The “land of a thousand hills,” also known as Rwanda, has gone from being a nation scarred by one of the bloodiest genocides in recent memory to a symbol of optimism, peace, and effective government in Africa. The countryside is characterized by lovely rolling hills and verdant plantations, while the capital city Kigali features clean city streets, five-star hotels, and good road networks. Large institutions like the National University of Rwanda and national museum are located in Butare, Rwanda’s second-largest city, which is referred to as “the intellectual center of Rwanda.” Since embracing industrialization, agricultural modernization, mining, and tourism, the nation’s wealth has expanded.
Rwanda has a thriving tourism industry with a number of opulent lodges in its wildlife parks. The nation has made enormous efforts to promote its tourism-related assets. Yet, the likelihood of spotting mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is what draws the majority of tourists on safari there. During research that led to the production of the well-known drama “Gorillas in the Mist,” the park became well-known. The park itself is a vast area of extraordinary greenery teeming with animals such as primates, birds, and other mammals. Although gorilla trekking is also possible in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tourists choose a safari in Rwanda due to the country’s excellent service and the park’s proximity to the city of Kigali.
Rwanda wildlife safari – Major activities
The major activities while in on a Rwanda wildlife tour are: –
Visiting the capital Kigali in our 1-day Kigali city tour package
Trekking among the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
tracking of chimpanzees and golden monkeys
Driving through the park’s wildlife in Akagera
Bird gazing in Rwanda amid the Nyungwe forest and Lake Kivu while bicycling along The Congo Nile Route
excursions to locations like the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village for traditional dance performances
Visits to sites including Gisozi, Murambi, Nyamata, Bisesero, and Ntarama that serve as genocide memorials
hiking Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi.
Viewing Dian Fossey’s tomb and the location of her former research center in Karisoke
Rwandan fishing for sport
Rwanda tour – Major attractions
The Virunga Mountain ranges’ Volcanoes National Park is home to roughly 400 mountain gorillas and 10 gorilla families that have been habituated. The park’s dense woodland and steep landscape make gorilla tracking an exciting activity. Tourists can make arrangements to see Dian Fossey’s former research station and tomb. Since Dian Fossy set up camp in the Volcanoes national park, the nation has been a pioneer in international mountain gorilla conservation and research initiatives. The major activity at the Volcanoes National Park is monitoring mountain gorillas, but while on a Rwanda Wildlife trip, travelers can also see forest elephants, forest hogs, golden monkeys, buffalo, birds, and several species of butterflies. The park contains a number of hiking-friendly mountains and volcanoes, including Bisoke, Sabyinyo, and Karisimbi. For the ambitious, it might be exhausting but worthwhile to combine a gorilla safari in Rwanda with a mountain hike.
Nyungwe Forest National Park: One of the most alluring locations on a Rwanda wildlife tour is Nyungwe Forest National Park. With more than 1000 plant species, Nyungwe forest is a sizable tropical forest that serves as a good example of Rwanda’s fascinating variety. The greatest area to find chimpanzees while on a Rwanda tour is in the forest after tracking mountain gorillas. The forest is a birder’s dream with over 240 different species of birds can be found there. Other primates that tourists might see include baboons, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and others, in addition to chimpanzee trekking and birding. For bird watchers and visitors who are in Rwanda to search for chimpanzees, a Nyungwe forest canopy walk is a necessity.
Akagera National Park: In Rwanda, Akagera National Park is the ideal location for a safari. The park, which lies in the country’s east, has more than 1000 square kilometers of savanna resembling those in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The park, which is close to Kigali, is home to a significant number of African mammals, many of which congregate at the park’s various watering holes like the Akagera River and Lake Shakani. Take a game drive through Akagera National Park to see animals like hyenas, jackals, antelopes, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, leopards, elephants, and more. The park is adding lions and black rhinos so that visitors may see all five of Africa’s big five. Bird watchers should expect to Spot over 500 species while on a 3 Days wildlife safari in Akagera including the shoebill, Storks.
Rwanda Wildlife tour – Other important places while on
Gishwati Forest: Around 250,000 acres of land make up the Gishwati Forest, one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist destinations. A beautiful view of Lake Kivu can be had in the forest, and birders will be impressed by the more than 400 resident species. Massive deforestation caused by ranchers, pastoralists, and refugees who sought asylum after the 1994 genocide has harmed the forest. Efforts are being made to return the entire area to its former state of being covered with forest.
Note: Gishwati forest was recently merged with the nearby Mukura to form what is now known as Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The national parks in Rwanda are now four.
Genocide Memorial Centers: In order to appreciate the current progress made by the people of Rwanda, visiting one of the genocide memorial centers is highly recommended while on a safari. The Three months genocide saw hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus massacred in 1994 and sites like those found in Kigali are a constant reminder of that dark past. The mass graves, photographs, film footage and other exhibitions provide a glimpse of the country’s traumatic past. Visiting the genocide memorial site is an opportunity show respect to the victims, remember lost ones and also face the reality of what happened in Rwanda.
Another center worth visiting is the Nyamata church where about 50,000 genocide victims are buried. The church remains intact and one can still see human clothes, bones and blood stains on the church benches. Then there is the Gisozi genocide war memorial site which is built on graves of over 250000 genocide victims.
The Congo-Nile Trail: In order to establish Rwanda as a top tourist destination in Africa, the Rwanda Development Board has put a lot of effort into this. With the establishment of the Congo Nile Trail, the government has expanded Rwanda’s tourism options. One of the most exciting things to do while on a safari in Rwanda is now hiking along the Congo Nile Trail. The well-known trail passes through Lake Kivu and offers hikers the chance to awe at the stunning landscape, verdant hills, and crystal-clear lake waters of the nation while taking in the adjacent mountains.
Lake Kivu: One of Rwanda’s natural beauties, Lake Kivu, which spans an area of more than 2,600 km2, is situated at the country’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lake, which flows at a height of roughly 1450 m, is the highest in Africa. One of only three lakes in the world, it occasionally suffers carbon dioxide eruptions from its depths; this phenomenon is referred to as “exploding lake.” Visitors can anticipate to witness the beautiful beaches, lush greenery, islands, fishing communities, and ports like Rubavu because no alarming eruptions have been recently noted. There are options for hiking, bird watching, nature walks, chimpanzee tracking, and boat riding while on a safari around Lake Kivu.
Mount Karisimbi: One of the highest mountains in Africa is Mount Karisimbi, which is a member of the Virunga Mountain range. One of the best things to do in Musanze is to hike Mount Karisimbi. A breathtaking view of the volcanoes national park and chances to see several species of birds await those who can make the 6-hour climb to the summit. The Volcanoes national park offers the option for visitors to combine hiking Mount Karisimbi with mountain gorilla monitoring. If done in a few days, combining a trip up Mount Karisimbi with gorilla tracking in Rwanda is a strenuous endeavor that calls for high levels of fitness.
Mount Bisoke: Mount Bisoke is an active volcano located on the border between Rwanda and DR Congo. For those wishing to explore the beautiful countryside while on a Rwanda tour, trekking up Mount Bisoke may just be the thing for you. Trekking mount Bisoke lasts about 6 hours with steep sections here and there, after which one is rewarded with stunning views of the Volcanoes national park. Bisoke hiking also offers visitors a chance to marvel at the Crater Lake and the beautiful green scenery surrounding the mountain.