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A private Journey through Rwanda in Partnership with One&Only

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Itinerary Highlights

For this once-in-a-lifetime journey Exeter Safari Company and One&Only have partnered to create the ultimate Rwanda itinerary. Too often thought of as simply a gorilla trekking destination, Rwanda has emerged in recent times as one of Africa’s top standalone destinations. From the breathtakingly beautiful tea plantations and forests of Nyungwe House and surrounds, to the awe-inspiring scenery and incredible wildlife experiences to be found at Akagera National Park, this unique itinerary will take you on an unforgettable journey through this extraordinary destination.

Additionally, One&Only have offered all Exeter Safari Company travelers these additional amenities at no additional cost:

• $100 Nightly Spa Credit at One&Only Nyungwe House

• Automatic upgrade to a Virunga Suite at One&Only Gorillas Nest (subject to availability)

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Sample Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrive in Kigali


    Today you will arrive into Kigali, the lively capital city of Rwanda. Please note your arrival flight into Rwanda is not included in your program cost.

    Kigali is Rwanda’s capital City and stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising over 6000 feet above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Center, a bustling market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, energetic streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is often referred to as one of most attractive cities in Africa.

    At the airport you will be met by your local guide and transferred the short distance to your hotel for the night, the Kigali Serena Hotel. Today you have at leisure to relax and soak in your peaceful surroundings.

    Meals Included: None
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    • Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 2

  • At Leisure in Kigali


    This morning you will meet your driver and guide in your hotel lobby and depart on a moving tour of this remarkable city. One of the most impactful stops as part of this morning’s tour will be a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. No visit to Kigali is complete without a visit to this important landmark. Your knowledgeable local guide will tell you all about the history of this turbulent country that ultimately culminated in a genocide that took the lives of over 250,000 of the local Tutsi people. While perhaps not a pleasant conversation, it is important to understand these events to truly understand Rwanda and its wonderful people.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 3

  • From Kigali to the Volcanoes National Park


    Leaving Kigali behind you will then enjoy a scenic 2.5-hour drive to your next destination, the Volcanoes National Park - a protected home for a diverse tapestry of wildlife including mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and over 300 bird species. An awe-inspiring landscape protected by the love and passion of local communities. Here you have 3 nights at the incredible One&Only Gorilla’s Nest!

    On your arrival day you may simply rest up and relax into your tranquil surroundings as you prepare for your gorilla trek set for the following morning. If you do feel like getting out and about a nature walk around this magnificent estate is highly recommended. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is an ever-growing garden, teeming with flourishing eucalyptus, roses, butterflies, and birds. Winding through the land, with a walking stick, binoculars, reference books and iPad in hand you will learn about the natural lifecycle here. A place where every plant and tree is chosen to encourage an abundance of wildlife. At the conclusion of your walk you will have the opportunity to taste the flavors of this land with home-made ice-tea and crudités fresh from the chef’s garden.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

Day 4

  • Gorilla Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park


    Early this morning you will rise just as the sun is peeking over the horizon and make your way to the nearby ranger station. Here you will meet with any other travelers who are embarking on today's journey and with everyone assembled the local rangers will assign everyone into small groups of between 6 and 8. You will then set off into the jungle in search of these incredible creatures.

    Along with a small team of porters who are on hand to assist with carrying any items you may have (think photographic equipment) you will scramble along the dense jungle paths as you move deeper into the tropical jungle. After anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on where the troop in question is currently residing, you will reach our goal. Weighing up to 500 pounds these gentle giants will view you with a hint of curiosity but will for the most part simply ignore you as they go about their day. You will have around an hour to sit quietly and observe the troop as they interact with one another and the young play all around you.

    Following this magical experience, you will then make your way back down the mountainside. Arriving back at the ranger station you will enjoy a short transfer back to your lodge where you then have the remainder of your day at leisure.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

Day 5

  • Optional Second Gorilla Trek in the Volcanoes National Park


    Today you have at leisure to either embark on a second gorilla trek (the cost of which is not included) or enjoy some of the many other activities offered by the lodge.

    For those who enjoy the two-wheel experience, discover why Rwanda loves cycling so much. On this moderately challenging adventure you will venture through the forest and dramatic volcanic landscape following an adrenaline boosting trail that features winding turns and gentle climbs across the surrounding landscape.

    Another interesting experience is exploring the Chef’s garden. All the dishes at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest tell a seasonal story of Rwanda through locally sourced ingredients that surprise the senses. Explore the bountiful vegetable garden with Executive Chef Bryan English as he introduces you to the sustainable ingredients that inspire these dishes. Handpick edible flowers, vegetables and herbs to be used in your next meal.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

Day 6

  • From Volcanoes National Park to Nyungwe Forest National Park


    Today you will bid farewell to Volcanoes National Park and enjoy a beautiful drive that will take you West to the tea-plantations of Gisakura. Along the way you will stop at Cormoran Lodge on the edge of Lake Kivu. Here you will enjoy lunch and a chance to stretch your legs along the scenic Congo Nile trail. You will then continue towards the Burundi border where you will arrive at One&Only Nyungwe House.

