With colossal volcanoes and the bamboo forested Virunga Mountains, Rwanda has earned its nickname of “the land of a thousand hills.” It may only seem a tiny nation located in the heart of Africa, but it is also a place of sensational natural beauty and diversity.
Once the inspiration for famous zoologist Dian Fossey to conduct the research behind her book “Gorillas in the mist”, Rwanda is renowned for its primate population. Its splendid wildlife and landscape, coupled with a proud people wanting to build for the future, make a Rwanda safari the trip of a lifetime.
Rwanda Safari Attractions
- Track mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park. It is one of the best places in east Africa to track gorillas, and was where Dian Fossey spent 20 years living with the animals. A decent level of fitness would be needed for the tour, and booking early is vital.
- Nyungwe Forest National Park is the last remaining mountain rainforest habitat in Africa, and home to a wealth of different wildlife. It is home to 25% of all Africa’s primate species, including chimpanzees. As well as that, it has hundreds of other animal species varying from birds and mammals to reptiles and amphibians.
- Some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife can be found in Akagera National Park. Home to thousands of animals including lions, leopards, elephant and buffalo, there are also plans to re-introduce black rhino to the area. This will restore the park that once covered 10% of Rwanda’s land territory to its former glory, once again making it home to the Big Five.
- While most famous for its gorillas, birdwatching is another Rwanda safari highlight. Some of Africa’s most uncommon and beautiful birds can be found throughout its national parks. The rare shoebill and majestic African fish eagle can be found in Akagera for example.
Best time to visit
The climate in Rwanda is divided up into two wet, and two dry, seasons. The main wet season is from mid-March to May, with another in October to November. The dry seasons are usually from June to August and December to mid-March.
June to September tends to be the most popular time for a Rwanda safari. Conditions are mostly dry and warm, making animal tracking more enjoyable. Prices tend to be higher in these months, and booking long before your trip is highly advised. One highlight in September is the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony/Kwita Izina, which is a truly special experience.
Visiting in the wet season of March to May has its advantages too, as it is the ideal time to spot chimpanzees. The ripening fruit brought about by the rain will bring them closer to the ground, making them easier to spot.