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Location – Kigali | Ntarama & Nyamata Memorial Visit | Ruhengeri

Duration – 6 days | 5 Nights

Day 1 - Arrival in Kigali

On arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be met by your driver/guide and be transferred to your hotel in Kigali.
Overnight: Great Seasons Hotel / Lemigo / Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (HB)

Day 2 – Visit Ntarama & Nyamata Memorial Visit + Depart For Ruhengeri

After breakfast, depart for the Ntarama Genocide Memorial and Church, located in the Bugasera region about 30 km south of the capital city of Kigali. Ntarama Church is where the mass killings of more than 5000people took place during Rwanda's 1994 genocide. This church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place here and an opportunity to learn more about the unity and reconciliation commission. Visit the Nyamata memorial site- a church where around 2,500 people were killed - emblematic of the barbaric treatment of women during the genocide. In the church at Nyamata, are graphic and audio-visual displays that focus particularly on the mass rape, brutalization of women and the use of HIV as a deliberate weapon of genocide. Return to the city for lunch. In the afternoon, drive to Ruhengeri, the second largest town in Rwanda, with its stunning backdrop of five volcanic mountains – the Virungas - arriving for dinner and overnight at your lodge. Ruhengeri is best known as being the home of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 3 – Gorilla Tracking

You will be up early on the morning of your Gorilla Tracking for a good breakfast in preparation for the day’s physical activity. You will report for registration at the ranger station by 8 AM. After a briefing by the rangers, your gorilla trek will start. The trek usually takes between three and six hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required, as well as a strong pair of walking boots or shoes.
The rangers will guide you through the fields, up the gentle slopes of the volcanoes and into the bamboo forest. The mountain gorillas are under 24 hour monitoring for their own safety, so you’re almost guaranteed to see them. The rangers monitor each gorilla family by keeping in close radio contact.

In part due to gorilla tourism, the population of gorillas is slowly increasing but the species remains critically endangered. Gorillas and humans share almost identical genetic material and their health must not be compromised by coming into contact with human diseases (via our food, for example). To reduce transmission of disease from humans to gorillas, you will also be advised to keep a distance of 7 metres from the gorillas.

Once you have located the gorilla family, you will be asked to leave all your belongings to one side, and approach the gentle giants, just with your camera. The guides will interpret the animals’ behaviour for you. Females and their young, young males and even a dominant Silverback may be seen: feeding, playing, interacting with each other, or just sleeping! You will never forget your encounter with the gorillas. They will be quite curious to see you! You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to base. Tracking the mountain gorillas is a physically demanding experience. In the afternoon, you may want to rest, or you may wish to go on a village walk, visit the local market or visit the grave of famous primatologist Dian Fossey of “Gorillas in the Mist” fame who studied the gorillas of this area.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 4 – Golden Monkey Tracking and intercultural exchange

Entering dense bamboo interspersed with open glades, you will make your way deep into the golden monkey territory of Volcanoes National Park. Ranger guides will lead you to the habitat of groups of ‘habituated’ golden monkeys – monkeys that have become accustomed to human presence. Although viewing is kept to a maximum of one hour, travelers can get an up-close look at the golden monkey in its natural habitat. Adult monkeys frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from branch to branch. Females carry their young, completely comfortable among onlookers.

In the afternoon, optional activities may be a visit to the Iby’iwacu cultural village to watch a cultural dance, meet a local medicine man, or even discover the house of a local king. These cultural activities are popular with visitors and offer alternative incomes to reformed poachers. Another option is to take a trip to the local brewers to understand the chemical process behind brewing local beer from bananas. Just for fun, you can even join the women in squeezing the juice out of the bananas and drink a glass of juice. Other activities you may learn about are basket weaving, an important cultural activity in Rwanda. Through your visits, the activities support the local community financially.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 5 – Visit Gisenyi and hear the story of Imbabazi Orphanage

After breakfast you depart for Gisenyi with a stop at the Imbabazi Orphanage, founded by Rosamond Halsey Carr (1912-2006) in 1994. Since that time Roz and her staff cared for more than 400 children. Roz wrote the book "Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda," with her niece, Ann Howard Halsey, chronicling her love affair with one of the world's most beautiful and tormented regions. She is also the 2004 recipient of the Volvo for Life Award and a movie chronicling her life is currently in production. Take a walk around the homestead and admire the flowers she planted. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee as you watch the local traditional Rwandese dancing, which you are very welcome to join in!

Continue to Gisenyi, arriving for lunch and check in at your hotel. The afternoon is spent in Gisenyi, the largest port on the Rwandan shore of Lake Kivu, in the company of your guide who will show you the town. Enjoy a short boat ride to one of the islands in Lake Kivu or simply explore the town, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the local market or wander through the leafy streets admiring the old colonial buildings.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Overnight: Parahide malahidel / Kivu Serena (FB)

Day 6 – Depart

After breakfast - and depending on your flight departure timings - the early part of the day is spent in Gisenyi. Take a swim in Lake Kivu, one of Africa great lakes, that lies on the border between the Congo DRC and Rwanda.
Drive to Kigali International airport for your flight home.

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