Price

$13,427 AUD per person

$3397 AUD single supplement

Inclusions

  • Exclusive use of 4X4 Safari vehicle and an experienced English speaking driver/guide including water and cold drinks
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • Chimpanzee trek permit
  • Golden Monkey trek permit
  • Mountain Gorilla trek permit
  • Waterfall permit
  • City Tour Fee
  • Museums and Kings Palace Entry
  • Huye Mountain Coffee Tour Fee
  • Twongerre Womens’ Coffee Coop Experience Fee
  • Azize Life Activities and Home Stay
  • Nyamirambo Women’s Centre walking tour and activities
  • Ibyiwacu Culture Village Entry Fee
  • Gorilla Doctors briefing and tour Fee
  • Canopy Walkway permit
  • Gisoziand Ntarama Genocide memorial site
  • Sundowner boat cruise and drinks

Exclusions

  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

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Remarkable Rwanda

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This women's only tour is one of our most inspiring and memorable tours, not just for its incredibly unique wildlife experiences but because of Rwanda's story from ruin to being one of the world’s safest countries and most progressive leaders in East Africa.

At the forefront of this incredible re-emergence are the women of Rwanda. Rich in colour, history, resilience, skill and community building, they are a true success story of rebuilding Remarkable Rwanda and have the largest representation in parliament in the world at 65%.

On this tour you will see the rare and magnificent Mountain Gorillas including a behind the scenes interaction with Dian Fossey's Gorilla Doctors. Encounter other primates, safari animals and stunning vistas, as we get you in touch with the daily lives of Rwandans with immersive authentic experiences taking you into their daily lives, micro entrepreneurial businesses, skills and rich culture both ancient and recent to show you the heart of this inspiring country and their incredible story in the land of a thousand hills.

Day 1 - Arrival & City Tour

Welcome to Rwanda! Upon arrival at Kigali Airport, (arrive before 10am), you will be met by our representative and your driver guide. Transfer to your hotel for check in and a tour briefing. From here, proceed for a city tour which includes the educational, challenging, memorable and ultimately inspiring Kigali Genocide Memorial site. This is a visit you will never forget.

Later drive to 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.

At the end of 2013 NWC launched the product line ‘Umutima,’ which means ‘heart’ in Kinyarwanda. With this project, NWC trains and employs women from the community to create a large variety of women’s accessories, children’s clothing, and home decor products. At the moment there are over 50 women employed by Umutima as seamstresses. Umutima and NWC have grown into a unique, self-sustaining model where the profits earned through Umutima are used to fund NWC initiatives, in addition to providing benefits and a fair wage to the seamstresses.

Continue on for a walking tour of Nyamirambo which begins at the Women’s Centre 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.

All around Rwanda, you will see sisal basketry products. It’s time to get hands and weave like a local. In this workshop, you are given the chance to try your hand at the time-intensive and historically significant practice of basketry. The workshop begins with an overview of the cultural history of sisal, followed by an in-depth explanation of the process from harvest to final product. You then get a needle and – under the guidance of the expert women of the Centre – begin weaving a small token of your choice to take home.

You will now have a bit of an appetite so lets get cooking! From market to meal, every step of the process of cooking is shared by Aminatha and your fellow travellers. After buying produce and ingredients at several markets, you will walk around the corner from the Centre to Aminatha’s home. Here, you will work at a wooden table in her courtyard, chopping countless vegetables and starting the charcoal stoves. Under the guidance of Aminatha six traditional, delicious, and gratifying dishes are prepared and then shared by your group. (D)

Overnight Heaven Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Akagera National Park

After breakfast, you will drive towards Akagera National Park to visit two amazing Women’s Coops. About 1 hour from Kigali is the Women’s Opportunity Centre (WOC) which is a multi-faceted facility with a focus on the most marginalised women. The WOC is designed as a central meeting place that bridges the gap between urban buyers and rural farmers. It is also a place for rural entrepreneurs to incubate businesses, gain new skills, and transition from subsistence farming to larger-scale entrepreneurial farming. The innovative and eco-friendly design, created by award winning architect Sharon Davis, is built on a five-acre campus. From the entrance along a well-travelled road, market stalls are readily accessible to the public. On the grounds of the WOC, facilities include a kitchen and restaurant, guest lodging, a large celebration space, organic vegetable and fruit gardens, and storage, training, and office space for lease to partner organisations and businesses. Inspired by traditional Rwandan meeting
spaces, classrooms are shaped as circular pavilions and are at the centre of the WOC. Behind the WOC, there is a large commercial demonstration farm in a fertile valley.

