Rwanda, Attractions

Why Visit Rwanda, Land of a Thousand Hills

Rwanda is an African country whose name will always be tinged with tragedy – but which is also known as a fabulous destination for wildlife and adventure. With a role-call of neighbours that includes one of Africa’s best-loved safari destinations (Tanzania, to the east), but also a trio of countries which perhaps fit the description “off the beaten track” (Burundi to the south, Uganda to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west), Rwanda is a new found gem of safari Adventure stories. Here’s why you should visit Rwanda, land of a thousand hills!

In popular perception, the key reason to visit Rwanda is its mountain gorillas. And rightly so. These glorious creatures haunt Volcanoes National Park, in the far north-west of the country (where it rubs up against Virunga National Park in the DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda to create one colossal cross-border expanse of wildlife and wonder). Access is, of course, carefully controlled – but, as of 2017, 10 habituated gorilla groups can be glimpsed by tourists, with 80 passes available per day. These are not cheap, a Rwanda Gorilla Trekking permit now costs USD $1500 per person, bookable through the Tourism and Conservation Reservation Office of the Rwanda Development Board, but the experience is inimitable.

LAND OF 1,000 HILLS

RWANDA
Home of The Mountain Gorilla





Why visit Rwanda, Mountain Gorillas RwandaSilverback Mountain Gorilla

Unfortunately, too many visitors swoop in, see the mountain gorillas, and then fly out—missing out on the country’s many other treasures.

Part of the disconnect has to do with the lack of attention Rwanda has received for its extraordinary progress during the past two decades and its efforts to open up new tourism destinations. But don’t let traditional tourism be the only highlight of why you visit Rwanda — Rwanda now has a booming and safe capital with treats of its own, along with less conventional opportunities to explore the countryside. “Doing” Rwanda in less than a week will rob you of the chance to see a country on the rise against some of the most beautiful and pristine backdrops on the continent.

It may be known for its gorillas, but there are lots of other activities that are still off the beaten path that deserve a good look.

Rwanda Experiences & Attractions

Rwanda’s Capital Kigali

kigali capital city of rwandaKigali sprawls up slopes and hillsides Credit: (c)2015 Vadim Nefedov. All rights reserved.

Rwanda’s capital is on the move. From its recently completed, psychedelic Easter egg of a convention center to car-free zones and yes, Wi-Fi cafes that dole out freshly spun smoothies, locally roasted coffee, and homemade scones (Café Neo, Bourbon Coffee), Kigali is making a mad dash toward modernity. Absorb the bright lights of Rwanda’s future at the Inema Arts Center, where promising young painters debut their best work amid weekly yoga classes and cocktail hours. Kigali City has something for everyone and is one of the cleanest and safest cities in Africa. There is plenty to do here to occupy your time, from exploring the genocide museums and arts collectives, to eating tasty cuisine at international restaurants and mingling with the locals at cozy bars.

Kigali Memorial Centre

Confront the horrors of the genocide at this haunting memorial on the outskirts of the capital. Why did Rwanda descend into 100 days of madness? The Kigali Memorial Centre explains it as best as it can.

More than a memorial for Kigali, more than a memorial for Rwanda and its tragedy, this is a memorial for all of us, marking the Rwanda genocide and many more around the world than never should have come to pass. The Kigali Memorial center is a must for all visitors to Rwanda wanting to learn more about how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded in this tiny landlocked country.

An informative tour includes a background on the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda and the steady build up to the genocide. You will see sections on the cold and calculated planning of the genocide and its bloody execution, a room full of photographs of Rwandan victims of the genocide, another to the innocent children who fell victim to the killers’ machetes and a section dedicated to informing visitors about other genocides that have taken place around the world to set Rwanda’s nightmare in historical context.

Nyungwe National Park 

Trek through steamy rain forests in search of colobus monkeys and chimpanzees in Rwanda’s most important area of bio diversity

Chimp trekking is Nyunwe’s strongest draw card. Hiking through equatorial rain forest in search of our closest living genetic ancestor is an unparalleled wildlife experience that is certainly on par with gorilla tracking.

Nyungwe Forest is rated as Africa’s highest priority for forest conservation. Within the National Park, you will find no less than 1000 plant species including rare endemic orchids, 13 species of primates including more than 500 chimpanzees, 75 species of mammals, at least 275 species of birds and an astounding 120 species of butterflies. Little can prepare you for the experience of watching chimpanzees tumbling down from the canopy and racing along the forest floor, all the while being mesmerized by the sound of their distinctive ‘pant- hoot’.

Whereas chimps tend to garner most of the spotlight in Nyungwe, the park’s second billing is a habituated troop of about 400 Angolan colobus monkeys, the largest group of arboreal monkeys in all of Africa.

Gisenyi

Kick back with a passion fruit cocktail on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu.

