African adventure

Are you ready for a trip of a lifetime?

Rwanda Discovery 1 July 2017 – 17 July 2017

Departing from Adelaide, discover the culture and various wildlife, in this emerging scenic country with 17 days of exploring. Visit with Mountain Gorillas along with other primates, birds, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and many more. Spend time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and visit the Eastern Lowland Gorillas. Places are limited so get in quick.

Rwanda is diverse as it is friendly and this tour is hosted by a specialist in the field of animal behaviour to enrich this experience.

If you love history, culture, scenery, wildlife and want to know more, this is a must do tour!

What’s included?

– International return airfares with Qatar from Adelaide

– All accommodation as per itinerary

– Meals included as per itinerary

– Gorilla and chimp trekking permits and all activities as per itinerary

– Transfers and transport on tour

– Local guides and fully escorted from Adelaide by chimp expert Dr. Carla Litchfield

About Your Guide

Dr Carla Litchfield

carla-1‘My passion is animal behaviour, cognition and communication-how animals behave, think and feel. I work with researchers, communities and organisations that promote animal wellbeing, conservation and living in harmony with nature. I have conducted non-invasive behavioural and enrichment studies mainly with non-human primates, felids, canids and marine mammals, and helped evaluate zoo-based conservation campaigns. I remain the only scientist to spend a month “locked up” in a zoo enclosure at Adelaide Zoo as part of the Human Zoo, providing first-hand experience of captive conditions.

Working with wildlife is not enough to save species from extinction- since we need to change human behaviour to become more sustainable (e.g. reduce consumption patterns & waste, minimise conflict with wildlife). I am developing the area of Conservation Psychology- how to apply principles of Psychology to eliminate rhino poaching and other illegal trade in wildlife, and to address other “real world’ conservation problems. Science communication is important to me- as an author of endangered species children’s books, online articles for The Conversation, and presenter at science week events, visits by Dr Jane Goodall and other media events.

In 1994 I spent a year observing a community of ‘wild’ chimpanzees in Uganda- the start of an ongoing commitment to the Great apes of Uganda. I have served as a scientific expert for Great Ape responsible tourism programmes in Uganda, and provided expertise concerning ethical issues in conservation, including working with industries to minimise impacts on wildlife and their habitats. I have led tours as a scientific expert for ZoosSA (as a past President) and Peregrine travel to Uganda (chimpanzees & gorillas), Rwanda (gorillas), Tanzania (including chimpanzees at Gombe) , Kenya, Borneo (orangutans) and India (tigers & Asiatic lions) to visit responsible tourism projects and research/conservation sites with proceeds going to the conservation projects we visit. I have travelled to about 40 countries and love sharing my passion for all animals, natural environments, and human cultures on these amazing tours.’

Itinerary

This afternoon you will depart Adelaide on your overnight flight to Doha before connecting onto the capital of Rwanda – Kigali.

Upon arrival in Kigali complete arrival formalities before being met by your driver guide and transferred to your accommodation at the Heaven Boutique Hotel. Your accommodation is located in Kigali’s city centre with breath-taking views and incredible food. Heaven is proud to be “Made in Rwanda”. The restaurant was custom-built by local craftspeople and showcases Rwandan arts & crafts that support artisan cooperatives throughout the country. You will have some free time to settle in and freshen up before your welcome dinner. Overnight at Heaven Boutique (full board).

This morning after breakfast you will take an orientation tour of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, named for the first colonial resident governor of Rwanda. Surrounded by lush tropical savanna the city sprawls its way across 4 ridges and valleys, affording magnificent views. Your orientation tour will also include an optional visit to the Genocide Memorial and Museum. The Genocide Memorial is a resource for education and research and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. It illustrates the difficult journey of this country and how far they have come. After lunch it is time to leave Kigali and travel to Akagera National Park. Located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania, Akagera has over time been reduced in size by over 50%. But a joint venture project with African Parks is slowly realising the dream of Akagera returning to its former glories. Lions have been re- introduced to Akagera National Park, after the entire population had been wiped out in 1994. Apart from the other larger predators, leopard, hyena and striped jackal, Akagera is home to nearly 500 species of bird, including the elusive shoebill stork and the threatened Gonolek. Overnight at Ruzizi Tented Lodge (full board).

Today you will explore the park on a game drive in search of plains animals, such as elephant, buffalo, giraffe, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. There is no shortage of antelope with duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala all in abundance. Primates too are on the list with olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey seen during the day. Your evening safari is one with a difference – a boat trip on Lake Ihema, where you be on the lookout for hippos, crocodiles, and bushbabies. Overnight at Ruzizi Tented lodge (full board).

After breakfast it is time to depart Akagera National Park for Kigali. You will have some free time in the afternoon to visit the craft market and Caplaki Handicraft Centre. Overnight at Kigali Heaven Boutique Hotel (full board).

This morning it is back on the road, this time heading south west to Nyungwe National park. Enroute you will visit the Kings Palace in Nyanza; this was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built. This Palace offers a detailed look into Rwandan traditional seat of their monarchy, it is an impressive museum, restored to its 19th century state and made entirely with traditional materials. You will also visit the Ethnographic Museum; one of the six museums that make up the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda. This Museum was built in 1987, and now houses one of Africa’s finest ethnographic collections. Its seven galleries display historical, ethnographic, artistic and archaeological artefacts accompanied by visual aides, giving visitors a rich insight into the culture of Rwandans. There will also be an option to visit the Murambi genocide memorial site, should the group wish to stop there. Overnight Nyungwe Forest Lodge (full board).

