There is an array of amazing wonders within Rwanda that makes it well worth the visit. First and foremost, trekking to see the endangered mountain gorilla inhabiting the forested slopes. Secondly, you can also see their smaller cousins and our closest animal relatives, the chimpanzees. In the Nyungwe Forest National Park, Africa's last remaining mountain rainforest habitat, you can see them traipsing through the tree canopies.
Then there's Volcanoes National Park, with (you guessed it) spectacular volcanoes with verdant slopes set against the dark waters of lakes filling their 'dormant' craters. You might also be surprised to find a tropical beach environment on the shores of Lake Kivu.
All in all, Rwanda is a fantastic country to visit with many sights to see and cultural wonders to witness.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Rwanda
Although it is regarded as an all-year-round activity, the best time to experience gorilla trekking is during the dry seasons, which are from mid-December to mid-February and then again from June to September. Rwanda experiences two rainy seasons, namely March to May and September to December.
Yes, it's important to note that children under 15 are not permitted on gorilla treks. A gorilla-trekking permit is also essential.
It all depends on your fitness level. You will be grouped accordingly with fellow trekkers to embark on either short, medium, or long treks. This also depends on the location of the gorillas. A trekking expedition can take from one to three hours, sometimes longer.
The best time is during their rainy season from mid-February to May, and then again mid-September to mid-December as the apes are easier to locate because their food source is easier to find. During the dry months, the chimp families are often too far into the forests sourcing food.
Rwanda offers an incredible circuit to experience the culture, a Big 5 safari, and primate trekking. Akagera National Park offers the opportunity for a Big 5 safari.
Akagera National Park is remote and borders Tanzania. It has one of the highest populations of hippos in Africa – 700 plus hippos in Lake Rwanyakazinga and plenty of crocodiles. It is very lush and green in Rwanda and not too hot due to the altitude – so a lot cooler than surrounding countries.
The park is very bush-like compared to the rest of Rwanda, so suitable for many species. With the opportunity to view the Big 5, they have an abundance of lions, tons of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, topi and eland. Opportunity to enjoy lake cruises on Lake Rwanyakazinga to watch the wildlife coming down to drink. It is suitable for a first-time safari-goer but even better suited to someone who has done many of the other areas and wants something different.
Yellow Fever Certificate of Inoculation is required, and it is recommended that you take malaria prophylactics, use insect repellent and wear long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites at dusk.
Both Rwanda and Uganda offer great opportunities for gorilla trekking. However, Rwanda’s terrain is easier and more open, so you get a good view. Uganda is known to be more strenuous. The rainforest in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the highest population of gorillas.