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Gorilla trekking & wild adventure in Rwanda
Encounter majestic gorillas in their natural habitat, camp on a remote island on the shores of Lake Kivu and mountain-bike through a volcanic landscape
About your trip
Breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife experiences and wild adventure combine to make this trip to Rwanda extra special.
On this 9-day adventure, you’ll venture into thick forests in search of unique wildlife, turn your hand to traditional coffee-roasting, navigate a valley river by canoe and camp on a secluded island beneath the stars.
You will, of course, visit Rwanda’s most famous residents, the extraordinary mountain gorillas. But you’ll also experience so much more: mountain-bike thrills through volcanic terrain, rugged adventure along the Congo Nile Trail, freshly-grilled dinner over an open fire – all alongside a group of like-minded solo travellers.
- Local transport
- Most meals included
- Max 14 Flashpackers
- Atol protected
- Private airport transfers
Remember, flights aren't included. We're happy to help you find the best ones for you.
DAY BY DAY
Day 01 TOUCH-DOWN IN KIGALI
Flashpackers, welcome to Rwanda! Upon arrival in Kigali, a private transfer will greet you off your flight, ready to take you to the hotel. After checking in, we’ll gather at the hotel and head out together to explore the streets of this burgeoning global city. Weave through local markets, absorbing the sights and sounds of Rwandan daily life. Later this afternoon, we’ll come face-to-face with the legacy of the past, as we pay a visit to the Genocide Museum. Rwanda is widely hailed as an African success story; a nation of progressive optimism that has managed to transform itself in such a short space of time. As we revisit the dark events of 1994, you’ll learn just how much has been achieved in the last couple of decades. Come evening, we’ll head out for dinner at a local rooftop restaurant. Get to know your fellow Flashpackers with a drink in hand, with Kigali unfolding around you.
Day 02 TEA PLANTATIONS & FOREST STORIES
This morning, we’ll start our only long overland journey to the Nyungwe Forest. We’ll pause for lunch at the Kitabi Eco Centre; tuck into a traditional Rwandan communal lunch, from steamed plantain to fragrant rice dishes. In the early afternoon, we’ll head off though a tea plantation to the forest buffer zone, an area designed to protect wildlife conservation efforts. Hear the stories of the forest from your guide, as you explore an area of raw verdant beauty by foot. Tourism is relatively new here, and you may get a friendly welcome from curious locals. We’ll then drive through the forest itself to our hotel, where the evening is yours to unwind.
Day 03 NATURE WALKS & ADVENTURE TRAILS
We’re off to a very early start this morning, setting off on a dawn trek to an a special part of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Here we’ll trek through the dense tropical woodland, over steep slopes and gnarled roots, following wildlife trails through the jungle. Later in the afternoon, we’ll head out on foot to explore part of the Congo Nile Trail. Following a rugged dirt tracks, a few small trails before arriving at the shores of Lake Kivu itself. On arrival at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a good feast, as we look out at the lake and watch as the sun recedes over the water.
Day 04 KAYAKING & CAMPING IN LAKE KIVU
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll hop on a motorboat and cruise over to Amahoro Island. Absorb the remote beauty of this little island, amid the vast blue lake waters. We’ll begin our kayaking adventure from here, weaving through the islands scattered around this region of the immense Lake Kivu. Pause along the way to encounter the cheeky primate inhabitants of these islands – have your bananas at the ready. Later in the afternoon, we’ll arrive at Bishayu Island, which will be our final 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 tilapia and veggie delights over an open fire. After dinner, relax around the fire, or explore the hidden corners of this beautiful island under the moonlight. If curiosity takes hold, you can follow a quiet path up to a clearing on the summit to absorb the wild splendour of the night.
Day 05 THE ART OF ROASTING COFFEE
Wake up to spectacular views of dawn breaking over the lake waters. After breakfast at the campsite, we’ll navigate our way to Cyimbili by motorboat. This small village on the shores of Lake Kivu is a thriving hub of coffee production. Learn the art of hand-roasting coffee over an open fire, a process which leads to wonderfully rich results. Come midday, we’ll take a motorboat to our next destination – then the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. In the evening, head out to explore the area for foodie options, taking your pick from the local array of bars and restaurants.
