Rwanda

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Description

A destination literally at the heart or center of the African continent, Rwanda has much to behold. Just like several other African destinations (countries), Rwanda offers her visitors some unique wildlife, nature sighting experience. Among the unique things you will get to do here is seeing the rare golden monkeys and yes, encountering the breathtaking mountain gorillas that find their home in bamboo forests of the Volcanoes NP.

Dubbed “the land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda’s scenic setting is mind-blowing. A haven for any scenery lover! If interested, there are also some volcanoes to explore including crossing border into the famous Nyiragongo craters. It’s really not just about the safari and savannah here, but the warmth of people you meet as well. Warm and friendly, Rwandese are captivating, whether through traditional dance (itore), unique architecture or works of art.

Forget about the country’s sad past. Rwanda is (now) one of the safest destinations to visit in Africa. This article could go on and on but only a visit into Rwanda can best reveal to you what an endearing destination it is! Welcome to Rwanda.

Additional Information

Warm and friendly, Rwandese are captivating, whether through traditional dance (itore), unique architecture or works of art. A mushanana is a traditional dress that women wear during important traditional ceremonies like marriage. You will be treated to Itore dance that is unique to Rwandese. In fact, you’re not typical Rwandese unless you know how to dance itore.

Weaving is one of the specialty of Rwandese. You will find baskets of all kinds of style and shapes in homes, market place, artwork shops etc. Rwandese food are mostly fresh from farm to the table including other favorites like chicken. Steamed plantain (matooke) is a favorite dish to many served along other staples like groundnut sauce. If you’re a coffee lover, get yourself set for one of the finest taste.

During the dry months of July to September when the temperatures are cooler and the possibility of rain is very low or none at all. Then the months of January, February and first half of March are also fine although with slightly higher temperatures.

Rwanda has a temperate climate with temperatures of 25 – 30 degrees Celsius during day and 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. Nights can be chilly in Nyungwe and the Virunga area. Most parts of the country receive rainfall in excess of 1,000mm. Rwanda experiences two rainy spells i.e. long rains from March to May, and short rains in November and the first half of December. Dry months are July to September, last half December to February.

Start in (1) Kigali, widely regarded the cleanest city in Africa. Nestled between the rolling hills, Rwanda’s capital is friendly, welcoming and with a host of great dinning and some of the world’s best coffee, this African capital is building a reputation with tourist. Drive to (2) Volcanoes NP for a rare encounter with the breathtaking mountain gorillas. You can also climb up to the top of one or more volcanoes before setting out. Your next destination should be (3) Nyungwe NP. One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. Memorable and photogenic moments include walking up to the Isumo waterfall or along the Canopy Walk suspension bridge. From Nyungwe, you surely need to connect to (4) Akagera National Park. Akagera is a true success story of conservation effort. With a family of lions from South Africa settled and breeding successfully and eastern black rhinos reintroduced, the park boasts of big 5 sighting. Do you feel like going for a swim or relaxing at the beach? On the shore of (5) Lake Kivu – Rwanda’s largest lake, every season is good for swimming and sunbathing especially in Gisenyi – a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, northwestern Rwanda’s Rubavu district. This is a country worth knowing and it is definitely worth seeing.

The Volcanoes NP for an encounter with the breathtaking mountain gorillas, Nyungwe Forest NP for chimp tracking and the mind-blowing canopy walk, Akagera NP for the big 5 sighting and Lake Kivu for the beach relaxation.

While on a trip in Rwanda, one may (depending on interest) undertake any of the following activities: gorilla and golden monkey trekking, hiking the volcanoes and crater lakes, game drives in Akagera, boat safaris, kayaking in Lake Kivu, chimp tracking, birdwatching, local community & cultural encounter, beach relaxation in Gisenyi, attend meeting & conferences in Kigali.

If coming only for gorilla trekking, at least 2 days. However, you may need at least 5 Days if you would like to explore a bit more of Rwanda.

From experience, most people incur no health problems during their visits but rather enjoy themselves during the time on Safari. Nevertheless, you may consider the following in your packing:

Anti-malaria medicines, pain reliever, insect repellent. Simple first aid kit won’t be bad at all.
Pack your necessary sunscreen, hand sanitizers, sun-hat plus glasses, body creams/lotions of your choice among others.

IMPORTANT: Ask your medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for any emergencies.

Reviews (3)

3 reviews for Rwanda

  1. admin

    Primate Tracking

    Rwanda is renowned for its gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, but the country is also home to chimpanzees as well a host of monkeys – colobus, golden, L’Hoest’s, owl faced, Dent’s, blue and vervet – alongside olive baboons as well as the nocturnal potto and bushbabies.

