Places to Visit in Rwanda

Major activities a tourist can include on their wildlife safari while in Rwanda

Places to visit and Tour in Rwanda

Places to visit and tour in Rwanda: The country is well known as the “land of a thousand hills’’, Rwanda has converted from a country damaged by one of the worst genocides in the recent years, to a model of hope peace and best governance in east Africa. Having Kigali as the capital city, its streets are neat with good roads and five start hotels while the countryside is characterized with good looking hills as well as green plantations. The second largest city in Rwanda is Butare also known as “the intellectual capital of Rwanda”. Butare hosts a number of large institutions such as national university of Rwanda and Rwanda national museum. Rwanda’s wealth has escalated since embracing agricultural modernization, industrialization, mining as well as tourism.

Tourism in Rwanda has grown with several luxurious lodges in national game parks. The country has gone extra mile to market her tourism resources to the outside of the country. However most of the tourists who visit Rwanda are attracted by the high chances of seeing mountain gorillas that can be only found in volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Volcanoes national park was made popular by research efforts culminating into the famous drama “Gorillas in the mist”. Volcanoes national park is an area of green vegetation swarming with birds, primates, butterflies, and mammals. Gorilla trekking is not only made in Uganda, it can also be done in Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, but it’s the quality of service, security and accessibility of the park to the capital Kigali that makes tourists opt for a safari in Rwanda.

Major activities a tourist can include on their wildlife safari while in Rwanda include;

  1. Visiting the capital Kigali
  2. Chimpanzee tracking and golden monkey tracking
  3. Game drives at Akagera national park
  4. Mountain gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park
  5. Biking/cycling along the Congo Nile trail
  6. Bird watching in Ngungwe forest and Lake Kivu
  7. Hiking Mountain Bisoke and Mountain Karisimbi
  8. Sport fishing
  9. Visiting Dian Fossey grave
  10. Visiting genocide memorial centers such as Gisozi, Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero and Ntamara.
  11. Cultural encounters and community visits

Major Places To Visit And Tour In Rwanda

Volcanoes national park.

Volcanoes national park is located within Virunga mountain ranges and is a home to about 400 endangered mountain gorillas and 10 habituated gorilla families. The park is made up of thick forest vegetation cover and mountainous terrain that can make gorilla trekking difficult but adventurous. Ever since Dian Fossey pitched camp in in volcanoes national park, Rwanda became a top leader in the global mountain gorilla conservation and research efforts. Visitors can organize to see Dian Fossey’s former research station and her grave. Although mountain gorilla trekking is the main activity in volcanoes national park Rwanda, visitors can also see forest elephants, golden monkeys, forest hogs, birds, buffaloes and a number of butterflies during the Rwanda wildlife tour. The park has a number of mountains suitable for hiking such as Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Karisimbi.

Ngungwe forest national park:

Ngungwe forest national park is one of the most attractive places while on a Rwanda wildlife tour. It’s a vast tropical forest with over 1000 tree species making it a good reflection of Rwanda’s exciting biodiversity. After mountain gorilla trekking, the forest is good for chimpanzee trekking while on a Rwanda wildlife tour. Ngungwe forest national park has over 240 bird species which makes ikt a birders paradise. While in Ngungwe forest national park, visitors should expect to see baboons, colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, blue monkeys and other primates. Ngungwe forest canopy walk is good for bird lovers and those interested in chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda.

Akagera national park:

Akagera national park is one of the best places to go for a safari in Rwanda. The park is located in the eastern part of Rwanda covering an area of 1000 sq.km of savannah vegetation similar to those found in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Akagera national park is close to Kigali city and is a home to a large number of mammals that gather at the water points on river Akagera and Lake Shakani. The most done activity in Akagera national park is a game drive where you get to sport hyenas, antelopes, jackals, zebras, baboons, buffaloes, giraffes, leopards and elephants. There is introduction of rhinos and lions going on so that visitors get a full package of the five big animals. Bird watchers in Akagera national park are expected to see over 500 bird species including the rare shoebill stork.

Other important places to visit while on Rwanda wildlife tour

Giswati forest.

This forest is one of the most visited tourism sites in Rwanda covering an area of 250,000 acres of land. The forest gives a great view of Lake Kivu and birders are always excited of over 400 bird species in the area. The forest has suffered from increased deforestation caused by pastoralists, ranchers and refugees who were looking for shelter following the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Note: Gishwati forest was recently combined with the nearby Mukura to form Gishwati-Mukura national park making the national parks in Rwanda four.

Genocide memorial centers:

In order to respect the current progress made by the people of Rwanda, visiting any of the genocide memorial centers is suggested while on a Rwanda safari. The genocide which lasted 3 months left a hundreds of tutsis and moderate Hutus massacred in 1994 and sites like those located in Kigali city are a reminder of the dark past. The photographers, mass graves, film footages and other exhibitions provide a glance of the country’s traumatic past. Visiting any of the genocide memorial centers is an opportunity to show appreciation to victims, remember lost ones and also see the reality of what happened in Rwanda

The Congo Nile trail:

Rwanda development board is playing a big role in positioning Uganda as a major tourism destination in Africa. The government of Rwanda has created tourism opportunities in the country with the opening of Congo Nile trail. Biking along the Congo Nile trial is one of the best things to do while on a safari in Rwanda. The Congo Nile trail passes through Lake Kivu and provides tourists with opportunities of seeing the country’s gorgeous nature, hills, green vegetation and clear lake waters while viewing mountains nearby.

Lake Kivu:

This is located on the borders of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo and is one of the natural admirations of Rwanda covering an area of 2,600 sq.km. Lake Kivu flows at 1450 meters above the ground and it’s among the three lakes in the world that experience eruptions of carbon dioxide from its depth. There is no worrying eruption that has been experienced on Lake Kivu and visitors should expect to see beaches, island, green vegetation, fishing villages and ports such as Rubavu. Visiting Lake Kivu on a safari comes with great opportunities such as hiking, nature walks, bird watching, chimpanzee trekking as well as boat riding.

Mountain Karisimbi:

Mountain Karisimbi is among the highest mountains in Africa and its part of Virunga mountain ranges. Hiking mountain Karisimbi is one of the interesting things to do while in Musanze. Hikers can also take the 6 hour journey to the top of the mountain and have a great view of volcanoes national park and opportunities to see birds of different species. Visitors can opt to merge hiking mountain Karisimbi with mountain gorilla tracking in volcanoes national park. Merging mountain Karisimbi hike and mountain gorilla trekking during a Rwanda safari is a difficult venture but it requires you to be fit

Mountain Bisoke:

This is one of the active volcanoes located on the borders of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. For those who want to explore the beauty of Rwanda, hiking up mountain Bisoke may be the best thing for you. Hiking Mountain Bisoke takes about 6 hours to the summit after which you will be rewarded with beautiful views of volcanoes national park and the beautiful scenery surrounding the mountain.

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