WOC is an initiative funded and support by the Women for Women International group. Since its founding in 1993, Women for Women International (WFWI) has helped more than 407,000 women survivors of war and conflict around the world, and distributed more than $114 million in funds. Women for Women International works in eight countries and our yearlong training program enables women to learn vocational and business skills, rights awareness, and health education so they can unleash their full potential and bring dignity and
opportunity to their families and communities.

The WOC facility is made mainly of 450,000 bricks and these mud bricks where supplied by an all women COOP called KATWICO. Whilst the coop is no longer needed for their brick construction it was a remarkable achievement.
Today at WOC we will visit and experience:

Njagama Women’s Farm Tour
Watch women tending the Njagama women’s organic farm adjacent to the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Centre. The women can demonstrate sustainable farming techniques, which enable them to grow a broad range of crops, including cassava, cabbage, celery, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, onion, lettuce, and spinach. Gain an appreciation for their talents and hard work, and then enjoy the bounty of their harvest in dishes served at the Urugo Restaurant!

Food Production
The “farm house” is our commercial kitchen, where local women make organic cheese, yoghurt and peanut butter. Learn how these products are made, taste samples and listen as the women share how their new skills are enabling them to earn income, support their families and send their children to school. Lunch will be at WOC from their local chefs and using the food we’ve seen grown from their farms. WOC also has one of the best and most affordable local arts and crafts shops in Rwanda. So if you are looking to support local artisans and pick up some souvenirs this is a good spot.

After our WOC experience we will take a local lunch before heading off the nearby Women’s Twongere Umusaruro Project.

This group of amazing women have flourished as a CO-OP supported by a number of key NGO’s who have partnered to help them improve coffee quality, practices, yields and more direct to market trade assisting in cutting out costly and unnecessary middle men. Whilst here, you will learn the story and progress of the partnership and co-op including how the Rwandan government is removing barriers to facilitate seamless trade for coffee buyers, how they engage local coffee growers, women rising in the coffee industry, strengthening women in the coffee supply chain, dealing with changing climatic conditions and seasons, agriculture practices and harvesting seasons etc.

After today’s inspirational day of women micro entrepreneurs, we return to WOC for dinner and support the organisation by staying at their WOC Tented Accommodation. This is a great place for souvenirs at very good prices. (B,L,D)

Overnight WOC Tents (3 Star rural Community ensuited tents)

Day 3 - Kigali

After an early cooked breakfast at WOC, bid a fond farewell and make your way another hour down the road to Akagera National Park. After a quick registration at the parks offices we proceed immediately to Lake Ihema for a Boat Launch Safari at 9am. Here you will get an up-close look at the Hippos of Akagera, crocodiles and many of the 423-bird species found in the park. After the boat safari we head back to the park headquarters for a very interesting behind the scenes tour. Here you will meet some key members of the park management who will go through the history and development of the park including the recent re-introductions of lions and rhinos, show you the confiscated poaching equipment and then in to their secret tracking room. Here you will see the technology they have implemented to keep track of the movements and habits of the lions and rhinos.

After the behind the scenes tour, enjoy lunch before embarking on a Southern Circuit game drive. The southern circuit is usually a haven for Giraffes, Water Buffalo, Waterbuck, Zebras and Baboons. Around 4pm, start the 2-hour trip back to Kigali for dinner. (B,L,D)

Overnight The Retreat or similar

Day 4 - Millennium Village

After breakfast, depart at 8am for your Millennium Village Tour which begins with a very confronting and real experience of a Genocide Site, Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial. Again, this visit whilst challenging is an important visit so we never forget and repeat the mistakes of the past and have a very real perspective on recovering processes you are about to learn about. The region of Nyamata was heavily affected by the genocide and our next experiences are in the nearby Millenium Village where several projects have help heal, rebuild communities and provide hope. There is fantastic news for this region as it has just been announced Rwanda’s new International Airport will be built in
this region.

The Millennium Villages project (MVP), a partnership of UNDP, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Millennium Promise, national and local governments and a variety of other partners, is a new bottom up approach to lift villages in the poorest countries of the world out of extreme poverty. Currently operating in ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it aims at establishing a foundation of evidence that rural Africa can be on the path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) using science-based, proven and practical interventions over a five-year timeframe. The overall objective is to empower
communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Their goals are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other major diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
8. Develop a global partnership for developments.

On this tour we will experience and visit:
• Agricultural intervention stations.
• Mayange 8 Primary School.
• Lunch, by a women’s cooperative in Mbyo.
• Mayange Health Centre.
• “Ubusabane”. Traditional get together with cultural interaction, food and drinks, and testimonies of community members.
After the Millennium Village experience, transfer 2 hours to Muhabara district to enjoy your authentic Rwandan Village experiences of your choice courtesy of Azizi Life. Azizi Life partners with rural Rwandans to bring fair trade beauty to your life and theirs. Don’t worry about holding the fit, skilful and impressive locals back, they will pace the experience to suit you. It’s a lot of fun.

