Rwanda is small country situated in Central Africa, known as ‘the land of thousand hills’. Rwanda has 5 volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers, some creating the source of the river Nile
Bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo West; Tanzania to East; Uganda to the North; Burundi to the South.
The Capital City is Kigali; the country contains 4 provinces:
Northern province: Ruhengeri (Musanze) and Byumba.
Eastern province: Kigalingari, Umutara and Kibungo.
Western province: Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu.
Southern province: Gitarama, Butare and Gikongoro.
Rwanda has been set up a strongest security policy, after the period of Genocide of Tutsi in 1994.
The country is stable; is the first secured country in Africa, our journeys are free and sightseers can journey fearless
Rwanda National Parks
Rwanda today has three main conservation areas: the Volcanoes Park, AkageraNattional Park and Nyungwe forest National Park. Each of these protects a very different ecosystem and combination of large mammals, for which reason greater detail on the fauna of each reserve is given under the appropriate regional section.
Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes Park probably supported a similar range of large mammals 500 years ago. Today however the faunas defer, mostly as a result of extensive deforestation on the lower slopes of theVirungas. The volcanoes today support bamboo specialist such as golden monkey and mountain gorilla, as well as relic populations of habitat – tolerant species such as buffalo and elephant.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Named after the river which runs along its eastern boundary, Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s answer to the famous Savanna reserves of Kenya, Tanzania and the like.
In contrast to the rest of the country, the area is relatively warm and low-lying, and its undulating plains support a cover of dense, broad-leafed woodland interspersed with lighter acacia woodland and patches of rolling grassland studded evocatively with stands of the superficially cactus-like Euphorbia candelabra shrub.
Akagera national park is one of the most diverse and scenic of African game reserves in term of landscape and one where you can still drive for some hours without encountering another vehicle.
Akagera with its many lakes, is big game country. A few of the species that you will encounter are: buffalo, elephant,zebra,giraffe and a variety of antelope.
Meaningful to note is that Akagera and its lakes are home to one of the highest concentrations of the hippopotamus in Africa.
The unique animal that you may probably see is the Nile crocodile which is the world’s largest reptile.
Akagera is on the north-eastern edge of Rwanda.
It is the largest National Park in Rwanda having an area of 1085km2 .
Game Drives are also available when staying at Akagera Game Lodge, including night drives where you have the opportunity to spot animals not out and about in the day.
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
A tropical mountain rainforest and one of Rwanda main protected area and lies on the south-western slopes of the highland region that forms the great divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems.
The forests Rwanda has increasingly being sought out for the incredible birding opportunities , particularly the numerous Albertine rift endemics ; 27 to be found in Nyungwe , the highest concentration found in any single park in Africa.
Amongst them are the;
Regal Sunbird, Cinnyrisregius, Red-Collared, Babbler, Kupeornis,Turaco…
Most visited birds in Rwanda: Great Blue Turaco,Corythaeolacristata; Regal Sunbirrd, African Fish-Eagle,Yellow Billed Stork, Malachite Kingfisher.
Nyungwe is, typically receiving in excess of 2, 000 mm of precipitation annually. It is also one of the oldest forests in Africa, which is one of the reason it boasts such a high level of diversity.
Scientific opinion is that Nyungwe, along with other forests of the Albertine Rift, was largely unaffected by the drying up of the lowland areas during the last ice age, and thus become a refuge for forest plants and animals which have subsequently recolonised areas such as the Congo Basin.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
This 160km² national park protects the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains, range of six extinct and three active volcanoes which straddles the borders with Uganda and the DRC.
The Volcanoes Park is part of a contiguous 433km² Trans frontier conservation unit that also includes the Virungas National Park and Mgahinga National Park, which protects the DRC and Ugandan sectors of the Virungas respectively.
The Volcanoes National Park was first gazetted in 1925, as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Visoke and Mikeno Volcanoes. Intended to protect the gorillas from poaching.
There are many activities to be enjoyed in this area apart from gorillas trekking in the volcanoes national park.
This area Home to numerous caves, a number of cultural and community tourism initiates as well as being an excellent location for bird watching.
For the sport enthusiast there are a number of hiking trails in the majestic virunga mountains.
3 DAYS IN RWANDA
Day 1 – ARRIVAL – KINIGI –
Meet in the morning on arrival at the airport. Visit the genocide memorial museum. Follow the road as it climbs to the base of the majestic volcanoes, with spectacular views across the five peaks. Depending on arrival time picnic lunch en route or lunch at Muhabura hotel in Ruhengeri. Continue toward Kinigi.
NB: If arriving in the afternoon, after meeting at the airport, drive directly to Kinigi.
