Secure your spot on the trip and book now by paying your deposit of USD 2000$/person. Contact us if you wish to be added on the waiting list instead.
Join World Vegan Travel and Joyful Vegan Trips on an absolute classic of a trip, as we return to one of our favorite countries, Rwanda!
If you’ve missed it last time, don’t hesitate this time around! This trip offers something for everyone: a vibrant culture, jaw-dropping scenery, wildlife adventures, and luxury with delicious and abundant 100% plant-based meals throughout. All this and with with author/podcaster/activist Colleen Patrick-Goudreau there with you!
This is it. The trip you’ve been saving for. The trip you’ve been dreaming about. This is truly the trip of a lifetime!
Rwanda is safe, clean, and its progressive environment makes it a perfect destination for sustainable tourism. We’ll start by exploring Kigali‘s memorials before heading out to Nyungwe National Park and trek amongst the chimpanzees.
Next up we explore Lake Kivu and participate in the unique Umuganda, a monthly community service event where Rwandans come together to work on various projects for the betterment of their neighborhoods and the country. You won’t soon forget this incredible experience!
The grand finale awaits in Volcanoes National Park, where you’ll meet Dian Fossey’s mountain gorillas up close. And we mean, VERY up close! The endangered mountain gorillas live in only one place on Earth, and we’re taking you there! We’ll even go visit with Golden Monkeys as an extra bonus.
So come support the conservation of gorillas, golden monkeys, and chimpanzees by visiting them in their natural habitats, and experience it all in deluxe comfort with all meals included, all 100% vegan, all the time!
Rwanda, here we come!
You’ll need to be able to walk/hike for at least a couple of hours, as there will be 3 instances where we head into the forests to track Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys and Gorillas.
Since chimpanzees tend to stay up in the trees, this can mean a lot of hiking up and down hills and through bushes as we try and get a good look. Or they could come down to meet us.. you never know!
The gorilla trekking can be short or long — we only really know the morning before setting out as we’re assigned our families, but we do try and put slower walkers in a group that will be closer to the park boundaries. You should still expect to walk for 1+ hours — maybe more — and often on muddy trails.
Expect the worst in terms of length and mud, and anything better than that will be a nice bonus 🙂
Golden Monkeys are usually found at the entrance of the forest, so the hiking isn’t overly long or arduous. However, it can also be muddy.
Overall, if you are able to walk for a few hours, you should be able to hike up to the chimps, golden monkeys and gorillas. We will have a team of porters for every trek, who will not only carry your backpack but also help you over more difficult terrain!
Rwanda is definitely not at the forefront of veganism — which is why we’re offering this trip! — and you will encounter quite a lot of meat, fish and other animal-product displays. We will be visiting non-vegan restaurants where people at a nearby table may be eating animal flesh. This is sadly unavoidable in Rwanda, although we’ve taken every step to minimize this.
USD 13,999$/pp for double and twin rooms
EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT, 500$ OFF = USD 13,499$/pp!
Not confirmed. Deadline for confirmation = March 31st, 2024
Since this is a trip of a lifetime, we’re going to make sure we stay in the best possible hotels in terms of location, and comfort, including 2 incredible resorts that would be the highlight of the trip if it wasn’t for those gorillas!
In Kigali, we’ll spend our first 2 nights and our final night together at the Kigali Marriot. Expect modern and spacious rooms, and a very central location within easy walking distance to downtown, great restaurants, cafes and the moving Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial.
On Lake Kivu, where we’ll participate in Umuganda, we’ll stay overnight at the Cleo Lake Kivu, situated on a hillside overlooking the gorgeous lake. You will feel like you’ve been transported to the Mediterranean!
But it’s in the National Parks where we’ll really step it up!
In Nyungwe, home to many species of birds, monkeys and chimpanzees, we’ll be staying 2 nights at the One & Only Nyungwe House. Dramatically located right on the edge of the national forest itself, it has its own working tea plantation and plenty of fun activities for you to enjoy… if you can get pry yourself out of your gorgeous room first!
Finally, in Volcanoes National Park, where we’ll visit Dian Fossey’s museum, the golden monkeys and experience an unforgettable hour with the mountain gorillas, we’ll spend 2 incredible nights at the new One & Only’s Gorilla’s Nest. This is an incredible property that you won’t soon forget!
