(Kigali, Nyungwe, Kibuye, Gisenyi, Parc National des Volcans)
The Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda offers breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and endless opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime encounters.
Voyage to the very heart of the African continent and discover Rwanda’s profound natural beauty, as well as the eternal resolve of its people to recover from a tragic past and create a better future. Explore dense jungles in search of exotic orchids and butterflies, colorful birds, chimpanzees, and colobus monkeys. Track through bamboo-studded forests to find yourself in close quarters with some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in existence, and be forever changed as you gaze into their liquid eyes. In the evenings, relax in beautifully-appointed hotels and lodges that offer refined décor and thoughtful services.
Explore the lush Nyungwe rainforest in search of the highly intelligent chimpanzee and watch as they swing from tree to tree, calling to each other in strident tones. You may also get a chance to glimpse the striking colobus monkeys, whose lack of thumbs makes their agility all the more impressive. Take a canopy walk through the treetops of one of Africa’s largest temperate rainforests to view primates and birds on their level. A visit to the Imbabazi Orphanage, home to over 100 children, will be a highlight as you open your hearts and arms to their smiling faces. Get your camera ready as you head to Volcanoes National Park for an exhilarating time gorilla trekking through bamboo-studded forests. You will never forget the first time you lay eyes on these wondrous creatures, sometimes just feet away. Prepare yourself for a cultural and emotional tour through Kigali as you spend time at the colorful open markets, finally making your way to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre which honors those who lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. Built on the site where an estimated 250,000 victims were buried, this location serves as a place where individuals can grieve the loss of their loved ones as well as provide educational information regarding the tragic events. Your time in Rwanda promises to be exciting and rewarding.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Enjoy your transfer between the airport and hotel.
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, created 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.
After an early morning breakfast, you will hop aboard your privately driven vehicle for your transfer to the Nyungwe Forest area. During the drive your expert driver guide will make sightseeing stops at the Nyanza King’s Palace, and the National Museum of Butare. These sites are a great source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region; it’s a great way to start your Rwandan Journey. En-route a stop for lunch is scheduled. You will arrive at Nyungwe Forest area in the evening.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge is built to blend in with the surrounding environment. It is situated in a tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe closed canopy rain forest, home to 13 species of primate including Chimpanzees. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the rugged African jungle...
Depart the lodge this morning and head out on an exploratory journey through the lush Nyungwe rainforest in the search of local wildlife, specifically chimpanzee. While in search of chimps, marvel at over 300 colorfully diverse bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics, and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies. Continue exploring this lush rainforest environment until the afternoon where you will have the opportunity to return for some relaxation at the lodge or visit an exclusive bird viewing area.
The Chimpanzee is considered one of the smartest creatures on the planet. There is no other creature other than humans that is sophisticated enough to use so many different natural objects as tools. It has been documented that chimps often fish for termites using a long piece of grass or twig, creating a delicious all termite-natural skewer. The chimp begins by inserting the grass or twig into the entrance of a termite nest, after a little wiggles the chimp will slowly withdraws it—without losing any of the tasty termites treats that are clinging on. Some chimpanzees also use stones or thick, blunt branches as clubs or hammers to crack open hard-shelled nuts, it of course takes two stones to do the job just right. First the chimp will find a perfect flat base stone to use as a sort of table top. They will then find the perfect nut-cracking stone which they propel like a mallet on the hard-shelled nut in which they placed on their base stone. Chimps have also been documented throwing rocks, stones, and branches at rival chimps and other primates in defense of the territory.
After breakfast, continue your Nyungwe rainforest exploration in search of yet another indigenous primate, the black and white colobus monkeys. As you explore along the way, marvel at some of the thirteen species of other primates including Rwenzori colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey. The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa.
The word “Colobus” stems from the Greek word for “docked” which refers to the monkey’s nearly absent thumb. The digit located where a thumb would normally be is greatly reduced to a small tubercle and remnant nail. These Old World primates are covered in black hair with white hair surrounding the face and the bushy tail ends. Strangely enough, a Colobus is born completed covered with white hair, in between the fifth and tenth months of life the monkey develops its adult coloration of all black hair.
