Rwanda is back on the map for a stimulating adventure safari. Rwanda is small and easy to get around, despite the hilly terrain. Good tar roads wind through fertile hillsides terraced with coffee-plantations. Not for nothing is Rwanda called ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’! Most places are within three hours drive from Kigali, the capital.
From a practical point of view this means you can combine a Rwandan safari with neighbouring Tanzania.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Most visitors are lured by the rare promise of seeing some of the last wild population of mountain gorillas. They are found in the high altitude rainforest of the Volcanoes massif. Indeed it is home to half of the estimated population of 800 mountain gorilla. They live high in the Volcanoes National Park.
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 Rwanda gorilla trekking tour.
Other highlights of gorilla tracking in Rwanda include visiting the research centre of the late Dian Fossey (the renowned primatologist featured in Gorillas in the Mist) and also tracking Golden monkeys.
Unexpected treats on a Rwanda Safari Tour
Though one, or two, days of gorilla trekking is one of the highlights of a safari in Rwanda. there are many other delights. Other ‘must sees’ on a Rwanda safari tour include the ancient high-altitude forest of Nyungwe National Park. This is the largest protected montane forest in Africa. And is a paradise for primate fans. Ruwenzori colobus monkeys and chimpanzees are among the 13 different primates to be glimpsed 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. 5 star comfort is found at Nyungwe Forest Lodge in a tea plantation at the forest edge.
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 combine South Africa with a chance to see the mountain gorillas on a Rwanda safari.
Rwanda is a compact country with roads radiating out from Kigali. On arrival, you are met by your own private Rwanda safari guide with a 4×4 vehicle. He will transfer you by road to the National Parks for gorilla trekking and also visits to the primates.