Here are some options to choose from: (Please note you must nominate your chosen experience at time of booking).

A Day in the Life of an Artisan
Become part of a weaving cooperative for the day. The Artisan Day is the very first experience created by the artisans, and is the heart of Azizi Life Experiences.
Join your artisan hostesses in their village for a morning of family chores, a simple, home-cooked lunch, and an afternoon of learning how to craft. With your translator alongside, you will love sharing life, work, conversation and laughter with the artisans and their families.

Imigongo (cow dung art) Experience
Years ago in the time of the Rwandan Kings, there once was a prince who decided to decorate his house by carving geometric shapes directly into the wall of his hut. In time this technique was developed into a popular form of Traditional Rwandan art call “Imigongo.” During your experience you will learn the history, the method and then make your own art to take away with you.

Traditional Construction
You may have seen the high rise buildings in Kigali, but this Azizi Life Experience is your chance to learn something about the traditional building techniques, some of them used since the times of the King. In the morning you will collect water and soil, which you will then be taught how to make into mud bricks. After making your own bricks, you will dig the foundations and learn how to lay the bricks in a way to ensure the building will be strong. By this point, you will have built up a bit of an appetite and so everyone will stop work and share a simple home-cooked lunch with your host family.

Banana Juice Making
Traditionally shared during weddings and other celebrations, banana juice (and beer!) has long been a central part of Rwandan parties. Although nowadays banana juice can be easily bought from the local store, the traditional technique for making your own brew is a much greater labor of love. In the morning of your Azizi Life Experience, you will work with your rural host to collect the green bananas and the leaves needed to begin the process. Next you’ll dig a hole and bury the bananas to ripen over time.

Traditional Cooking Day
Select from a simple variety of seasonal dishes for your custom traditional cooking experience with a rural mama! Your day begins not in the kitchen but in the fields as you learn seasonal planting or harvesting of fresh ingredients for your meal. Once the ingredients and water have been collected, food preparation begins with washing, peeling, pounding, and grinding the ingredients using traditional methods and tools.

Azzizi Life Pathways
Thanks to Rwanda’s lush green hills, beautiful valleys and welcoming people, it may be one of the easiest and most exciting places in East Africa to explore by foot. All around the rural communities, there is already a vast network of paths ready and waiting for you to explore.

Candle Dipping and Hive Making
Learn from local beekeepers how to weave a traditional beehive, prepare beeswax and dip your own pair of candles. The candles are yours to take home with you. Experience rural life and share a meal with your host family.

Thanks to Rwanda’s lush green hills, beautiful valleys and welcoming people, it may be one of the easiest and most exciting places in East Africa to explore by foot. All around the rural communities, there is already a vast network of paths ready and waiting for you to explore.

In the afternoon before dinner your Azizi Life Musical Experience begins with a mini-performance from a small troupe of traditional performers and story tellers in the evening.

Whether you have natural rhythm or not, with our expert instructors everyone can enjoy learning traditional drumming and dancing. Next, it’s your turn to put on a traditional costume and give it a try. You’ll have fun as the dancers teach you some basic dance steps and share a bit of the history of Rwandan dance. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a local homestay

Day 5 - Nyungwe National Park

After a wonderful breakfast with the local families, say farewell before transferring to Nyungwe Forest National Park. En route you will visit Butare town with the famous King’s Palace in Nyanza, and National Museum of Rwanda which will definitely provide you with a deeper insight into Rwandan history.

We have a wonderful traditional dancing troupe experience lined up which is sure to impress. Lunch will be at Butare before heading off on the 2-hour transfer to your accommodation at Emeraude Kivu Resort on the shores of Lake Kivu just beyond Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Upon arrival, you will check in to Emeraude Lake Kivu on the shores overlooking the lake and enjoy an excellent dinner and coffee with the mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the other side. A great place for dinner and to unwind before your early Traditional Fisherman’s Experience in the morning. (B,D)

Overnight Emeraude Lake Kivu Resort or similar

Day 6 - Traditional fisherman's experience

At the crack of dawn, take a 2 minute walk from the lodge down to where the local traditional fisherman prepare to set off. Every morning the fisherman launch their traditional boats and throw their nets for their day’s trade. They heard the fish like cattle and sing during the morning. It’s a wonderfully natural and peaceful way to start the day.

