Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the equator. A landlocked country that’s rich in culture, history, Mountain Gorillas, some of the best wildlife experiences on the planet and the land of a thousand hills.
Rwanda is remarkable because of all the above and it’s incredible rise and recovery from the Genocide in the early 1990’s to a country with strong law & order, low corruption, progressive policies and leader in the region.
The following are the brief description of the most and unique experiences in Rwanda.
Kigali City Tour
This is one of the must do things when you land on the Land of thousand hills and thousand smiles if you have a half day or full day to spare in Kigali before transferring to your next destination. This city tour will give you the highlights of the city from scratch after the Genocide memorial to present. This will include Kigali Genocide Memorial.
KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL.
This is an extremely moving, challenging, educational and ultimately inspiring memorial and great place to understand the cause, tragedy and successful rebuilding post genocide.
The reconciliation and rebuilding has been miraculous and these memorials are built to inform, educate and prevent such a tragedy to ever occur again.
The tour is very transparent and educational but very somber and humbling when you realize that over 250,000 deceased are buried on the site of the memorial. Guaranteed you will feel every emotion during this visit.
The most common question that goes through your mind is “would I be capable of that level of forgiveness if I found myself in this situation”. That’s true inspiration.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING
Gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park that is termed as one of the unforgettable experience not to miss when given a chance, Although you will have been well assured that the gorillas are habituated, chances are you have never seen one, habituated or otherwise, the experience is exciting and your trekking is quite enjoyable through the forest. Your anxiety will probably go away when you finally come face to face with the gorillas and playful young ones that might occasionally astray closer than expected then realize you have nothing to fear.
GOLDEN MONKEYS TREK
Welcome to the complete guide for the ultimate golden monkey trekking experience, all the things you need to know about visiting the golden monkeys of Rwanda and Uganda, where to stay, the permit costs, Ask African Expert Safaris, when to go and general information about these apes.
Golden monkeys are known to have unique characters and are a rare species that are endangered at the moment and they are currently found in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. They are easily recognized due to the yellow patches that can be seen all over their bodies.
The Golden monkeys are also known as ‘the Old world monkey’ and the only way to separate these primates from others is by their noses. There is a unique character about the golden monkeys and that is most of the monkeys have their nostrils pointing to the sides but if you look closely at the golden monkeys, their nostrils face upwards.
Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda mostly takes place in the Volcanoes which is found in the Virunga Mountains and it has only one session per day which starts in the morning. Those who are willing to take part in the golden monkey trekking are advised to report at the headquarters by 7:00 am for a mini briefing about the trek before it starts and it is only fifteen minutes away from the Park.
The Golden monkeys in the Rwanda are divided into two troops and the largest is located in the Sabinyo and this has 80 to 100 monkeys and it is the most visited troop in Rwanda. The other troop is located in the Volcanoes and it is slightly smaller in number.
IBYI’WACU CULTURAL VILLAGE
A Rwanda cultural tour to Ibyiwacu cultural village is one of the key features that make Rwanda safaris exceptional experiences. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of our culture and traditions. Be genuinely welcomed by the community as a special visitor while they proudly present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The only way to get to know people, is getting close and interacting with local people, and taking part in their daily activities and most of all with them.
Iby’Iwacu village is located around Parc National des Volcans in Nyabigoma, Kinigi, Musanze district, Northern Province- have a visit to Iby’Iwacu to share with local people home and heritage treasures including lifestyles, activities, artifacts and ways of living of local people. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is committed at showcasing the ways of living, traditional lifestyles and dances to tourists.
DIAN FOSSEY/KARISOKE RESEARCH CENTER FOR A VISIT.
This center provides an interactive look into gorilla conservation.
The Karisoke Research Center, founded by the late Dr. Dian Fossey almost 50 years ago, has been housed in a variety of facilities over the years and is currently located in the Rwandan town of Musanze, outside Volcanoes National Park where the gorillas live.
This past summer, the Fossey Fund staff have created an exciting exhibit space at the Karisoke building. It is now open to the public and provides a variety of information, photographs, videos, historic objects and interactive activities about gorilla conservation and their work.
The Karisoke exhibit has been designed to complement the experience of gorilla-trekking that draws many visitors to Rwanda, and is also meant to help enhance the Fossey Fund’s expanding conservation education programs for local students and the surrounding community. What’s in the exhibit:
The Karisoke exhibit consists of seven sections:
* Gorillas: Overview, behavior, life history of mountain gorillas
* Dian Fossey and the history of Karisoke
* Conservation and challenges
* Biodiversity: Other animals and plants in the forest
* Working with local communities
* The Virunga mountains
* Grauer’s gorillas in eastern Congo
All of the exhibit’s sections include panels and posters filled with information and photos, and many also include iPads with videos. The gorilla section teaches you about their diet, behavior and social structure complete with skeletal models and audio recordings of gorilla vocalizations.
The Dian Fossey section: Includes original artifacts from her cabin and a variety of historic photos, while actual snares can be seen in the conservation section. The biodiversity section includes skulls of buffalo, bushbuck and duiker, as well as an elephant jaw.