Have a look at some video of the two One & Only properties we’ll be staying at, and start dreaming!
Do note that the itinerary below is subject to change. Some activities, times and even days may get switched around, but once you sign up you will be kept updated. Please rest assured that if anything does change, it will be for the best and make the trip even better. We’re hoping that the itinerary below should, at the very least, whet your appetite — pun definitely intended!
Today is arrival day. How exciting!! Once you’ve passed immigration and customs, you’ll be transferred to our hotel, and your home for the next 2 nights. Located in downtown Kigali near some shopping areas and within walking distance to the Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial, it’s the perfect location to ease into Rwanda and central Africa.
You will notice right away how clean Kigali is! Indeed, the country has completely banned plastic bags, so make sure you aren’t carrying any as there are sporadic luggage checks at the airport!
Our trip officially starts at around 5pm, with a welcome meeting where we’ll introduce ourselves over a glass of bubbly (of course!) before moving on to our welcome feast. Come hungry!
** Please ensure you arrive early enough in Kigali to get from the airport to our hotel (approximately 1.5hrs, including the often long immigration process) with enough time to check in and freshen up before our first meeting and dinner. If you decide to fly in a few days early, do let us know if you need us to book any extra night in our Kigali accommodations. We will be sending out costs several months before the trip’s start date.
airport pickup and transfer to your hotel
welcome meeting & drinks
non-premium drinks during dinner
all transportation once the trip begins
breakfast & lunch
After our amazing VEGAN breakfast, we depart for a day of sadness and remembrance. First stop will be the Ntarama Genocide Memorial, a church where mass killings occurred during the 1994 genocide; more than 5000 people were killed here, seeking refuge in the one place they thought they would be safe. The church is located about 30 kilometers south of the capital city of Kigali. We will visit the site and learn more about the unity and reconciliation commission.
We’ll then continue on to our next stop, Nyamata, yet another church where around 2,500 people were killed. It has become emblematic of the barbaric treatment of women during the genocide.
We’ll be back in Kigali in time for lunch at a local vegetarian restaurant. Afternoon is free, and we can help organize a few outings. For those who want to continue the Rwandan genocide story, an optional visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre is highly recommended. If it’s too much for one day, we recommend you spend an extra day in Kigali after the trip is over. This is also a worthy sight for those arriving a day or so early.
Other options for your afternoon are various art galleries in town, the old Presidential Palace (where you can still see the remains of the crashed presidential plane!), or simply relax and take care of your jet-lag by relaxing by the pool.
Dinner will be served at our hotel as we have an early departure tomorrow!
guided visits to Ntarama and Nyamata Genocide Memorials
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
After an early breakfast, we pack up and leave for a long day of driving (~6 hours) to Nyungwe Forest National Park. While it’s a long drive, it’s also absolutely stunning. You will definitely see why Rwanda is called the Land of a Thousand Hills. The beauty of the landscape and people we pass by along our route will stay entrenched in your memory forever.
We’ll stop en-route for lunch in a local restaurant by the big Lake Kivu, which serves as the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will be a great way to stretch our legs and take in the fresh mountain air. All those hills means Rwanda is at a near constant high elevation, and despite its neighbors experiencing torrid hot weather, we should be in relative balmy comfort!
A quick look at our home for the next 2 nights, the One & Only Nyungwe Forest House, and you will surely agree the long drive was more than worth it! Set amidst a stunning tea plantation and on the fringe of the national forest, the lodge is in one of the most stunning locations in the world. After some time to freshen up, we’ll have a welcome drink and wonderful vegan dinner.
One & Only Nyungwe House (5 star)
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
After another early breakfast, we drive over into the park and on to our starting point for our chimpanzee trek (6am-10am).
There are two species of chimpanzee in Africa: the Bonobo and the Common Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes (often shortened to Chimpanzee, and sometimes referred to as the Robust Chimpanzee). At about only 400 individuals, the population of chimps in Rwanda is unfortunately endangered. For this reason, it must be noted that it’s not guaranteed we will see chimps as they are unpredictable and can move long distances in one day — and we respect their right to do so. Still, our brilliant team of early trackers will do their very best to help us get some sightings, and it is more common than not to spot them.
Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of mountain forest in East and Central Africa and it is an incredibly rich area of biodiversity. You can expect to see a myriad of other monkeys swinging in the trees and keeping a close eye on us throughout our jungle trek. NOTE: there is definitely some climbing up and down the hillsides, so it requires some stamina and good walking shoes.
Once done, we’ll head back to the resort in time for lunch. The afternoon is free, with some fun and exciting options for those who still have the energy. A good example is the canopy walk, which is set 50 meters (165 feet) above the ground with a 150-meter (492 feet) walkway, and allows visitors to see the forest from above the trees and be at eye-level with birds and monkeys that inhabit the upper stories of the forest. Other options include nature walks in the forest or, of course, simply lounging back at the pool or on your balcony with a book and drink in hand.
Dinner will be at the lodge.
One & Only Nyungwe Forest House
several complimentary activities at our resort
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
After breakfast, we’ll board our jeeps and head over on a 2hr drive to the shores of Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s largest lake. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve been transported to the Mediterranean!
We’ll have lunch here and take a boat ride on the lake, before heading north to the town of Gisenyi and our hotel for the night.
Serena Lake kivu
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
Wake up to the magnificent sounds of the beach…and a nice vegan breakfast!
This morning we join Rwandans from all walks of life on their monthly mandatory community service. Umuganda is a unique Rwandan holiday, reborn in its modern form as part of the country’s reconstruction efforts after the genocide. Nowadays, it’s a country-wide event where people ranging from workers to Presidents come together in a near-party atmosphere to clean the streets, fix a road, build a school, etc., all with plenty of singing and dancing in between chores. It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be able to join our gracious hosts for a few hours, and something your will not soon forget!
We’ll then head over to Ruhengeri (1 hour) and the Dian Fossey Karisoke Research Center. Founded by famed primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey — Colleen’s hero!! — we’ll get a private behind-the-scene guided tour of the museum and learn about the center’s amazing work they have done (and continue to do!) in supporting the local gorilla population and regulating visits to the several human-acclimated families.
We’re then off to our home for the next 3 nights, the absolutely incredible One & Only Gorilla’s Nest. This 5-star resort is a new addition to the area and very much as beautiful and luxurious as its sister in Nyungwe. We’ll get there just in time for you to unpack and join the rest of the group for a delicious dinner.
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest
private guided tour of the Ellen DeGeneres Center & Dian Fossey museum
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
Ok, this is it! The big day! We won’t lie: this is the highlight of the trip. It may well be the highlight of your life!
After an early breakfast, we head over to the National Park headquarters to meet our guides for the day. Here we will be divided in a few different groups. Each group will be assigned one human-habituated gorilla family. Some will require a few hour’s walk, some will require much, much more. There is no way to guarantee which family you will be assigned to, so please come prepared for a lot of walking. If your family isn’t too far, then you can view this as a bonus. Otherwise enjoy the hike (it burns calories!!!) and know that the reward is more than worth it. Do note that it is possible to employ a porter on the spot for about 15$-20$, to help carry your backpack. This can be quite useful as it allows you to enjoy your trek a bit more, but also give a local some much-needed work. Remember, you’re on holiday and this is supposed to be the best thing ever!!
There is also no guarantee that you will meet up with a big family or one that is active (gorillas sleep and lounge a lot). Each family is different and there’s bound to be a group that will have a bigger or more active family than another. It’s just the nature of, well, nature, but regardless, you will get to see some mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
In any case, once we complete the park formalities, you will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience of trekking to see mountain gorillas. This is truly a life-changing experience, and absolutely nothing can prepare you with your first glimpse of a gorilla munching away on a leaf.
Once you spot your family, you are allowed to spend 1 hour watching your closest long-lost cousin, and trust us, this is going to be an hour you will never, never forget. This is perhaps one of the most breath-taking wildlife experiences on Earth! While you’ll be asked to stay a certain distance from them, the gorillas don’t tend to adhere to these rules so expect some close encounters with these awesome giant primates. You’ll stare at each other blankly not knowing who will break the long silence first.
Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga is a magical experience in itself. These massive primates are extremely rare, with around 880 living today, so for some — if not all groups — this can demand a fairly strenuous hike. You should expect up to six hours or longer at a relatively high altitude. Anything less will just have to be a nice bonus. For this reason, we encourage for your own enjoyment to make sure that you are perfectly fit and healthy.
We then return for lunch at our lodge on an absolute high. Afternoon is free for you to relax, upload some pictures, or indulge in some more optional activities, before our “we just saw gorillas!!” party in the evening!
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
Is there anything better than waking up in the Volcanoes National Park!??
This morning we set off on our Golden Monkey trekking in the Volcanoes National Park. Entering dense stands of bamboo interspersed with open glades, we will make our way deep into golden monkey territory. Guides will lead us to the groups of ‘habituated’ golden monkeys – monkeys that have become accustomed to human presence.
Though viewing is kept to a maximum of one hour, travelers can get an up-close look at the golden monkey in its natural habitat. Adult monkeys frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from perch to perch. Females carry their young, completely comfortable among onlookers. They are incredibly cute!
We’ll return to our lodge for lunch before packing up, saying our sad goodbyes to this incredible region of the world, and head back to Kigali (~2.5hrs).
Once there we’ll check into our hotel, shower up, and enjoy our final goodbye drinks and feast, where we’ll exchange emails and photos and hopefully plan to meet again! It’s our last night so we’ll make it count!
Golden Monkeys tracking
breakfast, lunch & dinner
non-premium drinks during meals
Today is unfortunately departure day. Nothing is planned today except for your transfers to Kigali airport… unless you decide to extend your stay in this little stretch of paradise, of course!
One great reason to stay is to head out for a safari in Akagera National Park. While you could go there and back to Kigali in one day, we highly recommend you spend at least 1 night in the national park. Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll help you plan the perfect trip extension!
lunch & dinner
We really do mean it. This is the TRIP OF A LIFETIME! But you don’t need to take our word for it. Have a listen to our 2019 travelers:
We expect this trip to sell out quickly so ensure your spot on the trip and sign up early by paying the sign-up deposit per person.
The sign-up deposit is non-refundable under any conditions UNLESS the trip is not confirmed by the deadline (see TRIP INFO). Please carefully read our cancellation policy section for more information.
In order to sign up, fill in the form on this page. Any problems or questions? Email us!
If you are signing up as a single, please read our single travelers section for more information and the single supplement cost.
Please note that signing up before the deadline does not guarantee the trip will run as this depends on having the necessary minimum of participants.
SINGLE ROOMS are available. Please take note of our SINGLE SUPPLEMENT in the pricing section.
SHARING ROOM WITH ANOTHER SOLO TRAVELER: if you would prefer to share a room with another single, please let us know. We’ll add you to our list until another single of the same gender signs up. We will put you both in touch so you can confirm that sharing is your preference before booking.
Following the sign-up deposit (PAYMENT #1), the remaining balance will be due in 2 installments:
We can work with you on a payment plan: pay your trip in the usual 2 installments, or opt for several. Contact us to discuss what works best for you!
We currently accept US DOMESTIC BANK TRANSFERS and CREDIT CARDS PAYMENTS.
EXTRA PAYMENT FEES
Online Bank Payment – US only: also called eCheck or ACH, we do not charge a fee for this, although your bank may do so. Please inquire with them directly.
Credit card payment: the following fees will be added to the total:
Since our trips are highly catered and made of activities that need a lot of planning and organization, all payments (the initial sign-up deposit, 50% deposit and final payment) are all non-refundable. This is because we must forward payments for accommodation, transportation, suppliers, etc. very early on, in order to privatize our accommodation, activities and our meals.
To see our booking terms and conditions you can click here. You will find the cancellation policy in section 9 and 10.
TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE – MANDATORY
This is a World Vegan Travel requirement. You will need to provide a policy and emergency contact number in order to join the trip. This can be done just prior to the trip’s date.
Trip Insurance (ie. covering your flight tickets, luggage, etc.) is definitely recommended as well, but not mandatory.
The itinerary is therefore subject to change, especially if we find an experience that we believe would make the trip even better.
