Hike up to the volcanic woodlands at Volcano National Park where playful mountain gorillas roam. Take land rovers down to the crater floor at Ngorongoro and learn about the Maasai villagers who have balanced domestic with wild life here for centuries. Your days will be filled with sightings of the great African predators and their prey while your nights will be spent in lavish chalets and tented camps overlooking the breathtaking wilderness.
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Rwanda is good to visit any time of the year. When gorilla trekking, it’s not uncommon to encounter rain, but it won’t affect the trekking. The rainy season follows the East Africa pattern – long rains mid March through May, and short rains in November. Gorilla viewing is actually better during the rainy season, as they’re generally lower in elevation feeding and can be viewed with less trekking. However, this can never be guaranteed – neither can one guarantee 100% success in viewing the gorillas, although they’re almost always sighted. Tanzania is located close to the Equator and the temperature does not vary too much. During our summer months (June through August) it is about 10 degrees cooler, but days will be warm and can reach 80’s and evenings can be cool and can drop to the 40’s in the higher elevations. The program includes some high elevation spots – the rim of the crater is at 7,500 feet. The rainy season is in April/May (long rains) and November (short rains). However, it does not rain every day, or all day, and rainstorms are quickly followed by brilliant sunshine which makes for incredible photographic opportunities. Wildlife viewing is good year-round and the migration can be seen for most of the year in the different regions of the Serengeti.
Board your overnight flight, arriving Rwanda the next afternoon. Upon arrival in Kigali, transfer to your luxury hotel located in the center of Kigali’s heart. Enjoy the comfort of your luxurious room, take a dip in the pool and rest from your long journey to Rwanda. KIGALI SERENA HOTEL. (Meals Aloft, D)
Visit the Genocide Memorial Centre this morning to learn about this country’s recent bloody history and the lessons learned so this tragedy never happens again. As an outsider, it is almost impossible to understand the true scope of what really happened here in 1994, but your visit to the centre will help bring some of the tragedy to light. You will be able to learn of individual stories of losing family and friends while at the same time focus on the efforts to heal and carry on as one people. Afterwards, drive to the Volcano National Park, the site of Dian Fossey’s celebrated gorilla habituation and anti-poaching project, and the location for the film Gorillas in the Mist. In the free-standing volcanic mountains swathed in giant bamboo clumps and montane forest is your comfortable lodge with spectacular views. GORILLA MOUNTAIN VIEW LODGE. (B,L,D)
Get set for your gorilla viewing adventure. Local guides and porters will carry your personal items and assist you on your trek up the slopes of these ancient volcanoes to see the mountain gorillas. Your group will have the opportunity for one trek per person to view these gentle giants. A second trek is possible at additional cost, based on availability of permits. Trek through fairyland forest to encounter the gorillas. Once sighted, you will spend an hour with they, and they will capture your heart with their acrobatic antics and beauty. GORILLA MOUNTAIN VIEW LODGE. (B,L,D)
Those who wish to trek twice will do so this morning.Take a short drive back to the Park Headquarters and meet with local guides and trackers. Later, drive back to Kigali. KIGALI SERENA HOTEL (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti has come to symbolize paradise to all, including the local Maasai, who have grazed their cattle on the vast grassy plains for generations. Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Reserve across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. You’ll be in the Grumeti River area of the Western Corridor, famous for huge crocodile and hippo pools. This is the Africa of Hemingway’s books and travels. Look for lion sunbathing atop prehistoric rock outcroppings framed by the bluest of skies, or a solitary leopard watching your every move from a tree branch. Feel like one of the first explorers as you settle into your camp – an elegant Victorian-era tented outpost set upon a hill with spectacular views. Here, slowly savor every minute of Africa’s splendor from vibrant sunrises to seemingly endless starlit night skies. KIRAWIRA CAMP. (B,L,D Daily)
Further explore the Serengeti, the crown jewel of Tanzania’s protected areas and host to the annual centuries-old migration of over one million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra. Watch as cheetah, leopard and hyena keep a keen eye on the herds. Explore the open plains for giraffe, topi, buffalo, and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. Elephant herds find shade in palm thickets and sausage trees of the Seronera Valley. Look for lion stalking its prey along rivers and hippo pools inhabited with scores of water birds. Prehistoric rock outcroppings host hyrax and dwarf mongoose. Soar through the skies on a balloon safari for exhilarating views (at additional cost). Also a World Biosphere Reserve, visit the Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre to learn more about the Park’s diverse ecosystems. The architecture of your stunning lodge is inspired by a traditional African village. SERENGETI SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Discover Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ where Louis and Mary Leaky uncovered the early origins of modern man. Tour the museum to learn about their archeological methods and remarkable finds. Resume your drive, stopping at a Maasai village before crossing into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, home to the Crater – an extinct volcano and World Heritage Site. Next morning, descend almost 2,000 feet through misty clouds to the crater’s floor for a treasure trove of wildlife and scenery. Swaggering prides of black-mane lion roam the grasslands, home to large herds of wildebeest, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and zebra, with hyena close behind. Protected around the clock, this is the best area to see the rare black rhino. Colorful flamingo inhabit the shores of the soda lakes, and Hildebrandt’s Francolin lurks in the forest while Verreaux’s Eagle soars high above. Bull elephant with massive tusks charge the plains while their female counterparts, and the solitary leopard, meander through the forests. As if in a land before time, your stunning lodge is built into the rim of the crater and co-exists in perfect harmony with the natural environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Drive to Arusha where you have some time to shop before your transfer to the airport for your flights home. (B; Meals Aloft).
Spend four days on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar beginning in Stonetown – a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars and unique wooden doors. Stay at the ZANZIBAR SERENA INN on the Indian Ocean – a haven of tranquility and old-world opulence. Dazzle your senses at a spice plantation and watch rare, red colobus monkeys frolic overhead in Jozani Forest. Then, travel to MATEMWE BUNGALOWS for a refreshing stay in spacious villas set on top of a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and next to a beach with sand as fine as powder. Enjoy some of the best snorkeling and diving on the continent in the turquoise waters and return home rejuvenated.
|Jul 28 - Aug 9, 2012||$9,995|
|Oct 27 - Nov 8, 2012||$9,395|
|Mar 2 - 14, 2013||$9,995|
|May 18 - 30, 2013||$9,395|
|Jul 27 - Aug 8, 2013||$10,595|
|Oct 26 - Nov 7, 2013||$9,895|
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 6 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
Located in the center of Kigali, this hotel allows you to enjoy the comfort of your luxurious room, take a dip in the pool and rest from your long journey to Rwanda.
In the free-standing volcanic mountains swathed in giant bamboo clumps and montane forest is your comfortable lodge with spectacular views.
Feel like one of the first explorers as you settle into your camp – an elegant Victorian-era tented outpost set upon a hill with spectacular views.
The architecture of your stunning lodge is inspired by a traditional African village.
As if in a land before time, your stunning lodge is built into the rim of the crater and co-exists in perfect harmony with the natural environment and the wildlife that inhabits it.
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