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Remarkable Rwanda is one of the world’s most captivating and sort after destinations. From near destruction in the tragic 1994 genocide to a never before seen reconciliation, recovery and period of peace and stability, Rwanda is now considered a leader in the region and an innovative developing country which bans bringing in plastics, is the 7th safest place to walk alone at night in the world and has the world’s highest representation of women in Parliament. Home to some of the most special animal encounters on the planet including the Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys people are now getting to know Rwanda for it’s other world class attractions such as its progress, specialty coffee, rich and unique culture and the determination will and skill of their women in lifting their communities from subsidence living in to the micro commercial world. This tour is just that little bit more memorable because of the hope and inspiration Rwanda and it’s amazing women offer us all when we consider the depths of their despair in the 1994 genocide. So join us and truly learn why Rwanda earns its title of being Remarkable.
Day 1 : Pickup from Kigali Airport and Transfer for Check in At Kigali Marriott
African Unique Safaris and Tours will meet and greet you at the arrivals hall of Kigali International Airport, transfer you to the stunning Accommodation of your choice:
Day 2 : Tour Orientation and Briefing. Kigali Walking Tour and Traditional Cooking Class. Kigali Genocide Me
After you stunning breakfast at Kigali Marriott we assemble at 8:30am and introduce ourselves. Your African Unique Safaris and Tour member will give a thorough briefing of the tour to your group and also a cultural orientation as well as introduce you to your expert driver/guide.
Then we head off for our first inspirational women’s experience at Nyamirambo Women’s Centrefor a guided walking tour.
Nyamirambo Women’s Centre (NWC), a Rwandan NGO, was launched at the end of 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. Together they created a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, NWC’s mission is to provide education and vocational training to women who do not have the means to pay for such training on their own, so that they can gain better opportunities for employment.
At the end of 2013 NWC launched the product line “Umutima,” which means “heart” in Kinyarwanda. With this project, NWC trains and employs women from the community to create a large variety of women’s accessories, children’s clothing, and home decor products. At the moment there are over 50 women employed by Umutima as seamstresses. Umutima and NWC have grown into a unique,
self-sustaining model where the profits earned through Umutima are used to fund NWC initiatives, in addition to providing benefits and a fair wage to the seamstresses.
Walking Tour of Nyamirambo
This tour begins at 11am at the Women’s Centre with a traditional snack, a quick Kinyarwanda language lesson, and an introduction to the Centre and its activities. It then weaves through Nyamirambo, one of Kigali’s oldest neighbourhoods. Along the way guides lead participants into a women’s hairdressing salon where the adventurous type can get a free braid; into a family compound to pound cassava leaves; by two mosques and a lookout view over Kigali; and into a tailor shop to feel the fabrics you’ll otherwise see styled on the streets. After the walking tour it’s time to prepare for lunch with a traditional cooking class.
Traditional Cooking Class with Aminatha
From market to meal, every step of the process of cooking is shared by Aminatha and participants in this tour. After buying produce and ingredients at several markets the group walks just around the corner from the Center to Aminatha’s home. There they get to work at a wooden table in her courtyard, chopping countless vegetables and starting the charcoal stoves. Under the guidance of Aminatha six traditional, delicious, and gratifying dishes are prepared and then shared by all involved.
Question Coffee Master Class
After our enjoyable and traditional lunch we transfer you to Question Coffee, Rwanda’s best specialty coffee producer and café for a 3 hour Master Class on great Rwandan Coffee.
Rwanda is famous for Mountains Gorillas, recovery post genocide and rich culture but did you know e Rwanda has some of the finest specialty coffee in the world. High altitudes, high rainfall and volcanic soil are perfect conditions for growing coffee and Rwanda has all of these Question Coffee is the leading producer, roaster and exporter in Rwanda and they will host you for a 3-hour coffee master class where you will learn about:
Coffee History of Rwanda
Kigali Genocide Memorial
After your coffee masterclass we head off to experience the extremely moving, challenging, educational and ultimately inspiring Kigali Genocide Memorial. In order to experience the miracle of its inspiring women you need experience Rwanda’s lowest point of tragedy in order to fully appreciate the reconciliation, recovery and resilience of the survivors.
