Planning a safari in Rwanda?
Here is a list of thing you should do and see while on your safari.
Rwanda the land of a thousand hills is a small landlocked country found in the Eastern part of Africa. It is a very beautiful country with so many natural wonders to see and exciting activities.
Gorilla Trekking Rwanda
Rwanda is one of three countries in Africa where you can find mountain gorillas. There are 10 habituated gorilla families in Rwanda, all found on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is one of those things you need to do at least once in your lifetime.
You can plan a gorilla trekking trip with a few other activities thrown in for variety and more excitement. This is one activity you cannot possibly regret signing up for.
Volcanoes NP Rwanda
Volcanoes is probably the most popular park in Rwanda. There are so many things to see and enjoy in this park.
You can go gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, volcano climbing, volcano climbing and hiking, birding, nature walks, cave exploration, visiting Diane Fossey’s research camp and so much more.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe is a large track of Montane Forest with all so many wonders. It is an exciting place to explore. Nyungwe forest national park has a canopy walk through the forest; one of only three in Africa.
This canopy walk is 50 meters above the ground and is even above the tree tops. In addition to the canopy walk, you can also enjoy hikes, chimpanzee tracking, nature walks, monkey tracking and birding- some of the best birding in Africa. Nyungwe forest should be a must on your Rwanda safari itinerary.
Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s only Savannah Wildlife Park. It is found on the Rwanda border with Tanzania. Everyone expects to have a savannah wildlife experience when they visit Africa, Akagera gives you this experience in Rwanda.
Akagera is an amazingly, scenic park where you have the opportunity to go on day and night game drives, boat safaris, nature walks, hikes, fishing, birding, village visits and stay in one of two lodges within the park.
The simply amazing Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu in Rwanda is just the perfect place to wind down and relax after a full day or days of Rwanda safari activity. After mountain climbing, hiking, gorilla trekking, biking the Nile Congo trail, exploring Nyungwe forest and all the other activities you can possibly do while on Rwanda tours, you will need a good place to chill and relax and come down from the adrenaline highs.
It is Rwanda’s very own inland beach and it doesn’t disappoint. While Kenya and Tanzania have beaches on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Rwanda has Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu offers you sandy beaches, swimming, fishing, boating, wind-surfing, sail-boating, biking, nature-walks, cultural visits on, along or near Lake Kivu, you will not even miss the ocean beaches.
The Genocide Memorials of Rwanda:
Rwanda has a tragic history. In 1994, there genocide that lasted 100 days and thousands of lives were taken in a brutal ethnic cleansing. The genocide tore the small nation into shreds but it has managed to rise from the ashes. No one ever wants to see such days again and the slogan never again can be seen in various places across the country.
Tourists do some cultural tourism with some local traditional dancers
There are a number of memorial sites across the country, monuments and reminders of those dark days, and of the victims who were killed in those 100 days.
In most cases memorials are not tourist attractions but what happened to Rwanda is a message and a reminder of what happens to innocents if the world stands by and chooses not to intervene and help when they see a people destroyed.
Some of the memorial Rwanda safari sites include: the Murambi Genocide Memorial Site, Nyamata church genocide memorial site, Gisenyi genocide Memorial Site, Ntarama Church Genocide Memorial Site, Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site and many others.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park Safari Rwanda
There is so much to see on a safari in East Africa especially in Rwanda. One of the wondrous sights in Rwanda is the Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe forest is the largest tropical afro-montane forest in east and central Africa. It covers a wide expanse of over 1000 sq. Km in Rwanda and extends to Burundi in the Kibira national park. The Nyungwe forest national park is found on the Rwanda side of the border. Nyungwe forest receives about 200mm of rain annually and is Rwanda’s largest water catchment belt and holds 2/3 of Rwanda’s water. It feeds both the River Nile and River Congo with water.
