One Week In Rwanda : The Ultimate Itinerary : Because of its many attractions and activities, the adventurous traveler won’t be able to see everything Rwanda has to offer in just seven days, despite it being one of the smaller countries in Africa. Nevertheless, you can visit many of this country’s top sights in a week, from Kigali, its culturally diverse capital, to Volcanoes National Park, which is well-known for housing mountain gorillas.

Karisoke Research Center

Because the activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park are more specifically Rwandan, we decided to include them on our itinerary. But you can always switch out Akagera National Park for this stop if you want to take a break from forest trekking and experience open plains and Big Five game instead. The decision is yours, but if you’d like to know how we think the ideal week in Rwanda should be spent, here are our itinerary idea.


Arriving at Kigali International Airport and picking up your rental car the previous evening, wake up the next morning at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center feeling revitalized. Due to its convenient location halfway between the airport and the main tourist attractions, this is our top pick in Kigali. The first day starts with a short drive to the Shokola Café, a popular local hangout located on the top floor of the Kigali Public Library. It’s the ideal location to enjoy your first cup of real Rwandan coffee and to fill up on breakfast while taking in the expansive city views from the balcony.

After you’re finished, take a five-minute stroll to the next street over, where Niyo Art Gallery showcases the best of Kigali’s thriving contemporary art scene. Visit the gallery’s light-filled exhibition space to peruse the work of the resident Rwandan artists, or go outside to the courtyard to observe them at work. This is a fantastic chance to stock up on special, meaningful mementos.

After that, get in your car and make the quick trip to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. This is a crucial stop if you want to gain an understanding of the tragedies that have shaped Rwanda’s recent history, despite being emotionally taxing. Exhibitions provide background information on the Rwandan Genocide, which began in April 1994 and resulted in the massacre of nearly one million Tutsis by the Hutu, a rival ethnic group. You can pay your respects to the memorial’s quarter-million mass graves, where they are interred.

Drive the 2.5 hours to Musanze, the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, after leaving the memorial. The peaceful Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel is a tranquil option nestled among lush gardens on the route from Musanze to the park’s administrative center. The day ends with a three-course dinner at the hotel’s volcano-view restaurant after you’ve settled into your Deluxe Room with its king-size bed and rainfall shower.


Day two gets underway early with breakfast at the hotel and a 10-minute drive to the Kinigi Park headquarters. To make it to the briefing for your gorilla trek, you must arrive by 7 a.m. You must reserve gorilla Trekking permits far in advance; the hotel can assist you with this. You will be assigned to one of the habituated gorilla troops in the park after the briefing. The journey to find them can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on which one you find. However, the effort is well worth it for the hour you will get to spend watching these great apes in their natural environment. Make sure to bring sturdy, well-worn hiking shoes with you.

Return to the hotel for a filling three-course lunch after your Mountain gorilla Safari experience. Your room rate includes all meals, so it only makes sense to utilize them to the fullest extent possible. Depending on how long your morning hike takes, you may or may not have time for an afternoon adventure. If you do, we suggest taking a 2.5-hour tour of the nearby Musanze Caves. Your tour guide will inform you of the local bat colony, the massacre that occurred here during the genocide, and the times of conflict when locals used the caves as a refuge as you make your way through the mile-long cave system.

Before sitting down to dinner, you could spend this afternoon relaxing by the hotel’s pool, garden, and massage service if you don’t have time to visit the caves or are too exhausted from your gorilla trek.


We recommend starting a little later on day three. After breakfast, return to the park’s administrative center to begin the 30-minute drive to the trailhead at the Karisoke Research Center. The legendary primatologist Dian Fossey founded the research station, which is ten minutes’ hike away from this location. From 1967 until her death in 1985, Fossey lived and worked in this location, devoting her life to the research and preservation of the park’s gorillas. You can take a 1.5-hour hike to her grave after visiting the center. Around 20 of Fossey’s gorilla friends are interred with her, and there is a good chance that you will see other primates and other forest creatures on the way there.

