Why visit Rwanda?

A small landlocked country in east-central Africa, Rwanda is tucked between popular safari destinations Kenya and Tanzania. Its green hills and rolling mountains are famous for some of the best primate tracking experiences around. Over half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in Rwanda, with the Skyes monkey, Golden monkey and chimpanzee also finding a home in its lush forests. Although Rwanda has a turbulent political past, the resilience of its people has seen it evolving into the safe and friendly destination it is today.

Hills of Rwanda - part of the Congo Safari
Hotel Des Milles Collines part of you Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Kigali

International flights to Rwanda land at the well-equipped Kigali International Airport. The city of Kigali offers a fascinating fusion of history, culture and architecture. Despite historical notions of Rwanda, Kigali has actually come to be hailed as one of the friendliest and safest cities in Africa. The fact that the façade of the city changes so rapidly can be attributed to the numerous different visitors and investors who are attracted to the vibrant destination. While in Kigali, visit the city’s first modern building, enjoy the many sights, sounds and smells of the vibrant market, pop into the Museum of Natural History, watch the artisans of the Inema Art Centre at work and enjoy a meal at the Hotel Des Milles Collines, which you may recognise from the Hotel Rwanda movie.

Ruhengeri / Musanze

A city in northwest Rwanda, Ruhengeri (also known as Musanze) is a popular gateway to the famous gorrilla tracking experiences, as well as home to the awe-inspiring Musanze Caves. Located just outside the town and formed by centuries of geologic activity around the volcanoes next door, the caves are a sight to behold. An enormous opening sees the greenery outside spilling over into the darkness within. Access to the caves is limited to guided visits, as they once acted as a wartime shelter and are as such a site of significance and reverence to the local people. Visiting with an expert guide will give you fascinating insights into the natural and cultural history of the caves.

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Just three hours from Kigali and a stone’s throw from Ruhengeri, Volcanoes National Park is home to the rainforested slopes of the famous Virungas Mountain Range, and sports five majestic volcanoes. It is on these slopes that the rare mountain gorillas and golden monkeys can be found.

No fewer than ten families of mountain gorrilla can be found in the area, and a few hours of tracking can give way to a magnificent spectacle of the highly endangered species foraging, sleeping, eating or playing with each other in ways that are uncannily human. It won’t take long for you to realise what drove Dian Fossey to make researching the gorillas in this area her life’s work.

There are two habituated groups of golden monkey in the high-altitude forests of the Park. Searching for these families is well worth the effort, with the reward being the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the entertaining little creatures frolic and tumble around in their natural habitat. Rwanda and Uganda are the only places in the world where you’ll have a chance to see the endangered monkeys up close.

Rwanda Luxury Safari - Gorilla Tracking - Lodge
Rwanda Park National Des Volcanes
Atelier Africa Safaris, Luxury Safari, Rwanda, Destination, Nyungwe House

NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK

Located in the South West corner of Rwanda, the pristine rainforest of Nyungwe is filled with unique biodiversity.

Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful mountain rainforests and believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, Nyungwe covers over 1000 square kilometres. It’s home to habituated chimpanzees as well as 12 other primate species, including a large troop of striking colobus monkeys. Two wild chimp families welcome lucky trackers with displays of their early-morning activities. The area is also home to 75 different species of other mammals, as well as over 300 species of birds, making it a birdwather’s dream. Simply hiking or biking through the beautiful natural terrian, through the lush vegetation and past the cooling mists of spectacular waterfalls, is an unforgettable experience.

AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

In the north east of Rwanda, on the border with Tanzania, is Akagera National Park. Named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes, Akagera is one of the most scenic reserves in Africa. Think forest-fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains, rolling highlands and protected wetlands, all of which create the exceptional biodiversity of the area.

The park is home to large plains game species including lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, zebra, waterbuck, hyena and a host of antelope. Primates include olive baboons, vervet monkeys and the secretive blue monkey by day, with bushbabies often making an appearance at night. Add to this nearly 500 bird species and you’ve got a safari experience made in East African heaven.

Akagera National park in Rwanda
Atelier Africa Safaris, Luxury Safari, Rwanda, Destination, Bisate Lodge

LAKE KIVU

In west Rwanda is Lake Kivu, one of a string of huge freshwater lakes that lie along Africa’s Great Rift Valley. It’s a great area to visit for some downtime after gorilla tracking, and boasts white sandy shores, sleepy towns and a tranquil atmosphere. Watch from the shore as the local fishermen sail across the lake on traditional Rwandan boats, or see the many islands that dot the lake and observe rural Rwanda pass you by from your own tour boat. The sweeping panoramas of picturesque, green-terraced hills that surround the lake are equally inspiring, and you’ll soon find yourself disappearing into the natural wonder of the area.

FAQ Rwanda Safari

When is the best time to go?

Rwanda has a temperate tropical climate, with lower temperatures than are typical of equatorial countries due to its high elevation. The best time to visit, particularly for gorilla tracking, is during the short dry season from mid-December to early February, or over the long dry season from June to September.

What is the best way to travel around

How to get to Rwanda?

What must I keep in mind before I go tracking Gorilla ?

As in Uganda the rules for tracking gorilla are very strict.
If you are carrying an easily transferable disease like the flu for example, you will not be allowed to go tracking.
Children under the age of fifteen are also not allowed to join the tracking parties.

OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO STAY on a Rwanda Safari