From urban to rural, this ultimate Rwanda experience, offered both in this group adventure (or join a custom date if you can't make this one!), will give travelers a deeper understanding of how Rwanda is seen as a global leader for the economic and political empowerment of women, and through this are able to provide a higher level of education, health care and standard of living for themselves and dependents.
Since the devastating genocide of 1994, Rwandan leadership has helped to amplify gender equality and narrow the gender gap and the country is revered as the most pro-woman country in the world. Learn more in our latest blog. Participants on this heartfelt Learn, Serve and Immerse 10-day journey to Rwanda will have an opportunity to learn firsthand about this remarkable achievement through engaging visits with representatives of non-profit organizations, who will share and their initiatives and programs supporting community members and women, and experience life and culture in the Kigali region. There will also be experiences to get a glimpse of Rwanda’s past through emotional visits to sites dedicated to the 1994 Genocide and will also take in the stunning natural views of the Nyungwe Forest and remote regions of Rwanda and experience life, culture and art in these spaces, from drumming troupes to tea planting, and a safari ride.
Listen to our webinar about this impactful Rwanda Trip!
Rwanda is seen as a case study for resilience and empowerment, especially for women. Despite the Genocide in 1994 that claimed almost one-third of the Rwandan population, the country has seen exceptional strides in empowering women and sustaining environments. Women were historically marginalized in Rwandan society. Since then, it has evolved into a revered country that uplifts, empowers, and supports women through community, socio-economic development, and supportive NGOs. Travelers will have an opportunity to experience these NGOs, learn about initiatives and programs supporting community members and women, and experience life and culture in the Kigali region.
On this Learn, Serve, and Immerse journey, travelers will also get a glimpse of Rwanda’s past through emotional visits to sites dedicated to the 1994 Genocide. Participants of this trip will also take in the stunning natural views of the Nyungwe Forest and remote regions of Rwanda and experience life, culture and art in these spaces, from drumming troupes to tea planting, and a safari ride. From urban to rural, this ultimate Rwanda experience will give travelers a deeper understanding of how Rwanda is seen as a global leader for the economic and political empowerment of women, and through this are able to provide a higher level of education, health care, and standard of living for themselves and dependents.
To learn more, visit our YouTube page to watch a recording of our Information Session for this trip!
About Kelly McCoy, your Trip Facilitator!
Kelly has been traveling to countries in Africa for over 15 years and is our Africa Sustainable Community Adventures, Program Manager. One of her favorite trips was visiting Rwanda in 2008. The welcoming beauty of the people, women's empowerment in society, the cultural heritage, the natural environment, and the wildlife all have a special place in her heart.
Her first visit to Africa was during the 10th anniversary of free elections and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. It was a wonderful trip of learning, connection, and adventure! Since then, she has visited 6 of the 54 countries that make up this amazing continent. And has been exposed to and challenged with new experiences from Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, visiting and connecting with the people of Soweto in Johannesburg, being on safari in the Serengeti, and serving children through an educational project in Tanzania, no two experiences have been alike.
Kelly believes that travel is a means to build bridges of awareness while inspiring people to grow through exposure, connection, and engagement. She has traveled to 20+ countries. Her favorite travel experiences have all come from meeting and engaging with people of diverse cultures and from all walks of life around the world. And their gift has been to welcome and allow her to experience the places they call home through their eyes.
Her love for travel, passion for Africa and its diaspora, researching and illuminating little-known history in special places, and experience volunteering abroad have put her on a mission to share and provide people with personal and unique experiences to extraordinary destinations in Africa.
Global Family Travels believes the most powerful way to learn is through first-hand experiences. Our Rwanda experience will give you the opportunity to learn from the land and its people. Delving deeper into its dark past, this transformational trip will give you an understanding of how Rwanda’s historical roots have shaped its ever-evolving landscape today. Additionally, you will learn about the country’s persevering and resilient community of women and women-lead organizations and initiatives that have laid a foundation for transformation and empowerment for generations of women to come.
