Comprised of mountains, hills, rainforests and villages, this once war-ravaged land is a small but highly populated country and home to one of the most incredible animals you will ever see, the mountain gorilla.
Rwanda is not a Big 5 safari destination, although the three national parks are inhabited by an abundance of animals and birds. It is a place for active travelers, happy to pay for the exclusive privilege of observing the great apes in their natural habitat. The once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking experience is the main reason for visiting Rwanda, but the friendly locals, interesting villages, good hiking, and beautiful scenery make it a great place for active travelers. And within easy access to the rest of Africa, Rwanda is a good add-on to a traditional safari.
This is an excellent destination for photographers. There is something about Rwanda’s humidity and lighting that brings a mystical quality to your photos and you leave with impressive proof of your time in the forests.
A little rough around the edges as a tourist destination, Rwanda won’t give you the sleek and sophisticated service and accommodation standards you could expect elsewhere. Accommodation can be expensive, but with this destination you pay a premium for a unique experience and contribute to conservation.
Secrets and Tips
- Volcanoes National Park is 2.5 hours from Kigali on excellent roads.
- Serious photographers should do two hikes, one to take pictures and one to enjoy just the gorillas.
- The genocide memorials at Nyamata and Ntarama are moving additions to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.
- Think of the $750 permit fee as a donation to conservation.
Good To Know
Trek with endangered mountain gorillas and learn Rwanda’s history at the Genocide Memorial.