The top Rwanda safaris
Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa but gifted with lots of tourist attractions. It should be noted that Rwanda is also among the best tourist destination in Africa. This is evidenced by the presence of unique Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees and amazing relief- the listed act as pull factors for travelers from many parts of the world to visit Rwanda.
With many tourist attractions, Rwanda has listed down the major safaris basing on the statistics for the previous years. On addition to that, research and inquiries from tour operators confirm the following as the top safaris taken by many travelers:
Gorilla trekking safaris – Mountain Gorillas are the major tourist attractions in Rwanda attracting hundreds and thousands of travelers. Volcanoes National park is the home for ten habituated Mountain Gorillas thus receiving more visitors. It’s believed that more Gorillas are not yet habituated but in near future to increase on the number of trekked Gorillas to catch up with the high demand. According to Rwanda Development board (RDB), Volcanoes national park at least receives a minimum of ten visitors every day. Due to high demand for Gorilla permits throughout the year, the boards sometimes do over booking especially in peak season of January, February, March, June, July, August, September, October and December when the demand for Gorilla permits became extremely high. Some primatologist even wants to trek more than once!!
To trek Gorillas you need to book your Gorilla permit(s) in advance at a non-refundable fee of US$ 1500 (Foreign visitors). Ensure to be in the park on the same date you requested; be at the briefing point by 7am. Briefing takes 30 minutes and thereafter, you are led by professional ranger guide to start searching for mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.
Note that, the duration for Gorilla trekking depend on the movement of Gorilla families – lucky visitors can find them easily while other find them after serious struggle.
From Kigali Airport/ city to Volcanoes National park, is 2hours drive – therefore, the visitors can trek Gorillas for one day and then depart the same day. One day Gorilla trekking is the shortest trip in Rwanda.
Chimpanzee trips - This is the second thought for safari in Rwanda though some visitors do both Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking to make the vacation more enjoyable. Nyungwe National park is the largest in Rwanda – it’s made up of rain forest hosting 13 primate species. Nyungwe Forest is known to be the primate sanctuary. Like Gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking also begin with briefing at around 7:30am and the guided by rangers to search for the chimps in their natural habitat.
In the process of searching for the chimps, you may also encounter other primates; see unique tree species, insects, and water streams among others. The ranger guides will go on giving you detailed explanation to make your safari knowledgeable and enjoyable.
Unlike Volcanoes national park, Nyungwe Forest national park is 8hours drive from Kigali Airport/city. Therefore, chimpanzee trekking safari requires a minimum of three days. Currently, Chimpanzee trekking permit cost US$ 90 (Foreign residents) and advance booking is recommended.
Wildlife – game driving safari, Game driving holidays are conducted in the savannah park called Akagera national Park. This is where you can see a variety of wild animals and birds, water loving birds and animals, savannah and swampy vegetation are found. You can book morning, afternoon or night game drive to see nocturnal animals like tigers, leopards, bush babies and so on. Morning or afternoon game drives will expose you to lions, buffaloes, Antelopes, water bucks, elephants and warthogs among others. Water loving animals can easily be spotted on the boat cruise on Lake Ihema- expect to see crocodiles, Hippos and so on.
Golden Monkey trekking Tour – Visitors who cannot afford buying a gorilla permit; they can at least book Golden monkey trekking at US$ 100 (Foreign residents). Golden monkey trekking is the second thought after Gorilla trekking. You can trek Golden monkeys in Volcanoes National park and depart the same day. This is because Golden monkey trekking is not so strenuous like Gorilla trekking – secondly, the distance is shorter from the park to Kigali Airport.
Lake Kivu vacation – Lake Kivu is the largest in Rwanda, it offers many beaches set at its shores especially in Kibuye and Gisenyi regions. At Lake Kivu, visitors can swim, boat cruising, sun bathing, bicycle riding around the Lake and athletics among others.