JWP10 Wildlife Conservation, Gorillas & Culture of Rwanda 2021

Rwanda
9 to 22 July 2021
13 nights/14 days

Fly in Kigali International Airport, 9 July 2021 (Friday)
Fly out: Kigali International Airport, 22 July 2021 (Thursday)
Group size: 6 – 12 PEOPLE

Rate: TOTAL: US$ 9065 + $500 Fundraising) =  US$9565pp 
(*US$1500 deposit required to book a seat)
Accommodation is based on single occupancy.

Summary

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, and this adventurous journey covers large sections from incredible wildlife living throughout its volcanoes, montane rainforest and sweeping plains, to Lake Kivu which is one of the great lakes of Africa

The west of Rwanda forms a branch of the Great Rift Valley known as the Albertine Rift. It has many unique, endemic species and is bursting with life.

This expedition takes you into the heart of Rwanda witnessing some of the greatest wildlife spectacle’s nature has to offer from Gorillas, to Grey Cranes, Chimpanzees, golden monkeys and other primates live alongside hundreds of brightly-coloured birds, orchids and butterflies.

There is so much to see and experience. Rwandans are guardians of many iconic species, and are completely committed to safeguarding their existence within the four National Parks. Plastic bags were banned in 2008, and the lands are possibly the cleanest in Africa thanks to efforts throughout every community.

It is against this enchanting backdrop that our two-week journey will take place. Our small group will be hosted by one of Africa’s most experienced adventurers and humanitarians, Carla Geyser and her Blue Sky Expeditions crew.

Do YOU have any questions? We would love to hear from you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Highlights

Some of the extraordinary experiences you can look forward to as part of this group of eco-travellers includes:

  • 13 nights and 14 days immersed in one of the most magnificent places on Earth
  • Adventuring in off-the-beaten-path places and wild camping (that tourists do not often go) to experience
  • Visit the Genocide Memorial where you can take a journey of quiet reflection on the country’s past.
  • Explore Akagera National Park (ANP) which is Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. A “behind the scenes” tour at ANP to meet some of the African Parks team who run the conservation projects, meeting the anti-poaching teams/rangers and community managers to hear about their projects
  • Take a Boat trip on Lake Ihema, which is the second largest lake in Rwanda looking for Hippos and crocodiles
  • Visit Umusambi Village which is the home of Grey Crowned Cranes which are one of Africa’s most majestic and beautiful birds with their yellow crown of feathers, tipped with black. Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA) is also our beneficiary for this journey.
  • Memorable cultural & heritage experiences including an overnight Homestay experience with a local Rwandan family host, visiting King’s Palace Museum & the Ethnographic Museum on route to Nyungwe National Park.
  • Kayaking on Lake Kivu, and then overnight camping under the stars at Bishayu Island.
  • Behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing gorilla research and conservation activities of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International at the Karisoke Gorilla Exhibit
  • Gorilla Trekking into the Volcanoes National Park to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. A Bucket List experience.
  • Interacting with local communities and school children to spread our eco-message.
  • Enjoying an exceptionally organised once-in-a-lifetime African experience where all logistical details are taken care of for you.
  • Raising funds for Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)

Frequency: Bespoke once-off expedition
Fitness Ratings: Moderately Active (involves kayaking and trekking/walking)
Tour Features: Wildlife conservation, Cultural Exchange, Youth Conservation Education, English-Spoken, Fundraising for Wildlife Conservation Groups, Men/Women
Beneficiary: Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)
Accommodation: Mostly Dome Tent camping /bungalows /Hotel rooms (Single)
Price range: Mid-range
Min/Max: 6 – 12 eco-adventurers

Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association is a registered non-governmental organization in Rwanda with the main objective to provide a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to critical conservation issues in order to create sustainable solutions. Its main project is reversing the declining trend of the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda, with a focus on stopping the illegal trade. Other projects involve bats, Sitatunga and habitat restoration.

Founded and run by Rwandans who come from and understand local communities and their challenges, RWCA targets the problem from many angles and a large part of the approach is youth education and community outreach.

RWCA achieves its goals by protecting wildlife and natural habitats, engaging and educating local communities while improving livelihoods, raising awareness of conservation issues, building the capacity of young Rwandese conservationists and disseminating high quality research and evaluation.

The project work has full support and endorsement from the Rwandan Government, through the Department of Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, many international partners and has won multiple awards for its impact on conservation in Rwanda.

