THE LAND OF THE GORILLAS
Rwanda is a landscape of incessant ascends and plunges… rightfully, the ‘land of a thousand hills’. The small country at the seam of East and Central Africa has quickly risen to become the latest fad in every nature lovers’ travel diary.
Squaring only 26,338 sq km, Rwanda is drenched in immense natural brilliance and diversity showcasing: impressive landscapes of precipitous mountains and rolling hills, dense rainforests, volcanic peaks and mountain gorillas, copious waterways and masses, wildlife sanctuaries and a rich and vibrant cultural heritage.
Rwanda sits cuddled between countries; with Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west. Its capital, the enchantingly picturesque city – Kigali.
Volcanoes National Park
This corner or northwestern Rwanda is a breath-taking unforgettable place where culture, adventure and conservation intersect.
The “Parc National de Volcans” (or PNV as it’s known by locals) lies along the Virunga Mountains, with 8 ancient volcanoes, which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just a short two hour drive from Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, the park is a central location for exploring some distinctly Rwandan experiences. While a visit to the mountain gorillas is often at the top of visitor, the dramatic landscape also offers thrilling hiking and visits to the fascinating golden monkeys.
PNV is also one of Rwanda’s conservation epicenters, where many non-profit organizations base their operations. Visitors can pay homage to the legendary scientist and gorilla advocate Dian Fossey with a hike to her tomb or a visit to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund that continues her legacy of research and advocacy to this day.
Near the park, the bustling and vibrant markets of Musanze are a place to immerse yourself into everyday Rwandan culture. Go deep into the earth with Musanze’s caves – one of the area’s newest attraction.
Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is a low-lying savannah reserve in the east of Rwanda on the border with Tanzania. Known as one of the most scenic savannahs in East Africa, the game drive in Akagera provides you with the opportunity to view gentle hills blending beautifully with lowland swamps and water bodies. It has a good selection of game and bird life.
Lake Kivu is the country’s largest body of water and takes up about half of Rwanda’s western border. Relax on the shore of Gisenyi and enjoy the incredible views across the palm-fringed lake or explore the various islands on Lake Kivu like Napoleon Island, IJWI Island, Amahoro Island, all great for birding and bat watching.
Butare was the largest and most important city in Rwanda prior to 1965 when it lost out to more centrally located Kigali. It has an impressive royal palace as well as an absorbing national museum, which houses perhaps the finest ethnographic collection in East Africa with absorbing displays of traditional artifacts.
Nyungwe National Park is a high-altitude; mountainous rainforest in southern Rwanda. Nyungwe’s biodiversity is astonishing by African standards and is one of the most endemic species-rich areas in all of Africa and is home to 13 primate species which include chimpanzees, colubus monkeys and mangabeys, 275 species of birds with 24 endemic to the African highlands, over 140 species of orchids, reptiles and butterflies.