Learning themes unique to this tour include:
- History of Rwanda, with a focus on healing from Genocide
- Women-led initiatives and NGOS
- Peace, Reconciliation and Collaborative Movements
- Sustainable Development and Gender Equality
Kigali is home to several women led organizations championing inclusivity and empowerment services. During your time in Rwanda, you will have the opportunity to visit some of these NGOs making global strides for gender equality and equity. After you engage and learn about these organizations, we suggest making a meaningful donation to one of the three NGOs you will be visiting:
- Nyamirambo Women's Center: The Nyamirambo Women’s Center is a Rwandan NGO which launched in 2007 with the mission to provide educational and vocational training to women with lower financial means, allowing them to thrive and flourish with professional and enrichment opportunities.
- Imbuto Foundation: The Imbuto Foundation also supports building a prosperous society for women by nourishing and empowering women’s health, education. Translated, “Imbuto” literally means ‘seed.’ The foundation believes that a seed, well planted, water, nurtured successfully grows into a healthy plant, reaching high and standing tall.
- Urugo Women’s Opportunity: This foundation was set up by Women for Women International and is supported by US based Bloomberg Philanthropy and other sponsoring partners. This center gives women technical and skill-based opportunities to become an integral part of business operations, an industry leader and a pioneer.
- Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is a membership-based pan-African Non-Governmental Organization that operates through 34 National Chapters in sub-Saharan Africa to promote girls’ and women’s education.
Participants on this trip will have engaging experiences as they curate meaning from Rwandan people, communities, and environments they encounter on this unforgettable immersive opportunity in Rwanda. Most importantly, you will have an opportunity to soak up the healing history of humanity that Rwanda offers, from viewing signs the raw landscape and by interacting with community members and organizational leaders, while simultaneously experiencing cultural practices and customs native to the region. From dancing along to the harmonious beats of a renowned all-female drumming group bound by a poignant story of reconciliation, to walking the solemn halls of the Kigali Genocide Museum, the country’s largest Genocide memorial in honor of the nearly 250,000 victims whose lives were claimed by this tragedy. .
Gorilla Trekking Optional Extension
Extend your stay in the “Land of A Thousand Hills” with Global Family Travels by visiting Volcanoes National Park, home of the endangered mountain gorilla and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems. Tracking endangered mountain gorillas through the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest, alive with the calls of 200 species of colorful birds and other unique flora and fauna, is a transformational experience. There is also a special visit to the state-of-the-art research and learning facility, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
A. TRIP HIGHLIGHTS are below; click on ITINERARY to see all the details.
#1 ABOUT VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK AND MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
Location: Volcanoes National Park,
Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range and is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif: Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with its verdant crater lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga, and Muhabura. And is also home to the endangered mountain gorilla!
The unique opportunity to see gorillas in their natural habitat is unforgettable, and some even say life-changing. Encounters with gorillas as they go about their daily lives are carefully managed, with expert trackers and guides leading small groups of tourists up bamboo-covered slopes to spend a precious and awe-inspiring hour just a few feet away from the gentle creatures.
The largest living primate, gorillas, are spread across much of the equatorial African rainforest. The species is split into lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas.
The volcanic range, which spans Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Tracking gorillas in Rwanda is safe and relatively accessible. At the latest count, there are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild, with 604 in the Virunga Massif. The population is slowly increasing, thanks to concerted efforts between our governments, communities, and NGOs.
Twelve gorilla families live in the Volcanoes National Park, which are fully habituated, with a few others habituated solely for scientific research. The groups, or troops, consisting of at least one silverback and several females and youngsters. The troops are somewhat fluid in composition but tend to stick to a preferred area. They are constantly monitored and protected by park rangers, with each group encountering tourists for a strict maximum of one hour per day.