Return to Emeraude Kivu Resort for breakfast and then transfer 1 hour to the starting point of your Colubus Monkey trek in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe is considered one of the most important forests in Africa and is its largest temperate rainforest and home to over 1000 species. Colobus monkeys abound here and it shouldn’t take too long to locate and watch these unique black and white monkeys and their community.

After the Colobus Monkey trek, take a 30 minute trek to the start of the Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk. Ascend to the start of the canopy walk where you will take in a whole new and breathtaking perspective of the ancient forest canopy and it birdlife. Return to the lodge for refreshment and the rest will be very enjoyable. dinner. (B,L,D)

Overnight Emeraude Lake Kivu Resort or similar

Day 7 - Chimpanzee Trek

This morning, depart with a coffee and packed lunch at 6am in order to arrive at the Cyangugu Park Headquarters for your Chimpanzee Trek briefing. Be sure to carry adequate water with you as the trek can last for 2-6 hours.

In the forest, you will not only see our closest animal relative the chimpanzees in their natural habitat but keep your eye open for a variety of animals and birds like the Rwenzori Turraco, black and white casqued horn bill, colobus monkeys – sometimes as many as 400 in a group. Later transfer to Kibuye, Lake Kivu.

After the trek, you have a scenic 1.5 hours transfer along Lake Kivu to Bisesero Genocide Memorial on the way to Gisovu Tea Estate inland. Bisesero is one of the main genocide memorials set up around Rwanda and it’s a solemn reminder to locals and visitors to never let a tragedy like this happen again. Your guide will help you understand the story of this site and the reconciliation and rebuilding since 1993.

After Bisersero it’s only 20 more minutes up the road to Gisovu Tea Estate. Tea is a major export item for Rwanda and this is one of the main working plantations and production estates. Check in to Gisovu Tea Estate and enjoy lunch and a shower before heading out for a tour of this stunning estate.

You will learn about the planting, growing, picking, production and exporting of the tea and get to rub shoulders in the endless and experience tea picking with the amazingly fit and skillful pickers. Retire for the late afternoon watching the sun set over Gisovu. (B,L,D)

Overnight stay at Gisovu Tea Estate or similar

Day 8 - Batwa Dancing Pots

After breakfast, take a 2-hour scenic drive along Lake Kivu to the border town of Gisenyi at the northern point of the great lake. Here you will be welcomed by the local Batwa population and their Dancing Pots experience which offers the visitor a unique opportunity to learn about and interact with this settled and forward-looking community.

The excursion starts with an introductory presentation that explains the historical and cultural background, and prepares the visitor for the interaction with the community. After the short drive to Kanama, you are welcomed by vibrantly drumming and dancing men, excitingly waving and smiling children as well as beautifully clothed singing young ladies. They are keen and excited to portray their passionately performed artistic skills that made them famous. Dancing, singing and making pottery as part of their traditional lives still rate high in the Abatigayubuke community, so that the pride they feel during their performances is visible, experiential and infectious from the very first moment upon arrival in the village.

After this warm welcome, you proceed to sitting facilities in the main kiln house where a presentation of the community’s unique pottery skills follows. Pottery belongs to the community’s daily activities. They are lucky to have found a secure clay source some 2km away from the village, enabling them to produce a range of products, including traditional stoves, flower vases and small decorative animals. As part of the visit, some of the cooperative members will demonstrate their pottery skills while others continue to provide a musical and artistic accompaniment. The demonstration features the mixing of clay and water, the actual forming of the products and the burning of pottery in the traditional kiln. An opportunity to purchase some of the products as souvenirs is also available.

At the end of the stay, your host and interested locals of neighbouring communities engage in a traditional get-together party called ‘ubusabane’. This is a very important part of the excursion because it offers unique opportunities for interaction and cross-cultural exchange. Over lemonade and corn on the cob, guests and hosts come closer to each other, communicate and frequently dance
together. In the afternoon, take a final 85 minute transfer to Musanze to check in at Hotel Muhabura, a simple but historic Hotel in town where Dian Fossey used to stay. You can feel the inspiration and let your imagination wonder. If the owner is around, she used to talk with Dian as a young girl and we will introduce you. (B,L,D)

Overnight Hotel Muhabura or similar

Day 9 - Gorilla Doctors & Sisal Basket Weaving

After breakfast, your driver/guide will take you Iby’wacu Cultural Village. The re-enactment village demonstrates the traditional lives of Rwanda people before colonialism and their everyday lives. It’s a terrific experience and initiative set up by a local Rwandan where many of the people you encounter are former
poachers now successfully transitioned to make their livelihoods promoting culture and conservation.

