Rwanda - Discover the Intore and Kivu!
A short discovery of Rwanda!

If you are not interested in seeing the gorillas you will certainly consider this trip! It's a discovery of Rwanda history, the culture and the Rwanda people! You will have some spare time to relax and enjoy the wonderful lake Kivu!

The Tour Package Includes: Airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, plenty of mineral water, the services of a driver-guide, all park and entry fees, all activities as per programme: visit of Kabgayi, visit of the King's palace, visit of the national museum, the performance of the Intore dancers, visit of Amahoro island, visit of artisanal centre of Nyundo, visit of Kigali including the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi. Optional: speed-boat trip to gisenyi, visit of Goma, visit of the Imbabazi orphanage. It Excludes: Airline ticket, beverages, tips, visas and personal expenses.

Duration : 6 Days
Travelstyles : Tailor-made, Road Safaris, Lodge Safaris
Activities :  Cultural Activities, Guided Nature Walks & Hikes.
Parks & places :  Genocide Memorial Centre - Gisozi & others, Huye (Butare) and the National Museum, Lake Kivu


Day 1 : Arrival at Kigali

Meet and greet at the Airport by your Magic Safaris guide. Transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival we propose you to have a visit of Kigali with your driver-guide. The visit includes the genocide memorial of Gisozi. Briefing and overnight at your Hotel (D). 

Flights: There are daily flights to Kigali out of Nairobi with Kenya Airways and Rwandair Express.

Accommodation : Hotel Chez Lando (***), Milles Collines (****), Serena - Kigali (*****)
Activities :  Cultural Activities
Parks & places :  Genocide Memorial Centre - Gisozi & others

Day 2 : Kigali - Huye (Butare)

After breakfast you will depart for Huye (Butare) the second largest city of Rwanda considered as the intellectual city of the country. It hosts the National Museum, several academic (University) and research institutions.

On your way to Butare you will stop at Gitarama for a visit of the Cathedral of Kabgayi which was build by the White Fathers Catholic missionaries. (The first Catholic mission was created in 1900 only a few kilometers from Butare, at Save Hill.)

You will also visit Nyanza (currently Nyabisindu) the former Mwami's palace (King's palace) and the seat of the feudal monarchy. It's here that the first Europeans (Germans) came to visit the Mwami. The palace has been reconstructed to its 19th century state and shows a traditional dome that can be compared with the Kabaka's palace of Buganda.

You will arrive at Butare for lunch and in the afternoon we take all the time needed to visit the National Museum which is one of the well set-up if not the finest ethnographic museum of East Africa. It's a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region.

After the visit of the museum you will have a spectacular performance of the national ballet with the Intore-dancers.  The performance is regarded by many as one of the highlights of your safari. Rwanda has one of the finest traditional handicrafts of Africa. The ceramics, woodcarvings and basketry are found in Butare and your guide will indicate where to buy them. (B-L-D)

The "Intore", once the elite of the traditional Rwanda army, were not only trained as military but also in high jump and dance. They were known for there remarkable technique allowing them to jump over 2m40. The Intore became worldwide famous as dancers in 1958 when the World Expo was held in Brussels. Today Intore dancers are part of the rich Rwanda folklore.

The warriors dance is a jewel of the choreographic heritage of Rwanda. Dressed with a mane made of sisal fibre, tied up on ankles, little bells jingle on each step, giving the warriors dance a thrilling rhythm. Throughout the Intore  ballet, physical confrontation turns into artistic rivalry and then at "the end" comes out into a vigorous hug of the warriors. This is the most artistic gesture of friendship, mutual aid and protection.

The National Museum in Butare was donated in 1989 by the Belgium government and gave back a part of the ethnographic collection acquired during the colonial period. The design and concept of the museum was realized in co-operation with the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Tervuren, Belgium.  The modern building has different sections and displays a wide collection of monochrome pictures, traditional artefacts and objects, tools and different craft products. Ethnographic objects are grouped together according to theme giving excellent information on the daily life. Traditional ceramics and basketry are still manufactured and belong to the finest handicrafts of the region. The National Museum remained surprisingly untouched during the civil war in 1994.

