Comments on proposed Rwanda Itinerary please

May 2nd, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #1  
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Comments on proposed Rwanda Itinerary please

We are off to Rwanda on 26th September, returning on 5th October 2008. The flights are booked, all we need to do now is finalise the itinerary!
We have had a ssuggested itinerary from R & N Xplorer which looks pretty good

Day1/ Sat 27 Sep 08 Arrival and transfer to Akagera National park
Distance : 120 Km
Upon Arrival at Kigali you are met and transferred to Akagera National Park. On arrival at Akagera, check in at your lodge. Lunch is followed by an extensive game drive in park. Overnight Akagera Game Lodge DB

Day2/ Sun 28 Sep 08 Akagera-Kigali
Have an early morning game drive and return to the lodge for breakfast. This is followed by a drive to Kigali On arrival at Kigali, have a city tour. Visit the genocide memorial of Gisozi, city market, curio market and the city centre. Overnight Kigali Serena Hotel BB


Day3/ Mon 29 Sep 08 Kigali-Nyanza-Butare-Gikongoro-Nyungwe
Distance: 225 Km.
The major highlight of this day is to learn about the culture of Rwanda. After an early morning breakfast, the tour takes you to Nyanza Kingís Palace, Butare National Museum, genocide memorial of Gikongoro and finally Nyungwe forest National Park. Have lunch at Butare and proceed to Gikongoro for a visit to Genocide memorial. Overnight Gisakura guesthouse. (B/L/D)

Day4 / Tue 30 Sep 08 Nyungwe Forest Hiking and Colobus Tracking
Before breakfast enter Nyungwe forest to track the Nyungwe Colobus monkeys. A walk in the forest is a whole learning experience as the knowledgeable guides explain to you about the different plants and their uses, birds etc. Return to ORTPN Guest House for lunch. Afternoon you may visit the tea plantations where you learn about tea growing, harvesting and processing. You are also allowed to buy tea. Overnight Gisakura Guest House. B/L/D

Day5/ Wed 01 Oct 08 Nyungwe Forest Hiking and Chimpanzee Tracking
Before breakfast, enter Nyungwe forest national park to track the Chimpanzees. Return to the guesthouse for lunch and check out followed by a 4 hours drive to Kibuye. Arrive at Kibuye in time for dinner. Overnight Bethanie Guest House (B/L/D)

Day6/ Thu 02 Oct 08 Kibuye-Gisenyi-Kinigi
Driving time: 4 Hours
After breakfast drive to Kinigi. Stop at Gisenyi for lunch at the Kivu Sun Serena Hotel. In the afternoon drive to Kinigi arriving in time for dinner Overnight- Gorilla Nest Hotel on Full Board (B/L/D).
Day7/ Fri 03 Oct 08 Hiking and tracking Gorillas 1
An early morning breakfast is followed by a drive to Kinigi park headquarters for group, guide allocation and briefing. This is followed by a drive to the trailheads where hiking and trekking up the hills to the bamboo zone begins. Hiking, trekking and tracking gorillas may take 2-3 hours. Sight and stay with the Gorillas for one hour. Descend to your hotel for lunch. Afternoon at leisure or on a tour of the area, visit lakes Burela and Ruhondo. Dinner and Overnight Gorilla Nest Hotel Full Board (B/L/D)

Day8 / Sat 04 Oct 08 Hiking and tracking Gorillas 2
After breakfast, trek up the mountains for another memorable experience with the gorillas. Return to the base hotel for lunch. In the afternoon drive to Kigali. Overnight Kigali Serena Hotel BB

Day9/ Sun 05 Oct 08
Breakfast and transfer to catch your flight to Nairobi.

We have had the following itinerary suggested by a UK based operator.

Day 2 Transfer to Akagera for 2 nights Akagera Lodge, with full day in national Park
Day5 Transfer to Nyungwe, stay 3 nights at ORTPN Guesthouse with two days Chimp trekking
Day7 Transfer to Parc du Volcan
for two nights at Gorillas nest with two Gorilla treks.
Day 9, after Gorilla Trek, transfer to Kigali for 1 night at Serena Hotel

Working on an exchange rate of 1.95 $ to £, the second itinerary is about $1900 more per person.

Two questionsbr />
1.Leaving cost out of it, which itinerary would you go for and why?

2.Does anyone know what costs are charged by the banks in Nairobi for transfers from UK.

Many thanks ands I await your responses as all advice will be gratefully appreciated.






hamishbear is offline  
May 2nd, 2008, 03:21 PM
  #2  
 
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Thanks for the details. Your info is helpful to me. I have not gotten quotes yet.