Nyungwe forest is found about 4-5 hours from Kigali- the Rwanda capital. A journey a long winding roads and through vast tea fields gets you to Nyungwe national park. Within this park you will find the vast nyungwe forest, the Kamiranzovu swamp, trails, a forest canopy walk (one of only three in Africa) , hundreds of bird species, chimpanzees, exotic flower and countless butterflies. It is a nature fest within Nyungwe forest national park.
the famous Forest Canopy Walk, the only one in East Africa (there are only 3 in Africa), opportunities for Birding, Primate Viewing including Chimpanzee Tracking, taking in the flowers such as the various Orchids found here and the countless of butterflies they attract.
Wildlife in Nyungwe Forest Park
Nyungwe Forest Park has a variety of wildlife. The park and forest boasts of about 85 different species of mammals, 32 amphibians, 38 reptile species and about 300 bird species.
There are thirteen primates and some unconfirmed sightings of golden monkeys. The forest is well known for its primate population which includes the chimpanzee, the L’hoest monkey, the silver monkey, golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, the red tailed monkey, the vervet monkey, the olive baboon and a few others.
What do you do on a visit to Nyungwe forest national park?
There are several exciting things you can do while on Rwanda safari in nyungwe national park;
You can go hiking; the park has over thirteen hiking trails, and over 130km of these trails run through the forest. You can take a week hiking the various trails and also exploring the ancient rainforest and the habitats found within. Hiking through nyungwe forest gives the hiker a chance to see and experience the rainforest and all it has to offer. You will be amazed by the birds, animals, plants, trees and butterflies that you will see on a Nyungwe forest hike. An individual hike in the forest can be as short as one hour or as long as 8 hours a day, or something in between.
The Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk:
The Nyungwe forest canopy walk is an activity unique to only three places in all of Africa, and nyungwe is one of those three places. It is an activity that shouldn’t be missed.
The canopy walk is 50 meters above the ground and 90 meters long. It is a pretty short distance but it can feel very long at such dizzying heights. It is a thrilling walk and you can enjoy some really amazing views from way up above the ground.
If you are visiting Rwanda on a gorilla trekking trip, be sure to add this canopy walk to your itinerary.
Tracking chimpanzees is one of the most exciting things to do on a visit to nyungwe forest. The location of the park and the forest is such that you can go gorilla trekking in the volcanoes national park and extend your trip and activities to include tracking chimpanzees in nyungwe forest.
While gorilla trekking is usually successful, chimpanzee trekking is not so much. There is a possibility that you might not find them. However Nyungwe forest is one of the few places where chances of a successful chimpanzee trek are high. Tracking chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest NP is an activity that starts early in the morning and lasts most of the day, it is a lot of fun, and you will not regret it.
Monkey tracking & Birding in Nyungwe forest:
Tracking the Grey Cheeked Mangabey and Ruwenzori Colobus Monkey is another exciting thing to do in Nyungwe forest.
The forest has numerous primates to see and track. Colobus monkeys are quite easy to see in the forest since they are over 300 of them in the park. You are also likely to see some L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey, Owl Faced Monkey, Mona Monkey and Blue Monkeys, and many more primates.
You could even take a chance and track the golden monkey whose sightings in the park are yet to be confirmed.
Birding in Nyungwe forest: with over 300 different bird species, nyungwe forest is paradise for any bird watcher. Some of the birds found here include; the grauer’s rush warbler which is endemic to the albertine rift valley. About 27 of the 300 species found in Nyungwe are endemic to the albertine rift valley. Other birds in the park include Rwenzori turaco, the large blue turaco purple breasted and blue breasted sunbirds, and so many more.
