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Rwanda is one of the African countries that are naturally endowed with a lot of natural resources as in tourism that has kept on attracting several tourists to flock this mountainous African country located in the East African part of Africa. So this piece is geared towards highlighting the key areas that one ought to visit on his/her vacation in the land of a thousand hills;
Where to go
Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of the country is the most famous of Rwanda’s three parks and is the place that most people come to on holiday because of its renowned residents- the mountain gorillas. Rwanda gorilla trekking is its biggest attraction. Less well-known holiday options are Akagera National Park on its eastern border with Tanzania for wildlife viewing and game drives as well as Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south majorly for chimpanzee trekking.
Akagera is the only park for “traditional” safaris in Rwanda; it offers good wildlife opportunities, although not on the scale of the parks in Kenya or Tanzania. But Akagera’s scenery is beautiful – it could be described as Rwanda’s Lake District and worth visiting for that alone. In stark contrast, Nyungwe is dense rainforest with interesting hiking trails, bird watching and primate spotting. Rwanda’s national parks are easily accessible by road so a circuit of all three perhaps including the beautiful shore of Lake Kivu and the capital, Kigali, can make a fascinating and diverse holiday.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda
Tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is the ultimate wildlife experience and the reason why most people come here on holiday: sitting within a small family group of gorillas is a ‘must’ for serious wildlife enthusiasts. This is where Dian Fossey first brought the world’s attention to the plight of these majestic primates in the late 1960s when only around 250 survived. Today their numbers worldwide have increased to some 880 split between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; almost half of them live in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
The survival of mountain gorillas is one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories and tourism has played its role in this. Rwanda is regarded as probably the best destination for a gorilla tracking safari. Although gorilla tracking permits aren’t cheap, your permitted hour with these great apes promises to be a priceless encounter that will remain with you long after your holiday is over. To learn more about this fabulous experience, see Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris.
Although mountain gorillas are the stars of the show, there are plenty of other primate tracking opportunities while on holiday in Rwanda. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to thirteen different primate species, among them chimpanzees and Rwenzori colobus both of which can be tracked. Indeed, Nyungwe’s colobus monkeys can sometimes be seen in spectacular troops of several hundred, believed to be among the largest numbers worldwide. And in Volcanoes National Park, two groups of endangered golden monkeys have been habituated for visitor tracking. Pretty and playful, they’re a delight to watch.
Paramount safari holidays
Rwanda may not seem the obvious choice for a typical safari holiday, but if you’re travelling here anyway, Akagera National Park in the east of the country is worth exploring. Scenically it is one of Africa’s prettiest parks with rolling hills and deep valleys, savannah plains to the north and lakes and papyrus swamps on its eastern border. It includes the largest protected wetlands in Central Africa and is home to some 8,000 animals and over 480 species of birds that include the rare shoebill, making Akagera an interesting destination for a bird watching holiday.
When to go
Holidays in Rwanda are possible all year but the most popular times to travel are in the long dry season from June to September and the shorter dry season around December to February. If you’re intending to track gorillas, you’ll need to plan your holiday well ahead to secure permits – especially around July to September. Rwanda’s main rainy season is from March to May, with shorter rains in October and November.
Travels in Rwanda are very comfortable on especially for safaris. The roads are largely good asphalt surfaces with many new roads being constructed to replace dirt roads. It’s not a place to drive yourself; our travellers use one of our private guides and 4WDs – allowing them to control the daily schedule and pace of their Rwanda holiday. It’s a lovely way to see the country, often with beautiful views around every corner.
However, although there are some excellent hotels, Rwanda’s facilities can sometimes be basic; service and food can be poor as many staffs are new to tourism. However, to glimpse the heart of contemporary Africa, for some wonderful wildlife viewing and inspiring, thought-provoking travel, a holiday in Rwanda can be fascinating.