Land locked Rwanda may be a long way from the ocean, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beach holiday here. Rwanda’s eastern border with the DRC runs along the entire length of Lake Kivu which has a maximum depth of 500m, and is one of the 20 deepest and most voluminous lakes in the world.

Enjoy the white sandy shores of Lake Kivu, Africa’s sixth largest lake surrounded by extensive tropical gardens. The tastefully open-plan Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers the ideal destination in Rwanda for an extended holiday or simply a week-end escape all within a few hours drive of both the Rwandan capital, and the glorious Volcanoes National Park (home of the world famous mountain gorillas).

QUICK FATS

Capital: Kigali
Location: East Africa
Entry: Kigali Airport
Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English, French
Currency: Rwandan franc
Population: 11.78 million (2013) World Bank
Security: Stable

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Gisenyi

Kick back with a passion fruit cocktail on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu.

Land locked Rwanda may be a long way from the ocean, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beach holiday here. Rwanda’s eastern border with the DRC runs along the entire length of Lake Kivu which has a maximum depth of 500m, and is one of the 20 deepest and most voluminous lakes in the world.

Enjoy the white sandy shores of Lake Kivu, Africa’s sixth largest lake surrounded by extensive tropical gardens. The tastefully open-plan Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers the ideal destination in Rwanda for an extended holiday or simply a week-end escape all within a few hours drive of both the Rwandan capital, and the glorious Volcanoes National Park (home of the world famous mountain gorillas)

Kigali Memorial Centre

Confront the horrors of the genocide at this haunting memorial on the outskirts of the capital. Why did Rwanda descend into 100 days of madness? The Kigali Memorial Centre explains it as best as it can.

More than a memorial for Kigali, more than a memorial for Rwanda and its tragedy, this is a memorial for all of us, marking the Rwanda genocide and many more around the world than never should have come to pass. The Kigali Memorial center is a must for all visitors to Rwanda wanting to learn more about how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded in this tiny landlocked country.

An informative tour includes a background on the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda and the steady build up to the genocide. You will see sections on the cold and calculated planning of the genocide and its bloody execution, a room full of photographs of Rwandan victims of the genocide, another to the innocent children who fell victim to the killers’ machetes and a section dedicated to informing visitors about other genocides that have taken place around the world to set Rwanda’s nightmare in historical context.

Akagera National Park

Hugging Rwanda’s eastern border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park covers about 1,120km² and is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, first gazetted in 1934.

The north of Akagera is mostly fairly low-lying grasslands and savannah plains, similar in feel to the ‘traditional’ safari areas of East Africa. To the west are rolling hills and valleys more typical of Rwandan countryside while to the east, the Akagera River feeds into a series of lakes, marshes and papyrus swamps that constitute central and eastern Africa’s largest protected wetlands. So, for a fairly small National Park, an Akagera safari can be extremely diverse with a variety of habitats, wildlife and birds, and some lovely scenery.

Continue Reading: Akagera National Park

BEST TIME TO VISIT RWANDA

If you’re researching when to go to Rwanda then the chances are that it’s for a gorilla trekking adventure. Although it’s regarded as a year-round activity, the best time to visit Rwanda for a gorilla trek is during the short dry season from mid-December to early February or over the long dry season months of June to September. These periods offer by far the easiest trekking conditions and the lowest malaria risk.You can visit Rwanda and trek gorillas outside these optimum times of year but bear in mind that the going will be more difficult in the rain as paths are steep and maybe muddy. It pays to be as fit as possible before you commence your trek.

Otherwise, Rwanda can be visited any time of the year and it’s easy to get a tourist visa. Apply and get the Rwanda Visa online, better yet, you can get an East Africa Visa online if you plan on doing a Kenya or Uganda Safari. You can chose to pay at the immigration gate when you land at Kigali International airport if you can sacrifice that time in cues. Either way, contact our Rwanda Safaris Consultants to help you out on this one.

RWANDA SAFARI PACKAGES

All our tours are born out of a desire to share authentic African Safari experiences. Offering travellers individual journeys, designed to match your interests, tastes and budget, we provide tailor-made tours to Rwanda’s most famous top destinations. Enquire with our team of experts to start planning your safari journey today.
Rwanda Gorillas & Golden Monkey Safari

4 Days Rwanda Gorilla & Golden Monkey Safari

4 DAYS


Kigali | Volcanoes National Park (PNV)

From US$2,463 per person
Chimps & Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

Chimps & Gorilla Trekking Rwanda Safari

5 DAYS


Kigali – Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes National Park

From US$2,555 per person sharing
Best of Rwanda Tour, Mountain Gorilla Trekking, Genocide Memorial & Rwanda Gorillas

Best of Rwanda Tour – Gorilla Trekking, Chimpanzee & Culture

09 DAYS


Kigali, Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes NP

From US$$,$$$ per person