 

 

Includes

  • Expedition hostess – Carla Geyser & Private Kingfisher Journey’s guide
  • Fuel & toll fees
  • Basic accommodation (**Single accommodation – camping in tents, hotel rooms, there may be one or two nights where you are asked to share but we will keep you updated)
  • All meals & water in itinerary
  • All camping equipment
  • US$500pp fundraising fee for our beneficiary, Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association
  • Private transfers with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide.
  • All indicated accommodation and meals.
  • Qualified, experienced, English speaking and government-registered activity leaders.
  • National Park entrance fees and National Park guides.
  • Specifically, for the kayaking adventure:
    • Single modern kayaks and safety equipment for the duration of the activity.
    • Qualified, experienced, English speaking Paddle sport leaders (1:6 ratio).
    • 24/7 military emergency and security services on call from the Rwandan Defence Force.
  • Recommended packing list and advice for Rwanda.
  • Helicopter emergency medical evacuation service insurance policy within Rwanda (compulsory).
  • First Aid kit access for emergency non-personal medication items.
  • Reasonable advance support and advice.
  • All drinking water from reusable containers.
    • Note: We do not supply water in single use bottles.
  • Local taxes and local bank fees.
  • All activities detailed in the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from Kigali International Airport

 

Excludes

  • Any international flights & any necessary transfers to get to the start/finish of the expedition
  • Gratuities (We recommend US$ 5 to 10 per guide or activity) + Porter fees
  • Any visas & border costs
  • Soft or Alcoholic drinks & snacks
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Comprehensive travel insurance (*This is compulsory*)
  • Extra nights’ accommodation at Kigali (pre/post expedition)
  • Any additional activities not covered in the itinerary
  • Laundry
  • Memorial Photography fees
  • Medical evacuation or treatment costs
  • International calls.
  • Hotel mini bar and Wi-Fi charges.

 

Itinerary

DAYSDATEDAYDETAILS ACTIVITIES / COMMENTS
109-JulFridayKigaliAccommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Dinner
Activities: Transfer from airport
210-JulSaturdayKigali to Akagera National ParkAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Game Drive
311-JulSundayAkagera NPAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Game Drive + Boat Trip
412-JulMondayAkagera NPAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Walk the Line Tour + Night Drive
513-JulTuesdayAkagera NP to KigaliAccommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & DInner
Activities: Umusambi Village visit
614-JulWednesdayKigali to MuhangaAccommodation: Azizi Homestay experience
Type: Local homes (Single/sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Village experience
715-JulThursdayNyungwe National ParkAccommodation:Nyungwe Top View Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Cultural & Heritage experience
816-JulFridayKarongiAccommodation:Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel
Type:Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Forest Walk / Chimpanzee walk (permit dependant)
917-JulSaturdayLake KivuAccommodation: Bishayu Island
Type: Camping (single/sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Kayak Lake Kivu
1018-JulSundayCyimbilliAccommodation: Paradise Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Cyimbali Coffee tour
1119-JulMondayRuhengeriAccommodation:Le Bambou Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Karisoke Gorrilla Exhibit + Handspun Hope project
1220-JulTuesdayRuhengeriAccommodation:Le Bambou Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Twin Lake Walk + Mukungwa River Canoe trip
1321-JulWednesdayKigaliAccommodation: Ubumwe Grande Hotel
Type:Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Gorilla Trekking
1422-JulThursdayKigali – HomeGuests Depart

 

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated. Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

DAY ONE: Arrival in Kigali

Arrival at Kigali International airport, you will be met and  transferred to our hotel for the night. You have time to relax in comfort at the Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Heaven Boutique Hotel.
Meal Plan: Dinner

DAY TWO: Visit to the Kigali Genocide memorial

Beginning your tour with a short drive from the city centre to the Genocide Memorial where you will take a journey of quiet reflection on the country’s past. Sobering, moving and incredibly important. It’s also important to understand the remarkable journey Rwanda has undertaken in the 25 years since the genocide.

Lunch at New Cactus. This is a classic local restaurant which serves great African food with a lovely view of the city.

In the afternoon, we will leave for Akagera National Park. Driving about 2.5 hours with the beautiful landscape en-route to the park. On arrival you will check-in and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY THREE:   First day of Akagera National Park game drive

Today morning right after your breakfast, we shall proceed to a game drive in search for the big mammals like elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, several antelope species, and recently the re-introduced lions and rhinos. The park is a varied habitat for wildlife and a birders haven with over 500 bird species in the park.

Drive and come back for lunch at the lodge. Right after you will go for an innovative tour named “Behind-the-scenes” meeting and talking to rangers, antipoaching patrols and community-projects managers. It’s a fascinating insight into the world of modern wildlife conservation in East Africa and the day-to-day running of a protected zone, thereafter in the afternoon, go for a boat trip on Lake Ihema watch Hippos and crocodiles in the water or by the shores.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FOUR:   Second day of Akagera National Park

Today you will take a walk known as Walk the Line Tour, a 7km mid-range to difficult walk along a section of the boundary fence line on the Akagera National Park. You have the chance to walk in the guide footsteps approximately two hours through nearby village. You’ll meet cattle herders and farmers along the way, and you’ll see a variety of birds, especially in the morning.

