Rwanda Safaris: Gorilla Trekking and Wildlife Tours
Rwanda Safaris are what make up the country’s tourism. Gorilla tours are the most done safaris followed by chimpanzee tracking plus cultural, nature, community and historical tours.
Popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is a land of great diversity and beauty with six volcanoes, twenty-three lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of the great River Nile. The extensive green vegetation and landscape are truly amazing. Spectacular volcanoes and dense tropical forests dominate the north of the country, while gentle hills and valleys, calm lakes and turbulent rivers in both savannah and dense tropical vegetation dominate the rest of the country.
Rwanda boasts of a wide variety of wildlife, with Parc National des Volcans, in north and is a home to the world’s largest number of endangered mountain gorillas. Numbering in the hundreds, the gorillas live in a protected area, free from poachers. Best known for its wealth of primates, Rwanda also has one of Africa’s richest bird life with over 670 different bird species recorded. And for botanists, the attractive wildflowers of the forests and mountains are capped by more than 100 orchid species in Nyungwe alone.
Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda is teeming with wildlife both large and small and they include lions, Giraffe, Elephant and Hippopotamus to Hyena, Impala and Gazelle and many more. There is also a wealthy of bird life at Akagera park. Strategically positioned, Rwanda’s water bodies are ideal for water sports and fishing, particularly Lake Kivu in the west of the country and Lake Muhazi in the east. Lake Kivu offers fine-looking beaches, jutting peninsulas and an archipelago of stunning islands. in short, Rwanda, a very friendly country is a nature lover’s heaven. A good reception is complemented by comfortable hotel facilities, fine food and a rich cultural heritage.
Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda, Gorilla Tours in Rwanda.
When visiting the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, one should not miss out on the outstanding chance to visit Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans (PNV) consisting of 125 Km2 of mountain forest and home to the six Virunga Volcanoes and the world famous mountain gorillas.
Protected within the PNV, the woody slopes of the mountains form suitably vivid natural scenery for what is debatably the most moving and memorable wildlife experience in the world: gorilla tracking. The thrilling climb to the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo forest offers incredible views in all directions, before the trackers are absorbed in the puzzling familiarity of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkey.
It is exciting to encounter a peaceful and calm mature silverback gorilla. Parc National des Volcans is managed and protected by the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and one accesses from Ruhengeri town, positioned near the base of the entrance of the park. Ruhengeri has long been the pedestal point for gorilla visits and entertains a stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Visoke, Mikeno, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. Ruhengeri is also only a 45-minute drive away from Gisenyi and the stunning Lake Kivu.
A gorilla visit can involve anything from a 1 to 4-hour trek through the forest, led by experienced trackers who have spent their entire lives living in or close to the forest. Your walk through the forest will be charming as you weave through hanging vines, moss covered Hagenia trees and gigantic Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate of the forest. You will spot golden monkeys swinging from the bamboo, or see wild buffalo, bush duiker and a wide variety of bird life.
The Virunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m), Sub-alpine (3300-4000m), and Afro-alpine (4000m+). not anything could be more of an opportunity than to use an hour watching the gorillas as they go about their daily routine, feeding, playing and relaxing, as you question your ancient existence and remember the wonder that kept Dian Fossey living in the forest for almost 18 years. Rwanda is a country every one should visit before he dies.
Rwanda National Parks and other attractions
1. Akagera National Park: This park is geographically situated in the east of Rwanda with Kibungu being the nearest town to the park and the best starting point. Akagera covers over 1500 sq km of savannah west of the Kagera River, which denotes the frontier with Tanzania.
2. Volcanoes National Park: This park is best known for the tracking of Mountain Gorillas which are in 7 families which include, Amahoro group (15), Hirwa group (12), Umubano group (7), Sabinyo group (10), Susa group (35), Group 13 (21), Kwitonda group (10). Other tourist activities are; Golden monkey tracking, Karisimbi Volcano climbing, Climbing of Bisoke volcano, Tour of Lake Burera and Ruhondo, exploration of Musanze cave and the natural bridge and vvisiting the tomb of Dian Fossey, a distinguished primatologist.
3. Nyungwe Forest National Park: Located 225 Km from Kigali, Nyungwe was gazetted as park in 2004. For a tourist, this park has over 100 species of orchids and giant lobelias, Chimpanzees and other primates like the Grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboon, Red-tailed monkey, Ruwenzori colobus, Silver, Golden, Vervet, Owl-faced, Den’t mona and L’Hoest’s monkeys. There are over 275 species of birds. Animals like leopard, golden cat and marsh mongoose represents the carnivores plus over 120 species of butterflies and reptiles. Other activities involve making excursions to Kamiranzovu Marsh, Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factor, hiking Mt Bigugu and taking photographs.
4. National Museum of Butare: This Nationa Museum of Rwanda was built in the early 1990s and is a good source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region. During the 1994 genocide, the Museum in Butare remained untouched. Butare is 135 km from Kigali and a visit can be organized as a day excursion out of Kigali. This museum can be visited on the way to Nyungwe National Park.
5. Lake Kivu: It is a 2,650 square km good-looking inland sea enclosed by steep, green terraced hills along eastern Rwanda and stands at a height of 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) above sea level. This large lake stands astride the border between western Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and is encircled by forested hills, with sandy bays and fishing villages. Some 1 370 km2 or 58% of the lake’s waters lie within DRC borders.