Covering about 26,338 square kilometers, it is in one of the smallest countries on the African continent, located in the Eastern region. Rwanda is a landlocked country surrounded by Burundi, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. Due to its beautiful hills and mountains, it’s also known as the land of a thousand hills. Kigali the capital city has been voted the cleanest and organized city in Africa and therefore Rwanda is a benchmark to other African countries looking towards organizing their countries and people.

Rwanda is also known for its famous Mountain gorillas, rich cultural heritage, diverse wildlife, lakes, rivers, and beautiful vegetation cover that contribute to the excellent weather experienced in the country.  The tourism industry in Rwanda has grown at a fast rate and all credit has been attributed to the beautiful natural resources, good infrastructure like roads, and hotels that offer 5-star experiences, the English language was also added onto its official languages to make communication easier for tourists visiting the country.

Despite the traumatic 1994 Genocide that left the country devastated, the current governance under the leadership of President Paul Kagame has restored hope in Rwanda hence making it one of the safest places to visit in the world.

Why visit Rwanda?

Whether you are visiting Rwanda for a day or a couple of days, here are some of the top activities you shouldn’t miss out on.

Explore Kigali City

This is usually the first place you’re in immediately after you set foot in Rwanda especially if you land at Kigali International Airport. Being one of the most organized and cleanest cities in Africa, navigating through it has never been easier. Most travelers spend a night in the city before embarking on the journey to see other beautiful features in the countryside.

You can visit the Rwanda Art Museum set up at the Presidential Palace which also happens to be the residential home of Rwanda’s former president, and while here, check out some of the finest contemporary art pieces drawn by Rwandan artists and also some history relics such as the remaining pieces of presidential aircraft that crashed here during the 1994 genocide.

Walk through the Kimironko Market and buy some souvenirs such as beautiful clothes with African prints, other top fashion items are found at the Inema Arts Center which showcases designs from over 10 local designers. Get energized by having delicious and sumptuous meals at Question Coffee Café which brews amazing coffee, Panorama, and   Restaurant found at Hotel des Mille Collines which serves both local and international cuisines with beautiful views of the city.

Volcanoes National Park

This should be your next destination once you are out of the city because it is where one of Rwanda’s top attractions, Mountain gorillas is found. Gorilla trekking is the main activity here with about 12 gorilla families that can be trekked and each family has about 10-30 members. A family can only be visited by a group of 8 people per day and permits for this activity go for $1500 which can be obtained through tour operators or the Rwanda development board.

Volcanoes National Park also consists of some mountains that are part of the Virunga Mountain Ranges such as Mount Karisimbi, Bisoke and Sabyinyo, Muhabura, and Gahinga which tourists can hike. The Park also has a variety of vegetation cover such as bamboo trees and canopies not forgetting diverse wildlife like elephants, buffaloes, and birds which are beautiful to watch.

Second to the gorillas is the golden monkey trekking carried out in the lowland areas of the park since monkeys stay within the lower bamboo plantations unlike gorillas living in highland areas.

This is also where Dian Fossey, a primatologist carried out her research on gorillas and was later on laid to rest, her tomb can be found on Mount. Karisimbi, the famous 1988 movie Gorillas in the Mist was shot within this park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

This highly conserved forest reserve contains a spectacular ecosystem made up of over 75 mammalian species, and over 300 bird species residing within 1068 plant species.

The area is largely covered by tall trees and therefore offers a canopy walk experience, that exposes visitors to a 91-meter-long suspension bridge hanging 50 meters above the forest floor and stretching along the verdant rainforest. While on it, you can see the top of the trees and a bird’s view of the rainforest. The Park is also home to chimpanzees thus influencing chimpanzee trekking. Tourists can also use any of the park’s 15 trails for nature walks.

Akagera National Park

Offering one of the best Safari expeditions in Rwanda, enjoy game drives across the 1,140 km2 game park that boasts hosting the big five safari animals alongside other wildlife like zebras, antelopes, buffaloes, and abundant bird species. Akagera National Park has beautiful savanna plains, wetlands, and lakes where you can also see some crocodiles. Game drives are complemented by bird watching opportunities for bird lovers

Lake Kivu

Relax at this beautiful lake that is 2700 km2 wide and surrounded by rich vegetation and beautiful mountainous backdrops. While here, tourists can enjoy swimming, fishing relaxing boat rides, kayaking and so much more.

Best time to Visit Rwanda

Despite the excellent weather in Rwanda, some activities are better enjoyed during particular seasons. Gorilla trekking which involves climbing hilly areas can be best done during dry seasons that occur between June to September and January to March and other activities like visiting National parks can be done all year round though it is always better during the dry season.

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Uganda Wildlife Authority
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Uganda Safari Guides Association
Uganda Tourism Board
Association of Uganda Tour Operators
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