Rwanda is now firmly on the map for a stimulating adventure safari. It is small, so it’s easy to get around, despite the hilly terrain. (Not for nothing is Rwanda called ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’!) Good tar roads wind through fertile hillsides terraced with coffee-plantations. Indeed most places are within three hours drive from Kigali, the capital.
So, from a practical point of view, this means you can combine some gorilla trekking in Rwanda with a safari in neighbouring Tanzania. But it also makes for a great ‘stand-alone’destination.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
The rare promise of seeing some of the last wild population of mountain gorillas is the lure for most visitors. The gorillas live in the high altitude rainforest of the Volcanoes massif. This park is home to half of the estimated population of 800 mountain gorilla.
There are 7 habituated mountain gorilla groups in the Volcanoes National Park. So this is one of the best places for a clear sighting on a gorilla trekking tour.
Plus you can visit the research centre of the late Dian Fossey, (the renowned primatologist featured in Gorillas in the Mist). Or track Golden monkeys on the lower slopes.
Unexpected treats on a Rwanda Safari Tour
Though one, or two, days of gorilla trekking is likely to be the highlight of your Rwanda safari. there are many other delights. ‘Must sees’ include the ancient high-altitude forest of Nyungwe National Park. This is the largest protected montane forest in Africa. And a paradise for primate fans. Here you can see Ruwenzori colobus monkeys and chimpanzees on forest walks.
Nyungwe is also home to 310 bird species, 26 of which are endemic. This includes the great blue turaco, and a startling aray of orchids and butterflies.
A good place to relax between chimpanzee and gorilla trekking is the beautiful freshwater Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda.
Those with time to adventure can travel to the east, to camp in the Akagera National Park. Here you will find buffalo, elephant, zebra and giraffe Iin its rolling savanna plains. But you’ll share the roads with virtually no other vehicles.
Rwanda Safari Tours – How to get there & get around
Probably the easiest way is to fly into Nairobi and then connect to Kigali. Interestingly there is now a reasonably priced flight with Air Rwanda from Johannesburg to Kigali. So that you can even combine South Africa with a chance to see the mountain gorillas on a Rwanda safari.