Continuing on, embrace an incredible educational experience as you go behind the scenes with the Gorilla Doctors. This organisation works closely with the Karisoke Dian Fossey Mountain Gorilla Fund to administer and treat injured or sick Mountain Gorillas. Their knowledge of their anatomy, genetics, language and habits is incredible and will give you amazing insights in to our ancient ancestors.

After the Gorilla Doctors, return to the lodge for lunch. The views, gardens and birdlife at Musanze’s most popular lodge are truly spectacular and most of the fruit, vegetables and herbs in your meals come straight from the chef’s garden and local farms.

You can get a great coffee here made from Rwandan grown beans. In the afternoon, we have arranged for a local artisan to take you through a Sisal Basket Weaving workshop on the beautiful lawns of Mountain Gorilla View Resort.
In the late afternoon, a local dance group arrives to give you an authentic and enthusiastic display of traditional Rwanda song and dance. (B,L,D)

Overnight Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar

Day 10 - Gorilla Trek

Today you have a unique and privileged experience to trek and meet at close quarters the rare Mountain Gorilla. There are only around 880 of these magnificent creatures left in the world with around 1/3 of those in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

This is considered one of the great natural animal encounters on the planet.
Early in the morning after breakfast, you will be taken to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters where you will be educated on the trek, Gorilla behaviour and be assigned in to groups. Set off for your Mountain Gorilla tracking. This is a once in a life time adventure.

The rangers will lead you deep into the forest in search for the Gorillas. You will move up and down the rugged terrain until you finally meet these harmonious creatures that will entertain you with performances for about 1 hour once you reach them.

This incredible experience can take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on where the gorillas are located. En route there are is a possibility of meeting other primates such as monkeys and various types of species of birds.

After lunch back at your lodge and your trekking experience, we have a treat planned. Enjoy a massage, pedicure and manicure at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. You deserve a treat on your last night in Rwanda. (B,L,D)

Overnight Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Day 11 - Dian Fossey Tomb Trek

You have one last day filled with activities before your evening transfer to the airport.

Trekking to the Dian Fossey Tomb is one of the most sought-after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes National Park. The trek involves a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters to the trail head to access the Karisoke Research Camp which Dian founded. It is then a 10-minute walk to the park boundary.

The walk from the park boundary to the research centre where the Dian’s grave is, takes about an hour to 1 hour and a half hour and if lucky you may see forest hogs, forest elephants, and a variety of primates and bird species so keep your each and eyes open. This hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is so inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today. The hike involves moving through the forests and hiking up the slopes and therefore requires some relative degree of
fitness and patience. At the site you will find the house from where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in 1985 but the more peaceful is the place where she was buried just next to her favourite gorilla friend, Digit and about 20 other mountain gorillas either killed by poachers or suffered death for other reasons.

After the trek, if the weather is clear you will drive 25 minutes from the lodge and go to visit the Faith Foundation. Faith Uwantege left her job in the hotels of Musanzeat the age of 23 to start the Faith Foundation. Her inspiration bears its roots from the streets of Kinigi where Faith constantly saw vulnerable children at risk everywhere she walked and with no hope for tomorrow. She then made a decision to use her own savings to see her dream come true.

“We believe that poverty in childhood is a root cause of poverty in adulthood” says the Founder. Faith Foundation is breaking this poverty cycle, by helping the absolute poorest of the poor. The Foundation has pioneered an initiative that has seen children being sponsored to pursue education, empowering themselves and creating their own future, and increasing capacities of widows to actively generate income to support themselves and their children and actively participate in community development.

Faith is such an inspiration and great leader in her community and an example of how one person can mobilise a movement and make a difference to empower disadvantage children. Any donations of stationary you can bring in your luggage will be greatly appreciated.

You will take a packed lunch with you as you make the 2-hour scenic drive back to Kigali. There’s great scenic photography opportunities on the way and you will discover why Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills. On arrival, we have a local art and fashion tour lined up. Your chance to possibly pick up some of the colourful local fabrics. FABULOUS!!!

Mid-afternoon is your final cultural experience for your extraordinary tour and it’s a lot of fun. We send you on an Art and Fashion tour of Kigali. Tour the vibrant African fabric markets and hand pick your favourite materials! Visit a local Rwandan fashion designer and have a custom outfit made to size. Enjoy a coffee or tea and snack on the way to a tour of 3 art galleries all led by local, Rwandan artists. After some art and retail therapy, it’s time to reminisce and celebrate our time together. We take you to Kigali’s best Indian restaurant Khana Khazana Kiyovu to chatter over some of the best Indian food you’ll ever have as we fill in time over a few bottles of wine before we transfer you to Kigali International Airport late in the night. (B,L,D)