Where can you go gorilla trekking

Rwanda National Parks: Safari Destinations in Rwanda

Rwanda is referred to as ‘’le pays des mille collines” in French which means the land of a thousand hills and is a landlocked country that is found in central Africa covering a total area of 26338 sq kilometers. Rwanda borders Tanzania in the East, Congo in the West, Uganda in the North, and Burundi in the South. National parks in Rwanda have protected ecosystems and wildlife reserves, including Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park, Gishwati-Mukuru national park, and Volcanoes national park, and the youngest of these is Gishwati-Mukuru national park

In terms of wildlife or ecosystem, Rwanda national parks are all unique. Mountain gorillas can be found at the Volcanoes National Park, for instance, while all five of the big five mammals can only be seen in Akagera Park. The Nyungwe forest in Rwanda is undoubtedly the ideal place to go chimpanzee trekking because it is the oldest and cleanest montane forest in all of Africa. Gishwati-Mukura is positioned to become the top ecotourism location and the best birding destination in Rwanda, in addition to having its own population of chimpanzees.

Rwanda National parks

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is one of the Rwanda National parks that is located in the northwestern part of Rwanda. It is the most popular of the Rwanda National Parks. The park covers a total area of 160 sq. kilometers and sits at a higher altitude.  Volcanoes national park has five of the eight Virunga Massifs that is Mount Bisoke / Visoke, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabinyo.

Rwanda National Parks

Volcanoes National Park harbors the highest population of mountain gorillas after Uganda’s Bwindi National Park. Apart from the endangered mountain Gorillas, the park also is home to Golden monkeys and other primates such as Red-tailed monkeys, Colobus monkeys, and other wildlife species such as bushbucks, buffalos, hyenas, and black-fronted duikers. The park also has 200 bird species including Grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori double –collared Sunbird, handsome francolin, strange weaver, dusky crimson-wing, collared Apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and Archer’s ground robin among others.

Activities to do in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes N.P:  Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the most rewarding activity that you should not miss out on while on Rwanda wildlife Safaris. Of the Rwanda National Parks, there is the only park where one can encounter these endangered gorillas. Gorilla trekking takes place once every day, with 8 people visiting each gorilla group. It begins with a briefing about the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking at the park headquarters. After tourists are assigned a ranger guide and begin their trip in search of these gentle giants. Depending on the location of the group you are following, your walk might take anything from a few minutes to 6 hours You will only be permitted to stay in the group’s presence for one hour after you come into contact with them

Golden monkey trekking: Like gorilla trekking in the park, golden monkey trekking involves hiking the Virunga Mountains to reach bamboo trees where they can locate monkeys. When it comes to golden monkeys, finding them is quite easy compared to gorilla trekking, where the primates move from one place to another to establish overnight nests. However, searching for them is quite easy because they do not make new nests every night.

Mountain Hiking: Among Rwanda’s, most famous attractions is the Virunga mountains, which makes it one of the most popular activities in the volcanoes national park. As a result, Rwanda safaris are attracting tourists from all over the world who want to experience an amazing adventure.

Dian Fossey Hike: The Dian Fossey tomb hike is an incredible activity in Volcanoes National Park. Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who risked her life to protect endangered mountain gorillas.

Cultural tours in Rwanda: The Iby’iwacu cultural community tour is one of the top-selling activities in Volcanoes national park. The activity is best combined with a gorilla trekking safari in the national park where you get to participate in activities with this cultural communities. 

Nyungwe National Park

The Nyungwe National Park is one of Rwanda national parks and is located in Southwestern Rwanda on the border of Burundi. The Nyungwe Forest is an Albertine Rift montane rainforest, a part of the Ngungwe National Park. In 1933, the park was gazetted as a forest reserve for its high conservation value. However, parts of the park’s biodiversity were destroyed in the later years, requiring conservation efforts. In 2004, the area was designated as a National Park, covering approximately 1000 km2 of forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs.

Rwanda National Parks

Activities to do in Nyungwe national park

Canopy walk: The canopy walks and hiking safari is one of the most interesting activities you can do during your Rwanda trip. In Rwanda National Parks, this activity can only be done here. You will have the chance to see a number of primates, bird species, trees, and many more as you walk the canopy walk. The canopy walk is 60 meters above the ground.

Chimpanzee trekking: It is an additional safari to Trekking that you can take in Nyungwe Forest if you want to see chimpanzees. Chimpanzee safaris start early in the morning and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 hours. One has to wear long-sleeved clothes, boots, jackets, and hats. A safari chimpanzee can hold up to eight people.

Community Tours: Taking a community cultural tour in the Kahuzi-Biega national park is an excellent way to learn more about the indigenous cultures that exist in the DRC and interact with the friendly locals.

Birding: Nyungwe National Park is rated as an Important Birding Area by Birdlife International for bird watching, making it one of the best bird safari centers in the Rwanda National Parks and in the world. You can do this activity best on the metallic canopy walkway, which offers spectacular views of the hills and surrounding tea plantations. Tourists on a birding safari in the national park have a high chance of spotting bird species like; the Congo peafowl, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, African Green Broadbill, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Ruwenzori Turaco, and the trogons among others.

