A visit to Rwanda is a truly encouraging experience. You quickly see why it was called “the land of a thousand hills” as the excellent road network winds its way through magnificent mountain scenery. This is one of the most densely populated lands in Africa and every square foot of mountain and valley is carefully used for agriculture creating a vast patchwork of terraced fields.
Seeing that the future of the country has to lie in technology, hundreds of miles of fibre optic cable is being laid linking every major village and town to the internet. Thousands of people are being trained in administration and management to the plan that Rwanda will become the administrative and business centre for East Africa. The Government has worked tirelessly to unify the country following the genocide of the mid 1990s, and people’s positive forward looking attitude shows that this is working.
Rwanda is the perfect location for a gorilla safari. The Parc National des Volcans is just a three hour comfortable ride through magnificent scenery, and Sabinyo Lodge is a luxurious well run base for tracking the rare mountain gorillas. Groups of six people track six different gorilla families each day and you are assigned to track a particular family based on your level of fitness and how far that family is from the starting point. In this way athletic people can enjoy the challenge of gorilla safari trekking four hours through the rain forest, while those seeking a less arduous experience might walk less than an hour. You are almost guaranteed to find the mountain gorillas and can enjoy an encounter you’ll never forget, spending a full hour watching a huge silverback, females and baby gorillas.
Don’t forget to spend a morning with the golden monkeys! These hilarious creatures rush about in the bamboo forests almost in touching distance, and you can see them chewing bamboo shoots, squabbling and playing. These are the world’s only colony of golden monkeys, and they inhabit the same forested terrain of the mountain gorillas.
For a few days’ relaxation, try the Lake Kivu Serena hotel which is just two hours from the gorillas overlooking the beautiful Lake Kivu, where you can enjoy watersports, sunshine and scenery in this unusual quiet beach location. While Rwanda is not a mainstream safari location, you can enjoy an exciting tented safari in the Akagera National Park – a region of lakes, mountains and forests. A safari in Akagera is perfect if you want a real sense of pioneering in an area seen by few others.
Rwanda has an East African climate which is predominantly dry with rain falling in April and May and in November. However, the rainforest areas where the mountain gorillas live are often shrouded in mists and it can rain there at any time of year. Rwanda is called “the land of a thousand hills” because of its mountainous scenery and although it is close to the Equator temperatures are pleasant during the day and can be cool at night due to the altitude.
For gorilla tracking you should take a good pair of boots, waterproof clothing and gloves to protect you as you ascend the steep volcanic slopes through sometimes dense undergrowth. Warm clothing is also required for the cool evenings.
Rwanda is a tiny landlocked country west of Tanzania. The most convenient route to travel from London is to take an overnight flight to Nairobi (8 hours) connecting on arrival with a one hour flight to Kigali, the capital. Rwanda is two hours ahead of GMT. British, US and Canadian citizens are given a free visa on arrival at the airport. Most other nationals should apply in advance for a visa (US$60 depending on your nationality) either online or at the Rwandan Embassy.
The main reason for taking a safari to Rwanda is to see the mountain gorilllas and perhaps the rare golden monkeys in the Parc National des Volcans in the north of the country. Tracking the gorillas can take from two hours to six hours depending upon the location of the gorilla family assigned to your party. Each person must pay a tracking fee of $750 which is used to protect then gorillas and their environment.
As you pass through Kigali you may like to visit the Genocide Museum which charts the history of genocide around the world including that which afflicted Rwanda in the mid 1990s. The sensitive, open way in which the subject is dealt with reflects the continuing healing process which is enabling the Rwandan people to move forward together and heal the past.
As you may only stay three or four days in Rwanda seeing the gorillas, you can easily combine it with a safari in Kenya or Tanzania. Alternatively, you can continue a short distance north overland into Uganda to see the gorillas there and explore other parts of that beautiful country. Call us to discuss the right combination of places for your safari holiday.
Please consult your medical doctor for information about vaccinations and protection against malaria.
"Rwanda was absolutely superb and our stay there was truly wonderful. What a surprise Rwanda is with its beautiful landscapes and friendly and generous people. The gorillas were fantastic and everything we thought they would be and more. We did some fantastic hiking there also which was incredible."
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Gorilla Trekking in the Parc National des Volcans
Gorilla trekking is a truly wonderful experience: fascinating, emotional and fun all that the same time! The Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda is the perfect place for a gorilla safari. Your small group is matched with a gorilla family before trekking to find them in the rainforest. Watching the mighty silverback, huge females and adorable babies as they interact with one another, forage for food and look after their young in the midst of the vast rainforest is simply unforgettable.
Relaxing at Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu, Africa’s sixth largest lake, sits on the eastern border of Rwanda. The quiet waters are surrounded towering green hills which are covered in lush vegetation and meet cosy beaches at the bottom of their slopes. It’s a serene, delicate and calm environment, perfect for a few days of relaxation. The lake’s waters are great for lazy boat cruises, snorkelling and even a variety of water sports.
Chimps of Nyungwe Rainforest National Park
Gorillas aren’t the only apes living in Rwanda, there’s also a healthy population of chimpanzees too. In the Nyungwe Rainforest National Park you’ll be able to trek through the rainforest in search of troops of chimps that swing from branch to branch and groom each other in the most fascinating and intriguing way. The trees are also home to black and white colobus monkey, so keep your eyes peeled for them too.
Discover Rwanda's Interesting History
Whilst you’re in Rwanda you might want to visit the Genocide Memorial Centre in the country’s capital Kigali. Back in the 1990s a huge genocide took place in Rwanda; an estimated 800,000 people were killed in a period of four months. Today the country has moved forward considerably. It is at peace once again and working towards becoming the business centre of East Africa. The genocide along with the country’s inspiring recovery and its sense of optimism is documented in the Genocide Memorial Centre.
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These are just a few experiences you can enjoy on your Rwanda safari. Contact us now to plan your perfect safari.