Rwanda is dubbed the land of a thousand hills thanks to its rolling hills. It is set strategically in East Africa and features among a few most sought after safari destinations in Africa. Regardless of its small size, Rwanda is that one magical destination with so much for travelers to enjoy and explore while on African safari. It boasts not for its majestic Virunga Mountain ranges in the northwest but also for its lush rainforests, a section of rare mountain gorillas that today remain not more than 1004 in the world and only confined in Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park and the Virunga National Park; golden monkeys, scenic lakes, rivers, breathtaking landscape to mention but a few.
The best places to visit in Rwanda range from the pristine parks to historical or cultural sites. They include among others;
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is that one best place to visit in Rwanda. This spectacular national park is set in the northwestern side of Rwanda at the border with Mgahinga National Park and the Virunga National Park which makes it part of the vast Virunga Conservation Areas (VCA).
It takes you about 2-3 hours to drive from Kigali capital city or Kigali airport to this park. Volcanoes National Park was gazetted in 1925 making it one of the oldest national parks in Africa and its creation was mainly to conserve the unique mountain gorillas and their habitats as well as other incredible wildlife species including golden monkeys. There are also over 200 bird species to spot out in Volcanoes National Park, five of the eight Virunga Volcanoes are also confined within this protected area and several plant species.
While on safari in Volcanoes National Park, you have opportunity to take part in a number of most exciting activities including mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, bird watching, nature walks/hiking, cultural encounter, volcano hiking to mention but a few. Volcanoes National Park can be visited at any time of the year depending on your travel needs. However, it is best explored in the months of June, July, August, September and December, January, February. Volcanoes National Park can also be explored in the months of March, April, May and October, November and this is usually a wet or low season.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe National Park is situated in southern Rwanda and boasts of its biodiversity. It is remarkable home to over 1000 distinct plant species, about 13 primate species including over 500 chimpanzees, over 310 bird species, several mammal species, butterflies, pristine rainforest to mention but a few.
The primate species to look out in Nyungwe Forest National Park besides chimpanzees include the red colobus monkeys, Angolan colobus monkeys, Dent’s monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys and many others.
A visit to Nyungwe Forest National Park gets you opportunity to take part in chimpanzee tracking, colobus tracking, canopy walk, bird witching and others.
Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park lies in northeastern Rwanda and features as the only savanna park in this country. It is 110 kilometers’ drive away from Kigali capital city. It was founded in 1934 and its creation was mainly to conserve its diverse wildlife species. This park derived its name from Kagera River which flows through the park.
Akagera National Park is a home to African lions, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, over 550 bird species, leopards, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles and many others. The activities to do in this national park range from bird watching, game drives (both day and night game drives), nature walks, helicopter tours, boat cruise along Lake Ihema, cultural tours to mention but a few.
Gishwati Mukura National Park
Gishwati Mukura National Park is a newly established conservancy area in Rwanda and for visitors in need of fresh experiences; it is one of the best places to visit. This park inhabits several primates including chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, olive baboons and many birds. Gishwati Mukura National Park comprises of the Gishwati Forest Reserve and Mukura Forest Reserve.
Kigali capital city
A visit to Rwanda is never complete without a visit to Kigali capital city, one of the most vibrant cities in Africa. Kigali is best explored while you are on a city tour. It features many ridges, valleys, flowering trees, art and craft centers, coffee shops and many historical sites.
Rwanda like other states holds a unique history that is worth exploring and most significantly, the Rwandan genocide of 1994 was one of the most terrific events. Today, there are many genocide sites worth visiting for you to learn in depth about what took place during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. They include Kigali/Gisozi genocide memorial site, hotel Rwanda and others.