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Rwanda

A small African country of exceptional beauty and wildlife, Rwanda has transcended its tragic past and is now a country reborn

Tailor-Made Holidays
To Rwanda

A small African country of exceptional beauty and wildlife, Rwanda has shrugged off its tragic past and is now a country reborn: it has one of the highest proportions of women in government, national tree-planting days and has even outlawed plastic shopping bags.

Rwanda, known as The Land of a Thousand Hills, offers the natural history traveller a great deal, including classic savannah, conical volcanoes, tranquil lakes, terraced valleys and the largest area of montane rainforest in east Africa.

Often the main reason visitors come to Rwanda, the endangered mountain gorilla can be reliably seen and tops an impressive list of over a dozen primates including chimpanzee, golden monkey, colobus monkey and bush baby, making Rwanda one of Africa’s prime primate hotspots.

Rwanda certainly has plenty to offer in its own right and also combines very well with Tanzania if one wants a classic big game safari experience as well.

A wonderful shot of an inquisitive young Gorilla in Nyungwe park

Photography by Dan Burton

Best Time To Visit Rwanda

Rwanda’s location (120km south of the equator, in the Tropic of Capricorn) together with its high altitude give most of the country a year-round temperate climate that is moist by African standards. Temperatures generally stay between 30C (day) and 15C (night). The Virunga mountains in the north may be cooler and Akagera’s savannah hotter. Rainy seasons are March to May and October to December.

Rwanda Travel

Getting There

Flight Time

11 Hours from London to Kigali (via Nairobi)

Time Zone

GMT +2

Language

French & English

Population

11.78 million

Highlights

What To See

Lake Kivu

One of the African Great Lakes and running along Rwanda’s western edge, the tranquil and exceedingly deep Lake Kivu has volcanic origins. With green, terraced hills and surprisingly good beaches, Kivu is the recreation capital of the country. The scenic lakeside town of Kibuye has interesting buildings, tiny islands and small beaches.

Nyungwe National Park

Occupying 970 square kilometres of rainforested valleys in the remote southwest corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe has the largest area of intact montane rainforest in east and central Africa. The stunning landscape supports a high biodiversity including 86 mammal species, 280 species of birds including 26 endemics, 5 species of chameleon and 120 butterflies. Nyungwe is particularly noted for its 13 species of primates including eight species of monkey and a healthy population of chimpanzees, some semi-habituated. The chimps are wary of people and have a huge range, so sightings are not as reliable as with the gorillas. However, exciting encounters do frequently occur, particularly when the chimpanzees are engrossed in feeding from fruiting trees (most common in the rainy season). An extensive network of rainforest trails lead to picturesque waterfalls and natural springs, one said to be the true source of the Nile. A large number of other primates can frequently be seen including l’Hoest’s, vervet, silver and Ruwenzori colobus monkeys.

Volcanoes National Park

Bordering Uganda to the north and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, the 13,000 hectare Volcanoes National Park is the centre of one of the world’s greatest wildlife highlights. Made famous by Dian Fossey, the habituated mountain gorillas enthral visitors with their gentle power, intelligence and playful antics. The gorilla trekking operation is extremely well organised and the resultant income, together with the twenty-four hour protection this affords, has undoubtedly helped keep these awesome yet endearing apes from extinction. The park is in an area of outstanding beauty with its skyline of volcanic cones ringed by forests giving way to fertile farming terraces. In addition to gorillas, there is plenty here to enthral the wildlife enthusiast including habituated golden monkeys, elephants, buffalos and around 180 species of bird including 13 endemic species.

Akagera National Park

Rwanda’s answer to the savannahs of eastern Africa, Akagera National Park is a beautiful patchwork of rolling grassland, thick forest, wetlands and acacia thickets. The park has suffered from heavy poaching in the past: however, tourist development is slowly stimulating a recovery and many plains species can now be seen here including Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, impala, hippo and crocodile. Carnivores are still very rare, but there are over 500 species of birds including fish eagles and the highly sought-after shoebill stork.

Kigali

Situated in a hilly region in the centre of the country, Rwanda’s capital is a pleasant little city with tree-lined streets, cool climate and friendly population making it an agreeable place to spend a day or two. The Genocide Museum provides a sombre insight into the country’s recent past whilst the modern city epitomises Rwanda’s revival with one day a month dedicated to city-cleaning and tree planting. There are many small shops selling handicrafts and the markets provide local colour and opportunities for bargaining.

Featured

Wildlife Holidays

Accommodation

Featured Places To Stay

Gorilla Mountain View Lodge

Sits in a clearing with impressive views towards the high peaks of the Virunga M...

Cormoran Lodge

Stylish property overlooking beautiful Lake Kivu in Kibuye...

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Five-star luxury hotel set in a lush tea plantation not far from the entrance to...

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Lavish lodge in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains with outstanding views to...

Your Very Own

Rwanda Specialist

Jonathan Morris

Area Specialist

With the rest of East Africa on your doorstep, it’s tempting to just tag a few days’ Rwanda gorilla watching on to a traditional safari – but there is so much here to warrant a longer stay. The volcanoes and farming terraces rival those of Asia; Lake Kivu has a languid beauty rivalling the great lakes of Europe; Nyungwe has some of the best primate trekking in the world; and Kigali is one of the world’s greenest and most pleasant cities. Extend your trip and venture beyond the gorillas – you won’t regret it.

If you have any questions regarding travel to Rwanda, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965