Luxury: Virunga Lodge (LD)
Expensive: Mountain Gorillas View Lodge(LD)
Day 2 – MOUNTAIN GORILLAS –
As the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyniyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, we make our way into the Parc National des Volcans. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship. After lunch at Mountain Gorillas View Lodge, continue toward Gisenyi, a nice small town, located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu
Overnight: Lake Kivu Serena(BLD)
Day 3- LAKE KIVU – KIGALI – DEPARTURE –
Enjoy during the early morning hours the peaceful atmosphere of the calm and pristine waters of Africa’s highest lake. From the terrace of your hotel enjoy the fantastic views over Lake Kivu and its ragged shore. Drive back to Kigali. Time permitting lunch at Hotel des 1000 Collines.
5 DAYS IN RWANDA
Day 1: ARRIVAL
Meet on arrival at the airport. Transfer to the hotel in town
Luxury Serena Kigali
Expensive Hotel des 1000-Collines
Budget Chez Lando
Day 2: KIGALI – KINIGI – MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
After an early breakfast at 4.30, leave Kigali at 5.00 for a 2 hour-drive to arrive at Kinigi as the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyniyo, Gahinga and Muhabura. Meet the park authorities and make our way into the Parc National des Volcans. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.
Choose your hotel by yourself
Day 3: 2ND MOUNTAIN GORILLAS TRACKING
Track a second time the mountain gorilla.
Choose your hotel by yourself
Day 4: GOLDEN MONKEYS – KARISOKE CENTER – BISOKE VOLCANO – KIVU, BULERA, RUHONDO LAKES
Today you have several options. Either track one of the 2 golden monkeys groups, or have a walk to Karisoke Centre and Dyane Fossey’s grave or hike Bisoke volcano to reach its crater lake, or drive toward Lake Kivu and along the Bulera and Ruhondo lakes. In the late afternoon drive back to Kigali.
You can choose your hotel by yourself
Day 5: DEPARTURE
After breakfast relax at your hotel or visit the Genocide Mausoleum. Transfer to the airport for your connection flight.
8 DAYS IN RWANDA
Day 1: ARRIVAL
Meet on arrival at the airport. Transfer to Kigali.
Overnight: HOTEL DES 1000 COLLINES (BLD) or Serena Kigali Hotel(LD)
Day 2: KIGALI – BUTARE – NYUNGWE FOREST
After an early breakfast, we follow the road as it climbs and descends some of the thousand hills, with spectacular views all along the way. Stop at the old kings’ palace at Nyanza. Arrive at Butare. Visit the National Museum. It is a must for anybody who is interested in African history. Time permitting, tour the remarkable arboretum and continue toward the Nyungwe forest.
Overnight: Guesthouse de Gisakura or Equivalent(BLD)
Day 3: CHIMPANZEES OF NYUNGWE FOREST
Covering 970 km2, the Highlands provide unique habitat for thirteen species of primate, including chimpanzees, l’Hoest’s, colobus monkeys and owl-faced monkey. Go for a chimpanzee trekking under the canopy of majestic trees. This high altitude jungle floor boasts some of the most beautiful orchids in the world.
Overnight: Guesthouse de Gisakura or Equivalent (BLD)
Day 4: NYUNGWE FOREST – LAKE KIVU
Enjoy an other forest walk to search for colobus monkeys, a large group of which can often be seen feeding on wild figs and jumping from branch to branch. After lunch, en route to Kibuye, enjoy the fantastic views over Lake Kivu and its ragged shore. Experience the peaceful atmosphere of the calm and pristine waters of Africa’s highest lake from the terrace of your hotel.
Overnight: Centre Bethanie de Kibuye (BLD)
Day 5 : LAKE AND HILLS
After a refreshing early morning swim and a hearty breakfast, we continue toward north, along the lakeshore. There is plenty of opportunity for shopping and meeting villagers at the colourful market places. Stop at a huge tea plantation.
OPTION: Link Kibuye with Gisenyi on a private boat. Duration of about 3 hours.
Overnight: MOUNTAIN GORILLAS VIEW LODGE(BLD) (BLD)
Day 6: MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
As the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyniyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, we make our way into the Parc National des Volcans. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.
Overnight: MOUNTAIN GORILLAS VIEW LODGE or Equivalent (BLD)
Day 7: MOUNTAIN GORILLAS or GOLDEN MONKEYS TREKKING or BISOKE CLIMBING
Follow a habituated group of golden monkeys (cercopithecus mitis kandti), which are endemic to the Virungas or climb Bisoke volcano with its superb crater lake or tour the shores of the small Ruhondo and Bulera lakes. A 2nd gorilla tracking can be arranged on payment of a supplement at time of booking (permit subject to availability).
Overnight: MOUNTAIN GORILLAS VIEW LODGE(BLD) (BLD)
Day 8: RUHENGERI – KIGALI – DEPARTURE
After a last look at the magnificent volcano range, drive to Kigali and transfer to the airport.