ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?!
LET'S START WITH THE FIRST WEEK.
ARRIVAL IN KIGALI
Karibu Rwanda! The day that your African adventure begins has come. You step off the plane and take a deep breath of fresh air. A whiff of unspoilt nature, lush wildlife, but above all the smell of a bustling city passes you by. Welcome to Kigali: the capital of Rwanda. Kigali stretches over several hills and valleys. In contrast to many African cities, in Kigali you can eat your portion of cassava with fish from the ground. Kigali has been declared the cleanest city in Africa! The population itself contributes to this, as every month they spend one day on community work. The city is a real travel hub with a lively economy. Modern skyscrapers, colourful markets, luxury clubs, trendy restaurants and local bars on hills with a beautiful view over the city. At the same time, the recent dark genocide history gives the city a heavy feeling. A private transfer is waiting at the airport to take you to your accommodation. Relax from the journey with a drink at the bar or swim a few lengths in the pool while looking out over the city.
HELLO KIGALI – GENOCIDE MEMORIAL
On the second day, you will explore (and learn a lot). In the morning, our local guide will pick you up for a walking tour of Kigali. This charming capital of Rwanda is known as the safest city in Africa, but finding your way around the rolling hills can sometimes be difficult for new visitors. So it’s super relaxing to be led by a guide who knows the city like the back of his hand. During the tour you can experience the daily life of Kigali in the busy streets and on the markets. Walking between the stalls full of fruits and steaming foodstalls, you must be hungry. How about a brochette? A typical Rwandan meat skewer from the BBQ. That way you can literally taste the culture.
But, besides delicious food, we also find it important that you get something of the history. Therefore, our guide takes you to the genocide monument. More than 250,000 victims are buried here who were killed during the genocide in 1994. A moving visit that you will certainly not forget in a hurry. Our guide will also take you to the Presidential Museum on this day. An interesting place to learn more about presidential life in Rwanda. After this walk, you will certainly have a lot of food for thought. Time for some relaxation! Kigali by night is an experience in itself. How about a bite to eat at cosy, local restaurants? Or a Primus beer at a fancy bar? There is something for everyone. Also for the party animals among you. Pool parties, clubs, roof top bars, you name it. Every now and then you have to stop to enjoy the beautiful view. The many hills and lights make it like one big starry sky to dream away in…
LAKE BURERA – ISLAND HOPPING
In the north of Rwanda lies a fairy-tale destination often skipped by travellers: Lake Burera. A hidden gem! On the way to Lake Burera, you drive by car over a winding road along Lake Ruhundo. These two lakes are the twin lakes of the Gorilla Highlands region. From the car you get a sneak peek of what you can expect today: mirror smooth water surfaces and beautiful green landscapes. At Lake Burera, a motorboat awaits you and takes you to three different islands, each with its own community. This will be a day where you will experience the real rural Rwanda. Arriving at the first island, officially “Birwa 1”, a climb awaits you along the steep coast up to the primary school of this island. The enthusiastic pupils of this primary school will welcome you when you reach the top. The next island, Cyaza, is also called the paradise for backpackers. Relax with a refreshing drink. On the third and last island, Munanira Island, local fishermen have prepared a lunch. The small fish they serve are fresher than fresh. Time for the next stop: Mount Mweru, where a famous king is said to have walked on water. Get ready for a short but intense climb to get to the village of Gitare. Here you will find a mine where Wolfram is mined, a greyish metal. Due to safety concerns, you cannot visit the mine itself, but the miners are happy to free up their time for you. Sipping a glass filled with the local brew Sorghum and banana beer, they are happy to tell you about its preparation. Want to taste this alcoholic drink yourself? That can be arranged!
After this adventure, it is time to cross the border into one of the most diverse countries in Africa: Uganda. Surrounded by green mountains and majestic volcanoes, you will immediately get to know this diverse landscape. You arrive at Lake Bunyonyi, a lake between the mountains in the border region of Uganda and Rwanda. With its elongated jagged shape and surrounded by steep banks, this lake is the national pride of Uganda. Fun fact: They are so proud of it that it is depicted on Uganda’s 5000 Shillings note. A boat will take you to Byoona Amagara, where you will spend the night in a geodome: a large dome hut. This hut has no door, but enough privacy. And: beautiful view guaranteed. The food here is vegetarian and very good. A lovely place to stay and admire the island. The next morning, you will explore Lake Bunyonyi (in local language: ‘the lake of many little birds’) from a hollowed-out tree trunk. While kayaking, you visit a part of the 29 islands. Time to soak up some culture! Each island has its own story and sometimes a creepy history… You can also go hiking on these islands. From the tops of the islands, you can see the lake from a bird’s eye view. Who knows, you might spot elks or wild zebras… It is all possible today.
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Not enough wildlife yet? Today the Queen Elizabeth National Park is on the agenda: Uganda’s most popular savannah reserve with a huge variety of different animals and birds. You drive through the beautiful landscape of Uganda to the national park. In this park you can, if you are lucky, tick off four of the Big Five animals after today. The ranger that takes you along will tell you everything about the different inhabitants of this park. In the evening, you will have another opportunity to spot many animals. The restaurant of the hotel where you sleep, the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, has a restaurant near the Kazinga Channel. Did you know that this channel has the largest Hippo population?