Hikes up to their various locations can last anything from 30 minutes to four or more hours, reaching an altitude of between 2,500m and 4,000m. Porters are available to carry backpacks and cameras and offer a helping hand along the route.
10% of the revenue from the permits is channeled toward local communities to build schools, health centers, and roads. There is a compensation fund for local farmers should any gorillas damage their crops, which helps to ensure peaceful co-existence. Gorilla tracking also employs many locals, from rangers and trackers to porters, drivers, and staff at tourist lodges.
#2 ARRIVE IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
On this day, you’ll meet your driver guide for a short briefing about this exciting post-program tour and then start the road trip to Volcanoes National Park, a 2.5-hour drive from Kigali. The road to the park offers stunning scenery of the hills and valleys of this green country, which portrays the beauty of Rwanda as a Land of Thousand Hills.
The drive will take you to your lodge at the base of excellent views of all volcanoes! Upon arrival, check in and enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Gorilla Guardians Village in Kinigi to engage in the local cultures and lifestyles; you’ll meet former park poachers now turned into conservationists and experience firsthand local traditions. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Depart for Volcanoes National Park
Check into lodge
Visit the local community and immerse in local culture and traditions at the Gorilla Guardians Village.
Lodge accommodations at: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Tiloreza Volcanoes Lodge, or Amarembo Lodge
#3 Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel - Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel in Musanze (Ruhengeri) is 8 Deluxe bedrooms (double/twin), a Family Suite, and the Volcano Manor, a restaurant, a pool, and a beautiful garden are awaiting your visit and our staff is looking forward to making your stay a pleasant one.
#4 Tiloreza Volcanoes Lodge - Tiloreza Volcanoes Ecolodge is a boutique operator of lodging and related activities.
#5 Amarembo Lodge -is a Lodge which is located in musanze, North, Rwanda and fully package furnished resting rooms with unbeatable service.
#6 GORILLA TREKKING IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, we depart the lodge and head to Volcanoes National Park. Upon arrival, we meet park guides at park headquarters, who will share with you the etiquette of Mountain Gorillas tracking. We then hike into the forest to where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point with the communication of the advanced group of trackers. The trek can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not more than 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and, at times, muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the Gorillas are located, all the fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as ‘one of the most thrilling and meaningful wildlife encounters on earth.
After trekking, we return to your lodge for a refreshment lunch and rest.
In the afternoon, visit the recently opened Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund to learn much about the conservation of Mountain Gorillas and the legacy of the late Dian Fossey. Established in 1967, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund works to protect and study gorillas and their habitats and to empower people who live near their forest homes. With a team of almost 300 working in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Fossey Fund is the world’s longest-running and largest organization dedicated entirely to gorilla conservation. In 2022, the organization moved to its first permanent, purpose-built home: the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, nestled in a beautiful, reforested landscape near Volcanoes National Park. The Ellen Campus is the workplace of the Fossey Fund team, and it is also open to the public. Visitors are welcome to explore the state-of-the-art public exhibit and nature trails and to interact with Fossey Fund staff who have dedicated their careers to saving Mountain Gorillas. Return to your base for dinner, and an overnight stay when this tour is finished.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Depart for Volcanoes National Park
Orientation for Gorilla Trekking and trekking permits
Return to the lodge for lunch and rest
Visit to Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay
#7 DAY OF DEPARTURE
Depart lodge and Volcanoes National Park for the drive back to Kigali.
Drop- off at Kigali international airport for your return flight home.
1. Cost of the Tour is dependent on the number of people traveling.
- Price $3,550 per person sharing accommodation for a group of 2
- Single supplement of $529.00 to be paid in addition to the above price
2-night accommodation, sharing or single basis
All daily meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4x4 Safari van with fuel
Local English-speaking driver and guide
One Mountain Gorilla trekking permit per person
Activities and visits are detailed in the itinerary, with park and museum entry fees included.
A Background on Rwanda
A Background on Rwanda
”We cannot claim to be on a sustainable path to transform Rwanda if we exclude women, who are more than half of the population.” – HE President Paul Kagame, 2003.