Day 2 Transfer to Akagera for 2 nights Akagera Lodge, with full day in national Park

NIGHT OF DAY 2 IN AKAGERA, NIGHT OF DAY 3 IN AKAGERA, WHEREíS NIGHT 4? BACK TO KIGALI?


Day5 Transfer to Nyungwe, stay 3 nights at ORTPN Guesthouse with two days Chimp trekking
-AGAIN IF DAY 5 IS TO NYUNGWE, WHERE DID YOU SPEND THE NIGHT OF DAY 4?
-DO YOU DO STOP AT BUTARE AND DO THE CULTURAL ACTIVITIES LIKE THE NATIONAL MUSEUM, MEMORIAL?
-HOW ABOUT THE COLOBUS MONKEYS? DO YOU TRACK THEM IN THIS ITINERARY? IT MENTIONS ONLY CHIMPS, UNLIKE THE FIRST ITINERARYóOR DO YOU WANT TO DO JUST CHIMPS?
-IF YOU HAVE 3 NTS IN NYUNGWE, THEN THAT IS NIGHT OF DAY 5, NIGHT OF DAY 6 AND NIGHT OF DAY 7. YOUíD STILL BE IN NYUNGWE ON DAY 7 AND NOT LEAVING UNTIL DAY 8. THAT'S NOT WHAT THE ITINERARY SAYS.

Day7 Transfer to Parc du Volcan
for two nights at Gorillas nest with two Gorilla treks.

THE NYUNGWE TO PNV TRANSFER TAKES 8 HOURS I BELIEVE.

Day 9, after Gorilla Trek, transfer to Kigali for 1 night at Serena Hotel

COULD YOU DO THE KIGALI NEVER AGAIN MEMORIAL THE NEXT DAY BEFORE YOUR ONWARD FLIGHT? IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS MOVING MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL, IT IS VERY WORTHWHILE. THE OTHER ITINERARY FIT IT IN AFTER AKAGERA.

Iím working on a similar itinerary. Iíll mention some things based on my research and then I'd appreciate your comments or thoughts.

I want to go straight from Nyungwe to PNV. I know itís a long day of about 8 hours driving, but Iíd rather spend the limited time in the parks with the wildlife. Itís also a slight savings if there is one less night on the road and in the itinerary.

I will most likely do 3 nts in Nyungwe because (1) it seems like a unique area that deserves more time. (2) I want to increase my odds of seeing monkeys and birds. (3) Thereís a lot of driving if you do Akagera, Nyungwe, and PNV, so 3 nights of staying put appeals to me. (4) Three nights allows for time in Butare for a cultural experience to go with the natural history. It looks like your 2nd itinerary intended 3 nights in Nyungwe, but the math did not work out to 3 the way I read it.

Iíve debated on 1 or 2 nts in Akagera. I see your first itinerary has 1 night there and your second has 2 nts there. Iíd be interested in your thought process on one night vs. two nights there or what either of these companies has suggested for Akagera.

In Nyungwe I am going to see if I can do other monkey tracking rather than chimps. I don't know if you have had the opportunity to see chimps elsewhere or plan to see them elsewhere. If so, then you might consider concentrating on the other monkey species (especially Colobus) that are not as easy to spot in troops in other places.

I read somewhere that you can do a night walk in Nyungwe. I think that would be cool if it worked out.

The gorilla part looks good and seems to be the same in either trip.
Would you consider a golden monkey visit in PNV?

Either itinerary gets you to the highlights of Rwanda with 2 gorilla visits.
atravelynn is offline  
May 2nd, 2008, 04:26 PM
  #3  
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For the second itinerary, I got my days a bit mixed up! Day 4 is transfer to Nyungwe, so night of day 4 is there, as are the next 2 nights. I have managed to cut and paste the main parts of the itinerarybr />
After changing planes in Nairobi and after visa formalities and luggage collection, you
will be welcomed on your arrival in Kigali by our representative and head to the east of
Rwanda and on to the little visited Akagera National Park staying at the Akagera Lodge.
Sunday 28
September
Full days game activity in Akagera National Park, overnight in Akagera Lodge on a full
board basis.
Monday 29
September
This morning you are transferred to Nyungwe Forest, ORTPN
Guest House.
Tuesday 30th. After a very early start this morning, you will head into the forest with in the early dawn
to track and hopefully enjoy your first encounter with the chimpanzees.
You will observe the chimpanzees engaging in their daily activities for a couple of hours
in the morning, before stopping for lunch.
When not tracking the chimpanzees, you will have the chance to enjoy the rich flora
and fauna of the region under the watchful eye of your guide.
Wednesday 1
October
A second day of wildlife activities, including chimpanzee trekking.
Thursday 2 October
This morning you are transferred to the Parc National de Volcan and on to the Gorillas
Nest Lodge a longer journey of some 6 hours through beautiful terraced fields and lush
Rwandese countryside, including stops for lunch. This large lodge is located close to the
Parc National des Volcans headquarters, with the concrete and thatch rooms nestling
under a grove of large eucalyptus trees. Overnight Gorillas Nest Hotel. (FB)
Friday 1st October Gorilla Trek. Overnight at Gorilla nest
Saturday 2nd October. Gorilla Trek in am, transfer to kigali for the night.