These activities provide the opportunities of engaging with people about their daily lives and excited of sharing their stories. Meanwhile the income from these activities is shared with the participating community members and it gives additional revenue, directly through tourism to the families living along the boundary of the park, showing the benefits of tourism and thus creating long term support for the conservation of Akagera National Park.

You can take a packed lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic spots or share a lunch with the local community. Then later return to the Lodge.

As dusk comes you will go for a night drive to spot all the daylight wildlife heading off to bed somewhere, as whole new cast of rarely seen characters emerges. A night drive gives you the opportunity to see some of these creatures – including, if you’re lucky, leopards and hyenas.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FIVE: Akagera National Park to Kigali via Umusambi Village experience

We will rise early right after breakfast on the way to Kigali, 20-30 minutes before you reach the city you will go to visit Umusambi Village home of Grey Crowned Cranes one of Africa’s most majestic and beautiful birds with their yellow crown of feathers, tipped with black. These majestic birds have been disabled as a result of captivity and are unable to be returned to the wild. Their new permanent home provides an enriching environment for them to enjoy nature again. The village is a unique conservation project started providing a sanctuary for over 50 endangered Grey Crowned Cranes saved from the illegal pet trade. With only an estimated 748 cranes in the wild in Rwanda, they were rapidly heading towards extinction. Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association have been working hard to stop the illegal trade, raise awareness and return many of the captive cranes to the wild.

Your visit will go through the village walking trails, after having your packed lunch you can proceed with the ongoing care and veterinary expertise for the disabled cranes, upkeep and maintenance of the site to ensure the cranes continue to have a safe and beautiful home, educating local children about wildlife conservation and a wider conservation activities to ensure that cranes are no longer poached for the pet trade and crane population numbers continue to rise. Later in the afternoon proceed to your Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Heaven Boutique Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY SIX: Azizi Overnight experience

Your experience begins with a drive to a village near to Muhanga, where you and your Azizi Life interpreter will be welcomed by your rural community hosts. Your day will involve a selection of activities, as you will become part of the community for the day. You can optionally help to prepare either your lunch or dinner, both of which you will eat with your hosts and members of the local community.

Your overnight experience, staying in the home of your host is a unique opportunity to participate in the life of a rural artisan and her family with plenty of time to chat, laugh and learn about each other’s lives. After this and the embers of the fire die away, then it’s time to start preparing for bed.

Accommodation: Family Host
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY SEVEN: Cultural & heritage experience on the way to Nyungwe

After breakfast, you will drive to Nyanza for a visit to King’s Palace Museum. You will love the fascinating King’s Hut which is made as authentic as possible and you will enjoy the sacred horned cows and several halls house items coming from different aspects of life. Trace the evolution of traditional clothing and types of residences through the centuries. After we will proceed to National art gallery set in a wide King’s building on top of the gorgeous Rwesero Hill, it displays both traditional and contemporary Rwandan artwork which testifies to the originality of Rwandan creativity. Later we will proceed to the Ethnographic Museum This beautiful museum sits in wide, tranquil gardens at the edge of Huye city. Thereafter head for an en-route lunch proceeding to Nyungwe National Park.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Nyungwe Top View Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY EIGHT: Nyungwe National Park

After breakfast, you will embark into Nyungwe National Park the largest block of montane forest in East Africa. Nyungwe National Park has a community-based management system that is being used to conserve the forest. This is whereby The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is collaborating with local communities to establish ways of conserving the beauty of Nyungwe forest.

Subject to there being availability for the whole group, starting at 5am, today you’ll join a guided hike through the dense forest of Nyungwe National Park to track chimpanzees. This is a phenomenal wildlife experience that is on par with gorilla tracking. Whilst the trek is undoubtedly exciting, it can be challenging as the chimps are very mobile and they’re always running around in the canopies, on the move from one place to another.

If there are not enough chimpanzee permits available for the group, this activity will be replaced with a stunning walk through the forest to see a spectacular waterfall. Following much easier trails this is a beautiful experience.

You will return to Top View Hotel for lunch and then, in the afternoon you will drive to Karongi. Overnight and dinner at Cormoran Lodge (mid-range) or Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel (superior).

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Activities: Walk in NNP looking for Chimpanzees (**Please note there are only 16 permits and they are sold on a first come basis) or we will go on a guided forest walk to the waterfall

DAY NINE: Kayaking on Lake Kivu

Morning breakfast and we will begin our kayaking adventure from here, weaving through the islands scattered around this region of the immense Lake Kivu. We will have a picnic lunch stop over on one of the islands, then later in the afternoon, you can choose to either continue by kayak or transfer by motorboat to arrive at Bishayu Island, which will be our destination for the day.