The tour is very transparent and educational but very somber and humbling when you realise that over 250,000 deceased are buried on the site of the memorial. Guaranteed you will feel every emotion during this visit.
The reconciliation and healing in the country post genocide is truly a miracle and this process now allows many perpetrators who accepted responsibility and penance to now be accepted back in to their communities once more. The most common question that goes through your mind is “would I be capable of that level of forgiveness if that happened to me”. That’s true inspiration.
Day 3 : Women Micro - Entreprenuers of Rwanda.
Today we have two amazing micro-entrepreneurial visits lined up that will show how empowering women is a smart investment in growing communities and living standards.
After breakfast we take an hour transfer east to the district of Kaboye and begin by visiting the Women’s Opportunity Centre (WOC) which is a multi-faceted facility with a focus on the most marginalized women, WFWI-Rwanda has become a centre for learning and program innovation and today we visit the its Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) in Kayonza.
The WOC is designed as a central meeting place that bridges the gap between urban buyers and rural farmers.It is also a place for rural entrepreneurs to incubate businesses, gain new skills, and transition from subsistence farming to larger-scale entrepreneurial farming.The innovative and eco-friendly design, created by awarded-winning architect Sharon Davis, is built on a five-acrecampus. From the entrance along a well-traveled road, market stalls are readily accessible to the public. On the grounds of the WOC, facilities include a kitchen and restaurant, guest lodging, a large celebration space, organicvegetable and fruit gardens, and storage, training, and office space for lease to partner organizations and businesses.Inspired by traditional Rwandan meeting spaces, classrooms are shaped as circular pavilions and are at the centerof the WOC. Behind the WOC, there is a large commercial demonstration farm in a fertile valley.
WOC is an initiative funded and support by the Women for Women International group. Since its founding in 1993, Women for Women International (WFWI) has helped more than 407,000women survivors of war and conflict around the world, and distributed more than $114 million in funds.Women for Women International works in eight countries and our yearlong training programenables women to learn vocational and business skills, rights awareness, and health education so theycan unleash their full potential and bring dignity and opportunity to their families and communities.
The WOC facility is made mainly of 450,000 bricks and these mud bricks where supplied by an all women COOP called KATWICO. Whilst the coop is no longer needed for their brick construction it was a remarkable achievement.
Today at WOC we will visit and experience:
Njagama Women’s Farm Tour
Lunch will be at WOC from their local chefs and using the food we’ve seen grown from their farms. WOC also has one of the best and most affordable local arts and crafts shops in Rwanda. So if you are looking to support local artisans and pick up some souvenirs this is a good spot.
After our WOC experience we will take a local lunch before heading off the nearby:
Women’s TwongereUmusaruro Project./B>
This group of amazing women have flourished as a COOP supported by a number of key NGO’s such as the Bloomberg Foundation through Sustainable Harvest, who have partnered to help them improve coffee quality, practices, yields and more direct to market trade assisting in cutting out costly and unnecessary middle men. You’ll here and experience:
Watch women tending the Njagama women’s organic farm adjacent to the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center. The women can demonstrate sustainable farming techniques, which enable them to grow a broad range of crops, including cassava, cabbage, celery, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, onion, lettuce, and spinach. Gain an appreciation for their talents and hard work, and then enjoy the bounty of their harvest in dishes served at the Urugo Restaurant!
The “farm house” is our commercial kitchen, where local women make organic cheese, yoghurt and peanut butter. Learn how these products are made, taste samples and listen as the women share how their new skills are enabling them to earn income, support their families and send their children to school.
Day 4 : Millenium Village Tour. Transfer to Musanze Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla Doctors Experience
After breakfast we leave at 8am for our Millenium Village Tour which begins with a very confronting and real experience of a Genocide Site, Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial.
At Nyamata/Busegera district . Again this visit whilst challenging is an important visit so we never forget and repeat the mistakes of the past and have a very real perspective on recovering processes we are about to learn about.
The region of Nyamata was heavily effected by the genocide and our next experiences are in the nearby Millenium Village where several projects have help heal, rebuild communities and provide hope. There is fantastic news for this region as it has just been announced Rwanda’s new International Airport will be built in this region.
