The land of a thousand hills

The swamp marshes and savannah plains of eastern Rwanda give way to the rising hills and mountains in the west. Bamboo forests climb the slopes of subsided volcanoes, creating a sanctuary for the rare mountain gorilla. Trek through one of Africa’s last rainforests in search of these silverback giants for an experience that will transcend any other safari.

Volcanoes National Park is a haven for around 400 mountain gorillas and encompasses five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains – all shrouded in rainforest and bamboo. These conical mountains contribute to Rwanda’s moniker, the Land of a Thousand Hills. Apart from the gorillas, the park also houses the rare golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, and a few elephants.

Nyungwe Forest National Park spans over 100,000ha of grassland, swamp, bogs, and bamboo. One of the oldest forests in Africa, the area is rich in biodiversity and home to 310 bird species, as well as the gorilla’s smaller cousin, the chimpanzee. Trek after these chimps as they swing through the tree canopy, weaving in and out of sight, and call to their companions. South of the park rests Lake Kivu – one of the Great Lakes in the Albertine Rift Valley – with its indented coast and deep-water bays. 

Highlights

  • The Virunga Mountains’ bamboo-shrouded slopes are a sanctuary for the rare mountain gorilla
  • Volcanoes National Park is a popular base for gorilla trekking and houses around 400 of these mountain giants, as well as the rare golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, and a few elephants
  • Nyungwe Forest National Park holds Africa’s last rainforest and hosts the gorilla’s smaller cousin, the chimpanzee
  • Lake Kivu is one of the Great Lakes in the Albertine Rift Valley
  • Situated on the lake’s shore is the city of Gisenyi
  • Best time to go:
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  • Mixed

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