As you fly into Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, you may be surprised by its setting - for every square metre of land that surrounds it appears to be heavily cultivated. Terraced plots seem to cover every hill within view. Our guide-driver will meet you on arrival, and once the whole group is accounted for – we’re off and away on our adventure. You must arrive into Kigali by 8.00am at the latest, or alternatively arrive the day before (Contact your reservations consultant if you wish to book a pre-tour hotel night in Kigali).
First stop: Akagera National Park, the only protected savannah in Rwanda. Akagera is located in the north-east of the country and is named after the river that separates Rwanda from Tanzania. The scenery here is stunning – rolling wooded hills and grasslands cradling a number of magnificent swamp-fringed lakes. After lunch and settling into our safari camp, we head off on our first game-drive hoping to see some of the animals that now call this region home: Masai giraffe, introduced from Kenya, and elephant. We also hope to see the first population of lions reintroduced to Rwanda after a 15-year absence, buffalo, impala, roan antelope, zebra, leopard, hyena, warthog, hippo, crocodile and – representing the primate family – olive baboons and vervet monkeys, and if we are really lucky, the very secretive blue monkey. For those interested in wildlife on the wing – some 500 bird species have been recorded here, including the rare and elusive shoebill, the fish eagle and crowned crane, and exquisite papyrus gonolek.