Early this morning you’re privately driven vehicle will depart the lodge and travel back into the conservancy for a chance to view the forest from the canopy walkway. This 45 minute walk in the forest canopies weaves through the tree tops on a suspended bridge. This experience provides excellent views of one of African’s largest temperate rainforests as well as offers an excellent opportunity to view primates and birds at eye level. In the afternoon you’re privately driven vehicle with depart Nyungwe and travel to Kibuye, located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Kivu. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to kick back and relax in and around the lodge or enjoy some of the many water sports available at this picturesque beach locale.
The Cormoran Lodge is a newly constructed resort built on the shores of the beautiful turquoise Lake Kivu, considered to be one of the most prestigious and picturesque locations in all of Africa. This Lodge has five chalets and a restaurant, with the entirety of the construction done of natural wood.
Some strategic positioning and planning we're conducted before the construction of the Cormoran Lodge as to ensure that all guests would be able to enjoy the sheer beauty and recreational opportunities made available by its dynamic Lake side location. Guest can enjoy a variety of sport and leisure activities and are encouraged to make use of one of the lodge's canoes for a picturesque nautical morning on the water. Lake Kivu covers a total surface area of some 2730 km2 and stands at a height of 1463 m above sea level. Lake Kivu is a shared water source between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lake bed sits upon on a rift valley that is slowly over time being pulled apart, causing sometime violent volcanic activity in the area. Due to the volcanic activity the lake is particularly deep, with its maximum depth of 485 m being ranked eighteenth deepest in the world. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains, making it one of Africa's most picturesque and relaxing atmospheres.
A private vehicle will provide a transfer between Kibuye and Gisenyi today. The approximate travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Located along the northern shore of Lake Kivu, Goma and Gisenyi lie along a flat plain featuring lava formations from the eruptions of nearby Mt Nyiragongo. In contrast to Goma, Gisenyi escaped the lava flows of both the 1977 and the 2002 eruptions.
Gisenyi offers you a gentle introduction to the developing economies of DR Congo and Rwanda. Relax at your hotel, enjoy the lake, or explore the city with your guide and see the contrast of local culture and everyday life. You may even have the chance to see Bralirwa, Rwanda's only brewery which manufactures local beers such as Primus and Mützig.
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.
Enjoy an inspiring visit to one Rwanda`s most feel-good charitable location today. The Imbabazi Orphanage is located in Gisenyi, and was originally founded in December 1994 by Rosamond Carr from New York, USA. Rosamond Carr brought a flower plantation in the Mugongo area in 1955, and for the next 50 year, while witnessing the end of colonialism and celebrated Rwanda’s independence, became one of Diane Fossey’s closest friends. Rosamond was forced to flee Rwanda in April 1994 due to the outbreak of the genocide. When she later returned in August 1994, at the age of 82, she found her home and plantation completely ruined. It was at this point when she decided to open her doors to genocide orphans and developed the remarkable Imbabazi Orphanage. Due to obvious security reasons in the early years of existence, the Orphanage was moved to other locations 4 times, but is now settled in Gisenyi. The flower plantation is still running and provides fresh produce for the orphanage. The word “ìmbabazi” means ‘a place where you will receive all the love and care a mother would give’ - in Kinyarwanda dialect. Since the Orphanage opened its doors in December 1994, Roz Carr and her staff have cared for more than 400 children. Many have been reunited with family members by relief agencies still working throughout Rwanda. Others have grown up and moved on to lead successful and meaningful lives. The Imbabazi is currently home to 110 children. Rosamond Carr died on the 29th of September 2006, at the age of 94. The operations and management of the Imbabazi have been passed onto the Imbabazi Foundation, which is dedicated to the continuation of her work and the preservation of her legacy.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Gisenyi and the Parc National des Volcans area. The approximate travel time is 1 hour.
The magnificent Virunga Safari Lodge, set on a stunning hillside, has eight bandas with a panoramic view of the Virunga volcanoes and the lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The terraced gardens on this high ridge are now well established, with a magical sunken paradise garden as their focal point. Aside from gorilla tracking , clients can climb a volcano, track the golden monkey, visit Dian Fossey's grave or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes. Three hours' drive from Kigali or a long day's drive from Kampala.
