Explore Rwanda

Rwanda holiday Safaris

Many visitors come on holiday to Rwanda to see its famous mountain gorillas, sometimes as an add-on to a safari in Kenya or Tanzania, stay for just three or four days and then leave, which is a shame because there is so much more to see on a Rwanda holiday. With three national parks, a thriving capital city, spectacular mountain scenery and some surprisingly diverse wildlife, Rwanda have plenty to occupy a longer holiday and certainly deserves further exploration.

Today, Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. It has more women in Parliament than any other country in the world (64% at the time of writing) and is one of the friendliest, safest countries on the continent. Yet for most people, it inevitably conjures up images of the dreadful genocide of 1994, when almost a million people died. Whilst the genocide is a massive part of its history, over twenty years on Rwanda has evolved into a united, proud and optimistic country that warmly welcomes its visitors and provides a truly memorable and inspiring holiday.

Where to go on a Rwanda holiday

Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of the country is the most famous of Rwanda’s parks and is the place that most people come to on holiday because of its renowned residents, the mountain gorillas. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking is its biggest attraction. Less well-known holiday options are Akagera National Park on its eastern border and Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south.

Akagera is the only park for “traditional” safaris in Rwanda; it offers good wildlife opportunities, although not on the scale of the parks in Kenya or Tanzania. But Akagera’s scenery is beautiful – it could be described as Rwanda’s Lake District – and worth visiting for that alone. In stark contrast, Nyungwe is dense rainforest with interesting hiking trails, bird watching and primate spotting. Rwanda’s national parks are easily accessible by road, so a circuit of all three perhaps including the beautiful shore of Lake Kivu and the capital, Kigali, can make a fascinating and diverse holiday.

Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

Tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is the ultimate wildlife experience and the reason why most people come here on holiday: sitting within a small family group of gorillas is a ‘must’ for serious wildlife enthusiasts. This is where Dian Fossey first brought the world’s attention to the plight of these majestic primates in the late 1960s when only around 250 survived. The 2011 census recorded some 880 individuals and, encouragingly, the 2017 count numbers over 1,000 mountain gorillas, split between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; about half of them live in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

The survival of mountain gorillas is one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories, and tourism has played its role in this. Rwanda is regarded as probably the best destination for a gorilla tracking safari. Although gorilla tracking permits aren’t cheap, your permitted hour with these great apes promises to be a priceless encounter that will remain with you long after your holiday is over. To learn more about this fabulous experience, see Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris.

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