The Millennium Villages project (MVP), a partenrship of UNDP, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Millennium Promsie, national and local governments and a variety of other partners, is a new bottom up approach to lift villages in the poorest countries of the world out of extreme poverty. Currently operating in ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it aims at establishing a foundation of evidence that rural Africa can be on the path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) using science-based, proven and practical interventions over a five-year timeframe. The overall objective is to empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Their goals are:
Day 5 : Optional Activities in the Foothills of Volcanoes National Park
Today you have a choice of the following activities or relax.
Mountain Gorilla Trek: $1500
Guided Cycling with Team Rwanda (National Cycling Team): $150
Golden Monkey Trek: $100
Dian Fossey Gravesite Trek:$75
Musanze Caves: $55
Twin Lakes Sightseeing and Boat Tour: $40
Mukungwa River Canoe Trip: $40
We leave early at 7:00am to reach the park headquarters for a briefing of your chosen trek.
MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREK OPTION:
Today you have a unique and privileged experience to trek and meet at close quarters the rare Mountain Gorilla. There are only around 1000 of these magnificent creatures left in the world with around 1/3 of those in Rwanda, 13 families in all.
Early in the morning after breakfast you will be taken to the park headquarters where you will be educated on the trek, Gorilla behavior and assigned in to groups of suitable fitness.
The trek can take between 2-6 hours depending on the movements of the Gorillas. The rangers will lead you deep into the forest in search for the Gorillas. You will move up and down the rugged terrain until you finally meet these harmonious creatures that will entertain you with performances for about 1 hour once you find them. It is often described as one of the planet’s great animal encounter experiences.
After lunch back at your lodge and your trekking experience, we have a treat planned as the local spa team at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge will spoil and massage any aches and pains you have away.
DIANNE FOSSEY TOMB TREK OPTION:
Trekking to the Dian Fossey Tomb is one of the most sought-after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes National Park. The trek involves a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters to
the trail head to access the Karisoke Research Camp which Dian founded. It is then a 10 minute walk to the park boundary.
The walk from the park boundary to the research center where the Dian’s grave is, takes about an hour to 1 hour and a half hour and if lucky you may see forest hogs, forest elephants, and a variety of primates and bird species so keep your each and eyes open.
This hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is so inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today. The hike involves moving through the forests and hiking up the slopes and therefore requires some relative degree of fitness and patience.
At the site you will find the house from where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in 1985 but the more peaceful is the place where she was buried just next to her favorite gorilla friend, Digit and about 20 other mountain gorillas either killed by poachers or suffered death for other reasons.
GOLDEN MONKEY TREK:
Often call the little primates, Golden Monkeys are an endangered species but are thriving here in Volcanoes National Park. There’s nowhere better in the world to trek and watch these unique and playful primates.
We will leave at 7am and arrive at the trek starting point 30 minutes later. After a briefing from the park rangers we set off. Usually the trek is an easier one than the Mountain Gorillas but these are wild animals that move around so the trek can be 30 minutes to several hours depending on their movements.
Once located you will spend a wonderful hour watching them watch you and interact with each other.
MUKUNGWA RIVER CANOE TRIP:
Set in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, discover a special way to travel, soak up impressive views, watch abundant birds and look out for the otters, meet friendly communities and find just a little excitement in our modern canoes. We leave the lodge at 8am to reach the starting point by 8:30am sharp.
With an experienced guide who will give you with full instruction, the whole trip from leaving the lodge to return lasts about 4 hours – with about 2½ – 3 hours on the water. And don’t worry; there are no hippos or crocs in the water.
Modern, new buoyancy aids are supplied and you have a qualified guide who will look after you on the water. We have a waterproof camera which will be used to take photos that will then be shared with you shortly afterwards.
TEAM RWANDA CYCLING GUIDED RIDES
Team Rwanda are Rwanda’s famous national cycling team and their headquarters called African Rising Cycling Centre are in Musanze. Visit the centre and get a tour from one of the riders. Their story is inspirational and with support their bikes and riders and competitive and modern.
