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Rwanda’s dynamic capital city has become a tourist attraction of her own, with her wide and well paved boulevards, many local and international restaurants and the numerous entertainment spots. It is a great place to begin or end your journey in Rwanda, as it is located in the heart of the country.
What to do and see in Kigali?
- Kigali Genocide Memorial Center
Memorial displaying deeply moving testimonies and images of the 1994 Genocide, offering glimpse of the struggle and heartache that Rwanda experienced.
- Camp Kigali – Belgium Monument
Small museum at the site where 10 Belgian UN Blue Beret were killed during the 1994 genocide.
- House of Richard Kandt
Historic residence of Dr. Richard Kandt was a German explorer who travelled to Rwanda to discover the Source of the Nile in 1897.
- Nyamirambo Walking Tour
Explore the colours, noises and smells of urban Rwanda in the bustling multi-cultural district Nyamirambo, guided by the charming women of the Nyamirambo Women’s Center.
- Lunch at Bakery & Café RZ Manna and taste their delicious coffee, waffles and sandwiches!
Volcanoes National Park
erhaps best known as the home of the rare Mountain Gorillas, the Virunga Volcanoes offer an extremely diverse scenery with rich flora and fauna. Hear the calls of birds and monkeys, and through the forest you will see the peaks of the ancient volcanoes. In addition to the rainforest, the park exists of bamboo forest, grassland, swamps and heath.
Parc National des Volcans (PNV) is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and covers more than 125 km2. It is home to five Virunga Volcanoes, including Mount Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Bisoke, Muhabura and Karisimbi, the highest volcano with an altitude of over 4,500 m. All five volcanoes are extinct, yet the active ones are located across the border in DRC.
What to do and see in Volcanoes National Park?
- Fascinating Mountain Gorillas
Nothing can compare to a face-to-face encounter with a Mountain Gorilla Silverback in the rainforest of Volcanoes National Park. A life changing experience!
- Scenic twin lakes Bulera and Ruhondo
A hidden gem with blue waters ringed by steep hills and tall waterfalls with the Volcano range providing a spectacular backdrop
- Hiking Mount Sabyinyo
Challenge yourself to climb the spectacular summit of Mount Sabyinyo (3645 m), one of the notorious volcanoes in the Virungas.
- Tracking the rare Golden Monkeys in the Virunga’s bamboo forest
Although much smaller than their relatives the Mountain Gorillas and chimpanzees that inhabit the forests of East Africa, the Golden Monkeys are also highly endangered. It is a delight to watch these amazing creatures as they jump from tree to tree and perform acrobatic moves.
- Visit to Dian Fossey Research Camp
Volcanoes National Park was Dian Fossey’s home for a long time. At the Karisoke Research Center, saddled between the two volcanoes Mt Visoke and Karisimbi, she carried out her study. Here she was also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas.
- Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village
Located just outside the national park, this village allows you a glimpse in the Rwandan life with joyful dancing, hands-on activities and display of traditional art crafts. Some of the performers are reformed poachers who are now making a new livelihood through this successful community project.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
owards the south of the country, Nyungwe Rainforest is a stunning and prehistoric nature lover’s paradise. Amongst her steep ridges and deep valleys, the pristine mountain rainforests are home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates including the Black & White Colobus Monkeys and Blue Monkeys. Over 300 species of birds can be found in this protected area, including 16 endemics.
What to do and see in Nyungwe Forest National Park?
- Lively chimpanzees
Hike through the forest for a close and personal encounter with these fascinating creatures that share over 95% of their genetic code with us.
- Canopy Walkway
Look at the forest from a chimp’s eye view and experience an adrelin-charged 200 m long series of walkways in the forest canopy!
- Guided forest walks
The forest boosts thirteen different hiking trails that offer excellent opportunities for birding and primate viewing.
- Lush Tea plantations
Rwanda’s largest export product is tea. Discover how tea is harvested, processed and get to taste the delicious result!
fter an exciting gorilla tracking safari in Volcanoes National Park or chimp encounter in Nyungwe Forest, Lake Kivu provides the ideal place to rest and unwind. Here, fisherman ply the water in traditional dugout canoes while the many birds gather into flocks on the lake. Being part of Africa’s Great Lakes, Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea with deep blue waters, surrounded by green terraced hills and mountains, and is therefore a perfect location to relax and enjoy Rwanda’s beautiful coastline.
What to do and see at Lake Kivu?
- Colourful and bustling Gisenyi (also known as Rubavu)
From the three resort towns, Gisenyi is the most charming and developed city, located at only one hour drive from Volcanoes National Park. It is set on a sandy beach lined with swaying palms and colonial-era hotels. Experience its modern water sport facilities or explore Gisenyi’s colourful markets, exciting nightlife and authentic Rwandan cuisine.
- Relaxing Kibuye (also known as Karongi)
Kibuye is situated 100 km south of Gisenyi and is a most relaxing and romantic town. It offers beautiful white sandy beaches overlooking pine-covered hills seemingly transplanted from the Alps. Take a relaxing trip on the lake in a traditional boat and visit one of the nearby islands Napoleon or Amahoro Island.
- Authentic Cyangugu (also known as Rusizi)
Cyangugu, which is closest to Nyungwe Forest, is an old border town. The lack of main tourist facilities is compensated for by a stirring setting of curving inlets winding into narrow valleys.
- Congo Nile Trail
Often neglected but absolutely worth a visit! The Congo Nile Trail starts in Gisenyi and winds its way along the lakeshore, passing Kibuye and ending in Cyangugu. It is a 227 km long track which takes 10 days in total but of course can be divided into smaller sections for those with limited time.
Akagera National Park
kagera comes as an exciting surprise after the steep cultivated hills and breeze climate that characterizes the rest of the country. Set at a relatively low altitude along the Tanzanian border, this beautiful game reserve protects a diverse landscape of open grassland, woodland, savannah and swamp-fringed lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River.
The lakes draw out herds of elephants and buffaloes, while the savannah attracts giraffes and zebras. Furthermore, the park hosts leopards, hyenas, lions and more than a dozen types of antelopes. In the lake large pods of hippopotami and crocodiles are basking in the sun. Birdlovers will be entertained by majestic fish eagles, large concentration of waterbirds, papyrus gonolek and the often sought-after shoebill stork.
After a troubled past, when refugees from Rwanda’s civil wars returned to live in this area, the Rwandan government increased their conservation efforts and together with African Parks tries to bring Akagera National Park back to its former glories. One of these joint efforts resulted in reintroducing lions after 15 years of absence.
What to do and see at Akagera National Park?
- Exciting game drive
Go off the beaten track and explore one of Africa’s most scenic savannah plains with its varied wildlife and over 500 species of birds.
- Scenic boat trip along Lake Ihema
Enjoy a boat trip along the shores of Rwanda’s second largest lake, with some great aquatic bird sightings and with some luck spotting the elusive Shoebill Stork.
- Night game drive
When the sun has set, go out and get a glimpse of the Akagera’s nocturnal wildlife!
- Fishing at Lake Shakani
Spend a relaxing day fishing off the lake shore and cook your catch over an open campfire.