DIET RESTRICTION & ALLERGIES
We do try to accommodate everyone’s food restrictions, especially allergies. We can only do so if you let us know of any requirements when you sign up. We begin working with all our hotels and restaurants a long time in advance, and meals are usually locked several months before the trip. At this point, it is often no longer possible to change menus.
In other words: it is your responsibility to alert us of any dietary requirements, restrictions, allergies and needs, when you sign up.
We do realize this is quite an expensive trip, and we’d like to point out the main reasons why this is so:
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and World Vegan Travel work closely together to create JOYFUL VEGAN TRIPS, which are specifically curated by Colleen to ensure the high quality that she has come to be known for. All trips include activities and dedicated time with Colleen, such as Q&A session, round-table discussions, sharing, and more.
Absolutely! We have many people on our trip that sign up as solo travelers. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelers, or pay the single supplement to get your own room.
You are in charge of your own flights to and from Rwanda. We ask that you try and arrive in KIGALI early on the 1st day at the very latest, so you can allow enough time to go through the immigration and baggage retrieval process and the drive to our hotel and still be able to freshen up and rest up a bit before our first meeting and welcome dinner. We would estimate the time between landing and arriving at the hotel to be about 1.5hrs. Our first meeting is traditionally at 4pm.
Regardless of your arrival date, we will provide an airport pickup.
Please note that check-ins at our hotel are not guaranteed BEFORE 3PM. We will try and have the hotel accommodate early arrivals, but it’s possible you will be asked to wait until a room becomes available. We are situated right downtown, so worst case it’s nice and exciting to go and explore the neighborhood!
Our trip finishes up in KIGALI so book your return or ongoing flight from there. You may also decide to stay in Rwanda or in the region a little longer, and if that’s the case let us know if we can help with your ongoing travel (ie accommodation, transportation, ideas, suggestions, etc). We will be providing airport transfers on our final itinerary day only, until afternoon.
As of January 1st, 2018, all nationalities coming to Rwanda are now eligible for getting a visa on arrival. The visa costs is $50 USD. This is payable upon landing at Kigali airport. Please have cash with you.
Regarding vaccinations: there are no compulsory vaccinations required for entry to Rwanda unless you are arriving from an area infected with Yellow Fever, in which case a Certificate of Inoculation against Yellow Fever is required from travelers.
We will update all our travelers concerning the requirements of entry in regards to COVID19. It could be that you will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test.
For all other vaccines, we strongly recommend you consult directly with your doctor or health professional to make sure you are getting the proper care. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets.
Typically, the recommended vaccinations are Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Polio, cholera, yellow fever, rabies and influenza. As mentioned above, please chat with your doctor to decide on which ones to get, if any.
Since we will be hiking in jungles (when tracking monkeys and gorillas) and therefore possibly exposed to mosquitoes, having anti-malarial medication could be a good idea. Make sure to bring your mosquito repellent, and use long sleeves and trousers during evenings/ morning times as a prevention of getting bitten.
Medical facilities are common throughout Rwanda, with the best services provided in Kigali. Do note that some medicines and prescriptions may be hard to find here, so come well prepared.
JOYFUL VEGAN TRIPS and WORLD VEGAN TRAVEL hold no responsibility for any medical issues resulting from your lack of vaccination.
Yes, you will need medical travel insurance. This is a requirement from World Vegan Travel. We need to know that you are fully covered in the event of a medical emergency, including repatriation. You will need to send us your policy detail and emergency contact number before the trip’s start date.
As we are not a travel agency or booking agents, we can’t book any flights or ongoing travel (ie hotels, transportation, etc) for you. However we can surely help with recommendations, suggestions and tips as you look into flights, or extending your holiday. It never hurts to ask, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries whatsoever!
Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate due to its high elevation. Most of the country is located on a plateau, around 5,000 feet (1500m) above sea level, so for most of the year, and despite being just south of the Equator, Rwanda enjoys pleasantly warm day temperatures and cool nights all year round! Still, they do have a dry and rainy season…
At the time of our visit, we will be in Rwanda just before their 2nd (and shorter) dry season. This means we might run into some rain here and there, but the downpours are quick and very rarely last more than a couple of hours. It usually doesn’t affect travel too much. But it can mean that the trails when gorilla trekking may be a bit muddy. No worries, we can clean up in our beautiful resort!
