Do you love nature? Do you need to capture your imaginations with astonishing world primates? Well, for a test of time, Rwanda has been sited as one of the perfect and leading tourist destinations that offer authentic gorilla trekking experiences to visitors ever since Dian Fossey came to carry out her research in 1970. Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is proud to be home to 13 primate species which include the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and the golden monkeys. Most interestingly, it is recognized for it is incredible silverback gorillas and today out of 900 gorillas in the world, a third of them are inhabited in the Volcanoes National Park. As well, Rwanda as tourist destination is not only famous for its impressive mountain gorillas, but also a place where visitors get a glimpse of nature miracles through the most astonishing landscapes, stunning wildlife and incredible cultures. For your longer stay in Rwanda, here is the list of things that you can do on your visit.
1.Gorilla trekking/tracking at the Volcanoes National Park
The Volcanoes National Park is Africa’s ancient national park that is famous for gorilla trekking in East Africa. Gorilla trekking is one of the perfect and leading adventures that reward visitors with dramatic experiences of life time a reason why mountain gorillas are the most sought after attractions in the world. Some of the fascinating things that you must not miss here are exploring the gorilla feeding habits, breeding, nesting, coupling, and several unique things that your guide will explain to you. Today, these humble creatures are heavily protected in Rwanda and for visitors enjoyment, there are 10 Habituated Gorilla Families set for tourism purposes. The Volcanoes National Park is within the visitors’ reach once they land into Kigali Airport. We encourage you never to miss this fantastic experience that comes once in a life time!
2. Golden monkey tracking at the Volcanoes National Park
Besides gorilla trekking, there is also golden monkey tracking which gives visitors the golden opportunity to track the endangered golden monkeys. The golden monkeys are the most impressive primates and they can be seen playing around the Bamboo Forest of the Volcanoes. One important thing with golden monkey tracking is that it is not as breathtaking as gorilla trekking tend to be. For birders, there are over 670 bird species for you to sight, many of which are globally endangered. Volcano climbing or hiking, nature walks in the pristine crater lakes, caving, pay a visit at Dian Fossey’s Research camp and grave site, musanze cave and many other things that are worth adding in safari in Rwanda.
3. Canopy walk and Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Do you love nature? Explore the natural wonders of Nyungwe Forest National Park the only East African rain forest for visitors to do canopy walk. Nyungwe is one of the ancient forests ever since the last ice age and it is ranked as Africa’s vital place for forestry conservation. This forest is credited for its 13 primate species among which are the chimpanzees and hence chimpanzee tracking is done here as well as colobus monkey tracking where over 200 colobus monkeys can be sighted. Nyungwe also forms excellent 130 walking trails that range from forests, waterfalls and panoramic viewing areas for visitors. As well, if you are a birder, preferably this is the perfect place for you to enjoy 300 forest bird species. Think about African jungles and let Nyungwe Forest be the first in your list.
4. Scenic viewing and game drives at Akagera National Park
Just on the border with Tanzania lays Akagera National Park the only savannah Wildlife Park in Rwanda. Visit Akagera National Park for the most stunning sceneries during your day and night game drives, boat safaris and nature walks, hikes, birding, fishing and village visits. For a complete safari on African savanna experiences with outstanding wildlife and sceneries, Akagera National Park is the only place in Rwanda for you to meet your dreams or get astonished with the reintroduced lions in the stunning savannah national park. In your game viewing, never miss to sight at buffaloes, jackals’ leopards, zebras, hyenas, several raptors and hippos.
5. Dip your toes into lovely Lake Kivu
Expect not only to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, but also the lovely Lake Kivu which forms the largest freshwater body in the country, 6th largest in Africa and 15th deepest in the world. Lake Kivu is also one of the 3 notable exploding lakes in the world. It is surrounded by wooded hills and white sandy beaches a reason why you should come and chill out after gorilla trekking. Lake Kivu is bilhazia free and not only do visitors dip their toes in its water but also they can swim because no hippos or crocodiles live here. After, grab your crop to cup coffee, in one of the Lake Kivu Islands and make your day an incredible one!
6. Visit Genocide memorial Sites
The Rwandan genocide is one of the terrible events that left millions of people dead within the 100 days of blood and tears shed in 1994, some thing that also left the country torn apart. This event left an impact to many people at the time in one way or another and Rwandan government is committed to “Never Again.” One of the places to visit is Gisozi genocide memorial where 250000 people including children were victims of the genocide. There are lessons to learn while at these genocide memorials especially what occurred within the 100 days in 1994 and never miss to visit these places once you land into Kigali.
7. Visit Kigali
There are several things waiting for you to see while you are in Kigali. They include the genocide memorial, the former presidential palace museum, the Muslim quarter with all its sights and sounds, hotel Rwanda, the Belgian soldier memorial and many others that you can choose to see. Or engage yourself in arts, crafts or be at most delightful restaurants in Rwanda that offer excellent Rwandan food stuffs like goat and beef brochettes or get Rwandan coffee in any of the coffee shops in Kigali.
8. Visit Kibeho pilgrimage
This is another incredible place that you shouldn’t miss to visit in Rwanda. Most of visitors flock to Rwanda every year not just for the mountain gorillas alone but to pay pilgrimage to Kibeho one of the small towns in Southern Rwanda. This town is famous as one of the places where young people had visions of Mary appearing to them including the Rwandan genocide that was to occur in graphic terms. Just in 2001 when the Vatican validated the vision, Kibeho turned to be the Lourdes of Africa with several pilgrims traveling into Rwanda not only within the country but across Africa and India. For Catholics or religious tourists, Kibeho is the perfect place for you.
9. Cultural tourism at Iby’iwacu cultural village
Do you love culture? Get fascinating and interactive cultural experiences at Iby’iwacu cultural village and explore cultural traditions in Rwanda. The notable traditions include the traditional house of the local king, where you will learn much on the food preparations like sorghum flour making and banana beef making, local medicines from the traditional healer or learn how to handle a bow and arrow or excite yourself with Intore dances and performances. Consider visiting Iby’iwacu cultural village among the list of things to do on your visit to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
In conclusion, Rwanda should not be recognized for its fascinating gorilla trekking experiences alone but also several things like game viewing, birding, genocide memorials, lakes, religious tourism, cultural tourism and many other things that you can discover within Rwanda to offer fantastic experiences in a life time. Enjoy your stay in Kigali-Rwanda!!