The majestic mountains, rolling hills and lush grassy lowlands of Rwanda create a beautiful wild and untamed piece of Africa. Nicknamed ‘Pays des Mille Collines’, meaning ‘Country of a Thousand Hills’ in French, this tiny landlocked country dwarfed by its neighbours is brimming with colossal landscapes and striking scenery. Rwanda holidays are famous for taking you to the home of mountain gorillas, an incredible wildlife moment filled with both adventure and tranquillity. However Rwanda has so much more to offer its visitors. After the horrendous and unforgettable events of 1994, Rwanda has prospered into a calm, hopeful and charming country eager to welcome and host guests.
Built along a hillside with incredible views, the sophisticated capital Kigali is a remarkably safe city to explore. Kigali has a number of terrific places to stay including the luxury five-star Kigali Serena on the stylish Rue de Revolution and the family-run serene garden hotel, Chez Lando. A visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre is a powerful and heart-wrenching experience but important to remember the tragedies which happened not too long ago and to appreciate how much the country has recovered. Located in the heart of the country, Kigali is the gateway to your wildlife destinations in the north and south, a couple of days spent here a brilliant introduction to the country.
Travel to the north of the country and to the home of half of the world’s wild gorilla population, Parc National des Volcans. Be prepared to trek up to altitudes of 3,000km and for five hours a day through thick vegetation, mud and regular rain showers. But encountering a troop, watching these rare, captivating gentle giants in the peaceful atmosphere of the jungle is a truly outstanding reward for your hard work. By no means a spontaneous or bargain holiday, with permits costing $1,500 and selling out some time in advance, it’s all worth it when face-to-face with the gorillas building their nest for a midday rest, collecting fruit and cuddling their young.
The small size of the country comes in handy when travelling from the Parc National des Volcans in the north down to the Nyungwe National Park in the south. Driving along Lake Kivu, the freshwater lake separating Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, is a wonderful way to experience everyday Rwandan life. You’ll be captivated by both the people and the countryside as you weave through the hills and mountains on the eucalyptus lined roads, passing smiling villagers and children shouting ‘Abuzungu!’
Time spent in Nyungwe National Park is an exciting and charming wildlife adventure. The bio diversity across the largest montane forest in central Africa is absolutely stunning, the 1,000km2 rich with endemic species. Trek across the 130km of trails in this untouched tropical rainforest in search of the 13 species of primates including grey-cheeked mangabeys, rwenzori colobus monkey and owl-faced monkeys and, of course, colonies of chimpanzees. Nyungwe is a paradise for birdwatchers who will relish the thrill of spotting any of the 310 exotic species of the forest as they flit and fly through the branches amongst the vibrant colourful butterflies and orchids.
Holidays in Rwanda are, to use one word, exceptional. While we can easily organise a five day gorilla trekking tour as an add on to your Kenya and Tanzania holiday, we really would recommend you spend more time exploring and discovering everything Rwanda has to offer.