2 Weeks in Rwanda: A Complete Itinerary While on Self-Drive
How to spend two weeks in Rwanda: an itinerary for first-time visitors. 2 Weeks in Rwanda: A Complete Itinerary while on Self-drive. Spend two weeks in Rwanda – In your mind, what first comes to mind when you hear the name Rwanda? Most people, I guess, think of the terrible genocide that took place in this tiny African country in 1994. Rwanda has emerged from its turbulent history to become a model of stability and growth in Africa.
The people of Rwanda have shown incredible fortitude by making their country a secure and appealing tourist destination. The tourism business is still developing, but the country already has so much to offer that visitors will never be bored. In May of 2019, we visited Rwanda and put up this comprehensive two-week travel itinerary to help you plan a trip you’ll never forget.
Two weeks should be plenty of time to see everything on this list. You decide the timetable. We suggest taking the current weather and the accessibility of permits into account. You’ll find our detailed two-week schedule for Rwanda at the bottom of this post.
How to Spend 2 Weeks in Rwanda
Kigali is Rwanda’s capital and largest city. This is where most international flights will arrive and is a great place to get your feet wet. For more information about what to do and see in Kigali, check out our companion piece, “The Best of Kigali.” We based ourselves out of Kigali and ventured all over the country.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda:
See Gorillas in the Wild
Many visitors to Rwanda travel there specifically to observe wild gorillas. Even though we could have seen them in Rwanda, we decided to save money and go to Uganda instead. Rwanda charges $1500 USD per person for a gorilla tracking permit for one day, while Uganda charges $700 USD per person for the same privilege. Both choices come at a hefty cost, but we insist that you make the investment.
The gorilla hike in Uganda was one of the highlights of our trip. Our companion post, “Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: A Step by Step Guide,” has all the information you’ll need for this incredible adventure.
See the Twin Lakes
The two lakes are often referred to as “the twin lakes” since they are so similar. They provide beautiful scenery, great chances to spot birds, and fun boat cruises between Musanze and the Ugandan border. When we set out to go to the twin lakes, we ended up going on a wild goose chase across dirt roads and tiny towns.
We settled on a path that didn’t quite work out in terms of scenic lake vistas. One of the greatest places to see the lakes is from Virunga Lodge, which is why we suggest you drive there.
Hike a Volcano
Hiking enthusiasts can find fantastic paths all around Rwanda. Aside from its stunning volcano treks, Volcanoes National Park is also a great place to see wildlife (including gorillas, golden monkeys, and other primates), explore caves, and more. For detailed, how-to instructions for climbing Mount Bisoke, check out our companion page, Everything You Need to Know to Climb Bisoke.
TIP: Crema Café in Ruhengeri (Musanze) is a must for everyone traveling to Volcanoes National Park. The meals and coffee here are superb.
While passing through town, we made three separate pit stops there. If you have time, you should also try Migano Café for dinner.
Hiking Rwanda 🇷🇼 Mount Bisoke ⛰🌍
Relax at Lake Kivu
It takes roughly 3.5 hours to go to Gisenyi from Kigali. One of the many resorts along the shores of Lake Kivu is a wonderful location to unwind. Water sports and beautiful beaches have made this region famous.
At Inzu Lodge, my friends and I enjoyed a luxurious night of “glamping” in permanent tents equipped with lights and outlets.
Walking to the little and major border crossings with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, currently one of the world’s most dangerous countries, is an interesting thing to do while staying in Gisenyi. The modest boundary consists of nothing more than a gate arm, just as in any ordinary parking lot.
The Lakeside Restaurant and Beach Bar is close by the lake, so nocturnal activity is guaranteed. Drinks and dancing here are a terrific way to kick off a fun night out. Nyanja Nightclub has more of a club vibe and has more dancing options. Now that you’re hungry, it’s time to stop into Calafia Café. Great meals, reasonable rates, and excellent coffee are available, although the clientele consists mainly of foreign workers.
Rwanda Safari Akagera National Park
Go on Safari in Akagera National Park
East of Rwanda, on the border with Tanzania, is where you’ll find Akagera National Park. From Kigali, it takes around 2.5 hours to reach the entrance (southern gate), and about 3 hours to return to the city via the exit (north gate).
There are lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffalo here—the “big five” of Africa. We camped for two nights in the park. See our article “Self-Drive Safari Guide For Akagera National Park” for all the information you’ll need to plan a successful safari in Rwanda.
On the way back to Kigali, stop by Imigongo Art Centre and Cafe for some amazing cuisine, a terrific cup of coffee, and some fantastic local art.