With three national parks, a thriving capital city, spectacular mountain scenery and some surprisingly diverse wildlife, Rwanda has plenty to occupy a longer holiday and certainly deserves further exploration. Many visitors come on holiday to Rwanda to see its famous mountain gorillas, stay for just three or four days and then leave, which is a shame because there is so much more to see on a Rwanda holiday.
Today, Rwanda’s has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa where it has more women in Parliament than any other country in the world (64%) and is one of the friendliest, safest countries on the continent. But people inevitably conjures up images of the dreadful genocide of 1994, where roughly a million people died. Whereas the genocide is an enormous part of its history, over twenty years on Rwanda has progressed into a unified, proud and hopeful country that warmly welcomes its visitors and offers a truly outstanding and exciting holiday.
Where to go on a Rwanda holiday
Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of the country is the most famous of Rwanda’s parks and is the place that most people come to on holiday because of its renowned inhabitants, the mountain gorillas. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking is its biggest attraction. Less well-known holiday choices are Akagera National Park on its eastern border and Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south.
Primate holidays in Rwanda
Though mountain gorillas are the stars of the show, there are plenty of other primate tracking opportunities while on holiday in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park, two groups of endangered golden monkeys have been habituated for visitor tracking. Pretty and playful, they’re a delight to watch. And in Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to thirteen different primate species, that include chimpanzees and Rwenzori colobus, both of which can be tracked. Indeed, Nyungwe’s colobus monkeys can sometimes be seen in enormous troops of several hundred, believed to be among the largest numbers worldwide.
‘Classic’ safari holidays in Rwanda
Rwanda may not seem the obvious choice for a typical safari holiday, but if you’re travelling here, Akagera National Park in the east of the country is worth exploring. Scenically it is one of Africa’s prettiest parks, with rolling hills and deep valleys, savannah plains to the north and lakes and papyrus swamps on its eastern border. It includes the largest protected wetlands in Central Africa and is home to some 8,000 animals and over 480 species of birds that include the rare shoebill, making Akagera an interesting destination for a bird watching holiday. Meanwhile the re-introduction of black rhino in May 2017, it’s now also a ‘Big 5’ park.