FALLING OFF THE TOURIST MAP
This is an eight day tour which pulls no punches, so be prepared. It will both warm your heart and chill your soul, but it is the reality of Congo, a country with so much to offer but so many scars to heal.
You will experience how the Congolese are working towards peace and reconciliation, better access to healthcare and greater economic opportunities through the marketing of coffee and tourism. And of course there’s the wonderful wildlife. However, you will also meet survivors of rape who are coming to terms with the aftermath of what happened to them and vulnerable children who were removed from their families, forced to join militia and kill people they knew – and people they knew nothing about.
In between the organised tours there will be time for yourself; to explore, visit markets, admire local crafts, relax or just take on board the dichotomy that is Congo.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in Goma and check in at your hotel. Our guide will later introduce you to and prepare you for your immersion in the side of Congo you hardly ever hear about: its people, culture and long, colourful but sometimes violent history.
Day 2: Tribal chief
A visit to a Mwami (tribal chief) where you will have an opportunity to discuss his role in the community as a bringer of peace and reconciliation. Depending on time, you may also be invited to have lunch with him.
On your way back to Goma for the evening, you will have the chance to visit the War Memorial for soldiers who fought in the Second World War.
Day 3: Women's hospital
Today will give you an insight into the more disturbing side of warfare in The Democratic Republic of Congo. You will visit the hospital where you will be able to meet women who have been victims of violence in recent uprisings.
Representatives of the hospital will show you around the facility so you can get to know more about the work they are doing to heal the physical and emotional scars of women who are left with debilitating conditions after being raped by militia.
Day 4: Coffee plantation and cruise
A relaxed visit to a coffee plantation to meet the farmers and learn how coffee is improving the economy and well-being of the surrounding community. Later in the day you will embark on a four hour boat journey to Bukavu, your base for three nights.
Day 5: Women's centre
Bukavu is home to a centre for women who have survived rape and are now being supported in their efforts to rebuild their lives.
Talking to women who have suffered so much but are working to find their self-confidence and independence once more is an unforgettable experience and, some say, a privilege.
The centre has a workshop where all sorts of items are made by the residents and sold to help pay for their treatment.
Day 6: Chimp orphanage
Your last full day in Bukavu will include a visit to the chimp’s orphanage where up to 30 chimps are cared for. As well as meeting the staff who look after these orphaned primates, you will be given the opportunity to interact with these the animals and even feed them.
Lots of photos are a must!
Day 7: On the way to Kigali
An early start for a trip across the border into Rwanda and through the Nyungwe Forest which is known for its wildlife, particularly monkeys and spectacular birds.
You will then be driven to Murambi where you will have the chance to visit the genocide memorial there before being driven to Butare for lunch.
After lunch you will travel the final stretch to Kigali.
Day 8: Last day
A Kigali city tour and last minute shopping before being taken to the airport for your departure flight.