Rwanda | Kigali | Adult Only
Meet a mountain gorilla and bask in the Rwandan wilderness on this African Adventure
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
With three national parks, a thriving capital city, spectacular mountain scenery, and some surprisingly diverse wildlife, Rwanda has plenty to offer the discerning traveler. While genocide is a massive part of this country’s history, Rwanda has evolved into a united, proud and optimistic country whose friendly locals welcome visitors with open arms. Whether you’re exploring the (quite clean) streets of Kigali, learning about the miracle of Akagera National Park, or seeking out endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park with an expert tracker, this Africa adventure is sure to inspire.
- Travel deep into Volcanoes National Park with a guide to track endangered mountain gorillas
- See firsthand the success to revive the biodiversity of Central Africa’s largest protected wetland
- Remember and learn about the 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial
- See elephants, buffalo, antelope, lions, hippos and the elusive eastern black rhino on the last remaining refuge for savanna-adapted species in Rwanda
- Indulge yourself in the rich history and culture of Kigali
- Drive the scenic route through a landscape known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills”
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Mountain gorillas: you'll trek deep into Volcanoes National Park with a professional tracker guide to observe this endangered species in the wild
Central Africa’s largest protected wetland: Akagera is the last remaining refuge for savanna-adapted species in Rwanda
Kigali: the largest city of Rwanda has been deemed "The Cleanest City in Africa" - you've got to see it for yourself!
Kigali International Airport KGL
Kigali International Airport KGL
Fly into Kigali International Airport where your Austin Adventures representative will be awaiting your arrival. Your driver will transfer you through the city of Kigali to your hotel; you’re sure to notice how clean the city is! Transfer to your luxury, boutique hotel and enjoy dinner in the restaurant on site.
About Heaven Retreat
The Retreat by Heaven offers 11 rooms with private bathrooms and patios, locally crafted teakwood furniture, and the services of a personal butler included in your stay. Crafted by Italian architects, The Retreat will offer an impeccable level of care as you rest in a superior king suite and dine at their in-house restaurant, the Heaven Restaurant.
Kigali / Akagera National Park
Depart Kigali this morning as you set off along the Rwamagana – Kaylonza Road to Akagera National Park (shared transfer, 3 hours + stops). As we travel, we’re bound to come across a variety of birds, including the Marabou Storks and Black Kites soaring over the city. As we descend towards Akagera, we pass banana plantations and fruit and vegetable markets along the roadsides. Located at a low elevation along the Tanzania border, we eventually arrive to the national park we’ll be spending the next several nights in. Akagera is dominated by a scenic labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River. Arrive to Magashi Camp overlooking beautiful Lake Rwanyakazinga and settle into your spacious, luxury tent. Tonight, take advantage of the luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, expansive viewing deck, and fire pit at this secluded, cozy tent camp.
About Magashi Classic Camp
The Magashi Classic Camp sits in the north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, accompanied by stunning views of lake Rwanyakazinga, a luxurious lounge and dining area, expertly crafted communal firepits, and a full-service pool. You will relax in one of six spacious tents and awake to the calls of the over 520 bird species that reside in the park.
Akagera National Park
Spend the day exploring Akagera National Park with your knowledgeable guide. Akagera is Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. Twenty years ago, this national park was on the verge of being lost forever. While peace was finally restored in the 1990s after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, Akagera’s demise was just beginning. Refugees returning to Rwanda after the genocide were still battling for their own survival and turned to the forests for timber, wildlife for protein and the wild savannahs for their livestock. Lions were hunted to local extinction, rhinos disappeared, and the park’s wildlife was displaced by tens of thousands of long-horned cattle. Biodiversity was practically lost, and with it so was employment and tourism. The park’s value was diminished to the point of not existing at all. Which makes where Akagera is today, with its story of revival, even more remarkable. Today, you’ll explore and learn the success story that is Akagera National Park. On a game drive with your guide, keep an eye out for sightings of Elephant, Buffalo, Antelope, Lions, Hippos and the elusive Eastern Black Rhino (reintroduced to the park in 2017).