Did you sleep well last night? Great! On the sixth day we recommend you to put on good walking shoes for the Kyambura Gorge hike. This is a two to three hour walk through a gigantic gorge, 100 metres deep and completely covered with rainforest. While walking under the tropical trees, you might be lucky enough to run into a chimpanzee family. But even if you are not so lucky, Kyambura Gorge will not disappoint you. It is a beautiful walk with a true jungle experience. Another way to discover the Queen Elizabeth National Park is from a boat on the Kazinga Channel. Floating along the banks, you can feast your eyes on drinking buffaloes, colourful birds and bathing elephants. But apart from all these animals, you will also get a glimpse of the daily life of the people: children playing in the water, mothers wrapped in colourful cloths doing their laundry and fishermen hoping for a good catch from their wooden fishing boats. A breathtaking two-hour trip where you can tick many animals off your bucket list.
DAY 7 – 8
CRATER LAKES – MOTOR TOUR
On the seventh day, you leave early for one of the most beautiful places in Uganda: the crater lakes. When you admire the peaceful landscape from behind the car window, it is hard to imagine that 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, this was the scene of fiery volcanic activity. As these volcanoes are now sleeping, we can enjoy this fertile environment full of tropical forests. In the distance, the Rwenzori Mountains can be seen, surrounded by dense jungles. From a cosy campsite on the shores of Lake Nkuruba, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the crater lake, while different species of monkeys swing through the trees above your heads. Once you’ve recovered from the car ride, it’s time for action: a tour of the crater lakes on the back of a motorbike. Noah and his colleagues will pick you up to enjoy the mirror-smooth Crater Lakes with the wind in your hair. The advantage is that you will hardly meet any other tourists during this trip. The friendly locals are happy to tell you the most interesting stories.
Lake Nkuruba is called ‘the most beautiful crater lake’ by many. It would be a shame to leave here too soon! That is why we stay here on the eighth day, so that you can recover from the past days. Take it easy and take a swim: you decide what to do today.
Are you ready for the capital? Kampala is also the largest city in the country. What immediately stands out are the Boda Boda scooters that race everywhere. But, besides chaos, this city has much more to offer. First of all, there is the beautiful view on every corner of the city. Kampala is built on green hills and has low buildings that you can look over. You arrive in the afternoon at the Bushpig Backpackers hostel, which is centrally located in Kampala. Here you can drop your luggage, so that you can go to the next activity without worries: a tour through the Banange Beer Brewery. This special beer brewery is the very first and the only one in Uganda. During the tour, the ‘craft’ of brewing this local speciality beer will be explained. Fun fact: the name of the beer: Banange, is a Lugandan word that means “Oh my god”. You will judge this yourself with a tasting of all the special beers. While toasting with some snacks; looking back on your beautiful holiday. What more could you want?
TIME TO GO HOME
Unfortunately, your last day is here. But, you are not going home before you have experienced the city culture of Kampala. Our guides take you on the – by now famous – Boda Boda scooters. Our experienced drivers will show you the highlights of the city. Formerly, on every hill there was a palace, now most of them are destroyed. Kabaka’s palace is one that can still be seen. The Bahai temple is a place where several religions are brought together. With a beautiful garden around it, it is also a place where people go to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city. After you have stared your eyes out, it is time for lunch. A must is to get a Rolex in Kampala. By this we do not mean that luxury watch, but a popular snack in Uganda where an omelette with veggies is rolled into a chapati. After ticking off all the hotspots from the Kampala bucket-list, it’s time to head for the airport in Entebbe, with a head full of new memories and stories for home. Uganda and Rwanda have so much more beauty in store, so who knows until next time?
WHY CHARLIE'S TRAVELS?
Tourism in Africa is traditional. Before you know it, you travel from safari lodge to safari lodge without experiencing the real Africa! Charlie’s Travels is a young travel agency, specialized in tailor-made adventure travel. Together with an international team with the same adventurous mentality, we organise unique trips all over the African continent!
- We are the only Dutch on the ground travel agency in Kenya. This means that we have an endless amount of first hand African knowledge and information at our disposal, and in addition that our whole team is available 24/7 during your trip!
- We develop our own tours; no middle man with us. Charlie has been travelling around Africa since 2014, and everywhere he goes – from uncharted Maasai territory to the beaches of the Indian Ocean – he sets up new routes with local partners: an offbeat trip guaranteed!
- No standard packages! We see the perfect Africa trip as a co-creation: every adventure starts with a personal conversation in which we discuss your travel style and personal interests, in order to put together a trip that is completely designed for your needs.
- Our team is a dynamic mix of locals and westerners. Each with their own specialisation, but all infected with the Africa-virus!
- Charlie’s Travels is committed to a healthy African economy. Besides our local partners, we also support several local organisations.