Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is a small but stunningly beautiful country in the heart of Africa, her dominant feature being the milliard fertile green and beautifully terraced hills scattered all over the countryside. But she is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. In her north, track the rare Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, or the habituated Golden Monkeys popularly referred to as the little sisters of the gorillas. You can also enjoy a day-long guided hike up one of the volcanoes in this beautiful national park. Tour Ibyi’Iwacu cultural village for a Rwandan cultural experience or join your Guide on a town tour of Ruhengeri including the local market where you meet, mix and mingle with the local people. In the south, Nyungwe rain-forest National Park is a fairytale land nature lover’s paradise with stunning scenery, guided forest hikes down the valleys to beautiful waterfalls; Tracking large troops of habituated Golden Monkeys;get your adrenalin pumping on the Canopy Walk, the only one in East and Central Africa; Birding tours with expert guides;Track habituated Chimpanzees in Kyamudongo or enjoy Cultural interaction tours to some of the local tea plantations where you meet the local people. In Rwanda’s east, the small but incredibly beautiful Akagera National Park is big game country and home of the African Big-5; elephants, newly-introduced lions, rhinos, large herds of buffalo, even the elusive leopard when lucky, and milliard other plains game including eland and hippos and giant Nile crocodiles in Lake Ihema and her many other water bodies. On the gorgeous Lake Kivu, Africa’s 6th largest lake which forms Rwanda’s western border with DR Congo are found the resort towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu, perfect spots for a beach stay, leisure and relaxation as well as guided town tours and dining where meet and mingle with local Rwandans as they go about their daily life. Rwanda’s capital Kigali is also a tourist attraction in her own right; a smart African city of over 1million, reputedly the cleanest on the continent with wide boulevards, nice flowered pavements, world-class hotels and restaurants, and an international airport. Our city tour of Kigali includes her major historical, cultural, economic and political landmarks as well as the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre; obviously, a moving experience but of our recent history and really helps put everything else into perspective. As you tour other parts of the city, you will see just how incredible Rwanda’s recovery has been – a true testament to mankind’s resilience in the face of unfathomable odds. We also organize dining out experiences to sample of Rwanda’s nice local restaurants serving a wide range of delicious Rwandan, continental and international dishes that will leave you wanting for me. But by far the most amazing thing about Rwanda is encountering her people, Rwandans themselves, certainly some of the most beautiful, gracious and charming anywhere in the world and hospitable to a fault, their ancient culture repackaged for the 21stcentury and still being practiced; it is they that always leave the longest lasting mark. Rwanda is beautiful and amazing -Ikaze mu Rwanda (welcome to Rwanda); experience the magic of the land of a thousand hills, and a million smiles, here in the heart of Africa.
What to do in Rwanda
Have an adventure of a classic African Safari in beautiful Akagera National Park, along Lake Ihema in the background giving cooler temperatures, this will give you a different safari experience unlike any of Rwanda’s neighbors.
Akagera National park is located approximately 110 km from Kigali. The majority of theroad is paved, and the last 28km are on a dirt road, therefore it is recommended to have a 4×4 for convinience. For self-drive safaris, there is no need to book, Happt tourz has cars available for hire, there is one 7-seater game viewing vehicle which can be hired out for either a half or full day, all which includes the vehicle, driver, and guide.
Guides are available for hire from the reception and can join visitors on their self-drives. Booking a guide ahead of time is not necessary because they are always available, unless for special groups such as school trips.
Rwanda has a population of about 400 gorillas which reside in Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is often described as “life changing” and with good reason, because the gorillas are endangered and the moment spent with the gorillas is breathtaking.
Gorillas make their homes in and amongst the bamboo covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park. Trek to see them and you’ll be introduced by your expert trackers and guides to one of the fully habituated families of mountain gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about their daily lives.
Hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours + depending on the family allocated to your group and their location. The journey back can take just as long, but you are often advised to carry some snacks!
When it comes to birding, Rwanda is amongst Africa’s most exciting birding destinations there over 701 bird species of which 27 are Albertine Rift endemics.
Highlights include the Red-Faced Barbet, Shoebill Stork, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Papyrus Gonolek, and the Miombo Wren-Warblers.
Rwanda has seven Important Birding Areas (IBAs) including the three National Parks—Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe. The other IBAs are at Rugezi Swamp, Akanyaru, Nyabarongo, and Cyamudongo.
Rwanda is located in the Albertine Rift Valley which makes it an ideal area for the stunning landscape for bird enthusiasts. Bird-watching in Rwanda can appeal to every level visitor from the absolute novice all the way to the most serious of birders, due to the diversity and appeal of certain species of birds.
Beyond the gorillas that made Rwanda famous, wildlife junkies will be thrilled to know that they can track three more species of primate on their Rwandan holiday: Chimpanzees, Black-and-white colobus monkeys, and the endangered Golden Monkey. Chimpanzee groups live high in the canopy of Nyungwe National Park, and catching your first glimpse of one crashing through the forest after hiking into their territory is nothing short of astonishing. The black and white colobus live in Nyungwe as well, and these resplendent, long-haired creatures are every wildlife photographer’s dream. Finally, like their neighbors the gorillas, the Golden monkey can be found in very few places outside of Volcanoes National Park, and their rich colors, energetic demeanor, and sizeable troupes of up to 30 individuals are truly a sight to behold. The gorillas may be what brought you to Rwanda, but it would be an absolute shame to leave without seeing any of the wonderful creatures they share a home with.
While it might have been the gorillas that entice you to Rwanda, it’s the people of Rwanda who will keep you coming back. Ancient traditions of honor and hospitality run strong here, and anybody who takes the time to discover Rwandan culture for themselves will find a proud, unique people, happy to welcome you into their lives and introduce you to their traditions. Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life in Rwanda, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture. Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga a sharp-like instrument with eight strings while more celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members who collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms. Below we list different cultural experiences that you can easily incorporate into your trip to Rwanda.