    Over the next three days you will experience one-of-a-kind encounters as you explore this incredible area. Head out on foot to track troops of wild primates, from playful chimpanzees to Mangabey and Colobus monkeys. Follow colorful orchid trails frequented by butterflies and identify birds by their melody. For those feeling especially active you can climb the local peaks to reveal the epic panoramas of Lake Kivu and the mountain ranges across the border. However you choose to enjoy your time at One&Only Nyungwe House you are sure to depart relaxed, inspired and refreshed.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
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    • One&Only Nyungwe House

Day 7

  • Chimpanzee Trekking in the Nyungwe Forest National Park


    Today you will meet the Nyungwe National Park’s most charismatic residents on a signature chimpanzee discovery trek. Your experienced guides will lead you through the protected jungle that borders Nyungwe House, the natural home of one of East Africa’s rare chimpanzee populations and troops of colobus monkeys. A rustle of leaves, and then, through the branches, you will spot a chimpanzee gazing down from the fig trees. Or perhaps you will see a troop of tree-dwelling chimps catapulting off through the canopy. Every trek is different, and the jungle’s charismatic chimpanzees are full of surprises.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • One&Only Nyungwe House

Day 8

  • Canopy Walk Experience in the Nyungwe Forest National Park


    Today you have at leisure to enjoy any number of experiences. With its rich volcanic soil and gently sloping grounds, the secret behind the perfect cup of tea starts at the Gisakura Tea Estate. Hugging the rippling hills at the western fringes of Nyungwe National Park, the estate is among the most famous of Rwanda’s tea plantations and is certainly the most spectacular. As part of this experience you will pick, dry and brew tea on a unique tour of this magnificent tea plantation. You'll start your experience in the Tea Lounge before being led through the process of how Nyungwe tea is plucked and brewed.

    For those looking to stretch their legs further there are several wonderful hiking options through the surrounding mountains. Welcoming those looking for a relaxed wander, the Karamba trail is a relatively flat, quartz trail that begins in the open-air site of a former gold mine. The more challenging Mount Bigugu trail covers the highest peak in the park with spectacular views of Lake Kivu. With moderate inclines, Umugote trail reveals exceptional views of rounded ridges, as far as the mountains of Kibira National Park in Burundi. On the Irebero trail, gaze all the way across the Rwandan border.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • One&Only Nyungwe House

Day 9

  • Nyungwe Forest National Park to Akagera National Park


    Leaving Nyungwe House behind you will board your flight that is going to take you back to Kigali. In Kigali you will once again meet your guide and driver and together set off for the Eastern border of Rwanda. Here you will find the picturesque Akagera National Park and your home for the next three nights, Magashi Camp.

    Magashi Camp is situated in the dynamic and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking beautiful Lake Rwanyakazinga. Akagera comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp, and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, some very large crocodiles as well as the rare sitatunga and more than 520 bird species.

    Over the next few days you will explore this beautiful National Park both by safari vehicle, on foot and by boat. The Akagera National Park is truly one of Africa’s best kept secrets and offers a safari experience unlike any other.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • Wilderness Magashi Camp

Day 10

  • On Safari in the Akagera National Park


    During your stay at Magashi Camp you will have the opportunity to join two safari drives daily. One in the early morning and then another that leaves in the late afternoon and returns shortly after dark. Please note you are in no way obligated to join both drives every day and if you would prefer to sleep in one morning and simply join the afternoon activity (or vice versa) you are of course welcome to do so. There is something to be said for relaxing on the deck of your tent gazing out over the lake without anywhere to be!

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • Wilderness Magashi Camp

Day 11

  • On Safari in the Akagera National Park


    Akagera National Park is a birder’s dream with over 500 bird species calling this area home. The yellow-throated longclaw and Pennant-winged nightjar are just two of the beautiful birds to look out for. Other notable species include the sunbird, little bittern, grey kestrel, red-necked spurfowl, little egret, black-winged kite, hamerkop, African fish-eagle, water thick-knee, crested francolin, Abdim’s stork, African green pigeon, African hobby, helmeted guineafowl, crested francolin, spur-winged lapwing and slender-billed weaver.

    Meals Included: Full board (Including Local Beers, Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks)
    View
    • Wilderness Magashi Camp

Day 12

  • Depart Africa


    This morning you will enjoy a leisurely breakfast before meeting your driver and guide and embarking on your transfer drive back to Kigali. From here you will meet your onward flight home (please note the cost of this international flight is not included in your program cost).

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Download The Full Itinerary

Estimated pricing for a private journey through Rwanda in partnership with One&Only

$16,270 per person including all arrangements mentioned in the itinerary above, based on two guests traveling together sharing one room throughout.

Please note the cost of the regional flight required for this itinerary is included, however the cost of the international flights to and from Africa are not. Please let us know if you would like assistance in booking your international airfare.  

Please note due to the bespoke nature of our itineraries combined with profound seasonal variations in accommodation costs and availability the above pricing estimates should be used only as a guide. An exact cost can be provided once exact dates and logistics have been discussed.

