Join us on a life changing journey through Rwanda, a land made up of rainforests, volcanoes, jungles and primates!
Track the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and throw yourself into local community life! Witness these giants in their natural habitat and be in awe at their gentle nature and human like qualities.
Spending time with the Gorilla Doctors, who run a mountain gorilla veterinary project, you will learn about their efforts and projects to help save these endangered primates as they not only educate the locals on anti poaching practices, but how to sustain the fragile environment the mountain gorillas need for survival. Discover the Iby’Iwacu cultural village, a local community embracing eco-tourism practices and now producing locally made musical instruments. A perfect safari to combine with your East Africa experience in Kenya and Tanzania.
Welcome to Rwanda, The Land of a Thousand Hills! On arrival we have organised a meet and greet with express privileges through immigration. After processing your visa, the meet and greet team will take you through customs and introduce you to your guide. After introductions, you will be assisted to your safari vehicle(s) and depart on a city tour of Kigali.
Your first stop is the Kigali Genocide Museum, a highly transparent, educational and challenging tour which takes you through the causes, atrocities and ultimately inspiring reconciliation and rebuild by the Rwandan people. This is a visit you will not forget.
Next stop is to the Nyamirambo Women’s Centre for some local activities with some truly inspiring Women. Nyamirambo Women’s Centre (NWC), a Rwandan NGO, was launched at the end of 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. Together, they created a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, NWC’s mission is to provide education and vocational training to women who do not have the means to pay for such training on their own, so that they can gain better opportunities for employment. We begin our Nyamirambo Women’s Centre experience with a walking tour of the surrounding suburb. Start with a traditional snack, a quick Kinyarwanda language lesson, and an introduction to the Centre and its activities. It then weaves through Nyamirambo, one of Kigali’s oldest neighbourhoods. Along the way guides lead participants into a women’s hairdressing salon where the adventurous type can get a free braid; into a family compound to pound cassava leaves; by two mosques and a lookout view over Kigali and into a tailor shop to feel the fabrics you’ll otherwise see styled on the streets. The tour concludes with a traditional lunch made and served in the home of Aminatha, NWC’s best cook.
After lunch, leave Kigali and drive through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterise much of Rwanda’s landscape and gradually climb to the base of the Virunga Volcanoes. If the weather is clear, you can sometimes see as many as five peaks. Upon arrival at your lodge, check in and spend a couple of hours resting and enjoying the tremendous views and traditional dancers at the lodge.
At 5:45pm, we take you for a very interesting educational behind the scenes presentation at the Gorilla Doctors. This organisation works closely with the Karisoke Dian Fossey Mountain Gorilla Fund to administer treatment to injured or sick Mountain Gorillas. Their knowledge of Gorilla anatomy, genetics, language and habits is at expert level and will give you amazing insights in to our ancient ancestors. The presentation will add a lot of value to your trek tomorrow.
Return to the lodge for dinner at around 7:30pm. Many of the ingredients come straight from the chef’s garden and local farms. (L,D)
3 nights at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
Distance and Journey Time: Transfer from Kigali International Airport – Kigali Genocide Memorial (approx 11km) 24 minutes, Kigali Genocide Memorial – Nyamirambo Women’s Center (approx 6km) 15 minutes
Today you will have the rare opportunity to observe the Rwandan mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas through the forested slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch. Some gorilla families, however, are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy.
Your climb begins through the scenic terrain of rainforest that covers the Virungas. The length of your trek will depend on the position of the gorillas and will commence at about 2000m above sea level. The ground can be slippery and the temperature may change instantaneously from hot and humid to a cool chill, and being close to the equator, rain can fall at anytime. Once you reach the family of gorillas you will enjoy a remarkable experience.
Gorilla families range in size from six to 40 gorillas, usually with at least one silverback male. Your guide will advise you on the appropriate protocol and behaviors around these territorial mammals.
This afternoon, you will visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Fund. This is extraordinary new campus was Ellen’s wife, Portia’s birthday gift to Ellen to permanently connect Ellen’s passion for Wildlife Conservation with her childhood hero Dian Fossey. This start of the art center has enabled the temporarily housed Dian Fossey Fund to find a permanent home and expand education and research into Mountain Gorilla Conservation. This campus will make an everlasting positive contribution to the communities of Volcanoes National Park and the future of Mountain Gorillas After this visit, you will return to your accommodation. (B,L,D)
Walking/ Tracking Time: Approximately 2-6hrs
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
Distance and Journey Time: Lodge to Gorilla Tracking (10km) 20 min
Following an early breakfast, embark on special trek to visit to the grave site of Dian Fossey. This courageous pioneer studied her beloved Mountain Gorillas for 15 years before her death. In the same area is the Gorilla graveyard where her beloved Digit and others rest nearby. Occasionally the Gorillas visit, it’s as if they know. Return to the lodge for lunch followed by a leisurely rest or your choice of inclusive optional activities:
– Community Walk: Super interesting guided walk around Musanze and village life.
– Twin Lakes sightseeing: Stunning scenery of two neighbouring lakes 100 metres apart in elevation.
– Basket weaving workshop at the foot of the Volcanoes: Traditional Crafts and interaction.
– Canoeing around the Volcanoes: Gentle river and rapids and great way to see rural life.
– Pamper at the Volcanoes: Massage, pedicure & manicure.
Returning for dinner at your lodge. (B,L,D)
Walking Time: Approximately 2-6hrs
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
Distance and Journey Time: Lodge to Trek (approx 10km) 20min
After breakfast, you will visit the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, a sustainable tourism concept created for the communities who live around the mountain gorilla’s national park. The concept is designed to stop poaching and raise the income levels of the communities through a participative approach as an incentive for conservation. It encompasses what gorilla trekkers have been missing, a place where people and culture can meet to appreciate the wonders of nature while embracing the history where traditions still run, while the modern world carries on.
You will return to the lodge for lunch before departing the wonderful Volcanoes National Park driving south past lush coffee, tea and banana plantations on a breathtakingly scenic drive back to Kigali. Once in Kigali, you have a final activity with a Question Coffee masterclass.
Join Rwanda’s best speciality coffee producer and café for a 3-hour Master Class on great Rwandan Coffee. Rwanda is famous for Mountains Gorillas, recovery post genocide and rich culture but did you know Rwanda has some of the finest speciality coffee in the world. High altitudes, high rainfall and volcanic soil are perfect conditions for growing coffee and Rwanda has all of these. Question Coffee is the leading producer, roaster and exporter in Rwanda and they will host you for a 2-3-hour coffee master class where you will learn about:
– Coffee History of Rwanda
– Coffee growing
– Tasting Have your branded gift coffee presented at the end of the Masterclass.
We then transfer you to check in to Kigali’s finest accommodation, Kigali Marriott Hotel. (B,L,D)
Distance and Journey Time: Drive to Kigali Iby’iwacu Cultural Village (approx 10km) 20min, Drive to Coffee Master class (approx 119km) 3hrs
This morning sleep in and enjoy the facilities and amazing breakfast at Kigali’s finest hotel, Kigali Marriott. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. We can recommend and transfer you to several activities if you wish:
– Kigali Fashion & Art Tour ($100 USD)
– Ntarama Genocide Memorial ($30USD donation)
– Women’s Twongerre Coffee Coop ($60USD)
Most flights leave late evening out of Kigali International, so we have arranged a farewell dinner at Kigali’s best local restaurant Repbublika. After dinner, it’s only a short transfer to Kigali International to bid you safe onwards travel and great memories that last long after you return home. (B,D)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person + Gorilla permit payment is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.