Mountain Gorillas, Craters, and Serengeti Plains
Coming face to face with a Mountain Gorilla is truly an experience of a lifetime. Virunga Lodge in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, offers dramatic views of the Virunga Volcanoes. Here, the specialist guides will lead you up into the mountains for a chance to spend time with these magnificent creatures. Next, head to the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania where your tented camp is set in a secluded part of the game-rich Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti. Thanks to an abundance of water in the area, this section of the Serengeti is renowned for fabulous year-round game viewing. Finish your African Safari at the Ngorongoro Crater. Sleep under canvas in a luxury tented camp on the very rim of the crater, ideally situated for easy access to the crater – and some pretty incredible sunsets!
Kigali Serena Hotel, close proximity to the airport, enjoy the spa, vibrant pool deck and café (1 night), Volcanoes National Park Virunga Lodge, perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes (2 nights), Kigali Serena Hotel (1 night), Serengeti National Park Lemala Mara Tented Camp, set up in a prime location offering a high quality Serengeti safari experience of the magnificent wildebeest migration (3 nights), Ngorongoro Crater Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, close to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro, set in an ancient forest with quick easy access down to the crater floor (2 nights)
- Gorilla trekking – 2 Days
- Genocide historical tour
- Cultural village visit
- Dian Fossey Research Camp visit
- Optional escorted walks
- Maasai Village visit
- Lake Manyara Game Drive – tree climbing Lions
- See the Big Five while you descend into the Ngorongoro Crater
- Experience wildlife on the Serengeti plains from specially adapted safari vehicle
- Hot Air balloon safari over the Serengeti plains
- Optional additional day for Golden Monkey trek
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1 – Your Serengeti Safari
Welcome to Africa! Arrive into Kigali and transfer to the Kigali Serena hotel. Have a swim in the large outdoor pool and enjoy a leisurely dinner at the hotel.
Genocide Memorial Visit, Volcanoes National Park and Traditional Dance
After breakfast, visit the Genocide Museum. This memorial honors the estimated 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and also has an excellent exhibition that tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded. Continue to Volcanoes National Park. Arrive at Virunga Lodge and take in the stunning views for which the property is known; including the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east. Relax this afternoon and prepare for your big day of trekking tomorrow. Before dinner enjoy a performance by the local community’s traditional dance troupe. Made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers, the dance troupe performs the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan mwami (kings).
*Option to add an additional day in Volcanoes National Park to trek the Golden Monkeys
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trekking
Wake early this morning and set out on foot to view the Mountain Gorillas. Typically, tracking can take from 3 to 8 hours. You’ll be joined by a guide and several trackers as you head towards the gorillas through the dense forest. Once you find them, you will be able to spend one magical hour observing these amazing creatures in the wild. Return to the lodge for a warm shower, dinner and overnight.
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trekking
Up early today for your second day of trekking. Today you will visit a different family group, following the same procedure as they day before. After another full and exciting day you return to the lodge to clean up, sit around the camp fire, share stories with fellow travelers, followed by dinner and a well-deserved sleep.
Kigali Genocide Memorial & City Tour
After breakfast, transfer back to Kigali. This afternoon, visit the Genocide Museum. This memorial honors the estimated 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and also has an excellent exhibition that tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded. Enjoy dinner at one of the wonderful new restaurants in Kigali or at your hotel.
Day 6 – Serengeti Safari
Serengeti National Park, Afternoon Game Drive
This morning, fly directly to the famed Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You’ll be met at the airstrip by your guide and transferred to Lemala Mara, spotting game along the way.
Enjoy lunch under the shade of large Euclea trees in the heart of the best game viewing area of the Northern Serengeti. This afternoon enjoy your first game drive in the famed Serengeti plains before returning for dinner and overnight.
Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Safari, Afternoon Game Drive
This morning, wake early for a truly once in a lifetime experience; hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti plains. After silently gliding over Africa’s big game for an hour, enjoy a champagne breakfast in the bush. Spend the afternoon relaxing, reading and resting in camp before heading out on an afternoon game drive. Return to camp for pre-dinner drinks around the fireplace followed by dinner with fellow travelers. This Serengeti Safari experience is like no other.
Early morning game drive in Serengeti, Afternoon Game Drive
This morning, rise early and set out as the sun begins to rise. This is the time of day when the wildlife is most active. This is a fabulous opportunity to see the great wildebeest and zebra migration, large herds of plains game and the highest concentrate of predators in Africa! Return to camp for a full breakfast. Time for a siesta, relax in the shade, or enjoy a good book. After lunch and high tea, set out for one final game drive in the Serengeti, stopping to watch the sun set with cocktails and appetizers. Dinner back at the camp.
Ngorongoro Highlands and Horse Riding
After breakfast, drive east through the Serengeti to the airstrip where you board your bush flight to Manyara, your guide is there to meet and transfer you to Lake Manyara for an afternoon game drive and picnic lunch. You then head to the Ngorongoro Highlands and Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, which is beautifully furnished with grand sofas, lamps, bookshelves and corner cabinets in old wood, chests and rugs. In the evening, gather around the campfire to exchange tales of the day’s safari followed by a sumptuous hearty meal.
Full Day Game Drive in Ngorongoro Crater
Set out early for the nearby Ngorongoro Crater by safari vehicle. The crater is a huge volcanic caldera formed about 2.5 million years ago when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself. Here you can view the Big Five in high concentration with a stunning backdrop of the crater walls. Enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch on the crater floor. Return to camp for dinner and overnight.
Fly to Arusha and connect to your onward international flight home and complete your one-of-a-kind Serengeti safari with Rothschild.