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Please tell us your questions about A private Journey through Rwanda in Partnership with One&Only and we'll be in touch to get the ball rolling!

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Why go through a company such as the Exeter Safari Company?

An African safari is, for many people, a once in a lifetime trip and for that reason you will want to be sure the arrangements are flawless. A safari incorporates many different elements including airport arrival and departure services, transfers, light aircraft flights, the routing to remote lodges and the most knowledgeable local guides. Coordinating all these different services, often throughout multiple countries, languages and currencies can be daunting.

By going through an experienced safari company which has a wealth of local knowledge, local connections and years of experience in the region you can be sure you will be receiving the highest possible level of service before, during and after your travels. At the Exeter Safari Company we work with only the best guides, highest quality lodges at every price point, and the most reliable transportation providers in Africa. Our extensive experience and connections throughout the continent will ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.

In addition, you will enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you have access to 24/7 support both before your departure and during your time in Africa.

What should I wear on safari?

When deciding what clothing to pack for a safari trip your main priority is going to be comfort, coverage, durability and ease of packing. Keep in mind safaris often include light aircraft flights on to which normal hard sided suitcases are not allowed. You will therefore want to pack your clothing and other items into a soft sided duffel style travel bag (no larger than 24 inches long and 15 inches wide) that can be easily stored along with other travelers’ bags in the small luggage compartments on board. Note there is also a strict 15KG (33lbs) weight limit for your luggage.

Regardless of the time of year you are traveling, or the expected temperatures, you will want to be prepared for some cooler occasions. In order to find animals while they are at their most active, safari drives generally take place in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening. You will therefore often be out and about during the cooler parts of the day and this combined with sitting in the back of an open sided safari vehicle means it can get chilly - even in the middle of Summer. Accordingly, you will want to bring one or two light jackets, preferably that can be layered, so when it does start warming up you are able to shed layers and maintain a comfortable temperature.

It is also important where possible to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants to help with both sun and insect protection (fleece is great as insects can’t bite through it). Mosquitoes, Tsetse flies and other small flying insects can be bothersome during certain parts of your safari and preparing for them ahead of time will make your trip that much more pleasant. You will want to avoid bringing dark blue and black clothing as this color is known to attract certain flying insects such as Tsetse flies. You may also want leave behind your favorite white clothing as they can quickly become dirty from the dust in the air and climbing in and out of the safari vehicle. Last you will want to keep in mind you are trying to remain inconspicuous while on safari and so bright colors and loud prints should be avoided. Instead opt for more neutral tones in greens and browns that will help you blend into your surroundings.

When it comes to footwear you will again want to choose an option that covers as much of your bare skin as possible, think hiking boots or closed shoes with long socks rather than flip-flops or sandals. You will also be climbing in and out of vehicles and walking on uneven terrain that could have sharp rocks or thorns and so you will want footwear that is relatively durable. Your safari may include bush walks and so you will want to wear sturdy hiking boots on these occasions. Around the lodge area you will be able to wear more casual and lightweight footwear including flip flops or sandals, assuming you have bug-spray to stop any pesky mosquitoes that may be in the area. While in your rooms you will normally have mosquito nets over the bed area however you may still want to bring some full-length pajamas to ensure you have less skin exposed to any mosquitoes that did manage to sneak in.

When is the best time to travel to Africa?

The short answer is anytime! While there are better and worse times to be on safari throughout the various regions of Africa because the continent is so large and so diverse whenever you are looking to travel there will be a destination that is right for you.

Traditionally, the best time to go on safari is during the dry season that broadly runs from June through October, however this season does vary significantly depending where in Africa you are considering. During the dry season the vegetation is much less dense and because the grass is shorter it is much easier to track and locate wildlife. Additionally, when there is less rainfall there are fewer available water sources for wildlife to gather around. This results in the animals tending to congregate around the same lakes, pans and rivers which again makes for great game viewing (and leads to some interesting herbivore/predator encounters!).

Often during the wet season, also called the green season, when water sources are abundant, the wildlife tends to spread out over an enormous area. Many camps and lodges close during this time of year, often December through February as the dirt tracks that surround the lodges become impassable.

Another aspect to consider, especially if visiting East Africa, is the great migration. Please visit our page that explores this topic at length as it will give you a good idea as to where the migration is located at any particular time of year.

What About Yellow Fever?

Yellow Fever is a disease found in many parts of sub-tropical Africa transmitted into humans through Mosquito bites. As it can be quite a serious illness it is essential you receive a yellow fever vaccination before embarking on a trip to an effected country.

The main safari destinations where Yellow Fever vaccinations are required are Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda. Other countries such as South Africa and Botswana require you to arrive with a yellow fever vaccination even if you have only transited through or visited a country where yellow fever exists within the past 6 months (keep in mind many of the countries on this list are in South America).

Check with your Exeter Safari Company expert for the specific requirements regarding the destinations included in your program. It is important to note the Yellow Fever vaccine requires 10 days before it becomes effective and so don’t leave it to the last minute!

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