This morning you will have a guided hike to the beautiful waterfall in Nyungwe National Park. Covering an area of over 1000 square km’s Nyungwe National Park is considered one of the oldest forests in Africa and an untouched rainforest bursting with biodiversity. Immersing yourself in this majestic rainforest will enable you to witness lush mountains peeping through rolling mist and provide you with a one of a kind wildlife experience This afternoon you will trek in search of a 400+ strong troupe of Ruwenzori: the black and white Colobus monkeys. Keep your eyes open as Nyungwe National Park is also the home of 310 species of birds, 13 recorded species of monkeys and the most diverse primate population is all of East Africa. Overnight at Nyungwe forest Lodge (full board).

Today is an early start as the group heads off in search of Chimpanzees. It is in fact a very early start as you need to leave the Park Headquarters at 4:30 am to find the sleeping nests. Nyungwe National Park is home to one of East Africa’s last intact populations and boast 2 wild chimp communities. This will be a true adventure as chimpanzees are equally at home in the trees as on the ground and move through the forest along established pathways. Overnight at Nyungwe forest Lodge (full board).

Today you experience the National Park from a different perspective – 60 metres above the forest floor on a canopy walk. The canopy walkway is about a half hour walk and provides magnificent views of the forest.** **Sturdy walking boots/shoes are required and poles recommended for this activity From here you will visit a Tea factory before continuing onto Cyangugu Town. It is here you will cross the Rusizi boarder to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.^^ You will spend the night at Orchid Safari Lodge (Full board) in Bukavu. ^^Should the crossing into DRC not be considered safe you will spend the night at the Emeraude Kivu Resort instead.

Early today we will drive to Kahuzi Biega National Park to trek the eastern low land gorillas (also known as Grauer’s Gorilla). The park possesses great diversity of flora and fauna, with in excess of 130 species of mammals, 300 species of birds and over 1100 plant varieties. The core of the gorillas’ habitat is in the low altitude forest, and Kahuzi Biega National Park is the last remaining refuge. There are nine gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega. Two are habituated for visitors, Chimanuka and Mugaruka, both named after the dominant male silverback. Chimanuka is the silverback of a large family containing 36 members. Along with him there are 17 females and 18 infants aging from 6 months to 9 years old. The family is famous for having 4 sets of twins, a phenomenon unseen in any Eastern Gorilla populations.

Mugaruka lost one hand in a poachers trap and is now a solitary male after losing his accompanying females and infants in a fight with Chimanuka. Decimated by poaching, mining, increased population density and ongoing conflict, the remaining gorilla populations are fragmented and numbers of this now critically endangered species are estimated at 4000. Following the trek, you will cross the border back into Rwanda. Overnight stay at Emeraude Kivu Resort Cyangugu (B&B).

After breakfast you will travel to Musanze. Located near the twin lakes of Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera this city is the gateway to the Volcanoes National park and the mountain gorillas. Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (full board) at the Volcanoes National Park.

An early start as you drive to Park Headquarters for your pre trek briefing. Volcanoes National park is located in north-western Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. It is the only place in the world where you can see the mountain gorillas, and access is tightly regulated and limited. Your briefing will include information about safety precautions, gorilla etiquette and you will be divided into groups based on fitness. You may be with people other than those in the group. Your adventure can take from 30 minutes to 4 hours, and you will hike and climb at altitudes between 2300 – 4500 metres – they are not called Mountain gorillas for nothing! ** you are strongly encouraged to hire a porter to assist you with your trek. Cost is USD 10 per porter. Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (full board).

A slightly slower and less strenuous pace is planned for today. In the morning you will visit an ex-poacher village. Poachers were encouraged to turn their backs poaching and instead educate and inform visitors in the traditional ways of village life. In the afternoon we will drive to the Twin Lakes, Bulera and Ruhundo and visit a local market. Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo are beautiful lakes located at the base of Muhabura volcano. They are surrounded by waterfalls and the deep blue water is ringed by lush terraced hills with the spectacular backdrop of the Virunga Volcanoes looming in the distance.

Late this afternoon/early evening we will meet the gorilla vet. With the numbers of gorillas so low a dedicated team of veterinarians are doing what they can to save the mountain and eastern lowland gorilla population. The team provides care, treatment and sometimes intervention to injured and ill gorillas living in the national parks of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Overnight at Le Bambou gorillas lodge (full board).

This morning it is back to Park headquarters to set out on a trek in search of the Golden Monkey. The Golden Monkey subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor. There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey and one group comprises around 80 – 100 members. After lunch you will visit the women’s collectives and cultural village, where you can learn some of the traditional skills and handicrafts; such as how to brew banana beer, weave baskets, and do organic farming. Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (full board).

It is time to farewell this magnificent region of Rwanda. After breakfast it is time to return to Kigali. You will have some free time this afternoon to go to the markets perhaps for some last minute shopping, or you can simply relax by the pool. Your overnight accommodation is just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, but it is most famous as the actual hotel in the movie “Hotel Rwanda”. Overnight at Hotel Des Mille Collines (full board)

Today it is time to say goodbye to Rwanda. You will have free time in the morning before being transferred to the airport for your flight Overnight – Qatar Airways provided hotel including transfers and meal allowance

You have a free day in Doha before being transferred back to the airport for your flight to Adelaide.

Arrive home.