CULTURE & RARE WILDLIFE
Rwanda is a premiere destination for gorilla tracking, but there are dozens of reasons to extend your stay, starting with the 13 species of primates and East Africa’s only canopy walk, all to be found in the dense rain forests of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Still, it’s hardly a surprise that Rwanda developed its reputation for Gorillas. Experts estimate that there are only 780 mountain gorillas still in existence anywhere on earth, and one third of these majestic creatures can be found in Volcanoes National Park alone. With the recent reintroduction of lions to Akagera National Park in the east, Rwanda has truly come into its own as a full-fledged safari destination, and to top it all off, it’s not even a days drive between each of these world-class attractions.
Outside of the national parks, visitors can check out (or even participate in!) a traditional Intore dance, tour one of Rwanda’s dozens of world-class tea and coffee plantations, and take a dip in Lake Kivu, all in the same day! After all that, soak up the real Rwanda with a hike through lakeside villages on the Congo Nile trail, pull out the binoculars to take a look at the hundreds of species on Rwanda’s bird species (they have a long ornithological checklist), or just get out on the water and hook a few fish for your evening brochettes. After all that, save some time for Kigali’s vibrant dining scene, dozens of historic museums, memorials, and churches, and forward-looking population just waiting to welcome you to their home.
A country in central/eastern Africa, Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate of the country is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.
The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. The people of Rwanda, the Banyarwanda speak one language but have three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda’s earliest inhabitants. The people of Rwanda have a rich culture and are known to be some of the most hospitable communities in the world.
The entire country is at a high altitude and lies a few degrees south of the equator and is landlocked. The capital, Kigali, is located near the center of Rwanda. Mountains dominate central and western Rwanda. They are part of the Albertine Rift Mountains that flank the Albertine branch of the East African Rift, which runs from north to south along Rwanda’s western border. The centre of the country is predominantly rolling hills, while the eastern border region consists of savanna, plains and swamps.
For the Gorillas
WHEN TO GO
Gorilla trekking is best done during the dry seasons Late December to Early February and June to September. There is low malaria risk and trekking conditions are good. However, during these times food is scarce and so the gorillas delve further into the forest to look for food. In June, they have the gorilla naming event called Kwita Izina, that is a nice time to go.
Cultural visits can be done throughout the year.