Akagera national park

The Akagera national park is located in the Kayonza and Nyagatare districts in the eastern part of Rwanda. With a total area of 1,122 square kilometers, the national park consists of savannah vegetation, woodland, montane forests, swamps, lakes, grasslands, and others that serve as habitats for wildlife such as buffaloes, zebras, elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, and leopards. 

Rwanda’s only savannah park, Akagera, takes its name from the Kagera River which flows through it along the east-west border between Rwanda and Tanzania.

Rwanda National Parks

Activities in Akagera national park

Boat Cruise: Expect to have a lot of fun with the boat cruise in the park. If you want to hire a boat, you can choose from a variety of options. You can opt for a scheduled boat cruise, or you can choose to hire out the boat for various occasions, such as engagement ceremonies, privacy needs, etc.

Walk the Line Tour: A walk through the fences in Akagera national park allows visitors to experience what fence attendants go through every day. The walk lasts 2 hours and includes a park guide along a perimeter fence of 120km, ensuring that it is fully secure and operational.

Fishing on Akagera: Akagera national park offers excellent fishing on Lake Shakani, which is known for its many fish species, particularly Tilapia and catfish. Visitors can enjoy relaxing and fishing on lake shores before cooking their catch over an open fire at their campsite.

Behind the scenes tour: A peek behind the scenes in Akagera national pre-travels visiting Akagera national park can now learn about how the park is managed. Visitors to Akagera can experience Akagera’s headquarters, where they can meet the park’s staff and learn about its exciting conservation projects, on their way to experiencing the ‘behind-the-scenes tour.

Game Drives: A game drive in Akagera National Park is the ideal way for visitors to see Rwanda’s wildlife animals, especially the Big Five. It is home to over 8,000 large animals, such as elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes, on a 1,122 square kilometer piece of land. This is the only destination in Rwanda National Parks where you relax and get close encounters with the wild. 

Guided Nature walk: A nature walk is another way to enjoy the park while you are in it. During the nature walks, you will have an amazing experience where you will have the time to see a number of attractions like the water bodies, where you will see the different animal species quenching their thirst from the water, as well as a variety of bird species while carrying out the guided nature walks.

Gishwati Mukula National Park

As the newest national park in Rwanda, Gishwati Mukura was established in 2015 following the fusion of the Gishwati and Mukura forests. As the smallest of the national parks in Rwanda with a total area of 34 square kilometers, the national park was established mainly to conserve wildlife features found in both the forests. As you visit Gishwati Mukura national park, you will be able to discover a lot of different species of primates, amazing views, and bird species. Primates dominate this park since it is a forest and also because it encrusted the communities, which drove out most of the large mammals like buffaloes. Among the most common primates in Gishwati-Mukura Park are chimpanzees, golden monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, etc.

Among the birds that inhabit this park are the Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Ruwenzori Batis, Woodhoopoe, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Martial Eagle, Strange weave, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimsonwing, Ruwenzori Turaco, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Red-throated Alethe, etc.

Rwanda National Parks

Activities to do in Gishwati Mukula National Park

Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is famous for its Nyungwe forest national park, which houses two chimpanzee troop groups. As one of the major activities in Gishwati Mukura, chimpanzee trekking is carried out, and tourists who are interested in the activity should note that it begins very early in the morning. Tourists are met at the park headquarters where they will be briefed about the rules and regulations to follow while trekking with chimpanzees.

Birding: If you wish to experience the most memorable birding experience in Rwanda, visit Gishwati Mukura national park, which is one of the top birding destinations in Rwanda. As part of your birding expedition, you should not forget your birding checklist because the park houses 232 bird species, 15 of which are endemic to the libertine rift. In addition, you can spot the long-crested eagle, a handsome Francolin, the Rwenzori Batis, the dusky turtle lover, the paradise flycatcher, the archer’s ground robin, and the African Rwenzori. You can see bird species like the double-collared sunbird, marsh harrier, Ruwenzori turaco, common moorhen, the Ruwenzori night jar, gray throated tit, the dusky crimson wing, and the red-faced woodland warbler.

Take a trip to the waterfalls: The kazaneza waterfalls, which are located in the middle of the Gishwati Mukura national park, are another interesting attraction. Photographers will definitely enjoy the waterfalls in the park, as you can also take picnics there and watch a variety of primates quench their thirst at the bottom of the falls.

Golden Monkey Trekking: Other than the eastern chimpanzee, there are several species of primates found at Gishwati Mukura National Park. Among these primates, the golden monkey is the most famous. They are often found in large groups throughout the forest, so trekking these primates is a wonderful experience. An experienced park guide will lead you on a golden monkey trek early in the morning. During your trek, you’ll spend several hours searching for primates in the forest. Prior to your arrival, park rangers will know where to find the primates, so it’s imperative that you pre-book through the park’s office.

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