Cheli & Peacock Safaris (CPS) have announced the opening of a third office in the heart of the land of a thousand hills; Kigali, Rwanda. Historically seen as the go-to destination to view the endangered Mountain Gorilla, Rwanda has evolved over the last decade, emerging as the gem of East and Central Africa. Rwanda's incredible diversity, abundant birdlife, wildlife density and exceptional experiences, combine to provide an iconic safari destination; whether it be for a twelve-day safari or as a shorter extension to a safari in Kenya or Tanzania.
On the expansion, Cheli & Peacock Safaris CEO, Kieran Day remarks “Opening a new Cheli & Peacock Safaris office in Rwanda will allow the trade to book this fascinating country with the confidence that their clients are in experienced and responsible hands. Additionally, operators will be able to easily combine the destination with either Kenya or Tanzania while communicating with one point of contact, making for a seamless travel experience”.
CPS will focus on crafting custom adventures bringing guests closer to the culture of Rwanda and the everyday lives of the friendly, vibrant Rwandan people. Visiting health centres, sewing kitenge dresses with a local seamstress, painting colourful art with local artists, perfecting tennis skills with a Rwandan clay court tennis pro, or learning to cook traditional Rwanda cuisine. Rwanda's experiences are suited to all travellers; whether it be solo travellers, multi-generational families or couples.
CPS recommends that visitors spend two nights in Kigali at the beginning of a trip to Rwanda to immerse themselves in the city’s bustling markets, cafes, art galleries and cultural tours. There are six signature itineraries on offer that incorporate the best of Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
Akagera National Park
Rwanda's best kept secret and most remarkable conservation rehabilitation story is Akagera National Park. What was a depleted landscape overrun by over 30,000 cattle twenty years ago, is now the only Big Five Reserve in Rwanda and the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
A short two and a half hour drive from Kigali, Akagera's open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamps, and grassy low mountains are home to the Big Five as well as abundant hippo, crocodile, primates, warthog, eland and zebra. A birders paradise, Akagera offers over 500 recorded species including the rare Shoebill stork, the endangered papyrus Gonolex and the Red-faced Barbet.
Nyungwe National Park
In the southwest of Rwanda, bordering Burundi, Nyungwe National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa nestled in the midst of working tea plantations. The ancient rainforest is home to over 1,000 plant, 96 mammal and 300 bird species as well as 25% of Africa's primates - thirteen species including chimpanzees, grey-cheeked Mangabeys, Ruwenzori colobus, L'Hoest's monkey, Owl faced, mona and blue monkeys.
A visit to Nyungwe is not complete without a trek to experience our closest relatives, Chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Nyungwe also offers over thirteen hiking trails amongst the rainforest including a three-hour trail to a breathtaking waterfall that is a must-do, you can also gain an exhilarating perspective of the ancient treetops and wildlife on the canopy walkway, suspended above a ravine in the lush rainforest.
Volcanoes National Park
Arguably one of the most famous locations in Africa, Volcanoes National Park sits in the far northwest of Rwanda and protects the slopes of five of the eight volcanoes comprising the Virunga Massif.
Home to half of the world's wild population of mountain gorillas, Volcanoes is a picturesque location to track the endangered mountain gorilla as well as offering the opportunity to spot the rare golden monkey, over 200 bird species, hike to Diane Fossey's tomb, go caving in 62 million year old volcanic caves, canoe down the Mkungwa river, paddle across the twin lakes or climb Mount Bisoke.