Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Virunga Mountains Rwanda. Photo by Eric Manzi

Rwanda, popularly known as the land of a thousand hills is landlocked country located in East Africa. It  neighbors Uganda to the North, Tanzania to the east, DRC to the west & Burundi to the south.

The country has one of the fast growing economies despite its dark past of the Rwandan genocide. Several decades after the genocide, the Rwandan economy has greatly recovered making Rwanda among leading tourist destinations in the region.  Rwanda’s Capital city is Kigali situated just a few minutes drive from Kigali International Airport the country’s major international entrance. 

Wildlife Attractions

Rwanda is abundantly gifted by nature as seen in the country’s wildlife in its four major national parks. Most visited is Volcanoes national park located in the north western part a 3 hours drive from the capital city Kigali. The park is home to half of the mountain gorilla population of the Virunga massif. There are over 10 habituated gorilla families open for tourism.

Mountain gorilla tourism has gained momentum over the years as many want to meet these rare endangered apes. Gorillas have an attachment to humans with over 95% of their DNA is similar to humans. This makes them among man’s closet wild relatives after the chimpanzees.

Volcanoes National park is also a home to golden monkeys which are rare primates species endemic to the Virunga Massif. The Virunga Massif is a volcanic mountain range stretching from southwestern Uganda, Northwestern Rwanda and Eastern DRC. Mountains of the Virunga massif in Volcanoes national park Rwanda include Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi & Mount Gahinga. 

Nyungwe national park in the southwestern part of the country is home to man’s closest relatives the chimpanzees. The park has other primate species including various monkey and bird species making it a great tourist destination.

Akagera national park is located in the east is the only Savannah park in Rwanda offering African classic safari experiences. The park is a home to wildlife species like elephants, giraffes, lions,  Antelopes, zebras plus crocodiles among others. Lastly is Gishwati Mukura national park which is typically forested and a great destination for birding and Primate tracking. 

Safari Activities in Rwanda

Mountain gorilla tracking is Rwanda’s leading safari activity that is on a bucket list of many adventure lovers. Gorilla tracking is done throughout the year but best experiences are in the dry season. Golden monkey tracking is another enjoyable activity in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park.

Chimpanzee tracking and other primates treks like colobus monkey tracking are options you can look at while in Rwanda. These are done in Nyungwe forest national park in the southwestern part of the country.

You can also have  classic African Savannah wildlife experiences like game drives and boat cruises in Akagera NP Rwanda. Birding is a general activity that can be done in all national parks of Rwanda because of the many bird species.

Other activities include mountain hiking, community visits where you get to interact with the local people and guided nature walks.

Don’t miss on the vibrant Kigali city life explored on a Kigali city tour visiting local markets and some suburbs. The local Rwandan people are very hospitable as well. A combination of the Rwandan culture plus the wildlife encounters always leaves lasting memories in many tourists who always keep wanting to return to this beautiful country. 

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