Accommodation : Hotel Ibis (*)
Activities :  Cultural Activities
Parks & places :  Huye (Butare) and the National Museum

Day 3 : Huye (Butare) - Kibuye

After breakfast you will leave for Kibuye via Gitarama. Kibuye which is one of the three resort towns on Lake Kivu is the most beautiul. Arrival at Kibuye is foreseen before lunch time. Kibuye is such a relaxed and pleasant town that it's very enjoyable just strolling and watching life. On fridays there is a big market which is worth to be seen. You will also have the opportunity to take a boat trip to the peace Island (Amahoro). (B-L-D)

Lake Kivu is unique: Its deep waters contain an enormous quantity of dissolved gas. There are, in fact, 65 billion cubic metres of methane, in other words the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of petrol lying at the bottom of the lake under 250 m of water. If it were exploited, this energy, veritable manna from heaven, would provide Rwanda with an almost inexhaustible source of energy, freeing it from worry about energy needs linked to its development projects. There is a pilot station for the extraction of methane for energy.

Accommodation : GH of Bethany (*)

Day 4 : Kibuye - Gisenyi by speed boat.

After breakfast, you will have an enjoyable speed-boat trip to Gisenyi. The trip is not only an encounter with local people; fishermen, fishing villages but also with the residents of Idjwi Island (Congo) who are rowing long distances in their dugout canoes to visit the Rwanda markets.

You will be picked up in Gisenyi for lunch and overnight at your hotel in Gisenyi. (B-L-D)

In the afternoon you can enjoy the rest of your day on the beach. As an option and if time allows we make arrangements to cross the border to Goma (Optional). Goma was devastated by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. The visit shows the fantastic capabilities of the local population to overcome this natural catastrophe! (B-L-D)

Idjwi is an island in Lake Kivu, belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At 40 km in length and with an area of 285 km², it is believed to be the largest inland island in Africa, and the eighth largest in the world. Idjwi is roughly equidistant between the DRC and Rwanda, with 10 to 15 kilometres separating its western shore from the DRC mainland and a similar distance between its eastern shore and the coastline of Rwanda. The island's southern tip, however, lies only 1 kilometre from a promontory of the Rwandan coast.

The Nyiragongo volcano (3470 m) erupted on the 17th of January 2002 and destroyed part of the town of Goma in January 2002. Most of Goma's 400 000 inhabitants escaped the advancing lava flows crossing the border into neighbouring Rwanda. The eruption  destroyed the homes of 120 000 people and caused between 70 and 100 victims.   

Accommodation : Lake Kivu Serena (****)

Day 5 : Gisenyi (Lake Kivu) - transfer to Kigali

From Gisenyi to Kigali the distance of 187 Km on a tarmac road can be covered in only 3 hours but no rush. We shall take time to visit some splendid sites on our way: Nyundo with multiple craft-shops, Imbabazi Orphanage at Mugongo. Lunch at Ruhengeri and if weather conditions allow we shall take a tour at Lake Ruhondo. Overnight at your hotel. (B-L-D)

Nyundo is one the very earlier Catholic centres in Rwanda (beginning of 20th century) and has among others the only secondary school of arts.

Imbabazi Orphanage was founded by Mrs Rosamond Halsey Carr in late 1994 at Mugongo to care for the genocide orphans. Rosamond Halsey was a young American fashion illustrator when she married an adventurous hunter-explorer, Kenneth Carr. Together they journeyed to then "Congo Belge" DRC now in 1949 where they came to divorce. Kenneth left but Rosamond stayed in Congo until 1955.  From there on she moved to northwest Rwanda where she stayed for the next 50 years. She witnessed all Rwanda's historical  events since then and among them the last was the 1994 genocide. She is the author of Land of a Thousand Hills: my life in Rwanda.

Lake Ruhondo with Lake Burera from which, is separated by only 1 km-wide strip of land (thought to be an ancient lava from Sabyinyo volcano), are both close to Kisoro, the west-northern border of Rwanda and Uganda. It is a very beautiful, offeringdramatic views across the water to the volcanically formed cones of the Virunga Mountains looming on the horizon.  

Accommodation : Hotel Chez Lando (***), Milles Collines (****), Serena - Kigali (*****)

Day 6 : Kigali visit and departure

 The half day of Kigali City trip (option) includes a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, which takes a few hours. It’s a touching visit! Transfer to Airport for departure. (B-L) 

Genocide Memorials: In Rwanda you will find all over the country Memorials to remember the genocide of 1994. The most important Genocide Memorials are those of Kigali (Gisozi) and Murambi (Gikongoro) where the history of the genocide is explained. A visit to the genocide memorial is for most visitors an emotional event.