Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. One of the smallest countries on the African mainland, its capital city is Kigali.
Volcanoes National Park
Also called Parc National des Volcans in french, is where Dain Fossey set off this unforgettable adventure in 1967. This is arguably the best place to track and see gorillas in the whole of Africa.
It has some of the best forest lodges on the continent, you can see hundreds of bird species, track the endangered golden monkey, hike the tenuous volcano summit, take a nature walk and experience raw indigenous African cultures in the boundaries of the forest. Unlike the other three gorilla destinations, Volcanoes is easy to access and proudly pricey for the luxury treat.
Kigali Capital City
Most people will travel to Rwanda to see gorillas – but everyone should stay for the prolific cultural and historical experience in its cool, arty capital, Kigali, which is deserving of at least a couple of nights. It’s a tiny country, so it’s easy to drive everywhere.
As a solo traveler, you’ll feel very comfortable catching the bus or finding your way around the city’s hot spots. Kigali is dotted with cultural centers, genocide memorials and unbelievable modern malls for a modern traveler to spend their evenings. Therefore, tour Rwanda and stay a couple of days in Kigali.
Akagera National Park
The 90’s war left Akagera empty, but this beautiful park with its lakes, papyrus swamps, hills and savannah is now a Big Five Africa safari destination. A game drive in the savanna tracks will reveal lions, elephants, buffaloes, hyenas, hippos and even the daylight shy leopards.
The birding is excellent too, there are nearly 500 bird species in the park and an avid birder may encounter more than 100 species over a two-night stay. Akagera is a great addition to Volcanoes NP after you see gorillas and don’t have to cross borders.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
It is a remarkable rich centre of biodiversity. More than 1,050 plant species, 250 Albertine Rift Endemics and 200 orchids, along with at least 120 butterfly species. The vertebrate fauna includes 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 85 mammals and 310 bird species of which about 15% are Albertine Rift Endemics.
At Nyungwe, primates are the main attraction, 13 species are present including chimpanzee with a population estimated at 500-1000 which is usually tracked at a short notice or even the sound they make in the jungle, several other monkeys are readily seen; including the L’Hoest’s monkey and acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus.
Nyungwe is also highly alluring to birders, botanist and keen walkers, with its 130 network of walking trails and the only sight for suspended canopy walk, the park features few tourist itineraries, because the forest trails require a lot of stamina than Volcanoes National Park.
It is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.
Relax on a pleasant public beach on Gisenyi’s Lake shore but it can get quite busy, particularly at weekends. Some hotels have private beaches and water sport options.
After relaxation, visit the Imbabazi Orphanage founded by American Rosamund Halsey Carr, is a beautiful memorial to a remarkable lady. On returning to Rwanda after the genocide at the age of 82, she transformed her ransacked house into an orphanage for survivors and over 400 orphans have since called this place home. Sitting among colourful gardens, the house looks like an English country cottage, complete with an aging Labrador. For more information about what to experience visit Rwanda.