Tourists watching Mountain Gorillas (beringei beringei) whilst they rest in a clearing after feeding. Virunga mountains, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Credit: David Cayless/Getty Images

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Day 1: Arrive in Kigali

Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Kigali has been the capital of Rwanda since 1965. An attractive city, it spreads over a number of hills and, with impressive recovery after the 1994 genocide and subsequent political turmoil, it now has a pleasant, buoyant air. The main shopping and commercial area is centered around the Hotel Mille Collines, with the government district on the neighboring Kaciyiru Hill. The markets, Muslim quarter, and a new genocide memorial under construction in Gisozi are some of the main places of interest.

Stay: Kigali Serena

Day 2: Butare and Nyungwe Forest Reserve

Depart by road this morning and drive to Butare Town, where you will have lunch. Visit the King’s Palace and Museum, and then continue onward to Nyungwe Forest Reserve.

Stay: Nyungwe House

Day 3: Cyamudongo Forest

Depart early for Cyamudongo​​​​​​​ Forest, where your guide will lead you to a habituated chimp group. The family of chimpanzees have been habituated to human contact — this means they are definitely wild, but can be approached to within a few meters, and are studied daily by researchers. You may also see L’Hoests’s monkeys, silver monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, golden monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys. In the afternoon you will take a walk near the lodge to see Nyungwe's famous colobus monkeys.

Stay: Nyungwe House

Day 4: Gisenyi and Lake Kivu

Following breakfast, depart by vehicle and drive along Lake Kivu shoreline to Gisenyi, a picturesque resort on the northern shores of beautiful Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu has some nice, white beaches and crocodiles are absent from the lake due to volcanic action, eons ago, that wiped them out.

Stay: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Day 5: Volcanoes National Park

This morning, you will depart very early with your drive to Volcanoes National Park, which will take you across the Rwandan countryside. Upon arrival the day will be spent tracking the Golden Monkeys. Dwarfed in size and reputation by the Gorillas, Rwanda’s golden monkey is well worth discovering. The golden monkeys live mainly in the park's bamboo thickets and are smaller and harder to spot than their larger ape relatives, but extremely rewarding once found — the monkeys react and interact differently than gorillas, and like to play hide-and-seek.

Stay: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge or Bisate Lodge

Day 6: Volcanoes National Park, Kinigi, and Musanze

Day one of gorilla trekking: track mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, with a strenuous, hours-long hike to view the creatures for one magical hour. Spend a relaxing afternoon at leisure visiting the farmlands, villages, and markets that surround Kinigi and Musanze towns. A walk or drive along these rural roads is where one can really enjoy Rwanda's street culture, with a fascinating blend of farmers, businessmen, bars, and shops.

Stay: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge or Bisate Lodge

Day 7: Volcanoes National Park and Kigali

Return to the park for your second gorilla trek. Savor the memories of the morning hike and gorilla encounter while driving back to Kigali, and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Stay: Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 8: Mana Pools National Park

Transfer to Harare, Zimbabwe, for your flight to Mana Pools National Park. You will be met by your private guide and
transferred to camp in time for a late lunch. The park covers a section of the Middle Zambezi Valley, a western extension of the Great Rift Valley. The Pools of Mana are lakes that mark former courses of the Zambezi. They are refilled by the swollen river during the rains, and are home to populations of hippo, crocodiles, and birds. Summer is prime time to view game like
elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, and other species including eland, lion, leopard and hyena.

Stay: Little Vundu​​​​​​

Day 9: Mana Pools

Enjoy a full day of game viewing. In the morning, you may find one of the resident bull elephants or one of the few wild
dog packs that allow close approach on foot. This afternoon, enjoy a leisurely canoe safari through one of the side channels of the Zambezi River. You are paddled downstream through the sand banks and islands, watching pods of hippo or elephants wallowing at midday to cool off.

Stay: Little Vundu

Day 10: Mana Pools

The highlight of this day is visiting wild dog den in the area, followed by an afternoon drive through the cathedral Mopane forest. Return to camp late in the afternoon.

Stay: Little Vundu

Day 11: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

​​​​​​​After a morning game drive, take your scheduled charter flight to directly to Pamushana. One of Africa’s best-kept secrets, Singita Pamushana Lodge is found within the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in south-eastern Zimbabwe. Nestling beneath the trees high on a ridge, the lodge incorporates the natural environment and the forest-like architecture enhances views of the pool, the lush gardens and the lake below.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is teeming with birds and wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the Roan and sable antelope and the black rhino. Famous for its cathedral Mopane forests and majestic "upside-down" Baobab trees, you will also find over 100 rock painting sites that date back more than 2,000 years.

Stay: Singita Pamushana Lodge

Days 12-14: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Three days of wildlife viewing, including day and night game drives in open vehicles to see the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo); bird watching; white and black rhino tracking; a visit to see the rock art of the San people; boating on Lake Malilangwe; the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the medieval village of Great Zimbabwe; and Gonarezhou National Park and the Chilojo Cliffs.

Stay: Singita Pamushana Lodge

Day 15: Depart from Johannesburg

Transfer to the airport for your journey home.​​​​​​​​​​​