Tonight, we’ll be camping beneath the stars, so settle into the blissful tranquillity of the island with a drink in hand. Our chef will prepare freshly grilled locally caught tilapia (if available) or a delicious vegetarian meal. After dinner, relax around the fire or explore the hidden corners of this beautiful island under the moonlight.

Accommodation: Overnight at the camp on the summit of the small island…
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY TEN: Cyimbili Coffee tour

After waking to a beautiful dawn chorus and breakfast on the island you will board on the motorboat heading to Cyimbili. On arrival you will go on a fascinating coffee tour to see how a local co-operative grows coffee beans and then selects, prepares and of course roasts them into the best cup of coffee in the world. After lunch in Cyimbili, you will transfer towards Gisenyi finishing with a short walk on part of the Congo Nile Trail along the lakeshore on your way to the Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Paradise Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY ELEVEN:  Karisoke Gorilla Exhibit and Handspun Hope

After breakfast, you will start your day with a transfer to Musanze and go for a visit at Karisoke Gorilla Exhibit at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund headquarters. You will go for a complete behind-the-scenes tour. This tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing gorilla research and conservation activities of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The tour is guided by a senior gorilla expert, who will explain the content of the exhibit and will lead guests to the lab areas, where visitors can meet with scientists.

You will go for lunch then in the afternoon you will visit the Handspun hope an insight into a fascinating women’s cooperative who are designing knitwear, such as warm jumpers, hats and scarves made from merino wool are a fashion statement in New York, Paris and London. And now they are handmade in Rwanda from handspun wool.

Meet the shepherds and members of the cooperative to see a successful, practical and viable project that is transforming an entire community.

The real jobs created by Handspun Hope mean that the (mostly) women they employ have a work-based solution to poverty that is restoring dignity to formally impoverished people. It is helping them to move into economic self-sufficiency so that they can become leaders of change in their families and surrounding communities. Later transfer to your lodge.

Accommodation: Dinner and overnight at Le Bambou Lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY TWELVE: Twin lake walk and Mukungwa River Canoe Trip

Start with a relaxed morning and breakfast followed by a transfer to the Twin Lakes. You will start your walk through stunning tracks and a number of small villages. The lakes are surrounded by steep hills with a backdrop of the volcanic mountains. The views of the lakes from the hillside are amazing. You will be enjoying Rwanda’s spectacular countryside, a number of birds before coming face to face with one of the most gorgeous lakeside view set for a picnic lunch next to the lake.

In the afternoon continue by car transfer to the Mukungwa River and then do the canoe trip. Here, with an expert Kingfisher Journeys guide, you will gain another unique perspective of Rwanda’s countryside while passing working farms surrounded by the foothills of the volcanoes. You will see many species of birds and keep an eye out for the otters.

Later transfer back to your lodge.

Accommodation: Overnight and Dinner at Le Bambou Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY THIRTEEN:  Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Early Breakfast and embark for Gorilla Trekking into the Volcanoes National Park to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Come back for lunch. Finally, at the end of an incredible visit transfer back to Kigali.

Overnight at Heaven Boutique Hotel. Dinner at your choice of nearby restaurants including: Heaven, Khana Khazana and the Rendezvous restaurant on the roof of the Ubumwe Grande hotel.

Accommodation: Ubumwe Grande Hotel
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FOURTEEN:  Free Day at Leisure and Departure

A relaxed day in Kigali and departure. Transfers to airport. We hope you have had an incredible journey and will return to travel again with us one day.

Meal Plan: Breakfast

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated. Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

 

 

 

These driving adventures are organised and led by Carla Geyser, the founder of the Blue Sky Society Trust (BSST) and Blue Sky Expeditions who has, to date, led many successful trips into Africa. If you are an enthusiastic adventurer who is passionate about conservation and takes life as it comes, then this is for you! #JWP brings together like-minded people from around the world on trips that focus on visiting and raising funds for wildlife initiatives along the route.

#JWP EXPEDITIONS ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE

Carla handpicks the expedition members, always looking for well-rounded individuals of various skills and interests. If you are an enthusiastic adventurer who is passionate about conservation and who takes life as it comes, then our next #JWP expedition could be for you.

REMOTE AND MEMORABLE

These expeditions often involve driving long distances over bumpy dusty roads, camping in remote areas, at times being without mobile phone service for days, and of course loads of giving back through hands-on charity work. Sometimes our accommodation varies from camping to chalets/rooms. Each journey is unique. So make sure you read the itinerary carefully.

This is not a ‘normal’ tour but rather a team expedition, and every now and then member(s) of the team are requested to pitch in, if required with cooking, cleaning, camp set-up etc. It is the experience of a lifetime, and we would love to have exploratory fun-filled compassionate spirits along for the ride.

ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

This is a LIMITED entry journey, which means only a few people get to experience this unforgettable never-to-be-repeated experience. Minimum enrollment for this trip is 6 people. If minimum enrollment is not met 90 days prior to departure date, the trip may be cancelled in which case full payment excluding the deposit will be refunded.  (Minus the non-refundable deposit of US$600).

SAFETY:

Safety is always a priority. We have a satellite phone, SATIB Insurance 24-hour medivac and assistance on call, and access to doctors 24/7.

PAYMENT & BOOKING:

  1. DEPOSIT: A $600pp non-refundable deposit is required to be paid within 24 hours to reserve/book your spot on the expedition.
  2. PAYMENT TWO: To be paid within 30 days of booking confirmation
  3. FULL PAYMENT DEADLINE: The remaining balance should be paid 90 days prior to departure. If you are booking within 90 days of departure, then full payment is required at the time of booking. 
  4. OR Full payment upfront (100%)

CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY:

  1. 30 days (one month) or less: Cancellation by you up to 30 days prior to departure results in no refund. (100% Cancellation fee applies i.e. no refund)
  2. 30 – 90 days (one to three months): 70% cancellation fee applies. 30% will be refunded.
  3. 90 – 150 days (three to five months): 30% cancellation fee applies. 70% will be refunded.
  4. 150 days or more: Cancellation by you up to 150 days prior to departure to will result in full reimbursement MINUS deposit of US600pp.
  5. Blue Sky Expeditions is not responsible for cancellations due to medical or family emergencies or for any pandemics or acts of god cancellations (please read indemnity form).
  6. A cancellation request must be received in writing by email from the participant. Verbal notice will not serve as a valid cancellation.
  7. Should you choose to withdraw from the program, kindly note that the deposit is non-refundable.
  8. In the event that the trip is cancelled due to inadequate enrollment, Blue Sky Expeditions is not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets. While we do our absolute best to fill each trip, we highly recommend that you buy refundable airline tickets.

FLIGHT INFORMATION:

Unless you are purchasing the airline insurance, it is a good idea to wait until departure is confirmed to buy plane tickets.

Please ARRIVE at designated airport on specific date (see itinerary)

Please book your DEPARTURE from designated airport on specific date (see itinerary)

Traveling before or after the program is totally fine – just let Blue Sky Expeditions know your plans.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

  • Please note the itinerary may change slightly but we will keep you posted as to any amendments or changes. This is Africa (TIA).
  • Blue Sky Expeditions would like to do educational work in rural schools as well if possible, handing out educational booklets to children and/or visiting communities.
  • We will send you emails detailing the documentation and correspondence we require from you. An Expedition Agreement contract will be sent and needs to be read, understood, signed and returned to confirm your place.
  • MEALS: Most meals will be eaten together at the places we stay. Food restrictions and allergies can be accommodated, just please let us know beforehand.
  • SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS: Pricing is based upon a double occupancy sharing. Unless a specific person has been identified, you will usually be assigned a roommate. Each person will have their own bed.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE:

  • Here at Blue Sky Expeditions we do our best to ensure that every program is a success. However, in the event of something unexpected, we want you to be fully protected. We REQUIRE that you purchase international travel insurance.
  • Make sure you have sufficient supplies of any prescription medicine. In fact, it might be wise to bring a small personal first aid kit, including any patent medicines you prefer. You are responsible for taking all necessary health precautions before and during your trip. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure they seek professional medical advice before travelling and to take all necessary health precautions and preventative measures.
  • Vaccinations:  Be an informed traveller! Ultimately, it is up to you to consult a physician. We are here to help but cannot legally provide medical advice.

ENTRY & VISA INFORMATION

Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of entry and that you have at least two blank pages in your passport (the back page does not count).

MONEY & TIPPING:

The colourful currency in  each country will be explained – please do your homework or ask.

South Africa – SA Rand
Namibia – Namibian Dollar
Botswana – Botswana Pula
Zambia – Zambian Kwacha
Mozambique – Mozambique Metical
Zimbabwe – US$ *Cash only
Eswatini – SA Rand
Rwanda – Rwandan Franc

Credit cards are widely accepted so this  can be  your main form of payment. Reliable ATM’s in banks are available in certain cities . You may also bring cash to exchange at banks and exchange offices.

TIPPING: There will some situations where you may feel the need to tip but as always it is up to your discretion. Typically, it is customary to tip our local guides $5-$10 per day per guide. BUT you are welcome to tip more.

**PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING TO READ AND SIGN OUR INDEMNITY.  Each person must have signed this before departure

Expedition Agreement – https://www.blueskysociety.org/expedition-agreement-form/

Indemnity Form – https://www.blueskysociety.org/indemnity-online-form/

Includes

  • Expedition hostess – Carla Geyser & Private Kingfisher Journey’s guide
  • Fuel & toll fees
  • Basic accommodation (**Single accommodation – camping in tents, hotel rooms, there may be one or two nights where you are asked to share but we will keep you updated)
  • All meals & water in itinerary
  • All camping equipment
  • US$500pp fundraising fee for our beneficiary, Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association
  • Private transfers with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide.
  • All indicated accommodation and meals.
  • Qualified, experienced, English speaking and government-registered activity leaders.
  • National Park entrance fees and National Park guides.
  • Specifically, for the kayaking adventure:
    • Single modern kayaks and safety equipment for the duration of the activity.
    • Qualified, experienced, English speaking Paddle sport leaders (1:6 ratio).
    • 24/7 military emergency and security services on call from the Rwandan Defence Force.
  • Recommended packing list and advice for Rwanda.
  • Helicopter emergency medical evacuation service insurance policy within Rwanda (compulsory).
  • First Aid kit access for emergency non-personal medication items.
  • Reasonable advance support and advice.
  • All drinking water from reusable containers.
    • Note: We do not supply water in single use bottles.
  • Local taxes and local bank fees.
  • All activities detailed in the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from Kigali International Airport

 

Excludes

  • Any international flights & any necessary transfers to get to the start/finish of the expedition
  • Gratuities (We recommend US$ 5 to 10 per guide or activity) + Porter fees
  • Any visas & border costs
  • Soft or Alcoholic drinks & snacks
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Comprehensive travel insurance (*This is compulsory*)
  • Extra nights’ accommodation at Kigali (pre/post expedition)
  • Any additional activities not covered in the itinerary
  • Laundry
  • Memorial Photography fees
  • Medical evacuation or treatment costs
  • International calls.
  • Hotel mini bar and Wi-Fi charges.

 

Itinerary

DAYSDATEDAYDETAILS ACTIVITIES / COMMENTS
109-JulFridayKigaliAccommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Dinner
Activities: Transfer from airport
210-JulSaturdayKigali to Akagera National ParkAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Game Drive
311-JulSundayAkagera NPAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Game Drive + Boat Trip
412-JulMondayAkagera NPAccommodation: Akagera Game Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Walk the Line Tour + Night Drive
513-JulTuesdayAkagera NP to KigaliAccommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & DInner
Activities: Umusambi Village visit
614-JulWednesdayKigali to MuhangaAccommodation: Azizi Homestay experience
Type: Local homes (Single/sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Village experience
715-JulThursdayNyungwe National ParkAccommodation:Nyungwe Top View Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Cultural & Heritage experience
816-JulFridayKarongiAccommodation:Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel
Type:Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Forest Walk / Chimpanzee walk (permit dependant)
917-JulSaturdayLake KivuAccommodation: Bishayu Island
Type: Camping (single/sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Kayak Lake Kivu
1018-JulSundayCyimbilliAccommodation: Paradise Hotel
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Cyimbali Coffee tour
1119-JulMondayRuhengeriAccommodation:Le Bambou Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Karisoke Gorrilla Exhibit + Handspun Hope project
1220-JulTuesdayRuhengeriAccommodation:Le Bambou Lodge
Type: Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Twin Lake Walk + Mukungwa River Canoe trip
1321-JulWednesdayKigaliAccommodation: Ubumwe Grande Hotel
Type:Rooms (single)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Gorilla Trekking
1422-JulThursdayKigali – HomeGuests Depart

 

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated. Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

DAY ONE: Arrival in Kigali

Arrival at Kigali International airport, you will be met and  transferred to our hotel for the night. You have time to relax in comfort at the Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Heaven Boutique Hotel.
Meal Plan: Dinner

DAY TWO: Visit to the Kigali Genocide memorial

Beginning your tour with a short drive from the city centre to the Genocide Memorial where you will take a journey of quiet reflection on the country’s past. Sobering, moving and incredibly important. It’s also important to understand the remarkable journey Rwanda has undertaken in the 25 years since the genocide.

Lunch at New Cactus. This is a classic local restaurant which serves great African food with a lovely view of the city.

In the afternoon, we will leave for Akagera National Park. Driving about 2.5 hours with the beautiful landscape en-route to the park. On arrival you will check-in and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY THREE:   First day of Akagera National Park game drive

Today morning right after your breakfast, we shall proceed to a game drive in search for the big mammals like elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, several antelope species, and recently the re-introduced lions and rhinos. The park is a varied habitat for wildlife and a birders haven with over 500 bird species in the park.

