About Rwanda Tourism – Where to go and where to Stay?
Rwanda out of a tragic past to a clear and a brighter future
Having gone through a shameful mass murder that culminated into the 1994 Genocide in which over one million people were killed in less than 100 days, Rwanda has fully recovered from the painful past and it is one of the most exciting post-conflict reconstruction stories in the world. Tourism, one of the activities that had been fully cut off during the mass murder in the 1994 Genocide, is now Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earner.
Our beautiful National Parks, historical sites, our hospitality and entertainment sector has linked Rwanda a preferred destination for nearly one million visitors per year.
Not only referred to as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is also the land of amazing beauty. We are endowed with so many rare natural attractions which thousands of foreign admirers crave to see each year, therefore, plan your trip and endeavor to be part of them.
Rwanda’s efforts to promote tourism has won its international recognition from the endangered mountain gorillas in the north, chimps in the west, birds everywhere, elephants and giraffes in the east, to the glittering beauty of Kigali, the fastest rising and cleanest capital city in Africa, we will offer you more than a human eye can see.
When to Visit Rwanda
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla trekking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds.
Rwanda is a year round destination. Wet seasons are similar running between March and May and October and November. These are still good times for gorilla trekking all be it conditions being slightly more slippery underfoot. At African Jungle Adventures we prefer you travel in either February or September to avoid the busy holiday, these months provide ideal conditions for gorilla tracking and are less busy, though you can still travel any months of the year provided you have time.
What to Wear while in Rwanda
Here in Rwanda the dress code is informal, daytime temperatures is generally warm, therefore, you are advised to bring lots of light clothing supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings then heavier clothing for the Volcanic and Nyungwe National parks that is When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
Rwanda’s strict environmental laws are that the use of plastic bags (polythene papers) was banned and therefore, you will not be allowed into the country at the border checkpoints if you are carrying such items.
Kigali is a clean and green city. You are expected to throw your litter in rubbish cans which are fitted all over. Walk along the provided foot paths. Do not step on the grass.
Nyungwe National Park
Situated in the majestic hills of southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest island of montane forest remaining in east and central Africa.
In this park most large mammals and primates are the most visible, in particular you will see the Angola colobus and the acrobatic arboreal monkeys which move in troops of several hundred then you will also be able to view an estimated 500 chimpanzee.
Other primates one might encounter are L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. Honestly monkeys are common specie in this forest.
However, Nyungwe is also home to more than 275 bird species, making in the region’s most important birding site. The park has a canopy walk that helps clients in viewing these animals clearly.
However, the canopy is so interesting that you will be able to see the monkeys’ room around on the tree tops at a clear view. This activity is a must not miss while in Rwanda, actually you are advised to include this as part of your safari itinerary.
Accommodation you will go to Nyungwe Forest Lodge which is located in the tea estate overlooking Nyungwe forest. Another accommodation here can be Uwinka Rest House, Gisakura Guest House
Akagera National Park
Located on a low altitude near Tanzania border, Akagera National Park could scarcely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterize much of Rwanda.
This African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland is Big Game Park. Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes; here lucky clients might stumble across a leopard, a spotted hyena or even a stray lion. Many animals seen during game drive in open grasslands of Akagera dotted with Lakes, Marshes and rivers. Animals seen include Zebra, Giraffes, hippos, Elephants, warthogs, gazelle, buffalo and a variety of bird species totaling up to 350 species.
Visitors are allowed to Camp alongside the picturesque lakes of Akagera and this is truly mystical introduction to the wonders of the African bush. Also a boat ride at the lake is enjoyable.
While in Akagera National Park, visitors enjoy boat cruise on Lake Ihema to view a variety of water loving animals and birds lingering at the shore of the lake.
Accommodation suitable for you here at Akagera National park is Akagera Game Lodge and Ruzizi tented Lodge.
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Majority of Rwanda safaris go to Volcanoes National Park mainly for mountain gorilla trekking. This is Rwanda’s most famous tour destination where Dian Fossey had her research base for many years. Home to the world famed mountain gorillas. Located in the heart of Central Africa, where you shiver more than you sweat and it is situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, volcanoes national park is half of the worlds remaining mountain gorillas. According to me, tracking the mountain gorillas is one of the absolute highlights of a journey anywhere in Africa. The thrill and excitement when meeting these gentle giants cannot be explained, it simply has to be experienced.
Gorilla tracking is a major activity here, ready to track, you will have a briefing, then immediately after briefing on how to behave while in the company of a gorilla group, head for Bisoke Volcano which is a 40 minutes drive from the headquarters, Get to the car parking outside the park, and here you find porters to hire. It is highly recommended, if anything, a MUST, to hire a porter to carry your bag of items. Your bag, however light may seem, gets unbearably heavy as you ascend the mountain. The porters are also helpful in providing a push or pull through the challenging spots, such as muddy, steep & slippery. The ranger distributes the nicely crafted hiking sticks and you are raring to go!
The length of the trek varies depending on where the gorillas are as well as what the weather conditions are.
It is important to bring good hiking boots, long trousers and gloves for protection against stinging nettles, some snacks & sweets as well as sufficient amount of water as the rain forest gets hot and humid during the day.
Accommodation in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
While at the home of mountain gorillas, you are free to stay at any kind of accommodation either Luxury or Budget. However, this depends on the budget of the clients.
1. Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
This is among the supper luxury accommodations around. The Lodge has hospitable workers that serve clients to their satisfaction. Gorilla Mountain View Lodge is a good, mid-range option with 30 individual cottages, a restaurant and a bar, all with views over the surrounding hills and volcanoes. It’s affordable and within 15 minutes’ drive of the park headquarters.
The guest house is situated within the park which is few metres from the briefing point-Kinigi headquarter. Kind visitors prefer staying at Kinigi Guest house due to the fact that, some profits made by the lodge is shared to facilitate the development of the community through constructing wells, schools, hospitals among others.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
This is a newest lodge in the park, and by far the most comfortable and luxurious. Sabyinyo Silverback offers spectacular views from its elevated position. Its six cottages and two suites are set in well-maintained gardens, all with private verandas, en-suite bathrooms and sitting rooms featuring fireplaces.
This has a stunning location with a clear view of the beautiful twin lake: Burera and Buhondo. The lodge has eight spacious chalets, each with a large private veranda. It is eco-friendly, with hot bucket-showers and composting toilets, and furnished in a rustic fashion Gorilla tracking safaris in Volcanoes National Park.