Destinations

Rwanda

Gaze into the soft brown eyes of a mountain gorilla and you will understand why people, including famed conservationist Dian Fossey, are willing to dedicate their whole lives to preserving these gentle giants.
The land of a thousand hills
The iconic Hollywood film Gorillas in the Mist - with Sigourney Weaver's Academy Award-winning performance playing gorilla researcher Dian Fossey - highlighted Rwanda’s most celebrated great ape - the mountain gorilla, but there is so much more to see and do in this beautiful country that is blessed with extraordinary biodiversity, incredible wildlife and varied terrain including cloud forests, montane rainforests and sweeping plains.
 
Often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda is a landlocked republic that overcame a brutal civil war in the early 1990s, and has since emerged as Africa's most impressive turnaround story. Fondly referred to as the Singapore of Africa, Rwanda is one of Africa’s most sought-after destinations.

Through dedication and hard work, Rwanda has now earned the moniker ‘Remarkable Rwanda’, and this is especially apparent in its capital, Kigali, which pulsates with energy and activity. Located in the centre of the country on the Ruganwa River, African charm pervades this energetic city which boasts French-Belgian and African fusion restaurants, creative start-ups and cafes that serve some of the best coffee in Africa. With its rolling green hills, sparkling clean streets and vibrant young art and shopping scenes, we recommend at least a two-night stay, with visits to the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the Campaign Against Genocide Museum, both worthwhile stops for remembrance, reflection, forgiveness and hope, in commemoration of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

 
Planet of the apes
Rwanda is renowned for its endangered mountain gorillas, 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 and nocturnal pottos and bushbabies.

Also known as the Parc National des Volcans, this national park is home to 400 gorillas with twelve groups of gorillas that are habituated to humans and are comfortable being observed by tourists. Encompassing five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, and often heralded as the easiest place in Africa to access these beautiful mammals, getting up close and personal to these gentle creatures is the highlight for all visitors coming to Rwanda. 

Apart from Gorilla Trekking, visitors can also take part in Golden Monkey Trekking, guided walks to Dian Fossey's Tomb and the Musanze Caves, hikes along Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke volcanoes, as well as the waterfall and twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo. Guests can also participate in reforestation projects and have a hand in the conservation of this beautiful area.

One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and is home to 13 species of primates including a population of chimpanzees estimated at 500, as well as the L’Hoest’s monkey which is endemic to the Albertine Rift. Although primate tracking tops the list for most visitors, botanists and birders will be delighted by the many bird and plant species, with more than 20 species endemic to the region.

For keen walkers, the area offers a 130-kilometre network of 15 walking trails of various difficulties, making this a hiker’s paradise regardless of the fitness level. A highlight is a trail that leads to the Kamiranzovu Marsh, Nyungwe National Park’s largest wetland, where you can find a waterfall and a great variety of wetland vegetation, perfect for an afternoon stroll and ample photo opportunities. A notable attraction is the Canopy Walkway, which is built on platforms that are elevated between giant trees floating 60 metres above the forest floor, offering awe-inspiring views over the valley and surrounding forests. 

Made up of two separate forests – the larger Gishwati and the smaller Mukura, this national park sits on the ridge which divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas. The park is another haven for wildlife with multiple primate species and abundant birdlife.  From late 2020, private chimpanzee tracking and habituation experiences will be on offer, allowing a very small number of tourists to help habituate Gishwati's 30+ chimpanzee community to pave the way for exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experiences - sustainable ecotourism at its finest. Visitors will also have the opportunity to experience a pristine montane forest, some of Rwanda’s most exciting birding and cultural exchanges with neighbouring local communities intimately involved in the park's protection.

 
Rwanda's wildlife rich savannah
Akagera National Park is central Africa's largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda.
In the past few years, this 100,000-hectare national park has undergone a phenomenal transformation where poaching has essentially been eliminated and wildlife is now thriving. The forest-fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. The park now boasts a healthy population of lions, which were reintroduced into the park in 2015 after a 20-year absence, as well as black rhinos, which were reintroduced in 2017, restoring the park's ‘Big 5’ status. A boat trip on Lake Ihema is a must for any visit to Akagera, where you’ll be greeted by large pods of hippos, Nile crocodiles and abundant birdlife.
 
 
One of Africa's great lakes
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes, situated on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, along the western branch of the East African Rift Valley called the Albertine Rift.

Only an hour’s drive away from Volcanoes National Park, scenic Lake Kivu with its Mediterranean vibe is the perfect place to unwind after trekking adventures. Enjoy a dip in the lake, go fishing to chill out, or just explore the lakesidet town of Rubavu and witness its spectacular sunset. The area is also flanked by rustic and provincial tea and coffee plantations, with plenty of biking and hiking trails around to boot.

DID YOU KNOW?

Giraffes are six feet tall when they are born. They are the tallest animals on Earth and they reach heights of up to 18 feet. Giraffes have the largest eyes of any land mammal and other animals of the African savannah use giraffes as sentinels for spotting predators. The tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 18 inches and they can reach their ears with their tongue.

 

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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.