The most “high-tech” section of the exhibit is the “Virtual Virungas,”which was built in collaboration with the Center for GIS and Imagine Lab, in the College of Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is a 3D model of the volcanic Virunga mountains, using satellite imagery projected onto a bed of sand, while a variety of controls are used to apply historic mountain gorilla ranging data and topographic maps showing how the gorilla habitat and ranging have changed over time.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera National Park lies in eastern Rwanda, hugging the border with Tanzania. It’s characterized by woodland, swamps, low mountains and savannah. The varied terrain shelters wildlife including zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and hundreds of bird species, such as the rare shoebill stork. In the southern part of the park, vast Lake Ihema is home to hippos and crocodiles.
GAME DRIVES AND BOAT CRUISE IN AKAGERA NP
These are the main attraction to the park and you can be part of an organized safari with us. The tour drives with in the park is the main activity though this national park is small as compared to many other savannah parks in Africa. This park is known as a gem of Rwanda.
Its landscape is so stunning and you can see many different animals with in a short time. The wildlife in Akagera has also increased over time and the recent count is estimated that the park is now a home to over 8000 large animals.
There is also a new perimeter fence that was completed in 2013 and has made a big positive impact to these numbers.
The lions and Rhinos were re- introduced recently and as such, provide a major boost to the wildlife that you can spot here.
Notwithstanding the size of the park, Akagera’s wildlife is so diverse. The beauty can be seen anywhere irrespective of the size and the national park is surely being recognized.
Within short time, you will be able to see the giraffes, Impalas, Topis, the Zebras, bush bucks, African swallows, eland, the vervet monkeys, warthogs, baboons, Mongoose, the hippos, the crocodiles, as well as the elephants.
There are over 120 elephants in the park and the other mammals also include; the fefassa waterbuck, the oribi, reedbucks, the roan antelopes, sable, buffalos and many more.
The most fantastic drive from the south to the north in a day will give you many animals to view to be able to keep give you a great adventurous experience as well as the most magnificent views from the top of the mountain across lake Ihema towards Tanzania.
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe National Park lies in southwest Rwanda, partly abutting the Burundi border. It’s a vast area of mountain rainforest, home to many species of chimpanzees, plus owl-faced and colobus monkeys. The Canopy Walkway, part of the Igishigishigi Trail, is a high suspension bridge with views over the valley and surrounding forests. A trail runs to the Kamiranzovu Marsh, with its birdlife, orchids and waterfall.
CHIMPANZEE TRACKING IN NYUNGWE FOREST.
In so many ways, tracking the chimps is so different from the mountain gorilla experience, so unlike the mountain gorillas, the chimps are moving constantly around and at high speeds, jumping from tree to tree making noise. But the gorillas are usually found sitting eating quietly with in the forest clearings.
The other big difference between these two is the tracking experiences and by this this the gorillas, one is usually allowed one hour of observing and taking photos of them, but with the chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda, there is no limit, keeping up with them is also the main challenge and the biggest determining factor of the amount of time that is spent with them.
Of all the primates that are found in Nyungwe forest, it’s the chimpanzees that are the famous ones and core wildlife attractions in this national park.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest starts off from three reception centers, that’s Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura where the tourists meet the park rangers and the tourists are also expected to be at the reception as early as between 5 am to 6am you drive to the starting point of the trek into the forest. Since the chimps nest each and every night, there are the trackers who go ahead of the trekking group of finding them and communicate with the ranger guides.
The tourists spend only 1 hour with the chimanzees in Nyungwe forest National park, and get to observe them so closely going about their own lives and see the human like features and behavior that makes them our closest relatives with 98.7 % DNA.The chimps also communicate by way of deafening screams, the loud hoots and booming hitting of the tree barks and the buttress. It’s such a hair rising moment like no other and so memorable.
These habituated chimpanzee group in Nyungwe forest is also bigger with about 60 individuals and due to the greatness of the forest and terrain, it gives few chances of seeing the chimps, while the group in Cyamudongo forest that has a smaller number of about 30 chimps giving the most successful sightings that are given in the small size that is covered to find the chimps in any part.
CANOPY WALK WAY
Getting to the canopy is easy from the starting point at Uwinka visitor Centre. This bridge adjourned between the huge trees one on the feel of the fresh air, 60m above the forest floor.
Apart from the freshness in the air and the wonderful aerial view of the trees, you will also enjoy the sights of the fantastic birds that fly across as you enjoy the walk.
This canopy walk is the most preferred activity for the park visitors and it’s one of those you want to try before you die.it was opened in 2010 and it’s the only one of its kind in east Africa and the third on the African continent.
This 90m long canopy walk way also gives a unique face to face meetings with the butterflies, birds and the monkeys.
The hard wood trees also occupy the upper canopy as the lower part is dominated with the large selection of the purple orchids and the lush flora as well as fauna that curl better in the higher altitudes.
MONKEYS TREKKING IN NYUNGWE FOREST.
Trekking in search of grey-cheeked Mangabey and Rwenzori Colobus monkeys is also on offer in Nyungwe Forest. The latter can be found here in troops of several hundred individuals, believed to be among the largest numbers worldwide. Head down to the forest early in the morning, where you’ll meet your guide who will take you through the jungle to see the monkeys.