    Chimpanzees are found in the Nyungwe National Park as well as in smaller number in the Gishwati Forest. Sociable creatures, chimpanzees live in extended communities and move around every day, foraging for food or occasionally hunting smaller mammals. They build fresh nests in the trees each night.

    It is common to hear the chimpanzees before seeing them, with their vocalisations reverberating through the forest as they call to each other in a sort of bonding ritual.

    Tracking starts early, at 5.30am, and can last anything from an hour to several hours depending on where the chimps are – visitors spend a maximum of one hour with them once they are found.

    The terrain can be steep, slippery and muddy, passing through thick vegetation. Suitable footwear is essential, as well as a certain level of fitness. Permits can be booked online, at an RDB office or via a tour operator.

    Golden monkeys are found in Volcanoes National Park as well as Gishwati Forest. In the former, there are two groups which can be tracked, one on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and the other in the bamboo forest on Mount Sabyinyo. This is also a standalone excursion, departing from the Kinigi headquarters once each day.

    Other primates are usually seen on more generalist nature trails.

    Colobus monkeys form a unique supergroup in Nyungwe and are easily recognisable with their black and white colouring and long hair – a dream for wildlife photographers. Also found in Nyungwe are owl-faced monkeys with beak-like noses, Dent’s monkeys, blue monkeys and vervets.

    L’Hoest’s monkeys are endemic to Albertine Rift and can be found in Nyungwe and Gishwati Forest. They have a dark coat with a white beard and live in small groups dominated by females, with a single male.

    Akagera National Park is home to olive baboons and vervet monkeys, which can be spotted on safari drives. Other species can only be seen at night – the small potto, closely related to the lemurs of Madagascar, and bushbabies, with their distinctive large eyes for superior night vision, and bat-like ears to track insects in the dark

  2. admin

    There is much more to the ‘the country of a thousand hills’ than initially meets the eye. Small, compact and easy to travel around, friendly Rwanda has well and truly consigned the tragic genocide of 1994 to history. The country has reconciled and rebounded spectacularly from this tragedy and today it is one of the friendliest, safest and most welcoming countries on the continent.

    With its many families of habituated mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park in the northwest of the country is unquestionably the most famous (and popular) of Rwanda’s protected areas. Sadly, most visitors to Rwanda simply come to spend time with its world-renowned mountain gorillas and then leave without sampling any of the country’s other safari offerings. While gorilla trekking is definitely Rwanda’s top safari attraction, Akagera and Nyungwe Forest national parks are great additions to your Rwandan safari experience.

    All three national parks are easily accessible by road, so a country-wide… Read more
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    Expert
    Ariadne van Zandbergen – ZA
    Visited: Multiple times

    Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

    1 person found this review helpful.
    Rainforests, savannah, volcanoes and Lake Kivu

  3. admin

    I was apprehensive when I first visited Rwanda in 2000, just six years after the horrific genocide in which close to a million people were killed. The wounds were still raw, but even then Rwanda had started to rebuild its tourist industry from scratch.

    For me it was an emotional journey and the beginning of a long relationship with a country to which I’ve since returned on several occasions. It’s incredible how Rwandans have managed to pick up the pieces and move on. But they have. Today the country is flourishing, and tourism is playing a big role in the upliftment of the people.

    Rwanda’s biggest draw is the opportunity to track mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. It is only one of three countries where these gentle giants live (the other ones are Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo). I’ve been privileged to track them many times and I can say it is as worthwhile as the hype suggests. Rwanda is perhaps the most famous gorilla country as it was here that Dian Fossey first habituated these great apes. If you have read about her and the work she has done, you might be interested in hiking up to her old research station and gorilla cemetery. This is just one of many hikes on offer in Volcanoes National Park; there are several summit hikes as well as the opportunity to track golden monkeys.

    Unfortunately, many tourists do the gorilla tracking as an add-on to a safari in Kenya or Tanzania. There is, however, a lot more to explore in this beautiful country referred to as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’.

    Nyungwe National Park protects a stunning montane rainforest home to as many as 13 different primate species including chimpanzees. There are lots of different trails to explore in Nyungwe and as there are no gorillas here to attract the crowds, activities tend to feel very low-key.

    Akagera National Park has seen an amazing transformation since it came under the management of the capable non-profit conservation organization African Parks in 2010. The recent reintroduction of lion and black rhino has given the park Big Five status again.

    A stay at Lake Kivu, a scenic Rift Valley lake hemmed in by several volcanoes, is a nice safari add-on for relaxation, swimming and boating.

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