Safaris in Rwanda: Overview
Rwanda offers an emotional wildlife experience throughout all its parks. These include the Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and the Volcanoes National Park. The latter is best known as a home to the Mountain Gorillas. The above parks form the pivot of tourism in Rwanda, attracting thousands of tourists. The amazing beauty of this country offers a traveler an experience of mountain climbing to the volcanic peaks, Gorilla tracking in the dense montane rainforests, a glamorous view around the developing Kigali, and meeting the hospitable and wonderful Rwandese (people from Rwanda).
TOURISM IN RWANDA
Rwanda is a unique, yet relatively small sized country located south of the Equator, and at the center of Africa. The small size makes it very possible to experience a number of highlights and fascinating scenes around the country. Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills (Les Pays des Milles Collines’), with a scenically attractive chain of seven volcanoes. Rwanda boasts of one of the richest green undulating landscapes in Africa. It’s filled with about twenty-three (23) lakes and a number of rivers flowing through the hills. It is believed that some of these rivers form the source of the great River Nile, that crosses through Uganda and ending in Egypt’s Mediterranean see.
The government of Rwanda, through Rwanda Development Board has stepped up the tourism industry of the country. An international link with an England iconic team, ARSENAL FC has been made, as a sponsoring partner through the Visit Rwanda initiative. This is bringing in more people from overseas to visit this beautiful country, hence increase in earnings through Rwanda tourism. As according to RDB (Rwanda Development Board, tourism earning increased from USD 390 million in 2016 to USD 438 million in 2017.
Where to go on a Rwanda Holiday
Volcanoes National Park
Located north-west of the country is Volcanoes National Park which is Rwanda’s most famous park. This is located astride the Virungas Volcanic Mountain which is right next to Uganda and DRC. The park harbors the gentle endangered mountain Gorillas, which are some of the few remaining in the whole world. Tracking these primates through the intimacy of the montane rainforests is a very unique experience in this National park. At the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park are the Musanze Caves and Bushanga Eco-Park, an ancient forest with amazing folklore. Here, you will also find different species of the Golden monkeys, which are highly an endangered species mainly found at the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Volcanoes National Park also offers an opportunity to the visitors to go hiking and mountain climbing. It is a home to Mount Karisimbi where the Climbing and Hiking are done, both day and night. An adventure in this place guarantees a visitor amazing sights and views of various vegetation as they move in the intense montane while taking a Canopy walk. You will also find the Dian Fossey Camp, where research on the mountain Gorillas was being made by Dian herself in the Karisoke Research Centre. Here, you will find graves of gorillas and the grave for Dian Fossey.
Volcanoes National Park also grants one to go on nature walks, like the Buhanga Sacred Forest walk. This forest has a variety of colors which come through depending on the season. The park also has has a number of lakes, like the Ngezi Lake, Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo. These are ideal places for a trek, way to the Russumo Falls, under a guide. Outside the Volcanoes National Park is found the Iby’Iwacu Village, where visitors go for cultural and heritage experiences.
Akagera National Park
The park roots its naming to the great Akagera River which flows through along its eastern boundary, pouring into a number of lakes. THese include Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani. Akagera National Park is covered with stunningly scenic Savannah plains, pleasant hills, broad leaved plants and a dozen lakes. If you are interested in traditional safaris, Akagera National Park is the perfect destination for you. In it is found a diversity of fauna and flora, coupled with an opportunity for wildlife viewing. The captivating scenery of the park lures many visitors and tourists to this Lake district.
The park is a natural habitat to a number of game species, primates and birds species. Here, you will find the Sitatunga and the Shoebill stork, some of the restricted species found in the papyrus swamps. You may see the gonolek and other bird species in the wetlands harboring the Akagera River. Amongst the wildlife, you may be able to see some game giants including buffaloes, zebras, topi, waterbucks, elephants, Impalas, lions, leopards and the side striped jackal. Among the primates, you will see the blue monkey and baboons.
Nyungwe National Park
If you want to have a good Bird watching experience in Rwanda, you would not want to miss visiting the dense rainforest. Nyungwe National Park is a spectacular heaven on earth haven, with a rich eco-system able to support a number of primates and plant species. The park is found in a heavily dense tropical rainforest of Nyungwe, lying in a mountainous region. It is a home to chimpanzees and other primate species over 12 in number. You may also see the L’Hoest monkey found in the Albertine region, the owl Faced monkey, the Dent’s Mona monkey and the Velvet monkeys.
This stunning park is commonly visited by botanists for research on the over 140 orchids and 1065 plant species. Birders will find Nyungwe National park a top destination for it is among the best places to be for birdwatching, with over 310 birds species – including the Chapin’s flycatcher, the Red-collared Babbler among others. Nyungwe National park boasts of over 70 mammals including leopards, Serval cats, mongoose among others. While in the park, you will enjoy a Canopy Walk and a memorable view of the Isumo Waterfall as you do your hiking. You will also have a fancy tour around the Gisakura Tea plantations. These form the boarder of the game park.
Kigali is capital city of Rwanda and the busiest place in the country with high skyscrapers stemming up. It is among Africa’s cleanest cities, making it friendly an environment for many to stay. The country-wide culture of service called Umuganda, constitutionalized by the country’s president brings every citizen together on a last Saturday morning of each month. This aims at doing community works and projects like helping out the needy neighbors, general street cleaning, and gardening. It is in Kigali that most of the other developments around the country are being hinged, as attributed to by the good road planning as they radiate outwards to the East, West, North and South. It is because of this that many decide to spend a night in this wonderfully planned capital, as it is safe and well secured.
The city is surrounded by a number if hills, which is one of the main attraction for many. This keeps them occupied as they walk about in the restaurants, cafes and plenty of bars. Kigali does not, however, receive as many tourists as other outskirt area of the country. More so those within the proximities of the National parks and other gazette areas. In Kigali, you will be able to visit the genocide Museums, go smart shopping, take sporty outings among other activities as you marvel at the orderliness of this City.
When to go
The most ideal time to visit Rwanda is in the season between the periods of December to February and June to September. This renders it possible to visit the country haven all year through. The period between October and November is rainy, though a few travels can still make their way to their destinations. If planning for a Gorilla tracking experience or primate tour, forest walks, the traveler ought to plan well before moving for their safari.
The Rwanda Genocide
The history of Rwanda makes it a very inspiring and surprising country for a safari holiday. The 1994 genocide marked a tremendous change in the political figure Rwanda, since the fight against the Tutsis. You will desire to have a narration of the events that sparked off the genocide, but can best be told when you set foot in this memorable land.
Currently, the people of Rwanda identify themselves as Rwandans, with no tribal differences of the Hutus and Tutsis. This helped in strengthening the unity of the country, hence fostering peace, harmony and development. Every year from April to July, a commemoration termed as Kwibuka is held as a source of healing the country. At this time of the year, there are many visits made to Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, in addition to other centers over the country by both Nationals and Foreigners so as to get the proper history of how the genocide came up. The testimonies of the nationals are ever captivating and renewing to many, including researchers. This has boasted Rwanda Tourism.