Rwanda is a lush green country known as the “land of a thousand hills.” Life bursts from the seams here and you get the feeling you could drop a seed and watch it sprout from where it fell, full of natural energy and vitality. Comprised of mountains, hills, rain forest, twisting roads and rural villages, this once war-ravaged land is a small, but densely populated country and home to one of the most incredible animals one could encounter, the mountain gorilla.
While Rwanda has traditionally not been thought of as a classic Big 5 safari destination, its four national parks are inhabited by an abundance of animals and bird life. Akagera offers a robust big game experience in a gorgeous lakeside setting, while Nyungwe and Gishwati will round out primate viewing with the challenge of trekking chimpanzees.
The once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking experience is the main reason for visiting Rwanda, but the friendly locals, interesting villages, good hiking, and stunning scenery creates a uniquely diverse experience. Rwanda is a destination for active, engaged travelers, happy to pay for the exclusive privilege of observing the great apes in their natural habitat.
With its easy access to the rest of Africa, Rwanda can be a good add-on to a traditional safari or can be a standalone destination for a shorter stint to Africa.
A Rwanda safari is an excellent destination for photographers. There is something about Rwanda’s humidity and lighting that brings a mystical quality to your photos and you leave with impressive proof of your time in the forests.
In recent years, Rwanda has adopted a tourism model with a focus on high end tourism to support conservation and communities. Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park was a pioneer in bringing the luxury safari lodge concept to Rwanda and has now been joined by several other truly exceptional lodges across the region as well as in other parks.
Rwanda offers world class service and accommodation standards, with the accompanying price tag. That being said, with this destination you may be paying a premium for beautiful lodges, and exclusive, unique experiences, but it’s also important to keep in perspective that you’ll also be contributing to significant conservation efforts.