“We currently offer two new and exclusive half-day road or off-road cycling packages for visitors to truly experience Rwanda in the best possible way…on two wheels.”
‘Tour du Rwanda’ Road Training package (1/2 day – $150)
For this experience, we will supply you with helmet, bottle, repair kit and fuel pack, fit you to your perfect size bike and ensure your optimum riding position. Then, riding one of our Pro-level carbon fiber race bikes, your Team Rwanda guide will take you on a 2-3hr (depending on your requirements) training ride across the beautiful Rwandan countryside, stopping for photos! The guide will teach you riding techniques as you go along, show you how to select the right gears for different gradients, experience a HPIT (High Performance Interval Training) burst of intense cadence* improving activity and then return back to Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC) for a stretching session and debrief.
Pro Mountain-Bike Race Training package (1/2 day – $150)
For this experience, we will supply you with helmet, bottle and repair kit, fit you to one of our top-of-the-range full suspension Scott Spark or Scott Scale 29er mountain bikes (we have some hard-tail options also…) and your Team Rwanda guide will lead you out of the Africa Rising Cycle Center to take on some laps (volume at your discretion!) of the 2015 African Continental Championship MTB course. Your guide will show you professional techniques for how to handle the different types of terrain you will come across (including ideal cadence* levels) and offer tips on how to improve your off-road riding technique. Photo stops are advisable as the landscape and villages you will ride through are simply stunning. After your laps, you will return to the Center for a stretching session and debrief.
The Musanze caves where opened to the public in 2013. The cave is 2 kilometers underground and is the result of a lava flow from Volcanic eruptions a long time ago.
The caves are full of bats, several chambers and side entrances. It’s cool in temperature and an interesting trek.
TWIN LAKES OF BURERA AND RUHONDO:
Only 30 minutes from our lodge these two lakes are considered the hidden gems of Rwanda. The lakes where once a river running from Uganda but it is thought the lava flow from a Mt Sabyinyo eruption in a long-ago era blocked off the river and created the twin lakes. Hence why one lake is 150 higher than the other.
They are stunningly beautiful and we start by taking you to a scenic viewpoint to take in the lakes and the productive terraced farms and villages that make their living from the fertile volcanic soil and fishing on the lake.
Then we take a boat ride on the lakes themselves. They are very good for bird watching and also listening to the fisherman sing and ply their trade. We stop off at one of the lakes islands and will be enthusiastically greeted by much of the islands small population who farm it’s land. Finally we head back around midday to return to our lodge with great photos and memories to discuss over lunch.
Return to Gorilla Mountain View Lodge for refreshing and lunch. Then let us spoil you with a rejuvenation session of massage and spa treatments afterwards.
In the afternoon, be entertained by traditional Rwandan dancers before dinner and discussion about your wonderful trip to Volcanoes National Park.
Day 6 : Transfer Back to Kigali for Lunch At Hotel Rwanda. Kigali Art and Fashion Tour. Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast relax as we check out at 9am and begin our 2-hour scenic drive back to Kigali.
The walking tour concludes around 1pm and we will head off to the famous Hotel Rwanda for lunch overlooking the famous pool area and hear about what it was like during the terrible genocide (real name Hotel Milles Collines).
After lunch we have a local Art and Fashion tour lined up. Your chance to possibly pick up some of the colourful local fabrics. FABULOUS!!!
Art and Fashion Tour of Kigali
Your final cultural experienceof your extraordinary tour and it’s a lot of fun. We send you on an Art and Fashion tour of Kigali.
Tour the vibrant African fabric markets and hand pick your favourite materials!
Visit a local Rwandan fashion designer and have a custom outfit made to size.
Enjoy a coffee or tea and snack on the way to a tour of 3 art galleries all led by local, Rwandan artists.
After some art and retail therapy it’s time to reminisce and celebrate our time together. We take you to Kigali’s best Indian restaurant KhanaKhazanaKiyovu (check out their google reviews) to chatter over some of the best Indian food you’ll ever have as we fill in time over a few bottles of wine before we transfer you to Kigali International Airport late in the night.
We wish you fond farewell, safe travels and wonderful memories to last long after you return home.
Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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