Africa’s easiest and most accessible gorilla trekking is the main draw card of a Rwandan safari. After arriving at the capital city of Kigali, you are only a few hours’ drive away from the legendary Volcanoes National Park and its habituated but still wild gorilla families.
It was on the bamboo-covered slopes of Rwanda’s Virunga Volcanoes that the late Dian Fossey studied the behaviour of the endangered mountain gorilla for 20 years, followed by the filmmakers who shot Gorillas in the Mist. Now small groups of privileged visitors can experience one of the most memorable wildlife encounters on earth – gorilla trekking through the pristine Virungas rain forest.
Rarely experienced in isolation, a Rwandan gorilla safari combines well with other East African destinations in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania but there is more to green and hilly Rwanda than meets the eye: it is also home to the primate-filled Nyungwe Forest National Park where there are chimpanzees and fantastic bird-watching opportunities. Akagera National Park, on the other hand, offers big game viewing in a diverse Savannah setting.
Lake Kivu is a gorgeous expanse of water surrounded by Rwanda’s gently rolling slopes – in fact, Rwandans call their home ‘the country of a thousand hills’ because of its undulating landscape. Kivu is a great place to enjoy boating, hiking, kayaking and chimp trekking.
Small, compact and easy to travel around, friendly Rwanda has dealt with its past tragedies and offers intrepid travellers and wildlife enthusiasts what is usually a hard-to-gain insight into Central African cultures, wildlife and environments. Simply browse our range of popular tour itineraries and recommended accommodation or contact one of our African Safari Experts for assistance with planning a tailor-made Rwandan safari.
Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, it offers striking scenery, diverse wildlife and great cultural experiences, you can explore the natural wonders of unspoiled rainforests or relax on the shores of translucent-blue Lake Kivu and Rwanda’s majestic volcanoes, to the acres of lush vegetation, verdant tea plantations and dense rainforest. Journeying to this remote destination will provide you with one of the greatest privileges in the world – seeing wild, endangered gorillas in their natural habitat.
Rwanda is home to hundreds of species of trees, plants and birds, in which its varied wildlife and biodiversity can be seen across the stunning national parks. A great place for nature loving travellers, Rwanda has three main conservation areas. The Volcanoes National Park is in the North-West of the country and is home to the impressive mountain gorilla. Time spent here tracking the gorillas on foot is for many travellers a lifetime dream come true. To the South you find the Nyungwe Forest, whose dense forest canopy is home to large chimpanzee and colobus monkey populations. In the East, Akagera National Park is home to a unique swamp ecosystem that is one of the largest protected wetland areas in Eastern Africa, along with its charming people make Rwanda a place that visitors will long to return to.
Rwanda boasts a good percentage of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, found in Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans) – as well as abundant wildlife in Akagera National Park.
Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, is the first city in Africa to be awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award in the recognition of its “cleanliness, security and urban conservation model. In 2008, Rwanda became the first country to elect a national legislature in which a majority of members were women. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth of Nations on 29 November 2009 as its fifty-fourth member, making the country one of only two in the Commonwealth without a British colonial past.
Rwanda offers world class service and accommodation standards, with the accompanying price tag. That being said, with this destination you may be paying a premium for beautiful lodges, and exclusive, unique experiences, but it’s also important to keep in perspective that you’ll also be contributing to significant conservation efforts.
You can trust our experienced team and wildlife guides to fulfil all your dreams when it comes to creating your ideal luxury Rwanda holiday. We can’t wait to share our passion and knowledge with you.
Rwanda is a safe country to visit. This is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Several governments have advised against traveling to some remote border areas, but all the popular tourist destinations are considered safe. Many tourists visit Rwanda every year, and the vast majority of visits are trouble-free.
The best time to visit Rwanda is from mid-May to mid-October, this is the long dry season and has perfect conditions for tracking gorillas. During the Dry season, Primate walks in the forest are a big part of any safari in Rwanda. The habitat of rainforests is, by default, very wet and one can’t avoid rain completely. Walking in the forest is easier in the Dry season and that is also the recommended time for most primate walks, including gorilla trekking.
Rwanda is a much smaller country than Uganda, so lends itself better to a short trip in combination with a safari or beach stay elsewhere in East Africa. The treks in Rwanda are generally shorter and less difficult; however, Volcanoes National Park is at a higher elevation.
Rwandan authorities charge $1,500 USD per person. The majority of revenue goes towards maintaining the park and conserving the wildlife. Around 10% goes toward projects that benefit the local communities.
Rwanda is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. The chances of being mugged or stolen in Rwanda may be lower than in your own country. Security is tight in Rwanda and police can be seen almost everywhere. Security in the national parks is equally tight and there are almost no cases of poaching in Rwanda today. Rebel elements from neighboring countries have no chance in the Volcanoes National Park given the heavy military and police presence. All tourists are escorted with armed rangers while tracking the gorillas.
Rwanda is a much smaller country than Uganda, so lends itself better to a short trip in combination with a safari or beach stay elsewhere in East Africa. The Volcanoes National Park is only two hours’ drive on tarmac road from Kigali and the international airport. For one visit to the gorillas, you will need a minimum of two nights’ stay, and three nights would be ideal. Rwanda has more than twice the number of habituated mountain gorilla groups than Uganda and so permits are generally more easily available. There are currently seven main groups that can be tracked in Rwanda; the Susa, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Kwitonda and Group Thirteen.
You need to wear a long sleeved shirt and Long trousers (can be either Khaki zip-up trousers or jeans) in fact if you can get waterproof trousers wear those. Both long trousers and long sleeved shirts protect you from branches, nettles, thorns or anything else that can prick/scratch you.
Most Important Tips for First Time Visitors
$15 per person to be given to main tracker before you descend the mountain and they will share with other trackers