When you get back, take a quick detour through Musanze to the laid-back Migano Café for lunch (think delectable burgers, sandwiches, and salads), then continue on for the 1.5-hour drive to northern Lake Kivu. The serene Kivu Paradise Resort is where you’re going, with its lakefront location and shabby, African-style rooms tucked away in lush tropical gardens. It will be time for sundowners with a view of the water as the fishermen leave for their evening session by the time you have finished unpacking. Dinner is served in the evocative hotel restaurant and includes local specialties from Lake Kivu like grilled tilapia and sambaza, a deep-fried fish that resembles a sardine.


The fourth day of our itinerary is reserved for relaxation, so we advise you to take full advantage of it. The resort offers a variety of activities, so you can participate in as many or as few as you like. Maybe schedule a relaxing massage or spend the morning lounging on the private beach. While kayaking and fishing tours give you the chance to experience Lake Kivu from the water, the extensive gardens are renowned for their diverse birdlife. You can even take a guided tour of a nearby village or coffee plantation if you’re up for more hiking. All meals are served at the hotel on this day.

One Week In Rwanda
Lake Kivu


Day five’s long transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park begins after breakfast. The ultra-luxurious One & Only Nyungwe House is the place you end up after a four-hour drive. The resort spoils you with an exclusive location on a personal tea plantation surrounded by virgin forest as your big indulgence for this trip. Each of the opulent suites has a large balcony that looks out over the treetops, and you can relax in complete privacy thanks to the outdoor showers and rain-soaking tubs. Be sure to arrive in time for your three-course lunch since dining is also all-inclusive here.

There are many opportunities to explore your surroundings in the afternoon. These range from the decadent (how about a trip to the hotel’s five-star forest spa?) to the to the culturally enlightening (perhaps a tour of a tea plantation and a traditional tea ceremony, or perhaps a stop at the local Banda Village’s craft stalls). In the magnificent dining room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views of a tea plantation, dinner is a four-course extravaganza. Gourmet farm-to-table food influenced by traditional Rwandan recipes will be served.


On day six, you must rise early once more in order to participate in a guided chimpanzee trek through the historic Nyungwe Forest National Park. Watch out for the other 12 primate species in the park, including the critically endangered golden monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, and Ruwenzori colobus, as you make your way through the forest in search of one of the two chimpanzee troops that have been habituated. After you locate the chimpanzees, you will have an hour to spend with them. During this time, you will probably be surprised by how similar their behavior is to that of our closest living relatives. Please take note that permits for this activity must be reserved in advance through the Rwanda Tourist Board or Explore Rwanda Tours.

The 5.5-hour drive back to Kigali is scheduled for the afternoon, which will be the longest transfer of your journey. Since the Radisson Blu provides convenient luggage storage before your departure the following day, we advise staying there once more. After a long day, if you’re feeling exhausted, the hotel’s own Filini Restaurant offers delicious Italian cuisine. In contrast, the nearby restaurant, The Hut, which specializes in international dishes infused with distinctive Rwandan flavors, is regarded as one of the best in the city. It’s also a great place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail while taking in the inspiring views of the Kigali hills in the area.


Make the most of your time by waking up early and visiting the Belgian-Rwandan bakery Baso Patissier for breakfast on your final day in Rwanda. The Nyamirambo Women’s Center is a ten-minute drive away, and excellent coffee and flaky fresh croissants, beignets, and cream puffs give you the energy you need for a morning tour there. You are given two choices. The first is a walking tour of the historic Nyamirambo district of the capital, which includes stops at two mosques, a local hair salon, and a tailor’s shop. It is followed by a traditional lunch at the residence of Aminatha, the center’s renowned cook.

You could also decide to spend the morning learning to make traditional Rwandan food instead of taking the walking tour. You will purchase ingredients at nearby markets, prepare them in Aminatha’s courtyard kitchen, and cook them on conventional charcoal stoves under her direction. You will prepare a total of six dishes to be shared as a delectable farewell lunch in Rwanda. From staples like ugali (a stiff maize porridge) and isombe (pounded cassava leaves) to stews made with plantains, meat, and peanuts, there are a variety of foods that could be included. It’s time to get your bags after lunch so you can return to the airport in time for your flight home.

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