Rwanda a country of a thousand hills is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Muhabura, Gahinga and Bisoke forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rain-forest that’s a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. Akagera national park located in the east of the country is a home to many mammals like elephants, zebra, hippos, impala and many more.
- Capital: Kigali
- Population: 11.78 million
- President: Paul Kagame
- Currency: Rwandan franc
- Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English, French
Gorilla Trekking in the Virunga
For many travelers, the tracking of gorillas ranks among one of the most exhilarating highlights of their trip to East Africa. Mountain Gorillas are one of the world’s most endangered species of apes. It is estimated that there are currently less than 900 individuals left throughout the world. Nearly half of these can be found in Uganda, but significant populations can also be found in Democratic Republic of Congo and the Parc National de Volcans in Rwanda.
Out of the 15 gorilla groups in Rwanda, 10 are habituated to humans and so can be visited by tourists. All gorilla groups are accessed from the same location and, unlike Uganda, you cannot reserve a specific group in advance.
On the morning of the tracking, park rangers will select people for different gorilla groups according to preference, age, and fitness level. For this reason we advise older people, or those wanting only a light hike, to track in Rwanda. Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost US$750.
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe Forest National Park enjoys some of the richest biodiversity in all of Africa.
Often compared with Kibale Forest in Uganda, Nyungwe is one of the oldest green expanses in the continent and includes a very wide variety of rare and endangered species including troops of chimpanzees and other primates.
The Park can be visited year-round and the chimps are often easier to find during the wet season (mid-March to mid-May).
It is equatorial rain forest and trails can get extremely wet and muddy, so it is best to have good shoes and a rain jacket. Chimp’s share an estimated 94% of their DNA with humans and many of their behaviors may remind you of a close cousin.
One of the highlights of any trip to Rwanda is the opportunity to get up close and personal with these apes in their natural environment.
The habituation process is still ongoing and there can be times when you cannot glimpse them with your eyes, but you will know they are there from the hoots and hollers they make. Nyungwe actually provides haven to 25% of all African primate species, and you are sure to come across at least one troop of collobus monkeys during your stay in the forest.
Forest Canopy Walk
Today you shall go for East Africa’s only canopy walk.
This walk runs along a ridge before climbing a 50m-high platform and a suspended walkway above a steep and deep valley stretching across the massive forest and lasts about 1½ hours.
It takes you through some beautiful foliage and animal species.
You have a chance to spot blue monkeys and unique birds that dwell in the upper levels of the forest.
This trail begins from Gisakura Guesthouse and demands between 3 and 6 hrs to finish as a round trip depending upon how frequently you stop in addition to whether you drive or walk from the guesthouse.
The first part of the trail is basically following the road to the vehicle park and then settles into the forest.
Here you have to cross various streams, ahead of a sharp descent to the base of the pretty however small waterfall. Monkeys are frequently detected along the way and the steep slopes provide excellent views into the canopy.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera National Park covers 2500 km² of Savannah west of the Kagera River, in the north-east of Rwanda.
The park has a variety of wildlife and is a habitat for over 500 different species of birds.
Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while you might stumble across a leopard, a spotted hyena or even a lion.
Giraffe and zebra haunt the Savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park.
The boat trip on Lake Ihema will not disappoint. Drift along the forest-fringed lake edge, past huddles of hippo and basking crocodiles. For the serious birder a boat trip is a must with a high density of water birds and the rare Lilac-breasted Roller!