Day 1: Arrival in Kigali. Arrive Kigali. Met by our smiling guide. Greet and transfer to hotel. Approximate driving time: 30 minutes. Diner (D) is included in the package. O/N: Hotel des Mille Collines/Hotel Chez Lando or similar (D).
Day 2: Kigali - Butare. After breakfast you will depart for Butare the second largest city of Rwanda and is regarded as the intellectual city of Rwanda. It hosts the National Museum, several academic (University) and research institutions. On your way to Butare you will visit Nyanza (currently Nyabisindu) the former Mwami's palace (King's palace) and the seat of the feudal monarchy. The palace has been reconstructed to its 19th century state and shows a traditional dome that can be compared with the Kabaka's palace of Buganda.
You will visit the National Museum which is one the well set-up if not the finest ethnographic museum of East Africa. It's a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region. The National Museum in Butare was donated in 1989 by the Belgium government and gave back a part of the ethnographic collection acquired during the colonial period. The design and concept of the museum was realized in co-operation with the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Tervuren, Belgium. The modern building has different sections and displays a wide collection of monochrome pictures, traditional artefacts and objects, tools and different craft products.
Ethnographic objects are grouped together according to theme giving excellent information on the daily life. Traditional ceramics and basketry are still manufactured and belong to the finest handicrafts of the region. The National Museum remained surprisingly untouched during the civil war of 1994. Lunch and later we will visit the Botanical Gardens. And in the evening visit the locally revered hot springs in Rugarama. Dinner and overnight in Butare on a Full Board basis.
Day 3: Butare – Gitarama to Kibuye. We will drive to Kibuye on the stunningly beautiful Lake Kivu to Gisenyi; through beautiful countryside, crossing valleys full of agricultural produce. Kibuye which is one of the three resort town on Lake Kivu is the most beautiful. Arrive at lunch time. After Nyungwe, most participants will welcome that relaxing moments on the shores of Lake Kivu! Take a boat out on the lake to see the various islands. Swim in the refreshing, bilharzias-free waters of the Lake or stroll about in the nearby villages rambling across a number of hills. Rest of the day at leisure.
Lake Kivu is unique: Its deep waters contain an enormous quantity of dissolved gas. There are, in fact, 65 billion cubic metres of methane, in other words the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of petrol lying at the bottom of the lake under 250 m of water. If it were exploited, this energy, veritable manna from heaven, would provide Rwanda with an almost inexhaustible source of energy, freeing it from worry about energy needs linked to its development projects. There is a pilot station for the extraction of methane for energy in this place. O/N: Molia Hill Resort Kibuye (B, L, D)
Day 4: Kibuye – Gitarama - Gisenyi. After breakfast, either drive to, or have an enjoyable speed-boat trip to Gisenyi (on payment of a $200pp boat supplement + visa fees $110). The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwanda markets.
You will be picked up in Gisenyi for lunch and if time allows we make arrangements to cross the border to Goma (Optional). Goma was devastated by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. The visit shows the fantastic capabilities of the local population to overcome this natural catastrophe! Overnight at Stipp Hotel or Serena Kivu Sun on a Full Board basis.
Day 5: Gisenyi – Kigali. Visit Ross Carr’s Imbabazi Orphanage. Stroll about at lake and visit other local villages. Imbabazi Orphanage was founded by Mrs Rosamond Halsey Carr in late 1994 at Mugongo to care for the genocide orphans. Rosamond Halsey was a young American fashion illustrator when she married an adventurous hunter-explorer, Kenneth Carr. Together they journeyed to then "Congo Belge" (now Congo DRC) in 1949 but where they later came to a pungent divorce.
Kenneth left but Rosamond stayed in Congo until 1955. From there on she moved to northwest Rwanda where she stayed for the next 50 years. She witnessed all Rwanda's historical events, including the vinegary genocide of 1994. She is the author of “Land of a Thousand Hills: my life in Rwanda". Lunch and we transfer back to Kigali for overnight at your hotel. Approximate driving time: 4 hours. O/N: Chez Lando Hotel or Mille Collines (B, L).
Day 6: Kigali visit and departure. Go for a tour of the city (optional) including a visit the markets, the handicraft shops and the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, which takes a few hours. It’s a touching visit! Time permitting, visit the Nyabugogo market, the Moslem quarter in Nyamirambo, and the Franco-Rwanda cultural centre. Many hotels and restaurants prepare local dishes. Buy crafts. Transfer to Airport for departure. (B, L).
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