Rwanda

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Rwanda

A tiny, landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, Rwanda lies on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift and the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo.

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Often called the “land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is a mountainous country with a moist, temperate year-round climate.

Rwanda has a number of unique delights to offer travellers. Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga volcanoes is home to the mountain gorillas to which Dian Fossey dedicated her life.

Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa, is renowned for its large troops of Colobus monkeys and rich variety of orchids.

Akagera National Park is a savannah park with elephants, hippo and crocodile. Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep terraced hillsides.

Rwanda has a rich culture with its second city, Butare,having one of the finest cultural museums in Africa..

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Quick Facts

Capital
Kigali

Population
11.92M

Area
26,338 sq km (224,607 sq miles)

Major Languages
Kinyarwanda, English, French and Swahili

Major religion
Christianity, indigenous beliefs

Monetary Unit 
Rwandan Franc

Flight time from London
10 hours

Time Difference 
GMT + 2

When to go
Although it’s regarded as a year-round activity, the best time to visit Rwanda for a gorilla trek is during the short dry season from mid-December to early February or over the long dry season months of June to September.

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Highlights

Parc National des Volcans

The park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from on the Rwandese side, some of which have specific attractions and trails to the summits.

Gorillas

The park currently has 7 gorilla groups and 56 permits available per day. The number of permits can change without notice if the gorillas go across the border. PNV’s seven habituated gorilla families are Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa; Kwitonda and Hirwa. Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take 5-7 hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave and the graves of the gorillas which she studied, and see the endangered golden monkey.

Tracking the Golden Monkey

An Elusive Treasure in the Virunga Mountains This little known monkey is one of the most endangered primates in Africa and it is now thought that the only viable population of these monkeys is in the Virunga Volcanoes. A smaller population may exist in the Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda but this has yet to be verified. The golden monkey is a distinct species of guenon – Cercopithecus Kandti and is endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Seeing the Golden Monkey makes a fantastic short excursion into the misty Virunga forest and it is a great addition to the activities clients can do in the magical afro-montane forest. As with the gorillas, only one hour is allowed with the Golden Monkeys and six visitors are allowed per visit.

Volcanic Lakes

The five volcanic lakes; Kivu, Bulera, Ruhondo, Bunyonyi and Mutanda, on the borders of Rwanda and Uganda have their own special attractions.

Lake Kivu, on the Rwanda/Congo border, the largest, is like a giant inland sea with some interesting lakeside towns. Kibuye, two hours from Kigali, is a relaxing retreat for swimming, canoeing and water-skiing. Gisenyi, a famous resort in the past, now has a sleepy forgotten air with some fine but neglected buildings from the Belgian era.

The twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo are attractive places to visit after gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcan in Rwanda. The emerald green Mutanda, in Uganda, with its distinctive hump-back islands, seen in the distance from Mgahinga, has a pristine beauty. Toyo Island, a private island in the lake, wild and unspoiled, is reached by dug-out canoe. The finger-like Bunyonyi literally “a place of little birds” lies among steeply terraced hillsides near the hill town of Kabale; it is an ideal stopping point on the way to Uganda if combining the two countries.

Parc National des Volcans

The park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from on the Rwandese side, some of which have specific attractions and trails to the summits.

Gorillas

The park currently has 7 gorilla groups and 56 permits available per day. The number of permits can change without notice if the gorillas go across the border. PNV’s seven habituated gorilla families are Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa; Kwitonda and Hirwa. Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take 5-7 hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave and the graves of the gorillas which she studied, and see the endangered golden monkey.

Tracking the Golden Monkey

An Elusive Treasure in the Virunga Mountains This little known monkey is one of the most endangered primates in Africa and it is now thought that the only viable population of these monkeys is in the Virunga Volcanoes. A smaller population may exist in the Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda but this has yet to be verified. The golden monkey is a distinct species of guenon – Cercopithecus Kandti and is endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Seeing the Golden Monkey makes a fantastic short excursion into the misty Virunga forest and it is a great addition to the activities clients can do in the magical afro-montane forest. As with the gorillas, only one hour is allowed with the Golden Monkeys and six visitors are allowed per visit.

Volcanic Lakes

The five volcanic lakes; Kivu, Bulera, Ruhondo, Bunyonyi and Mutanda, on the borders of Rwanda and Uganda have their own special attractions.

Lake Kivu, on the Rwanda/Congo border, the largest, is like a giant inland sea with some interesting lakeside towns. Kibuye, two hours from Kigali, is a relaxing retreat for swimming, canoeing and water-skiing. Gisenyi, a famous resort in the past, now has a sleepy forgotten air with some fine but neglected buildings from the Belgian era.

The twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo are attractive places to visit after gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcan in Rwanda. The emerald green Mutanda, in Uganda, with its distinctive hump-back islands, seen in the distance from Mgahinga, has a pristine beauty. Toyo Island, a private island in the lake, wild and unspoiled, is reached by dug-out canoe. The finger-like Bunyonyi literally “a place of little birds” lies among steeply terraced hillsides near the hill town of Kabale; it is an ideal stopping point on the way to Uganda if combining the two countries.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge occupies the best location for a holistic gorilla experience in Rwanda. It has spectacular views and its very high standards of accommodation and service create the most exclusive – and one of the only sustainable – luxury offerings in the area.

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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located close to the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans from where guests trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla – indisputably one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possible.

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Virunga Lodge

Virunga Lodge has ten cottages set in an incredible position with views of the Virunga volcanoes and shimmering lakes Ruhondo and Burera. The lodge is a great base from which to go gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.

take me to Virunga Lodge

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

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