Experience the Land of a thousand hills plus the Mountain Gorillas
Rwanda is among Africa’s smallest countries with amazing attractions such as the Mountain Gorillas also called the Gentle giants found in Parc des Vulcans/Volcanoes National Park and the 1994 genocide memorial found in Kigali. It is located in the East and bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Burundi. The country is famously known as the land of a thousand hills due to its landscape that is so rewarding and eye-catching.
Apart from Uganda and DR Congo, Rwanda is the other country with Mountain gorillas and are strategically habituated meaning it is so easy and accessible to track them because the park where they are found is located near Kigali; the capital of Rwanda.
Rwanda is a home for primates as many of them are found in different parks such as the golden monkeys in Volcanoes, Chimpanzees in Nyungwe among others. The country doesn’t only have animals but also amazing vegetation types that are on the rolling hills, sot of these can be seen on the way to the main tourist destinations.
Rwanda’s economy lately has become one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, it security is now okay since it has been over twenty years down the road since the 1994 genocide occurred. Most things were restored and the country is as beautiful as you have heard about it, all its National Parks are safe and secure with lots to offer.
What to see and do
Mountain Gorilla tracking; this is one of the best experiences one can get while on a holiday in Rwanda and it involves a time with gorillas, tracking gorillas is one of those activities you cannot miss out as you will enjoy watching the gentle giants feed, play in Volcanoes National Park. In order for one to track he/she needs a permit which allows him/her to track gorillas hence it is advisable to make your booking early enough such that you have no issues when you begin your safari. The gorilla permit costs 1500 USD; it is slightly expensive but worth the experience.
Primate Holidays; the fact that gorillas are Rwanda’s highlight, it doesn’t take away the fact that there are a number of primates to track during a holiday such as golden monkeys tracked Volcanoes and others like chimpanzees, Colobus monkeys tracked in Nyungwe forest which is second to Volcanoes. Also other activities can be enjoyed in Nyungwe such as the canopy walks, nature walks, birding among others.
Classic safari holidays/Game drives; Rwanda might not be that perfect choice for a classic safari holiday but while there already you don’t need to look for were to have a game drive from yet Akagera National Park is available for you; with amazing savannah plains in the north, deep valleys, rolling hills, papyrus swamps and lakes on the eastern border. The park also provides an opportunity of having nocturnal game drives where most cats can be see; it is home to around 8,000 animals such as Maasai giraffes, Buffaloes, Bush babies, Zebras, Antelopes, Blue monkeys, Hippos, Waterbucks, crocodiles and over 482 bird species such as the shoebill stork, papyrus gonolek, flycatchers among others. In fact Akagera is a true birders sanctuary!
A visit to the Genocide Memorial site; It was established in memory of those who lost their lives and loved ones during the 1994 Rwanda genocide where about a million Tutsi people were murdered by the Hutus due to tribal conflicts and a like, it was really a dark time that not only made many lose their lives but also displaced many who became refugees in Uganda, Tanzania among other countries. This site is located in Kigali and hence tourists can take time and visit it; learn and get more information about the genocide. Due to that today, the people in Rwanda call themselves Rwandese without differentiating the Hutus and Tutsis and their goal is that such a massacre should never happen again.
When to Visit
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year and where to go and when to visit is determined by the tourists’ interests. Those that want to experience Gorillas can well enjoy tracking during the dry season which is from Jun to September. In the wet season chimpanzee tracking is at its best because the vegetation is greener and these creatures are nearer and accessible while tracking; this is from late September to early December(short rains) and March to May(longer rains).
How to get there
The country can be accessed by air whereby there is an international airport near Kigali town and from there on can access some destinations by car since they are not so distant. Airlines that fly into Rwanda include; Ethiopian Airlines, Rwanda Air, Brussels, Air Burundi, Kenya Airways among others.
Also those travelling on road by bus or private car can access the county either from DR Congo, Tanzania or Uganda, from Kampala-Uganda the journey on the road is about 9 hours.
What to wear
Less weighted casual clothes are worn in Rwanda but in most cases a jacket or warm sweater are advised especially during the evenings and mornings since it’s always too cold.in the National parks such as Volcanoes and Nyungwe forest heavier clothes are advised, hiking shoes, rain coats, sun glasses, trousers are also recommended. Also remember to carry a water proof camera and a pair of binoculars in case you are a birder
Passports and Visa Requirements
A passport is a must as one enters Rwanda also a Visa is required for every traveler expect to those who cow from the Visa free countries. Those from the EAC are required to have a visitor’s pass valid for 6 months and at no cost. It is important for you to keep inquiring form your Rwanda Embassies at home to see whether there are any changes concerning the visa.
About payments; Francs are the country’s local currency; also credit cards are used at bigger lodges and hotels. There are also banks that on daily from Monday to Saturday such as Eco bank, Stanbic Bank, Equity bank and many more.
Basically Rwanda is a country you shouldn’t miss out while planning an African safari; you will have a life time experience especially with the magnificent gorillas as you track them in Volcanoes jungle and also the unique culture is something that is amazing starting from the food, dressing code, music, dance and drama, greetings, stories told by the elder among others. Make your safari booking today!