Drive and come back for lunch at the lodge. Right after you will go for an innovative tour named “Behind-the-scenes” meeting and talking to rangers, antipoaching patrols and community-projects managers. It’s a fascinating insight into the world of modern wildlife conservation in East Africa and the day-to-day running of a protected zone, thereafter in the afternoon, go for a boat trip on Lake Ihema watch Hippos and crocodiles in the water or by the shores.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FOUR:   Second day of Akagera National Park

Today you will take a walk known as Walk the Line Tour, a 7km mid-range to difficult walk along a section of the boundary fence line on the Akagera National Park. You have the chance to walk in the guide footsteps approximately two hours through nearby village. You’ll meet cattle herders and farmers along the way, and you’ll see a variety of birds, especially in the morning.

These activities provide the opportunities of engaging with people about their daily lives and excited of sharing their stories. Meanwhile the income from these activities is shared with the participating community members and it gives additional revenue, directly through tourism to the families living along the boundary of the park, showing the benefits of tourism and thus creating long term support for the conservation of Akagera National Park.

You can take a packed lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic spots or share a lunch with the local community. Then later return to the Lodge.

As dusk comes you will go for a night drive to spot all the daylight wildlife heading off to bed somewhere, as whole new cast of rarely seen characters emerges. A night drive gives you the opportunity to see some of these creatures – including, if you’re lucky, leopards and hyenas.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FIVE: Akagera National Park to Kigali via Umusambi Village experience

We will rise early right after breakfast on the way to Kigali, 20-30 minutes before you reach the city you will go to visit Umusambi Village home of Grey Crowned Cranes one of Africa’s most majestic and beautiful birds with their yellow crown of feathers, tipped with black. These majestic birds have been disabled as a result of captivity and are unable to be returned to the wild. Their new permanent home provides an enriching environment for them to enjoy nature again. The village is a unique conservation project started providing a sanctuary for over 50 endangered Grey Crowned Cranes saved from the illegal pet trade. With only an estimated 748 cranes in the wild in Rwanda, they were rapidly heading towards extinction. Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association have been working hard to stop the illegal trade, raise awareness and return many of the captive cranes to the wild.

Your visit will go through the village walking trails, after having your packed lunch you can proceed with the ongoing care and veterinary expertise for the disabled cranes, upkeep and maintenance of the site to ensure the cranes continue to have a safe and beautiful home, educating local children about wildlife conservation and a wider conservation activities to ensure that cranes are no longer poached for the pet trade and crane population numbers continue to rise. Later in the afternoon proceed to your Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Heaven Boutique Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY SIX: Azizi Overnight experience

Your experience begins with a drive to a village near to Muhanga, where you and your Azizi Life interpreter will be welcomed by your rural community hosts. Your day will involve a selection of activities, as you will become part of the community for the day. You can optionally help to prepare either your lunch or dinner, both of which you will eat with your hosts and members of the local community.

Your overnight experience, staying in the home of your host is a unique opportunity to participate in the life of a rural artisan and her family with plenty of time to chat, laugh and learn about each other’s lives. After this and the embers of the fire die away, then it’s time to start preparing for bed.

Accommodation: Family Host
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY SEVEN: Cultural & heritage experience on the way to Nyungwe

After breakfast, you will drive to Nyanza for a visit to King’s Palace Museum. You will love the fascinating King’s Hut which is made as authentic as possible and you will enjoy the sacred horned cows and several halls house items coming from different aspects of life. Trace the evolution of traditional clothing and types of residences through the centuries. After we will proceed to National art gallery set in a wide King’s building on top of the gorgeous Rwesero Hill, it displays both traditional and contemporary Rwandan artwork which testifies to the originality of Rwandan creativity. Later we will proceed to the Ethnographic Museum This beautiful museum sits in wide, tranquil gardens at the edge of Huye city. Thereafter head for an en-route lunch proceeding to Nyungwe National Park.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Nyungwe Top View Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY EIGHT: Nyungwe National Park

After breakfast, you will embark into Nyungwe National Park the largest block of montane forest in East Africa. Nyungwe National Park has a community-based management system that is being used to conserve the forest. This is whereby The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is collaborating with local communities to establish ways of conserving the beauty of Nyungwe forest.

Subject to there being availability for the whole group, starting at 5am, today you’ll join a guided hike through the dense forest of Nyungwe National Park to track chimpanzees. This is a phenomenal wildlife experience that is on par with gorilla tracking. Whilst the trek is undoubtedly exciting, it can be challenging as the chimps are very mobile and they’re always running around in the canopies, on the move from one place to another.

If there are not enough chimpanzee permits available for the group, this activity will be replaced with a stunning walk through the forest to see a spectacular waterfall. Following much easier trails this is a beautiful experience.

You will return to Top View Hotel for lunch and then, in the afternoon you will drive to Karongi. Overnight and dinner at Cormoran Lodge (mid-range) or Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel (superior).