There you have it, a list of things you can do and enjoy on a visit to Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe Forest national park is clearly one of Rwanda’s natural wonders and no one should miss out on the opportunity to see and experience the largest rainforest in Eas
Akagera National Park Rwanda Safaris
12 different species of antelopes live within the park; the cute chestnut coated impalas are the most commonly seen although even the very small oribi as well as the tsessebe and the secretive bushbucks, in addition to the eland which is the largest antelope in the world can all be seen within Akagera National Park. We recommend our visitor to Camp alongside the beautiful Akagera Lake as this is a genuinely mystical introduction to the amazing wonders of Nature within this African bush. Groups of about 50 hippos groan and play in the shallows of the lake throughout the entire day while crocodiles soak in the sun by the lake shore with their huge jaws threateningly opened. The stillness of the area is broken by the memorable echoes of a high duet of fish eagles, making known their status as the crowned heads of the waterways of Africa. the shores of the lakes crowded with one of the biggest flock of water birds in Africa, as the nearby swamps are home to the beautiful yet decreasing in number papyrus gonolek, as well as the uncommon peculiar shoebill stork (which is among the most sought after bird species on the African continent).
Rwanda Safari Activities within Akagera National Park
Visitors can enjoy memorable boat trips on Lake Ihema which will certainly reward you with an unforgettable experience. However, this necessitates that you make your reservation in advance while you are still in the capital Kigali through the ORTPN. during this trip you will have closer encounters with large hippos, the giant crocodiles as well as see a great diversity of bird species including the African darter, cormorants in addition to the open-bill storks.
In addition the water birds are very may around this lake so you will be able to spot the colorful African jacana on some of the small floating islands vegetation, normally the fish eagles are spotted seen high in the trees, while the malachite kingfisher hawks plus the colorful kingfishers are seen flying over the waters ready to prey fish. Additionally, will also get the chance to spot the marsh specialists such as the marsh flycatcher and the blue headed coucal.Secondly, Akagera National Park offers thrilling Game drives usually conducted in 4WD vehicle during which you will explore the different game tracks to see the animals here.
Dian Fossey Safari Rwanda
What is found at the grave and the Research Center? How can I reach there? How long is the walk, what does the trek cost? How can I organize the trek? Besides her grave-stone what else is there to see in the tiny museum? What does the research center look like?
Among the most renowned hikes when in Volcanoes National Park found in Rwanda is that to Dian Fossey’s Tomb as well as the nearby gorilla cemetery within the formerly Karisoke Research Camp. Back in time, Dian Fossey established this Karisoke scientific center in the area just between 2 volcanoes of Mt Visoke as well as Mount Karisimbi (from which its name Karisoke was derived).
This camp site is found at an altitude of nearly 3000meters (more than 9000 feet) and was deserted during the wars of the early1990’s. This trek includes a 30 minutes’ drive from the headquarters of the park to the trailhead from where you will have a 10 minutes’ stroll to the border of the park. From here, the climb through the green forest takes about 90 minutes to 3 hours, basing on your fitness as well as how often you will stop to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and then the descent takes one to two hours.
Fossey’s former living quarters that she nicknamed ‘the mausoleum’ are currently in ruins, and many other landmarks can be seen here at the camp with clear signposts. The hike presents an amazing chance to views birds plus other small creatures that living in the Virungas along the way. At this legendary site you will as well see the house in which Dian Fossey was strangely murdered back in 1985 however more calm is at the place where she was laid to rest just close to her most-loved gorilla – Digit and close to 20 other gorillas some of which were killed by the brutal poachers and others suffered death due to other reasons.
Her tomb stone reads: “No one loved gorillas more Rest in peace, dear friend eternally protected In this sacred ground For you are home Where you belong” In Dian Fossey’s journal, some of her last words stated that when one discovers the importance of life, they will depend less on all that is past and focus more on preserving the future. Currently, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is observing 10 gorilla groups (of total 15 found in Rwanda), and has a number of additional projects to assist conserve these gorillas plus other animals within the area.
This walk is a wonderful experience not only intellectually by physically and emotionally as well. It is really an inspirational to learn about a person who was entirely dedicated and even left behind a legacy which still exists to date. In case you travel to Rwanda, this would be a nice place to visit before you leave the country. A Park entrance fee of US$75 is currently paid for the Karisoke Trek per individual, and that includes a fee for your guide. This trek begins at 7:00am at the Park Headquarters found in Kinigi, where you will drive to the trailhead of the trek. The Permits can be bought on the very day of this trek at the headquarters of the park where you will also find porters to hire here.
