back to Goma. A picnic lunch will be supplied by your guide. Lunch is included today. Enjoy dinner (included in tour price).
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is located in the Rwandan resort town of Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa. The hotel is ideally situated on a sandy beach, with the nearby Virunga Volcanoes providing a spectacular backdrop on one side and a panoramic view of the lake on the other. Accommodation comprises of 66 air-conditioned rooms, including 6 luxury suites, 23 family rooms and one room especially equipped for disabled guests. The restaurant offers a stunning view of the lake as you have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers business facilities including a boardroom and three conference rooms available for business meetings, cocktails and banquets. The hotel also has a gym, outdoor swimming pool and two tennis courts.
Gisenyi is a city in Rubavu district in the West Province of Rwanda. Gisenyi is contiguous with Goma, the city across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city features a resort on the shores of Lake Kivu, with several hotels and three sandy beaches. The area is also known for water sports. The northern shore of the lake on which Goma and Gisenyi lie is a flat plain featuring lava formations from the eruptions of nearby Mount Nyiragongo. Gisenyi but not Goma escaped the lava flows of the 2002 eruption which destroyed between 15 and 40% of the latter. The centre of Gisenyi lies at the foot of hills in the north-east corner of the lake.
Day 6 - Gisenyi - Kigali
Transfer to Kigali with your private vehicle and driver.
Depart from Kigali international airport - end of itinerary.
All ground transport in a comfortable safari bus fitted with pop up roof for easy photography and game viewing whilst on safari - Guaranteed window seating - Guaranteed departure - Airport transfers as per the itinerary - Fullboard accommodation
Laundry - Tips - Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages including mineral water - International airfare - Visas - Optional activities/extras - Vacation insurance
Gorilla permit fees are sold on a first come first served basis. Once your permits are booked we require a $500 per permit non refundable deposit. The park authority/management reserves the right to cancel any permit without any refund or further reference.