Explore the beauty of Rwanda safaris and wildlife tours

Explore the beauty of Rwanda safaris and wildlife tours

Rwanda Safaris Wildlife Tours – Rwanda Wildlife Safaris have gained significant popularity due to the government’s dedicated efforts. Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda has evolved from a nation marred by a devastating genocide in recent history to a symbol of hope, peace, and strong governance in Africa. The capital city of Kigali boasts clean streets, luxury hotels, and well-maintained roadways, while the countryside is defined by picturesque rolling hills and lush green plantations.

Butare, often called “the intellectual capital of Rwanda,” is the country’s second-largest city and home to major institutions such as the National University of Rwanda and the national museum. Rwanda’s wealth has been on the rise due to its focus on industrialization, agricultural modernization, mining, and tourism.

Tourism in Rwanda is well-established, with luxurious lodges in its game parks. The country has made significant efforts to promote its tourism offerings. While Rwanda offers many attractions, most visitors are drawn to the opportunity to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. This park gained fame due to the research efforts that inspired the acclaimed film “Gorillas in the Mist.” Volcanoes National Park features lush green vegetation teeming with birds, butterflies, primates, and other mammals. Although gorilla trekking can also be done in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda’s high-quality service and the park’s close proximity to the capital, Kigali, make gorilla tourism in Rwanda particularly popular. For more information, you can read about the cost of tours in Rwanda and tips for solo travelers visiting the country.

Key Activities on a Rwanda Wildlife Safari

The major activities  while in on a Rwanda wildlife tour are:-

  1. Mountain gorilla trekking at the Volcanoes National Park
  2. Chimpanzee and golden monkey tracking
  3. Visiting the capital Kigali in our 1 day Kigali city tour package
  4. Game driving at the Akagera National Park
  5. Biking along The Congo Nile Trail
  6. Cultural and community visits to places like the Iby’iwacu cultural village for traditional dances
  7. Visiting the genocide memorial centers like Gisozi, Murambi, Nyamata, Bisesero and Ntarama
  8. Hiking Mount Karisimbi and Bisoke.
  9. Visiting the grave of Dian Fossey and her former Karisoke Research Centre
  10. Sport fishing in Rwanda
  11. Bird watching in Rwanda – Nyungwe forest and Lake Kivu

 

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park, situated within the Virunga mountain ranges, houses around 400 mountain gorillas and includes 10 habituated gorilla families. The park features dense forests and mountainous landscapes, making gorilla tracking a challenging yet adventurous experience. Since Dian Fossey established her base in the park, Rwanda has become a global leader in mountain gorilla conservation and research. Visitors can arrange tours to see Fossey’s former research station and gravesite.

While mountain gorilla tracking is the main attraction in Volcanoes National Park, visitors can also encounter forest elephants, forest hogs, golden monkeys, buffalo, birds, and various butterfly species during their Rwanda wildlife tour. The park boasts several volcanoes and mountains, such as Bisoke, Sabyinyo, and Karisimbi, that offer great hiking opportunities. Combining a gorilla safari in Rwanda with a mountain hike can be physically demanding but rewarding for adventurous travelers.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the most captivating destinations on a Rwanda wildlife tour. This vast tropical forest is home to over 1,000 plant species, providing a glimpse into Rwanda’s rich biodiversity. Following a mountain gorilla tracking experience, Nyungwe Forest offers a perfect setting for chimpanzee tracking, a must-do activity on a Rwanda tour.

Bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to discover that the forest hosts over 240 species of birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Apart from chimpanzee trekking and birding, visitors can encounter a variety of primates, including baboons, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys, and blue monkeys. These diverse primate sightings add to the overall allure of the forest.

One of the park’s standout experiences is the Nyungwe Forest canopy walk. This elevated walk provides breathtaking views of the lush greenery and is an exceptional opportunity for bird lovers and those tracking chimpanzees. Walking through the treetops allows visitors to observe the forest’s wildlife from a different perspective, immersing themselves in the vibrant ecosystem.

The park’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife make it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether tracking chimpanzees, enjoying the company of colorful birds, or exploring the forest canopy, Nyungwe Forest National Park offers an unforgettable experience that showcases the best of Rwanda’s natural wonders.

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is the premier destination for a safari in Rwanda. Located in the eastern part of the country, the park spans over 1,000 square kilometers of savanna that resemble the landscapes found in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Close to Kigali, the park is home to a diverse array of African mammals, often seen around its numerous water points like the Akagera River and Lake Shakani.

A game drive in Akagera National Park is the most popular activity, offering the chance to spot hyenas, jackals, antelopes, giraffes, baboons, zebras, buffalos, leopards, and elephants, among other wildlife. Lions and black rhinos have been reintroduced to the park, completing the big five experience for visitors.

Birdwatchers will be delighted to discover over 500 bird species in the park during a 3-day wildlife safari, including the unique shoebill storks. This makes Akagera National Park a top destination for bird enthusiasts.

If you’re planning a visit, you may want to read an article about the cost of a safari in Akagera National Park to help you prepare for your trip. Overall, Akagera offers a rich and memorable experience for those seeking the beauty of Rwanda’s natural landscapes and wildlife.

Rwanda Wildlife Tour – Additional Noteworthy Sites to Visit

Gishwati Forest

Gishwati Forest is among Rwanda’s most popular tourism destinations, covering over 250,000 acres. The forest offers stunning views of Lake Kivu and is a delight for birdwatchers, boasting over 400 resident species. Despite its natural beauty, the forest has faced significant deforestation due to activities by ranchers, pastoralists, and refugees seeking refuge after the 1994 genocide. Efforts are in place to restore the area to its former forested state.

