Day 1 Kigali
Welcome to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda since it gained independence in 1962. Most associate Rwanda with the the horrific genocide that took place in 1994, but this is a country that has been striving to rebuild its economy for years and offers so much to the Intrepid traveller. And though the past won't, and shouldn't, be forgotten, the future of Rwanda's tourism is looking bright thanks to its welcoming people, an abundance of lakes and the beautiful Virunga Mountains. Your adventure begins by meeting your fellow travellers at 6 pm, who you can join for an optional dinner this evening.
Day 2 Kigali
After breakfast you'll visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which was opened in 2004 to mark the 10th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi people. It serves as both a museum, detailing the history and consequences of Rwanda's genocide, and a place for people to grieve for lost friends and family. From here you'll continue to Nyamirambo, a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood that is known for keeping the party going when the rest of Kigali heads to bed. Enjoy a local lunch and a city tour including a trip to the craft market.
Day 3 Gisenyi
Take an early breakfast at your hotel before proceeding to Ntarama Church, approximately 30 km outside of Kigali. Today presents some confronting reminders of the country's past, and this church is now a chilling memorial to the 5000 people slaughtered inside during the 1994 genocide. Inside, shelves of skulls and piles of bone can be seen as well as the clothes of victims hanging from the walls and rafters. Afterwards, the group will travel to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, a former church where some 50,000 people were murdered. This site pays particular attention to the atrocities suffered by women during the genocide.
Head to the city of Huye (Butare), the former home of the National University of Rwanda which is now part of the University of Rwanda. Huye is considered the a university town and Rwanda's intellectual and academic centre, and here you'll have lunch. Continue to the Murambi Museum, the location of one of the most horrific mass killings during the genocide, in which up to 45,000 Tutsi were killed over a several days. The group will then head to Gisenyi, a town on the shore of Lake Kivu, where you'll spend dinner and the evening at a waterfront resort after an emotional day.
Day 4 Gisenyi
Enjoy a free day in Gisenyi on Lake Kivu's northern edge. Kivu is one of of Africa's Great Lakes – Rwanda's largest and Africa's sixth-largest – and is a natural border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Your leader can help you plan how to spend the day: perhaps take a boat cruise around the lake and visit some of the small islands, or maybe take a trip to Napoleon Island to go hiking and encounter birds and its large colony of fruit bats. Alternatively, spend the day getting to know Gisenyi and the colonial-era mansions and bars that sit by the lake.
Day 5 Kisoro
Enjoy breakfast by Lake Kivu then transfer across the border to Kisoro, a Ugandan town on the shore of Lake Mutanda. Kisoro, located near the Virguna Mountains, is the jumping-off point for several national parks and, of course, those in search of the country's mountain gorillas. In the afternoon you'll head to Mikozi Village to become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar before returning to Kisoro.
Day 6 Kisoro (Gorilla Trek)
Join a local guide and trackers as you climb through the rugged, mountainous terrain of Bwindi National Park in search of mountain gorillas. A quick lock of eyes with these creatures is a truly primal moment and visits are strictly controlled to minimise disturbance. Make no mistake, tracking gorillas is no walk in the park – it's called Bwinidi Impenetrable National Park for a reason. It can be wet, muddy, strenuous and uncomfortable, but the indescribable elation at coming across a group of gorillas is worth the effort. Spend a mesmerising hour with the gorillas as they eat, sleep, groom and play as the male silverback watches over them, then return to the lodge for dinner and to reflect on this incredible experience.
Day 7 Ruhengeri
Transfer this morning back to Rwanda and the town of Ruhengeri, still buzzing from your gorilla encounter. Settle into your hotel on arrival then take a cycling tour to Rwanda's twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo. This area is characterised by steep green hills and magnificent views of the mountains surrounding the lakes. Pedal through the stunning countryside, stopping in small towns and villages to spend some time interacting with the local community.
Day 8 Ruhengeri
Today is free for you to choose from several optional activities after breakfast at the lodge. Perhaps you'd like to pursue your passion for primates and join a park ranger tracking golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. These monkeys are much quicker than gorillas and you'll see them swinging from branch to branch and scampering up trees. Alternatively, take a hike focused on the work of Dian Fossey, the groundbreaking gorilla researcher. It's an incredible experience, both physically and emotionally, and you'll trek through the jungle to her grave and the house in which she was mysteriously murdered in 1985. She's buried next to her favourite gorilla – Digit – as well as number of other mountain gorillas killed by pochers. In the evening, enjoy an optional farewell dinner with the rest of your group as this incredible adventure ends tomorrow.
Day 9 Kigali
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then take local bus back to Kigali. Once the bus arives on the outskirts of Kigali a private transfer will drop you back at the hotel. Here the trip comes to end and there are no other activities planned.