I'm finally posting my trip report.
We spent 11 nights and 12 days in Rwanda and covered most things, I think (Jan 29 to Feb 9):
Day 1: Arrived in Kigali and went to Hotel Chez Lando. Got a shower and lunch and then did a quick city tour and went to the Genocide Memorial. Did this on our first day, rather than the last, per all of your recommendations. Definitely recommend it as a beginning, rather than ending. Also, I would recommend the movie Sometimes in April to give one a good idea of what exactly happened.
I found Kigali, along with all of Rwanda to be very safe and clean. Chez Lando, by Rwandan standards is fine. An Ambassador and some other diplomats were staying there.
Day 2 - 4 We went down to Rusumo Falls on the Tanzanian border. Quite a rush of water, but also quite a drive. We then went to Akagera Game Lodge where we stayed for 3 nights. There was nobody there. This lodge has an incredible view of Lake Ihema. I thought it was lovely. You won't see the Big 5 here, but we saw a lot of game: Topi, Oribi, Eland, Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo, Baboons, Vervet monkeys, Black Momba, Waterbuck (a different kind from SA too), crocs and hippos. The birding, here as in all of Rwanda, is excellent.
Day 4 we went back to Kigali and stayed overnight at Chez Lando.
Day 5, we travelled to Nyungwe by way of Butare. Saw the King's Palace, the National Museum and Intore Dancing. Highly recommended. We got to Nyungwe late and Gisakura didn't honor our reservations (I guess this happens often) and drove to Cyangugu. We stayed at Hotel de Chutes which was HORRIBLE. I need to write to the Bradt Guide to tell them. Unfortunately, it was too late to go somewhere else, but our guide did get us a different hotel for the next night.
Day 6: Hiking in Nyungwe. What a fabulously beautiful place!!! Started with the earthquake and then went for a nature hike - the pink trail. Loved it. Saw Colobus monkeys on the trail. And then we did a separate Colobus monkey hike. Very cool.
Day 7: We had overnighted at the Peace Guesthouse in a Rondavel (sp?). The regular rooms were damaged in the quake. The Rondavel's were very nice.
Early morning up to do the Chimps. Other people going on the trek were late, so we had to take the shortcut. Straight down mud hills. Yikes! Needed lots of help from the guides. The chimps are difficult due to their constant moving around in the canopy, but the noises they make are worth it. Thank goodness we didn't have to take the shortcut back.
Day 8: Stayed at Hotel Bethanie in Kibuye. What a great view. Next day went for a boat ride out to see the giant fruit bats. The boat ride was nice and Jean-Baptiste also took us to his island. Wished it was beer time, as that would have been a great place to hang out for a while.
We then travelled up to Gisenyi, which is a lovely town. We were to have lunch at Malahide Paradise, but it was too late and just had a glass of wine. This was a neat place.
Kept traveling up to Kinigi and stayed at Kinigi Guesthouse. I actually thought this was the nicest place we stayed, but probably was my least favorite in the food department.
We stayed at Kinigi I think 3 nights. We did two gorilla treks, first was Sabinyo and the second was Group 13. Both sitings were fantastic with a close encounter of the gorilla kind. If you're where they want to be, they just move you. Group 13 had a 3 week-old baby and a 15 mo. old and 2 year old. The youngsters were two boys who wrestled the whole time just like two human boys. Hilarious - and great video!
We also did a Golden Monkey trek and they obviously are not as elusive as they once were. Very good siting and they seemed curious about us.
While we were in Kinigi our guide hooked us up with a local guy and he took us into a village and into the backroom of a hut and showed us they banana beer (which we liked). Had a good time meeting all the kids.
We had a guide/driver the whole time and travelled by 4x4. Saw lots of countryside and saw the gacaca courts going on. The country is so beautiful, but roads aren't wonderful. This is how we did India and feel it's the only way to get to know a country. Our weather was fabulous the whole time, it only rained in the afternoons when we were in Kinigi, which was fine, since we were done with our activities. Email with any questions at [email protected]
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I'm finally posting my trip report.