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda Safari
Extending to Rwanda, DRC and Uganda the amazing Virunga Volcanoes are some the most wonderful sights here in East Africa. Several years ago, Dian Fossey a researcher wrote that “You are really high up that you shiver even more than you actually sweat!” The rough range of 8 peaks stands really high to 15,000 feet in a number of areas, and five of these peaks are inside Rwanda. The foothills of each is covered with thick rainforest, that give way to the beautiful montane grassland and moving on higher you will find the alpine moorland.
3 day gorilla Trekking safari in Rwanda through this verdant forest will give you the opportunity to come face to face with the peaceful Mountain Gorillas which you will see chewing on bamboo shoots; it is certainly one of the amazing spectacles on planet earth you will ever see.
Volcanoes National Park has a number of habituated Gorilla families living within its forests, each as attractively chaotic and offering a very memorable experience as the rest of them. However, what you should note is that the time for tracking each of these groups varies from one group to another. Down the foothills of the Virungas, you will have an opportunity to see the rare Golden Monkeys, a great profusion of clored birds, in addition to elephants plus some buffaloes. this national park covers a total expanse of 160 square km and it holds Rwanda safari section of the Virunga Mountains, including 6 extinct plus 3 active volcanoes which overlap the national borders of Uganda with Rwanda as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The fascinating Volcanoes Park is a section of the nearby 433 square kilometer Trans border conservation area which in addition includes the Virunga National Park in Rwanda, plus the Mgahinga National Park found in Uganda in addition to the plus the Democratic Republic of Congo’s section of the Virunga ranges. Today, these three national parks are managed disjointedly. Birds in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda This National Park has a total of 180 species of bird species including the Grauer’s rush warbler, 16 Albertine Rift endemic including francolin, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s ground robin, collared apalis, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, dusky crimson-wing, red-faced woodland warbler and the Rwenzori turaco. Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda.
Community Tourism in Rwanda
Beyond Gorillas, Rwandan Culture Is Raking Tourist Dollars Yet at main entrance of Amahoro, the feeling one gets is that of an art and craft dealership, or a cultural artifact center: there are countless paintings on canvass, wood carvings, tribal masks and cultural paraphernalia neatly displayed at every nook and cranny, every wall, tree trunk and stump. Actually, this place has become a melting pot for local artisans either plying their wares to tourists who check into the facility, while others do come here for free apprenticeship. “When I first came here, there was some subsistence farming going on, mostly growing of sweet potatoes.
Otherwise it was just a forest and nobody lived here.” Prior to this move, Bakunzi had been doing some cultural tourism projects with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, a mountain gorilla conservation project. “I wanted to preserve our local culture, which is why I went in for this particular look, because that is what responsible tourism is all about. When I first thought of setting up Rwanda Tours, the main mission was to offer cultural tourism, and I could not have kept its office in a different way,” he explained. Tourism demystified Seven kilometers out of Musanze town, in Nyakinama village sits the Red Rocks Campsite and Cultural Exchange Center, Bakunzi’s second major project.
Tourists enjoy a taste of the Rwandan Culture
Essentially a camping facility for backpackers and tourists to and from the gorilla trail, Red Rocks also serves as some kind of demonstration facility for Bakunzi’s “community, conservation and tourism” pet project. Bakunzi’s auxiliary, home-grown tour itinerary seeks to supplement the core packages of gorilla tracking and mountain hiking for which the Musanze tour destination is synonymous. He calls it “cultural tourism”. In a nutshell, what Bakunzi does is to sell real life cultural experiences to tourists, as opposed to tour destinations. He offers a taste of local culture and life experiences to tourists at a fee. This cultural package includes a host of activities in which one can choose to take part; village and community walks, basket weaving sessions, banana beer production, farm harvests, traditional music and dance, family visitations … you name it. Usually, these tourists looking for some kind of trophy to carry back home, the reason they will go out of their way to touch base with authentic local country life. For this, they are only too glad to put away their gorilla permits and five-star Kigali comforts, if only temporarily.