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Mantis Cleo Kivu Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Activities: Walk in NNP looking for Chimpanzees (**Please note there are only 16 permits and they are sold on a first come basis) or we will go on a guided forest walk to the waterfall

DAY NINE: Kayaking on Lake Kivu

Morning breakfast and we will begin our kayaking adventure from here, weaving through the islands scattered around this region of the immense Lake Kivu. We will have a picnic lunch stop over on one of the islands, then later in the afternoon, you can choose to either continue by kayak or transfer by motorboat to arrive at Bishayu Island, which will be our destination for the day.

Tonight, we’ll be camping beneath the stars, so settle into the blissful tranquillity of the island with a drink in hand. Our chef will prepare freshly grilled locally caught tilapia (if available) or a delicious vegetarian meal. After dinner, relax around the fire or explore the hidden corners of this beautiful island under the moonlight.

Accommodation: Overnight at the camp on the summit of the small island…
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY TEN: Cyimbili Coffee tour

After waking to a beautiful dawn chorus and breakfast on the island you will board on the motorboat heading to Cyimbili. On arrival you will go on a fascinating coffee tour to see how a local co-operative grows coffee beans and then selects, prepares and of course roasts them into the best cup of coffee in the world. After lunch in Cyimbili, you will transfer towards Gisenyi finishing with a short walk on part of the Congo Nile Trail along the lakeshore on your way to the Hotel.

Accommodation: Overnight and dinner at Paradise Hotel.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY ELEVEN:  Karisoke Gorilla Exhibit and Handspun Hope

After breakfast, you will start your day with a transfer to Musanze and go for a visit at Karisoke Gorilla Exhibit at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund headquarters. You will go for a complete behind-the-scenes tour. This tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing gorilla research and conservation activities of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The tour is guided by a senior gorilla expert, who will explain the content of the exhibit and will lead guests to the lab areas, where visitors can meet with scientists.

You will go for lunch then in the afternoon you will visit the Handspun hope an insight into a fascinating women’s cooperative who are designing knitwear, such as warm jumpers, hats and scarves made from merino wool are a fashion statement in New York, Paris and London. And now they are handmade in Rwanda from handspun wool.

Meet the shepherds and members of the cooperative to see a successful, practical and viable project that is transforming an entire community.

The real jobs created by Handspun Hope mean that the (mostly) women they employ have a work-based solution to poverty that is restoring dignity to formally impoverished people. It is helping them to move into economic self-sufficiency so that they can become leaders of change in their families and surrounding communities. Later transfer to your lodge.

Accommodation: Dinner and overnight at Le Bambou Lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY TWELVE: Twin lake walk and Mukungwa River Canoe Trip

Start with a relaxed morning and breakfast followed by a transfer to the Twin Lakes. You will start your walk through stunning tracks and a number of small villages. The lakes are surrounded by steep hills with a backdrop of the volcanic mountains. The views of the lakes from the hillside are amazing. You will be enjoying Rwanda’s spectacular countryside, a number of birds before coming face to face with one of the most gorgeous lakeside view set for a picnic lunch next to the lake.

In the afternoon continue by car transfer to the Mukungwa River and then do the canoe trip. Here, with an expert Kingfisher Journeys guide, you will gain another unique perspective of Rwanda’s countryside while passing working farms surrounded by the foothills of the volcanoes. You will see many species of birds and keep an eye out for the otters.

Later transfer back to your lodge.

Accommodation: Overnight and Dinner at Le Bambou Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY THIRTEEN:  Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Early Breakfast and embark for Gorilla Trekking into the Volcanoes National Park to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Come back for lunch. Finally, at the end of an incredible visit transfer back to Kigali.

Overnight at Heaven Boutique Hotel. Dinner at your choice of nearby restaurants including: Heaven, Khana Khazana and the Rendezvous restaurant on the roof of the Ubumwe Grande hotel.

Accommodation: Ubumwe Grande Hotel
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY FOURTEEN:  Free Day at Leisure and Departure

A relaxed day in Kigali and departure. Transfers to airport. We hope you have had an incredible journey and will return to travel again with us one day.

Meal Plan: Breakfast

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated. Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

Book Now

To book fill in the form below

  • Please Provide your airline, flight number, arrival time and date. (Note that airport transfers are only included on day 1)
  • Please Provide your airline, flight number, arrival time and date. (Note that airport transfers are only included on day 1)
  • Tell us the company name, your policy number, and the emergency phone number in case we need to call them on your behalf.
  • Please tell us what country issued your passport and the number. Check and make sure it does not expire for at least 6 months after your trip ends or you may be denied visas (if applicable) or entry into the country
  • Please explain any dietary requirements (food allergies, special consideration)
  • $0.00
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.