After breakfast you will depart the lodge and drive for approximately 1 hour to the Park Headquarters where you will meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will provide an informative session on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. After the session the hike into the forest begins. The guide will take you to where the gorillas were seen the night before and begin to track them from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times quite muddy. Once the gorillas are located all the aches and fatigue of the trek are forgotten, as the experience is often described as finding a hidden natural treasure in the mist. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take in plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at anytime in the forest, so waterproof clothing is recommended for you, your cameras and film. Please note that plastic (e.g. carrier / shopping) bags are illegal in Rwanda.
On average a mountain gorilla weighs in between 200 & 400 pounds. The male mountain gorilla can stand as tall as six feet tall, and when excited, or intimidate by an enemy, a male gorilla stands on his legs and slaps his cupped hands against his chest, creating an aggressive facial displays and loud grunting sounds. A fully-grown male mountain gorilla is twice the weight of a mature female; these mainly vegetarian thrive off eating leaves, tree-shoots, fruits, flower bulbs, tree bark, vines, and various nettles. Just like us humans, gorillas are extremely protective of the children, and in certain instance family members have been killed whilst trying to save the infants. There is said to be less than 650 gorillas in the wild today, so appreciate this once in a life-time experience amongst these endangered giants.
This morning you will spend your last day exploring within Volcanoes National Park in the search of the rare golden monkeys. Your expert guide will take you to find a fully habituated group of these uniquely colored and beautiful primates. This park is one of the only places in Africa where this type of viewing experience is offered.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer today from Parc National des Volcans to Kigali. The approximate travel time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Prepare your senses for an explosion of culture and emotion during today’s excursion through Kigali. Begin by visiting some of the popular market places to view and purchase if you’d like some of the local products. Next, you’ll travel to a location stained with heart aching cultural history, The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. This tragic memorial was constructed in April 2004 to honour those whom lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The centre was built on the site where an estimated 250000 victims were buried. This location serves as a place where individuals can grieve the loss of their loved ones as well as to provide educational information regarding the genocide. Rwandans believe that although the gruesomeness and painful emotions associated with this tragedy may be construed as negative it is extremely important that the younger generations of Rwandans fully understand the reasons and effects of such an event on a nation. The Centre features three permanent exhibits which depict the events of 1994, as well as a children’s memorial which exhibits the history of genocidal violence towards children from all over the world.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! I seriously doubt that two other people could have made this trip as fantastic and special as they did! Within days, it was like 4 friends were traveling together through the country.
Ismail did the tour in English and Spanish for us to ensure that we fully understood everything we saw and experienced. His passion for his country and culture was incredible and we learned an astounding amount about Moroccan history, food, agriculture, business, religion, fashion, and people. Through his shared knowledge, we have a deep love and appreciation of Morocco that we have would not have had otherwise.
We were so happy with all of the amazing places Ismail took us which included the common tourist spots but also a ton of local places tourist never experience. We were exceedingly thrilled and it enriched our vacation beyond any expectations. Ismail even helped us get jobs in Morocco; I kissed snakes and Armando worked in a public bakery. ;-) (see the pics)
We are also aware that we would not have experienced 10% of what we did had we done this trip alone or been on a large bus tour. Clearly, you have given us a wonderful gift of special memories, which we will never forget. We both want to return to see the north and of course we want to have Ismail and Said with us.
Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - which is the best gift of all!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Avi J. Moskovitz & Armando Silva
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
October 29, 2013
"My husband and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime in Egypt. The sites were amazing and overwhelming. Everything was as promised. We had the most amazing pyramid view and Nile view from our hotels. Our itinerary included the most magnificent sites and we were accompanied by the most informative and friendly people. I highly recommend visiting Egypt. It is totally safe. Thank you to everyone at Kensington for this experience. It was so beyond our expectations!"
October 31, 2013
"From our greeter, who whisked us through customs in Johannesburg, to all our excellent drivers, guides and associates in Lions Sands, Cape Town and the wine country, everyone was highly professional, well dressed, well mannered, and well informed. Overall our tour worked like a superbly designed, technically perfect Swiss watch. An experience for the ages. Bravo!"
October 29, 2013
"This was a trip of a life time for me and I was never disappointed. Sylvia listen to me and give me exactly what I wanted in the way of a photo Safari as well as full tour of Cape Town and the wine country. I never had to wait one minute for a guide or any of the transportation provided. The people I dealt with along the way could not have been more courteous and friendly. I just cannot say enough about my experience with Kensington Tours, it was fabulous! "
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
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