5 things you can't miss in Rwanda

Rwanda: a small beautiful country eye marked for her ability to beat the shadows of her past genocide and today she stands as one of Africa’s most peaceful country.

Because of her prevailing peace, the country has become one of the most sought after African destination today especially for her incomparably rewarding tourism adventures. Situated in the heart of Africa, Rwanda is best described as the natural chest of beauty and uniqueness. Its spectacular landscape is exceptionally stunning and unusual while its people feature among Africa’s most humble to interact with while on a safari.

With its abundant natural wonders, you have a reason to visit this incredible land of a thousand hills! Besides, the horrific genocide that took place in 1994 between the Hutus and Tutsis, Rwanda has caught the world’s travel interest not only for its natural beauty but also being the safest nation in the world today. It also featured as the first nation in the world to ban the use of plastic bags in 2008 and Kigali became a clean city without a spot of litter.

For the last 23 years filled by forgiveness and reconciliation after the genocide that claimed thousands of innocent people especially of the minority Tutsi, there is hope that there will be progress and development in this country. Being one of the sound tourism spots in Africa, thanks to its devotion to protect her natural wonders especially the critically endangered mountain gorillas that there is now gradual population increase that has made gorilla safaris the major reason why most tourists flock into this small country and which also represents 95 percent of Rwanda’s total budget. With the above highlight, below are some of the ways you should explore the real face of Rwanda and while planning your safaris to Africa, it shouldn’t miss in your bucket list.

Mountain Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking is undoubtedly Rwanda’s most exceptional and the most sought after adventure. A trek to see a gorilla group in their natural habitat is described as a lifetime experience. For mountain gorilla trekking experiences in Rwanda is centered on visiting Volcanoes National Park. The permits are sold at $1500 per visitor.

Tourists are allowed only one habituated group to track per day and only one hour is given for a visitor to have a face-to-face encounter with these unique apes while in their natural habitat. Volcanoes National Park inhabits about a third of all the mountain gorillas that live within the Virunga Massifs. For visitor magical encounters, there are ten habituated gorilla groups that are always assigned to trekkers to a group of eight people.

Engage in the Congo Nile trail biking
The Congo Nile trail covers about 227 kilometers and it comes with meandering up and down hills road network via different kinds of vegetation cover and smaller villages starting from the Northern part of Lake Kivu (Gisenyi) to Southern end in Cyangugu. This trail allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the country’s scenic beauty and also the authentic cultural encounters which offer visitors opportunity to meet with the local residents and explore cultural and traditional practices. A hike through this trail takes about 10 days. Visitor tours can be conducted in different parts if tourists have no time to finish the whole trail.

Trails offer spectacular views of the Lake Kivu coastline and provide visitors an exceptional way to explore what this country hold for the world. Biking via the Congo Nile trail can be accomplished within five days with rich views and immersive cultural encounters on the way. This means that you can engage in biking or hiking and walking. For those who may not be physically well to carry their luggage along the hike, they can hire a porter and you are also advised to get a guide and a map of the trail.

Hiking adventures in Rwanda
Besides trekking the mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park still offers tourists opportunity to engage in most life changing adventures. Being a home to four of the eight great Virunga Volcanoes, you have a reason to visit Rwanda for your adventure experiences.

The rest of Volcano Mountains are found in DR Congo which include the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira and in Uganda you will find Mount Sabyinyo. For hikers in Rwanda, you can visit Mount Karisimbi that stands at 4507 meters and this stands as Africa’s fifth highest volcano that experiences snow during some months of the year. It is one of the breathtaking mountains and takes visitors two days to hike. Mount Bisoke - 3711 meters which comes with a large crater Lake at the summit covering over 400 meters in diameter and situated on the Rwandan side. It features as the most famous of all the trails and shouldn’t miss out in your hiking adventures. It is relatively breathtaking and ultimately lovely to even inexperienced hikers. Also there are several habituated gorillas around this area and higher chances are you will catch a glimpse at some of them. Muhabura 4127 and Mount Gahinga 3474 meters as well as Lake Ngezi 3000 meters that also comes with stunning Crater Lake on the side of Mount Bisoke close to Mount Gahinga. It is a shorter and simpler hike that takes you three hours to hike through. Rwanda offers refuge to the largest number of Virunga Volcanoes which represent five out the eight and they cover the areas of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.

They include Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Bisoke, Karisimbi, Gahinga and these can be hiked while on a safari in Volcanoes National Park. Whereas Rwanda’s main adventure is gorilla trekking, visitors can also engage in hiking experiences especially on Mount Sabyinyo that comes with several craters especially on the side of Uganda.

You can also hike through the Dian Fossey Grave site and explore more about the famous primatologist - Dian Fossey who devoted herself towards protection of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The trail takes visitors to Karisoke Research Center that rewards with stunning surrounding though challenging to hike through. You will spend two hours to hike through with a possibility of viewing some golden monkeys, birds, orchids and the rare mountain gorillas.

For nature lovers, the Virunga Volcanoes still stands as exceptional spot for you to catch a glimpse of the most stunning naturalness of its forest, vegetation, crater lakes, abundant wildlife like forest elephants and buffaloes, endemic birds of the great Albertine rift, spectacular views of Rwanda’s mist shrouded mountainous landscape and sprawling volcanoes, golden monkeys and the rare mountain gorillas. Visiting this country indeed rewards you with authentic African experiences with its most exceptional sceneries.

Visit the national parks
A safari in Rwanda is only complete when you include national parks in your list. Besides the rare mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, you can also visit the Nyungwe Forest National Park to view the wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat and several apes that make up the 13 primates in the park or engage in canopy walk which comes with several natural wonders. This park consists of more than 130 hiking trails. Alternatively, engage in wildlife safaris in Akagera National Park that equally rewards the similar experience like that of Kenya. This park is the only savanna national park in Rwanda and rewards visitors with the big game experiences as well as birding safaris and other wildlife species.

In conclusion, Rwanda’s star attraction is the rare mountain gorillas. However, there is a lot more in offer waiting for you to explore while in your safari in this small country. Besides wildlife safaris in Rwanda, you can visit the genocide memorial sites, encounter people and their cultures and experience the Kinyarwanda culture of Rwanda, or engage in Kigali city tours.

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