Rwanda, known as Le Pays des Mille Collines (Land of a Thousand Hills), is home to one of the most remarkable and memorable wildlife experiences on this earth: trekking the equatorial jungle of the Virunga volcanoes in search of the great mountain gorilla.
Come face-to-face with wildlife in the land of a thousand hills
Tucked in-between the iconic safari destinations of Kenya and Tanzania, Rwanda is the land where the primates rule. Expect to come across the rare mountain gorilla, the Sykes and Golden monkey and the chimpanzees of Nyungwe – Rwanda is hands-down one of the best locations for primate tracking in the world.
There’s no shying away from Rwanda’s spine-chilling past: the horrific genocide that took more than a million lives in 1994 will be forever imprinted in this country. Visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial is a must and will enlighten you on Rwanda’s history and the events leading up to the genocide.
Despite carrying the weight of this tragedy, Rwanda is propelling forward and embracing their promising and dynamic future. With tourism playing a key role in the economy, it’s a safe, stable and welcoming country attracting the adventurers who are after a luxury safari experience like no other.
It’s no secret that Rwanda’s rare Mountain Gorilla is the reason why most people are enticed to include this destination in their luxury safari itinerary. And for good reason. The nature of the habitat where this iconic species resides is more open than in neighbouring Uganda, resulting in clearer and more iconic photographic opportunities. It is also fair to say that, at times, the trekking itself can be easier with clearer paths through the jungle,. t is important to remember that there are no assurances with regards to the length or difficulty of the trekking.
Exchange a glance with a mountain gorilla, and it’s truly an experience that will make your journey unforgettable.
Where to explore
Volcanoes National Park
Sharing a border with Uganda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Volcanoes National Park is arguably one of the most thrilling wildlife destinations in Africa. Encompassing five volcanoes, the otherworldly beauty of the Virungas is something you will want to see for yourself, and if you weren’t already aware, it’s the place where you can get up-close and personal with the real gorillas in the mist and the rare Golden Monkey.
Akagera National Park
Although the mountain gorilla steals the show, Akagera National Park offers a quintessential luxury safari experience. Located in the northeast of Rwanda, Akagera is one of the largest protected wetlands in Africa and has it all: wooded savannah plains, lakes surrounded by rolling hills and mountains with dense thickets of jungle-like woodland. We’re thrilled to note wildlife numbers are on the rise and, having recently reintroduced lion, the park is now home to the legendary Big Five.
Rwanda’s capital city – with its buzzing art and music scene and serving some of the best coffee in Africa – is proving to be worth more than just a stopover destination. Despite carrying the weight of the 1994 genocide horrors, Kigali has gone through a rebirth and is easily one of the cleanest and beautiful capital cities in Africa.
For those wishing to further their understanding of Rwanda in a historical context, one needs to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. As the burial site for the victims, it’s a truly moving experience that offers you an insight into how far this country has come.
Located in Southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the most important areas of biodiversity in Africa. Here’s where you’ll find one of Rwanda’s top luxury lodges, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, and where you’ll get a chance to track down chimpanzees . While the chimps may be on top of your list, Nyungwe is also home to the Angolan colobi, Dent’s monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys and diademed monkeys .
The best time to visit Rwanda
Temperatures hardly vary throughout the seasons because of Rwanda’s position just south of the Equator, with warm days and cooler nights. It may be known as the destination for all seasons, but the long dry season during May to October provides the perfect hiking conditions for tracking gorillas. However, if you’re after chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe, the best time to do this is during the rainy season, February to early June, as the apes are easier to locate.