Rwanda is amazingly one of the best destinations worth considering for holiday. Not only is this spectacular country known for its breathtaking mountain gorilla trekking expeditions but also unmatched wildlife safaris and unique cultural experiences. Also referred to as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda features distinctly spectacular rainforest-dominated protected areas that offer remarkable primate trekking experiences and tourists have opportunity to combine their magical primate encounters with the big 5 game safaris in Akagera National Park.
Rwanda is a blessed nation and complete African safari destination. Located in East Africa, Rwanda is composed of 4 parks where you can find diversity of attractions ranging from mountain gorillas to abundant bird species. The country’s 4 parks to explore include Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
Why Safari in Rwanda?
Spanning over the land area of about 26,338sq.km, Rwanda is such an amazing destination with multiple safari activities. On Rwanda safaris with Engabi Tours and Travel, expect to explore more than mountain gorillas. Here are some of the exciting activities to enjoy on Rwanda safari.
When you talk about Rwanda, the whole conversation often revolves around mountain gorillas. Truly, Rwanda is an exceptional destination to visit for you to enjoy up close and personal with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Visiting mountain gorillas in Rwanda like in Uganda or D.R. Congo requires you to have obtained a gorilla permit.
Rwanda is a high-end destination with permits issued at USD 1500 and about 12 gorilla families are all ready for gorilla trekking. The gorilla families to visit on Rwanda gorilla safari include among others Amahoro, Ugenda, Hirwa, Susa A, Kwitonda, Bwenge, Agashya, Sabyinyo, Umubano, Karisimbi (Susa B), and others.
Game drives are a must addition or independent experiences to expect to enjoy while you are on a safari in Rwanda. The beauty about game drives in Rwanda is that visitors have a great chance to locate the big 5 game in a single habitat. This is all possible while in Akagera National Park, the only savanna park to find African bush elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes freely roaming in the wild.
Akagera NP is set in Eastern Rwanda, gazetted in 1934 and has land area of 1122sq.km. It also shelters other diverse wildlife including giraffes, zebras, impalas, waterbucks, topis, hyenas, and others. Over 500 species of birds also survive within Akagera Park including Eastern grey plantain eater, African darter, Great egret, Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, common squacco heron, African wattled lapwing, and more.
Canopy walk is a unique experience to Rwanda, currently done in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The Nyungwe canopy walk takes visitors on a 200m walk through a suspended walkway set about 50m from the ground. While on a guided canopy walk, there is a chance to spot primates such as Dent’s monkeys, colobus monkeys, and birds.
Chimpanzee trekking is a memorable primate adventure that awaits you on a Rwanda vacation. Chimpanzees in Rwanda live in Gishwati-Mukura and Nyungwe Forest National Park. The most popular and developed chimpanzee safari destination is Nyungwe NP with 2 sections available for visitors to encounter habituated chimpanzee communities – Cyamudongo and Uwinka reception.
Rwanda has many hiking opportunities but majority are distributed in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. The most ideal trails in Nyungwe NP include Isumo waterfalls, Bigugu trail, Irebero trail, Karamba birding trail, Igishigishigi trail, Kamiranzovu trail and others.
Besides normal hiking experiences, Rwanda also offers great volcano climbing opportunities. Volcano climbing experiences in the Land of a Thousand Hills are enjoyable in the 5 Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Sabyinyo, Mt. Muhabura, Gahinga, Karisimbi and Bisoke.
Experience the most of Rwanda’s distinct cultures and traditions on our cultural safaris combined with other primate or wildlife safaris. The cultural tours in Rwanda bring you not only great entertainment but also the unique history, beliefs, cultures and traditions from the Rwandan community. The main areas of interest for cultural encounters on Rwanda tours include Iby’Iwacu cultural village, Kitabi, Humure refugee village, and Banda cultural village.
How to choose the best Rwanda safari operator?
Key steps to guide you when choosing the best Rwanda safari operator; read through the reviews and recommendations from the previous customers, deal with a licensed tour operator, safari packages and activities, the company rates, type of vehicles available for road trips, terms and conditions, respond from the company, and more.
Why should you choose Rwanda as your safari destination?
Home to unique primates –the rare mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzees, l’hoest monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, bush babies, Dent’s Mona monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, and many more.
Big 5 and other wildlife –Rwanda is a perfect place to locate all the big 5 game in a single habitat plus several other wildlife species. These survive in Akagera NP and include elephants, rhinos, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, lions, zebras and others.
Safety –Rwanda like Uganda have enjoyed decades of peace and security. It is no doubt that this is ultimately the preferred destination for tourists to spend a holiday.
Accessibility –Rwandan National Parks are a short distance away from the heart of Kigali city. It takes visitors 2-3 hours to get to Volcanoes NP to track mountain gorillas, 2.5 hours’ drive to reach Akagera National Park and 6-7 to get to Nyungwe for chimpanzee trekking.
Myriad of classic accommodation options- Rwanda is one destination with varied accommodation options including Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, One & Only Nyungwe House, Akagera Game Lodge, Magashi Tented Camp and more.
What to see on your safari in Rwanda
Different wildlife and primates can be spotted on a safari in Rwanda. These include mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, l’hoest monkeys, golden monkeys, olive baboons, Blue monkeys, and savanna species such as rhinos, leopards, lions, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, and roan antelopes.
Birds –over 700 species are distributed in the different sites and include Albertine species. The birds to expect to encounter include the stripe-breasted tit, handsome spur fowl, red-faced barbet, Kungwe apalis, brown chested lapwings, grasshopper buzzards, white-browed coucal, black headed gonoleks, African fish eagle, African fish eagles, spur winged goose, African pygmy goose, blue billed teal and others.
Where to stay on a Rwanda safari
Visitors’ choice for accommodation facilities revolve around budget, midrange and luxury. The top lodges and hotels to book on Rwanda safaris include Akagera Game Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Kigali Serena Hotel, The Retreat, Bisate Lodge, Magashi Tented Camp, One&Only Nyungwe House, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Da Vinci, Five Volcanoes, and others.
Best time to visit Rwanda
Rwanda safari destinations are open to guests all year round. But the most preferred time to explore the country’s wonders is during the dry season which occurs from June to September, December to February –the best months of the year to visit Volcanoes NP for gorilla trekking or volcano hiking or even go for the big five game safaris in Akagera NP.
How much is a Rwanda safari cost?
Rwanda safari cost varies depending on the kind of trip one takes and other factors have influence on it including the kind of accommodation, car, other activities and more. A 1-day gorilla tour may go for USD 1700 per person, and luxury tour may run from 5000 USD per person.
Is it safe to visit Rwanda?
Rwanda is safe to visit and is one destination with relatively low crime rates. But still caution should be taken especially in busy centres or markets or city centre where crimes such as bag snatching is common. Avoid walking at night and always try to reach your accommodation early. When you have plan to visit the business centre, leave valuables back in the hotel and if you happen to have them, avoid exposing yourself.
Best places to safari in Rwanda
The top safari destinations in Rwanda include Kigali with many genocide sites including Kigali memorial centre; Nyungwe Forest National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Akagera and Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Other places include Gisenyi, Lake Kivu, Musanze caves and many more.
In conclusions, Rwanda should be a must-visit for myriad of experiences from mountain gorillas to cultural encounters. Visit Rwanda for mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, big 5 game, birds, authentic cultural experiences, guided nature walks, volcano hiking and a lot more.