It’s important to note that Gishwati Forest has recently merged with the neighboring Mukura Forest to create Gishwati-Mukura National Park, making it one of the four national parks in Rwanda.

The Congo-Nile Trail:

The Rwanda Development Board has worked diligently to establish Rwanda as a prominent tourism destination in Africa. By diversifying tourism offerings, the government has opened up the Congo Nile Trail, which has become one of the most engaging activities for visitors on a safari in Rwanda.

The Congo Nile Trail is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and traverses the shores of Lake Kivu. Hikers can immerse themselves in the stunning natural beauty of the region as they journey along the trail. The route showcases the country’s lush green vegetation, rolling hills, and pristine lake waters, all set against the backdrop of nearby mountains.

Hiking the Congo Nile Trail offers a unique way to experience Rwanda’s diverse landscapes and provides a deeper connection with the country’s rich natural heritage. The trail winds through charming villages, giving travelers the opportunity to interact with local communities and learn about their culture and traditions.

Along the trail, visitors may encounter a variety of wildlife and bird species, adding to the overall adventure. The Congo Nile Trail is accessible to both experienced hikers and casual walkers, making it an inclusive and memorable experience for all types of travelers.

Incorporating the Congo Nile Trail into a safari itinerary allows visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of Rwanda’s scenic beauty and vibrant culture, making it an essential part of any trip to the country.

Genocide Memorial Centers:

To truly understand the progress made by the people of Rwanda, visiting one of the genocide memorial centers is highly recommended during a safari. The three-month genocide in 1994 resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, and memorial sites, such as those in Kigali, serve as poignant reminders of that tragic period.

These sites, which include mass graves, photographs, film footage, and other exhibits, offer a glimpse into the country’s traumatic past. Visiting a genocide memorial provides an opportunity to pay respects to the victims, remember the lost, and confront the harsh reality of what transpired in Rwanda.

One important site to visit is Nyamata Church, where around 50,000 genocide victims are buried. The church remains in its original state, and visitors can see human clothes, bones, and bloodstains on the church benches, a stark testament to the tragedy that occurred there.

Another notable site is the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, built over graves containing the remains of more than 250,000 genocide victims. This site serves as a powerful memorial and educational center, offering insight into the events of 1994 and the resilience of the Rwandan people.

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu, nestled along the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of Rwanda’s natural marvels, spanning over 2,600 square kilometers. Situated at an altitude of approximately 1,450 meters above sea level, it is Africa’s highest lake. The lake is notable for being one of only three lakes globally that can experience “exploding lake” phenomena due to occasional carbon dioxide eruptions from its depths.

Despite its unique geological features, no significant eruptions have occurred recently, allowing visitors to enjoy the lake’s stunning scenery with peace of mind. Travelers can revel in the picturesque beaches, lush vegetation, islands, and quaint fishing villages along the lake. Ports like Rubavu offer a window into local life and culture.

A safari tour of Lake Kivu offers numerous activities, including hiking, birdwatching, nature walks, chimpanzee tracking, and boat rides. Exploring the lake allows visitors to experience Rwanda’s natural beauty and vibrant biodiversity, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Mount Bisoke: 

Mount Bisoke is an active volcano situated on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For those looking to experience Rwanda’s picturesque countryside, trekking up Mount Bisoke is an excellent choice. The hike typically lasts around six hours and includes some challenging, steep sections along the way.

Upon reaching the summit, trekkers are rewarded with breathtaking views of Volcanoes National Park. The hike also offers the opportunity to witness the stunning Crater Lake at the mountain’s peak, a serene body of water set amidst lush green surroundings. The beautiful landscape is a sight to behold and provides a sense of accomplishment for hikers.

In addition to the captivating views, hiking Mount Bisoke allows visitors to immerse themselves in Rwanda’s rich natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. The journey offers chances to encounter local wildlife, including various bird and plant species unique to the region.

The trek up Mount Bisoke is a perfect adventure for those seeking an active and enriching experience during their Rwanda tour. The journey combines physical challenge with the reward of witnessing the natural wonders of the area, making it a must-do activity for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Mount Karisimbi:

Mount Karisimbi, part of the Virunga mountain range, is one of the highest peaks in Africa and offers a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. Located in the Musanze district, hiking Mount Karisimbi is a must-do activity for visitors to the area. The climb to the summit takes approximately six hours and can be physically demanding, but the journey is well worth it for those who take on the challenge.

Reaching the top of Mount Karisimbi provides breathtaking views of Volcanoes National Park and the surrounding landscape. Additionally, hikers may encounter a variety of bird species along the way, adding to the overall allure of the trek.

Many visitors choose to combine a hike up Mount Karisimbi with gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. This combination offers a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing travelers to witness the incredible natural beauty of the region while also encountering its iconic mountain gorillas.

However, attempting both a Mount Karisimbi hike and gorilla trekking during a Rwanda safari can be physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness to complete within a few days. Those who are up for the challenge will find the experience immensely rewarding, as they immerse themselves in the diverse and stunning landscapes that Rwanda has to offer.

Some of Our Popular Safaris

  1. 6 Days Gorilla, Chimpanzee Adventure
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  3. 18 Days Ultimate Uganda Safari
  4. 20 Days Ultimate Uganda Safari
  5. 7 Days Chimpanzee & Gorilla Trekking
  6. 10 Days Uganda-Rwanda Safari
  7. 25 Days Uganda Lifetime Safari

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