Rwanda highlights, tailor made tour
Description of Rwanda highlights, tailor made tour
Spend nine days discovering the highlights of Rwanda, from beautiful Lake Kivu to gorilla trekking in the mountains, on this tailor made tour. Spend some time in the capital Kigali, where a guided tour will reveal Rwanda’s colonial past and its recent traumatic history, with a visit to the genocide memorial site at Gisozi, just outside the city, an emotional highlight. You’ll also explore the dense rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park with a local guide, home to abundant wildlife, birds and giant plants, and then move on to Virungas National Park where you can choose to take one or two treks to see the mountain gorillas that live here. The tour ends with time relaxing on the shores of lovely Lake Kivu.
1 Reviews of Rwanda highlights, tailor made tour
Reviewed on 01 Aug 2022 by Shari Hamman
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable part of our holiday was when my disabled 80 year
old friend was playfully touched by a Mountain Gorilla. We sat quietly as the gorilla family ate and played within six feet. A young gorilla became accustomed to our presence and playfully ran between my two friends and touched my friend. The Rangers said the young ones do this as an act of play and it meant they were comfortable with our presence. Seeing the gorillas was a life long dream of my friend. Seeing her dream come true in such a personal way made a remarkable trip more an intimate experience.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Go in small group of friends and family, tell your tour agent, our agent was Simon, your must see list and if any one in group has special needs or concerns. We wanted to have a day after long flights to rest at hotel and had to have porters help us up the mountain to see the gorillas due to mobility issues. Be honest about what you can and can not do! Most important, you are in Africa things are slower and layed back relaxed. Things do not happen fast, things do not always go as planned... do not panic, relax, enjoy the unexpected. Trust your guides and drivers, tell them if you need something or are worried about something. Keep their contact info close, use hotel and airport staff AND tip them well. They are very helpful and deserve to be appreciated for all the little things they do that makes your holiday wonderful that you never see. NEVER waste food in front of locals. Offer left overs in breakfast and lunch boxes to guide to give to local workers.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The local people have had a very hard two years, our visit provided much needed jobs and customers for local shops. Because we were open and friendly local people were able to learn about us while we were learning about their customs and country. It expanded their world while expanding our world. We chose Responsible Travel and this tour operator because they promoted conservation and reduced environmental impact so the local providers were environmentally aware. Each step along the way local providers guided us as to how best to help the environment and conserve local resources and animals.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Excellent hotels, great service, wonderful people.
PlanetTo ensure the least disruption of the surrounding environment, the ecolodge that you stay at for the gorilla trek was constructed with locally available material.
The conservation of water is of critical importance in the environments they operate. The lodge conserves water through regular maintenance to reduce leakages, fitting flow restrictors on shower heads and taps where possible, watering the gardens and grass roofs at cooler times of the day, and implementing a guest towel re-use and water conservation programme.
All waste water from the kitchens, guest bedrooms and staff houses is run into a sewage system and biologically treated as it runs through natural sand filters. The water outlets are tested regularly. In this way they can be sure that they are not introducing harmful toxins into the protected environments in which they operate.
All of the waste produced is recycled, re-used or disposed of responsibly. Recycled paper is used in offices and in brochure production, and recycle waste paper and cardboard through local community paper-making. This has the added benefit of providing livelihood streams for our neighbouring communities.
The number of permits issued per day is strictly limited to lessen the impact of people on the gorillas habitat. The cost of the permits goes straight back into the upkeep of the forest and pay towards anti-poaching patrols. The trip is lead by a local guide, who educates visitors about the habitat whilst on the walk - and local porters and tackers are also employed to help advise the routes that have the smallest footprint on the forest.
PeopleThe lodge buys as many products manufactured within Rwanda as possible including local furniture, matting, baskets and local art for décor.
We employ local staff, including in management positions. We also actively encourage their growth and advancement within the organisation often with internal training to assist in this process. The first source of staff is always from the local communities around the area where the lodge / camp is based and only if skills required are not available do we search elsewhere.
The ecolodge supports the surrounding rural community by purchasing farm-fresh produce that is served in the lodge’s restaurant. Menus are tailored to utilise the best of the fresh fruit and vegetables currently available – this is generally a seasonal thing as within Rwanda there is a large range of suitable fresh produce available.
Dry goods and manufactured goods are also purchased locally with the emphasis on local products – tea, coffee, honey, flour, and sugar to name a few.
Local guides and drivers are used at all times on this trip.
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