Paving the way for Empowered Women: Today, Rwanda is seen as a case study for resilience and empowerment, especially for women. Despite the Genocide in 1994 that claimed almost one-third of the Rwandan population, the country has seen exceptional strides in empowering women and sustaining environments. Women were historically marginalized in Rwandan society, but since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, Rwandan leadership has helped to amplify gender equality and narrow the gender gap to the highest level of admiration and become globally revered as the most pro-woman country in the world. Participants on this trip will learn firsthand about this history and evolution for women in Rwanda.
The Evolution of Women Empowerment:
- The New Constitution, enacted in 2003, decreed that 30 percent of parliamentary seats be reserved for women. Women would be appointed to leadership roles like government, ministers, police chiefs, etc.
- Female education was encouraged
- Following the 2003 election, 48% of parliamentary seats went to women, 56% in 2008, 64% in 2013 and 68% in 2018, the world’s highest.
- By August 2018 women made up 42 percent of the total cabinet members, 32 percent of senators, 50 percent of judges and 43.5 percent of city and district council seats.
- Women are well represented and active across different sectors in education, business, trade, sports, etc.
- Today, Rwanda politics are viewed as a model of gender inclusiveness.
Rwanda: Sustainable Development Goal Alignment
Aspects of this Rwanda Program align with the United Nations globally recognized Sustainable Development Goals. Out of the 17 uniquely designed goals with the aim of helping to build a prosperous and regenerative sustainable globe, 6 are compatible with the experiences outlined in our Rwandan Program. The 5 goals are as follows:
Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being: Our tour will expose travelers to empowerment facilities, programs and initiatives that centralize health and wellness services to help nurture and bolster women to be happy, healthy and professionally invigorated. The Imbuto Foundation, which travelers will learn more about, helps enable women to grow. Travelers will learn more about their service in Kigali and the foundation’s impact to general health and wellbeing, and how working toward a healthy and prosperous society will further advance other SDGs and boost morale, empowerment and successes.
morale, empowerment, and success.
Goal #4: Quality Education The Rwanda: program will give travelers the opportunity to meet with organizations putting gender equality and educational opportunities for women at the forefront. Ensuring quality education for women is a vital tool for empowering women, building inclusivity and seeing systemic changes on a global scale.
Goal #5: Gender Equality: One of the primary themes of this program is to support, advocate and champion women empowerment. Thus, this program highlights the many ways Rwanda is working to support the large and vast community of women both in the country and as a pipeline for female empowerment in other countries.
Goal #8: Decent work and Economic Growth: Travelers will learn first-hand how local artisans and small-business owners profit and thrive in their communities. Travelers will visit Sheila’s Honey, an Ubuntu women’s Farmer endeavor which is 100% locally produced. The beekeeping practice and farming experience has contributed to positive socio-economic development for these women farmers.
Goal #16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: During the tour, travelers will have the opportunity to learn and bear witness to some of Rwanda’s darkest times, while simultaneously taking part in learning experiences that will showcase how cultures once at odds, have come together for reconciliation and peace. Such experiences include: a visit to the reconciliation village and a memorable lunch encounter with the Ingoma Nshya, an all women drumming troupe made up of Genocide survivors and perpetrators who have come together to empower their communities and showcase their shared culture to travelers.
Global Family Travels
Much more than a traditional tour operator, Global Family Travels’ mission is to “Learn, Serve and Immerse” through community-based travel programs. In partnership with non-profit organizations and schools, we offer family-friendly and sustainable travel experiences in support of education, gender equality, access to clean water, preservation of local cultures, conservation and economic growth, all of which foster cross-cultural understanding and global citizens.
Our trips include a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, homestays and participation in local service projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the communities we visit.
Expect to expand your family circle when you embark on a Global Family Travels trip! Visit our website for more information: Global Family Travels
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