The second itinerary doesn't mention any cultural or historical stuff and seems to focus on the game parks. Although I want to see the primates, I want to see and learn abit about the culture and history as well.
Interestingly the UK agent didn't thinkthe first itinerary provided best use of time.

Whilst there is a lot of travelling, we want to see alot. Although 3 nights in one place would be good, I don't want to miss out on the cultural and historical sites.

If we had longer, I probably would spend a second night in Akagera NP, but with limited time and having been to Tanzania and Kenya, it may be better to spend time elsewhere.

The second itinerary doesn't include a stop at Kibuye. I don't know if we should include this, or spend the night at Nyungwe, and have a really long drive the following day.

Too many decisions, but its exciting!
hamishbear is offline  
May 2nd, 2008, 05:57 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

R&N
1 Akagera
1 Kigali
2 Nyungwe
1 Kibuye
2 PNV
1 Kigali


Other
2 Akagera
3 Nyungwe
2 PNV
1 Kigali

#2 is more nature and #1 includes more culture.

Why couldn't you get R&N to drive straight to PNV from Nyungwe? Then you could spend 3 nights in Nyungwe. After that long drive your driver won't have to do a lot of driver at PNV. I had come up with that Nyungwe-PNV transfer being 8 hours from stuff I've read. The second itinerary states 6 hours, so it's probably more like 7 if you do not rush. If R&N could do make that one change, I think it would improve your itinerary and probably make it cost more.

I am starting to consider 1 night only in Akagera. Since you come back from Akagera and stay in Kigali (as I would), that leaves enough time for a nice morning activity. Then the afternoon can be spent at the Memorial.

Your planning has been very timely!
atravelynn is offline  
May 2nd, 2008, 06:51 PM
  #5  
 
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Posts: 875
Hamishbear,
I don't know anything at all about Rwanda, as I'm just planning my first trip, and that is solely to PNV. So I don't have any advice to offer. But I thought I'd at least say that it's nice that you're doing the country justice by seeing more than just PNV, and have a great time!
Dana_M is offline  
May 3rd, 2008, 10:09 PM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 90
If you've been on other safaris before, I think you might want to leave Akagera off the itinerary and spend more time in another spot. If you have not been on another safari and do not plan to go on another one, then I guess I would go to Akagera. The reason I think you might want to skip it is the wildlife in Akagera will not impress and does not compare to some other game parks in neighboring countries, that time could be spent doing/seeing something unique to Rwanda.
tacos10 is offline  
May 4th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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Did you go to Akagera, Tacos10? Any specific sightings there or comments on lack of widlife?

I'm wondering about Akagera o, but liked the idea of the swampiness of Akagera as interesting habitat. Also some cool birds may be there, but maybe not in the dry season. I'm not expecting it to have wildlife in the numbers of other places, though.
atravelynn is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #8  
 
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I chose not to go to Akagera and spent more time in other areas of Rwanda. I had the luxury of time in Kenya during the migration for safari time and based on the information that I found before my trip I ruled out Akagera. I still have not heard anything about Akagera that would have changed my opinion. I just think there are better for wildlife viewing in other countries and there are more cultural/scenic areas that are more specific to Rwanda.
tacos10 is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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Tacos10,

What were some of the cultural things you enjoyed most?
atravelynn is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 10:38 AM
  #10  
 
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Posts: 29
Hi Hamishbear
I did a Rwanda trip in November last year ... and feel a warm glow whenever I see anything about it! I also booked thro R&N Xplorer (who hand it over to the local Rwandan operator ITT) and they were great - if you can organise Moses Kirenzi as your guide, you cannot go wrong. I didn't do Akagera, but otherwise the trip is very similar.
We went for the Baobab Hotel in Kigali as we didn't want to do a Serena hotel - Baobab is very basic and comfy.
As you are planning, we stayed at the Gisakura Guest House - remember to turn the geyser on about half an hour before you want a hot shower!
We also stayed at Bethanie;s - lovely.
Instead of Gorilla's Nest, we stayed at Kinigi Guest House - half the price of G's Nest, and pretty basic but adequate.