You can expect daily high temperatures are around 79°F (26°C), rarely falling below 75°F(23°C) or exceeding 83°F (28°C). Daily low temperatures are around 62°F (16°C), rarely falling below 58°F (14°C) or exceeding 65°F (18°C).
Here are some essential items to consider for your trip to Rwanda:
Overall, this means light (preferably) cotton or linen material. Skirts, dresses, light shirts and light pants should do the trick. Jeans are ok, but heavy and bulky. We’ll have a laundry day included as well, so no need to over-pack. Otherwise, and since we usually stay 2 nights in each location (except for Lake Kivu), laundry is easy and accessible everywhere (at extra cost). Your guide will help you. You just need to ask!
Suitcases: we highly recommend that you bring SOFT SHELL LUGGAGE as we will need to fit quite a few in our land vehicles. They are easier to stack and fit in tight spaces.
Smaller is always better, but a normal-sized luggage is ok. We don’t have any domestic flights and will be going from location to location in our own vehicles so the times you need to carry your own bags will be quite limited. Please try and stick to one suitcase per person, plus your laptop bag/day backpack, but this is mostly due to space in our vehicles than your own discomfort at actually having to carry anything around (there are porters everywhere).
Avoiding shorts and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts is best, for both men and women, as it shields you from the sun (even if it’s cool, don’t forget that Rwanda lies at a high elevation and a bit closer to the sun!) and, of course, mosquitoes! Those pants that have zips transforming them into shorts are ideal.
We do have a few days of tracking animals. Golden monkeys aren’t too strenuous, but you should expect a lot of jungle walking as well as uphill/downhill and very possibly mud (these are rain forests after all!) when tracking both the gorillas and chimpanzees, so do bring adequate footwear and walking gear. This means well-broken into hiking shoes with comfy socks and good grip! A hat is also recommended.
Don’t forget binoculars! The forests are full of birds and many other types of monkeys, etc. Plus chimpanzees have a habit of staying up high in the trees! If your camera has a decent zoom lens, you’ll be the group’s hero. Prepare to share your pictures 😉
At no time will you need to dress up for our meals, so forget about suits and Sunday dresses. Likewise, bring some comfy shoes for when we’re traveling and staying put at hotels, or simply walking around town or a village, but leave anything dressy at home.
Our hotels all have toiletries so there’s no need to pack shampoo and soap unless you want to try and minimize waste. Don’t forget:
Our hotels all have internet, and we will have WIFI in the vehicles. Do note that the connection in the latter may be spotty at times.
For the most part, this is an all-inclusive trip. We provide all accommodation, transportation, activities, meals and drinks. You will only need cash for extra purchases such as souvenirs, spas, optional activities and extra drinks outside of what’s included. There are ATMs in the big cities. For us, this means Kigali and any town we hit while traveling from location to location, but not so much in the areas where we stay the night. If you are in need of an ATM, please let your tour leader know so they can plan a stop.
Outside of Kigali, you should expect minimal chances to use your credit cards (mostly visas and MasterCard. Best to forget about American Express).
The tour leaders will be carrying extra cash. If you decide to go on an optional activity at the last minute but don’t have enough money, we will be able to help you out and you can simply pay us back when we find an ATM.
During meals: we will provide non-premium drinks (soda, wine, beer, coffee, tea). Any premium drinks on top of what’s provided will require you to pay the suppliers (ie hotel, restaurant) directly. We will make it very clear how much is included before each meal.
We also include tips for all our activities. For all optional activities, you should budget tips around 5$-10$ per person. This is the way in Africa.
Tipping hotel and restaurant staff is not necessary and entirely up to you. If you like to tip service staff, please bring some extra US cash.
This is generally not a problem, but we do need to be informed at the time of booking so we may prepare the meals accordingly. Please be as precise and detailed as possible. Once on the trip, it is difficult and/or not possible to change our meal plans.
Colleen (and her husband David) is very much another traveler in our group and will be taking the same vehicles and participating in the same activities as the rest of us. You can approach and talk to her at any time, just like anyone else. Having said that, do remember that she will be as tired as everyone after a long day of travel or sightseeing, so we should just be respectful of that as we are of anyone else.
