Kids in the Hills
Do you feel you should wait until your children turn 15 and are allowed to do primate tracking? That is not the only way to have a lovely time in Rwanda! This proposed tour ticks everything else off …
• have a blast in the savannah of Akagera National Park
• look for monkeys in Nyungwe National Park
• take a motorboat ride on two very different lakes
• give your kids a chance to touch different aspects of Rwanda
area: Kigali – Musanze – Lake Burera – Imbabazi – Rubavu/Gisenyi – Karongi/Kibuye – Nyungwe National Park – Nyanza – Akagera National Park
mode of transport: car and boat
total days on the ground: 7
DAY 1 (Kigali – Musanze – Lake Burera)
After your breakfast in Rwanda’s capital we will embark on a 2-hour drive to Musanze. This is the home of the Gorilla Highlands team, a town surrounded by volcanoes. You will first visit Virunga Valley Academy, a fabulous American international school with a site that will impress the kids. We will then casually explore some of the town’s cool places (like the Nshuti art gallery with a Trojan Horse elephant and the Crema ice cream stall) before proceeding to Lake Burera some 40 minutes away. You will enjoy a boating trip and spend the night at a lake lodge.
DAY 2 (Lake Burera – Kinigi – Rubavu/Gisenyi)
Since the children are too young to visit the gorillas, we will settle for the second best option — a fun educational experience at the Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Kinigi. It includes a nice little scavenger hunt! The vehicle will then hit the 2-hour off-road route to Rubavu/Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu, visiting the pretty Imbabazi “Center of Hope” on the way. You will get an opportunity to tour the premises and hear the story, then lunch as the kids play in the extensive gardens. In Gisenyi we will take you for an evening boat trip to a fishing village and hot springs, passing by the methane-based power utility in the middle of Lake Kivu. We expect to see fishermen again around dinner time, as they glide past us in their boats, singing, to their night shift.
DAY 3 (Rubavu/Gisenyi – Karongi/Kibuye – Nyungwe National Park)
You will drive through the town of Karongi/Kibuye to the rainforest of Nyungwe. This being a 5-hour trip, you might consider stopping at Africa’s only Museum of Environment situated in Karongi? Nyungwe National Park is well known for chimpanzees; more than 500 live here but kids unfortunately cannot visit them. Still, it hides several monkey species that you will attempt to track from the edges of the forest. You will see extensive tea plantations and check on the info centre, learning more about the fascinating South African organisation that runs both Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks. A short nature walk will finally take us deep into the forest.
DAY 4 (Nyungwe National Park – Akagera National Park)
On the way back to the current capital city we will visit Nyanza where the political centre of Rwanda used to be. The impressive grass-thatched king’s palace includes a chance to try traditional techniques, meet royal cows and talk about the country’s addiction to … milk. Kigali, on the other hand, is only a stopover on the way to the savannah of Akagera National Park, our national park grand finale. You will reach it in the evening and begin your immersion with a night safari drive devoted to nocturnal animals.
DAY 5 (Akagera National Park)
You will wake up in the south of the park, ready to make it to the much more interesting north that features the exclusive Magashi Lodge. The half-day route there is a game drive by itself, exposing you to numerous chances to see hippos, zebras, antelopes and more. In the evening you will enjoy a boat trip on Lake Rwanyakazinga, full of birds and water animals.
DAY 6 (Akagera National Park)
Your day at Magashi will be filled with boat cruises and safaris, getting you close to the wildlife in all possible ways. Anyone ready to try some fishing perhaps? There is, of course, a little swimming pool at your disposal too …
DAY 7 (Akagera National Park – Kigali)
Following an early morning game drive in the plains packed with wildlife, you will exit Akagera through the northern gate and drive back to Kigali for about two hours. Your last afternoon before the flight will be devoted to riding horses, ziplining, archery and other family-friendly activities above the city. We also recommend spending some time in the green oasis of the Genocide Museum that covers not just Rwanda but the world. The kids can play with our guide outside as the parents tour the exhibition.
Are your kids perhaps big enough for some hiking in Volcanoes National Park?
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