Day 06 VOLCANIC BIKING IN VIRUNGA
This morning, we’ll head to our next destination in the Virunga Mountains. After a morning of travelling, tuck into lunch at a local lodge, where you’ll have a couple of hours to unwind in the gardens and enjoy a dip in the pool before our biking extravaganza. Then it’s time to embrace adrenaline thrills as we glide downhill on a fleet of hardtail mountain bikes, passing through local villages and communities and pursued by cheering children. After an action-packed afternoon, we’ll head to our lodge for the night, where we’ll enjoy a hearty feast rounded off with a few drinks at the bar.
Day 07 CANOE ADVENTURES ON THE RIVER
After breakfast at the lodge, the morning is yours to take at leisure. Relax in the lodge gardens, absorbing magnificent views of the surrounding landscape, or head out to explore the area at your own pace – it’s completely up to you. Then, come early afternoon, we’ll take to the river to embark on our canoe adventure. Drift downstream along gentle currents, alongside an enchanting variety of birds – and keep an eye out for curious otters. As we journey deep into the valley, you’ll encounter the communities and vast array of wildlife who have made a home of these lush environs. After an afternoon of river adventures, retire to the lodge in anticipation of what the following day will bring….
Day 08 WALKING WITH GORILLAS
We’re off to an early start this morning, as we prepare for a very special experience. Trek into the mountains of Virunga to encounter the region’s majestic gorillas in the flesh – it’s a wildlife encounter unlike any other on Earth. You’ll come face to face with these incredible animals in their natural habitat, observing their gentle human-like nature and family interaction. From the playful mischief of young gorillas to the watchful concern of their mothers, the boisterous energy of adolescents to the authority of the imposing silverback, these creatures hold up a mirror to our own human behaviours, making for a truly fascinating experience. We’ll pause to enjoy our packed lunch in the forest, then it’s time to head back to Kigali. In the evening, we’ll head out for our farewell feast, toasting to the wonderful adventure we’ve had.
Day 09 UNTIL NEXT TIME, RWANDA!
After breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to say goodbye! It’s now over to you to make your own way to your next destination. You’ve explored the city sights of Kigali; stayed on a beautiful secluded island in Lake Kivu; explored the Volcanoes National Park by mountain-bike; and you’ve encountered curious gorillas in their natural habitat. From wildlife wonders to rugged outdoor adventure, it’s been an incredible journey. Not quite done with East Africa? Check out our trip to neighbouring Tanzania. Wherever you’re heading next, bon voyage!
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Lake Kivu Lodge
Modestly charming lodge located on the shores of lake Kivu
The rooms are decorated in a simple style with traditional Rwandan undertones, and the location is unbeatable.
Why we stay here
Wake up to breathtaking views of sunrise illuminating Lake Kivu, and unwind in a gorgeous outdoor pool surrounded by the vast wilderness.
Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi
Rustic lodge in the Volcanoes National Park
With wooden furnishings and thatched roofing, this charming lodge is decked out with traditional Rwandan decor.
Why we stay here
This nature lodge boasts comfortable spacious rooms, a restaurant and bar, and some spectacular views over the surrounding landscape of the National Park.
Nyungwe Top View Hotel
Simple but cosy, this hilltop hotel is an ideal nature retreat
Comfortable and spacious, with a touch of vibrant Rwandan design, this is a great place to put your feet up after a day of activity.
Why we stay here
Breathe in invigorating views from the hilltops, and kick back in the restaurant and bar with a drink in hand.
Fly in and out of Kigali International Airport (KGL).
Please try to arrive before 12pm on day 1, although we will arrange an airport transfer for you at whichever time you arrive.
Feel free to depart at your own leisure on day 9.
The deposit for this trip costs more than the usual price for our other adventures due to the permits required for the gorilla trekking. The gorilla permit can cost up to $1500.
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
Joining the Flash Pack community comes with a few special guarantees...
Our trips are for like-minded people in their 30s and 40s – and 98% of them join us solo. It’s almost a given you’ll make friends.
We know the world’s best bits, so your adventure will always be immersive and authentic, and your accommodation hand-picked.
Our guides on the ground know their destinations better than anyone, so expect unprecedented access to local living and cultural secrets.
We take all the hassle out of travel planning for you. Unique accommodation? Activities? People? Sorted.
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