This trip does include at least 2 days of heavy hiking (gorillas and chimpanzees) so you WILL need to be physically fit enough for these undertakings. You don’t need to be the fittest person on your block, but you should be ready to hike up and down hills in a wet and hot jungle for several hours, on two occasions. So while you can certainly skip those two activities (or one of them), we feel your overall enjoyment will be hindered a bit as they are definitely the highlight of the trip!
It’s important to note that for these 2 activities, we will be hiring local porters that can help you not only with carrying your bag, but hold your hand during tricky parts and generally do everything they can to get you to the chimps and gorillas. You will also have the option to use a walking stick, which everyone is always glad to have — regardless of their fitness level or hiking expertise
For gorillas: if you have an ailment or a bit of a hard time with long hikes, we can ask the National Park to assign a gorilla family that isn’t too far off into the mountain. However, while in the past our requests have been honored, there is simply no guarantee that they will or can do so this time. For the chimpanzees, they live deep in the bush and up trees, so there’s no way out of having to run up and down thick jungle to see/find them.
If the gorilla hike is the only thing stopping you from joining the trip, please contact us as we may have extra space and be able to negate the high cost of gorilla permits for you. There is no guarantee, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Youth above 16 years young are welcome. We are currently not accepting any younger children.
There’s no upper age limit, though do note that there is a fair amount of walking on this trip.
Rwanda has emerged from its troubled and horrific past to become one of Africa’s shining beacon in terms of safety and cleanliness. And while there are pockets of instability, mostly due to its volatile neighbors, we will always be staying within safe areas and have local experienced guides to ensure we don’t stray into problematic areas.
Serious crime or hostility aimed specifically at travelers is very rare, and there’s no more to worry about here than in most other countries. The most common crimes that are reported are robbery. The biggest city and capital, Kigali, may well be a genuine contender for the safest capital in Africa, though, as in any big city, take care at night and don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t display cash, avoid walking at night in areas you aren’t familiar with, and basically use the same common sense you do at home.
Day-to-day though, you will only encounter friendly locals and, due to how clean the cities and countryside is, wonder if you’re in Africa or not. Kigali is safer than many western cities. And while we are traveling in areas where we will be in close contact with animals (gorillas, chimps) we will have local and experienced guides and trackers to keep us safe.
English and French are both official languages, and many residents (particularly in urban areas) will speak one or the other in addition to Kinyarwanda. In practice though, English is by far more popular, with the number of french-speakers decreasing, except perhaps near the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (where French is the official language) or by DRC expats.
Everyone in the tourist trade, as well as most young people, will speak ENGLISH while the older population may speak at least a bit of English (and a lot of French).
Kinyarwanda is the chief spoken language in Rwanda. It is also spoken in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the south of Uganda (Bufumbira-area). Kinyarwanda is a language of the Bantu linguistic family. It is closely related to Kirundi spoken in the neighboring country Burundi and to Giha of western Tanzania. Still, English remains the language of business and trade, hence its popularity and fluency across the country.
World Vegan Travel and Joyful Vegan Trips aim to be a safe place for all LGBTQ travelers. We have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any sort.
Overall, travel to Rwanda for the LGBTQ community is safe. As a visitor to Rwanda, your sexual preferences and identity are your private business, and are generally of no interest to others. Rwandans tend to be very welcoming to all tourists, regardless of their sexual orientation.
That said, openly amorous behavior, for both hetero- and homosexual couples, can cause offence, especially in rural areas, so we’d still advise all our travelers to be cautious, regardless of sexual orientation. In general, we’d suggest that you stick to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach while travelling.
While same-sex marriage remains illegal, there are no laws against homosexual behavior (unlike neighboring Uganda). Since debating the issue in 2009, Rwanda has pushed ahead to progress human rights for its LGBTQ citizens. In the region, Rwanda is therefore known as something of a haven for LGBTQ citizens alienated from neighboring countries.
In 2011, the Rwanda government signed the UN statement condemning violence against LGBT people, joining a further nine African countries in supporting LGBT rights. Then, in 2016, President Paul Kagame delivered an outspoken address stating that living as an LGBT citizen in Rwanda “…hasn’t been our problem. And we don’t intend to make it our problem”.