Akagera National Park / Volcanoes National Park
After breakfast in camp, depart on a 4.5 hour drive (shared transfer) past coffee, tea, and banana plantations on a drive to Ruhengeri, a city in northwest Rwanda and the gateway to Volcanoes National Park. This city will serve as the perfect staging post for our venture into the park to track mountain gorillas tomorrow. This afternoon, you may choose a pleasant stroll around town or can opt for a viewing of the seldom-visited but lovely Lakes Burera, Ruhondo and Karago. Check into your accommodation for the next several nights, just a 25-minute drive from the park’s entrance. This colonial style lodge will serve as the perfect place for an evening of relaxation and fine dining before our journey tomorrow.
About The Bishops House
Located in the quiet town of Musanze, often referred to as the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, the Bishops House lodging is a gorgeous colonial style home boasting nine luxurious rooms. You will be invited to relax in a deluxe room, enjoy the resorts full-service breakfast, and converse with the in-house naturalist each evening.
Volcanoes National Park
Today, we head into Volcanoes National Park early for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: tracking endangered mountain gorillas! We arrive at the parks’ headquarters at 7:00 AM to register and, with the park staff’s help, determine which group of gorillas we’ll visit and where they were last located the previous evening. Ninety-six gorilla permits are given out daily with just a maximum of eight trekkers visiting any one troop of gorillas. Your lead guide will brief you on the trekking procedures and rules of behavior while you’re in the presence of gorillas. After the briefing, you’ll return to the vehicle to be driven up the mountain to the starting point of your trek. Trekking can take from two to six hours or more, depending on the gorillas’ location, but once we’ve found them, we’ll stop to observe these fascinating creatures from close range, a truly exclusive experience that can’t be matched! Your one-hour spent with the gorillas will provide plenty of opportunities for up close photographs and too soon, it will be time to bid the gorillas goodbye. Trek back to your vehicle with your guide, drive back to Ruhengeri, and toast to a day well-spent gorilla tracking in Rwanda at dinner tonight!
Enjoy breakfast and then load up your luggage for the 2.5-hour drive from Ruhengeri back to Kigali. As you pass through the rolling landscape one last time, you’ll understand why Rwanda is called “The Land of a Thousand Hills”. Upon arrival to the city, head out on a guided historic tour. With your guide, you’ll discover Kigali’s older commercial “quartiers,” business and residential areas, historic sites commemorating the 1994 Tutsi Genocide and the diverse neighborhoods and local attractions throughout the city. A visit to the Gisozi Genocide Memorial is a must as is the Natural History Museum. Tonight, settle into your hotel and enjoy one last dinner in Rwanda.
Arrival & Departure
Day 1 of your trip begins with a pick-up by your guide at the Kigali International Airport. Your trip ends with a drop-off on Day 7 at Kigali International Airport. We recommend drop-off approximately 3 hours prior to your flight departure time.
Hiking / Walking: This Rwanda itinerary features short city and national parks walks (1-3 hours) and one day of trekking to search for mountain gorillas. The trekking on Day 5 will normally take 2-6 hours, depending on where the gorillas are at that day. In such mountainous country, you can expect to be hiking up and down hills, sometimes with significant elevation gain and loss. The guides stop frequently to allow trekkers a chance to rest and take photographs along the way. It is advised that you hire a porter (US $10 per day) to carry your backpack and gear. To enjoy this trip as whole (particularly the day of gorilla trekking), you should have a reasonable level of fitness and be able to hike several hours at a time.
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, Austin Adventures guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda’s stunning scenery and warm, friendly people offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world. It is blessed with extraordinary biodiversity, with incredible wildlife living throughout its volcanoes, montane rainforest and sweeping plains. Explore the city of Kigali with its pleasantly low key, yet dynamic and progressive population of friendly locals. Trek through Volcanoes National Park with an expert tracker to seek out some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. Take a walk around the Kigali Genocide Museum to learn about a distressing history of the Rwandan people in an intensely powerful and moving memorial. Learn about the miracle that is Akagera National Park; it once protected 10% of Rwanda but was taken over by a massive number of refugees who returned to the country in the late 1990s. Today, strict conservation laws, better management, and reintroduction of key wildlife species have brought the park back to life. Come discover the fascinating country of Rwanda with the leaders in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.