If you can get to spend a night at Paradis Malahide in Gisenyi (northern tip of Lake Kivu) I would highly recommend it ... our favourite spot in Rwanda!

Remember to take gardening gloves for the gorilla trekking.

The Genocide Museum in Kigali is an amazing experience and should definitely be done at the beginning of your trip, as you are planning.

Have a wonderful holiday.
Best regards
Bushchick (I don't know how to find my Trip Report on Rwanda, but it's in here somewhere if you are interested ...)
bushchick is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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Here's bushchick's trip report link.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35100053

Bushchik-
Click on your name and all your posts come up. Then open the thread and click on the report title and the report thread will show up as a URL int he address box. Then copy it into a link.
Dana_M is offline  
May 8th, 2008, 01:19 AM
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Thank you, Dana. I am severely technologically challenged ... luckily this ability is not critical when living in a game reserve at a bush camp with no electricity!
bushchick is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 04:46 AM
  #13  
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Thanks for the replys everyone. They were all helpful and informative.

We have now booked with R and N xplorer and sent the initial deposit! We amended the itinerary to spend an additional night at Gisakura, Nyungwe instead of spending a night at Bethanie Guest House in Kibuye. This gave us an extra afternoon at Nyungwe without changing the cost.
We decided to stick with a visit to Akagera despite its lack of game as we want to see the landscape etc and if nobody visits the park, the poaching and encroachment will get worse. We also like the idea of being able to drive for hours without seeing another vehicle and searching for our own game sightings. Who knows, we may get lucky and see something totally unexpected.

Bushchick, I understand the warm glow thing. Reading about other peoples trips / planned trips to places in Africa we have been to always bring back fantastic memories, and a desire to go back!

I will make sure a trip report is written in October.


hamishbear is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 04:47 AM
  #14  
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atravelynn, how is your planning going and when is your proposed trip?
hamishbear is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Sorry to see this posting so late. I did a trip around Rwanda several summers ago. You can find my trip report somewhere on here. We didn't use a travel company, just took local transport from place to place.

That said, I have a couple of suggestions. First, it is nearly impossible to see the Chimps in Nyungwe...go to see the colobus monkeys and birds, don't bother staying to track chimps.

Second, Kibuye is one of the most beautiful stops in all of Rwanda and the Bethanie Guest House has an amazing view.. Stay there! One of the highlights of our trip.

The trip you have from Nyungwe with a stop in Gisenyi for lunch then to Kibuye and to PNV, is that right, is nearly impossible! While many of the roads in Rwanda are good, you will find that all points lead to Kigali! Meaning...you basically need to go to Kigali to get anywhere. The drive from Gisenyi to PNV isn't 'that bad. But the drive from Gisenyi to Kibuye is about 6 hours on terrible roads. We took a motorized inflatable boat instead

Let me know if you want any other suggestions. We did a true budget trip, but absolutely loved Rwanda. Just don't go too fast, you'll miss what Rwanda is all about if you just are stuck in your vehicle and don't get to interact with people.
Lucia78 is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 11:44 PM
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The advantage of Agakara is the lack of crowds - you won't see cats, but you should still get a chance to see a decent amount of game with a park almost entirely to yourself. This will be cool in itself.

Nyungwe is awesome. One of my favorite jungles I have ever been to, and chimpanzee trekking is hard but an absolute blast. There are many other trails there that are beautiful as well.

Volcanoes Lodge has unbeleivable views. Disadvantage is that its a 75 minute drive to get from there to the gathering point for your gorilla trekking.

More on my Rwanda trip at www.shahkala.com/rwanda.shtml
gshah18 is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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I'll let you know, Hamishbear, when my planning makes some advances. Your itinerary and the extra free day looks great! I'll be very interested in your report when you return!


Gshah18, thanks for the info!
atravelynn is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 01:10 PM
  #18  
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Thanks gshah18. intereting report and great pictures.

We are really looking forward to the trip. We have gone back to our original intinerary, with the night in Kibuye. It will be great to be back in Africa, but no doubt as soon as I get there I will want to start planning my next trip there! At least we have a trip to Spitsbergen to hopefully see polar bears to make the wait more bearable!
hamishbear is offline  
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