Rwanda is one of the best places to visit on the African continent. Located in east-central Africa, Rwanda is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Comparable to the size of Maryland, Rwanda is the best place for gorilla safaris, trips to see the endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park . The country is characterized with steep mountains and deep valleys cover most of the country. Apart from the gorillas, the country has several other attractions which include Lake Kivu the highest lake located at an altitude of 4,829 ft (1,472 m), the Virunga Mountains, which include the volcano Karisimbi (14,187 ft; 4,324 m), Nyungwe Forest with its 13 primate species, Akagera National Park, unique cultural, traditional and historical attractions including the 8 genocide memorial sites. A discerning traveler to Rwanda has plenty of things to do in this relatively small country. Here are the most popular things to do while on holiday in Rwanda;
1. Gorilla Tracking
This is the most popular adventure activity that brings most tourists to Rwanda. This world class adventure is done in the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. To engage in this adventure you have to secure a gorilla permit. Currently a gorilla permit goes for USD1500 per person per trek. You can book a gorilla permit through a local tour operator or at the Rwanda Development Board authorities in Kigali.
2. Chimpanzee tracking
This is regarded as one of the most interesting and must do activity while in Rwanda, this activity is carried out in Rwanda’s second known park that’s Nyungwe forest national park which is located in the south-western part of Rwanda a drive of about 6 Hrs 30 minutes. This park is known for the highest concentration of primate species not only in the east but also in central Africa. The most among all is the chimpanzee the closest relative of man sharing almost 98% of human DNA. Chimps are fabulous fan to watch as they play in fruitful trees while doing their daily activities such as playing, making nest, feeding among other, and chimp tracking begins very early in the morning with a cup of tea/cotton followed with a transfer to the park headquarters for a short briefing about the dos and don’ts while with the chimps, then after you will be transferred to the forest to begin the activity possibly one of the most exciting activities at the park. Other primate species found in Nyungwe forest national park include baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, civet monkey, grey checked mangabeys, red tailed monkey just to mention but a few. Watching all these primate species in their natural habitat is regarded as a breathtaking moment in life.
3. Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest
This activity is amazing, moving through the forest up is regarded thrilling as canopy walk allows visitors to view the vast thick forest; birds, butterflies and different primates most commonly seen are chimpanzees and blue monkeys that dwell higher levels of the forest in a close range the canopy walk normally go to 3-5 hours while viewing the forest dwellers in a close range.
4. Game viewing and wildlife safaris
Would you like a traditional safari in Rwanda? Just travel to Akagera National Park, a savanna national park in Eastern Rwanda. Located in a distance of about 2 hours and 30 minutes, this is one of the best national parks for game viewing in Africa. If you’re interested in viewing animals in their national setting Akagera national park is the only option as it houses a very big number of wildlife species ranging from the big five to small animals like buffaloes, elephant , lion, hippos, leopard, other small species include zebra, various species of antelopes, spotted hyena crocodiles, waterbuck, warthogs the list is endless. Games drive can be done either in the morning, afternoon or in the evening depending on the traveler’s interest and the time availability. Hippos and crocodiles can be seen while on a boat cruise on the lake lhema.
5. Kigali City Tour
Kigali is Rwanda’s capital and largest city it serves as a marketing centre, with an incredible variety of flowering trees and shrubs from various points on the ridge and the city is located within the heart of Rwanda. While on Kigali city tour you can visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial sites where hundred of thousand of people where murdered, ounce you visit this site and told the story you can’t fail to feel tears in your throats, visit also cultural performances at the Rwanda National Ballet, still on city tour you can visit the market places among other interesting places in Kigali.
6. Boat rides on Lake Ihema with in Akagera National Park and also on Lake Kivu, this is yet another interesting activities done in Rwanda, as the rides are worth as they offer an opportunity to spot hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, and a good number of bird species like the malachite & pied kingfisher, blue headed coucal, mash flycatcher and many more.boat cruise on lake Ihema go to up to 2 hours exploring Rwanda on a boat it’s really a can’t miss activity while in Rwanda
7. Visiting the National Museum in Butare
There are several museums in Rwanda. However a visit to the National Museum in Butare is quite a special activity. The visit will give you an insight into the history of Rwanda as well as its antiquities. Built by the Belgian Colonial Government, this museum is a good source of information and history of the country.
8. Visiting the Old King’s Palace in Nyanza
9. Botanical gardens and Art craft shops in Nyanza
10. Bird watching
Rwanda some times it’s called a birder’s paradise so those interested in this activity this is the chance, it has very many species of birds ranging from savanna to water birds, Rwanda has very many kin birder viewers who are not only bird lovers but also passionate in the activity. Bird watching can begin either in morning, afternoon or in the evening depending on the time availability.
11. Forest walks
You can enjoy forest walks within Nyungwe and Parc Nationale Des Volcanoes. These two forests offer an opportunity to view various species of primates and birds on foot in their natural habitat guided by tour guides it can go up to 3-6 hours in the forest.
12. Community Walk
If you want to know more about the people of Rwanda community walk is so rewording. You can get entertainment from the local people (Batwa) through their cultural dance and songs and these people can also entertain you how they have managed to live in the area.