Rwanda National Parks

Rwanda National Parks: Rwanda is a safari destination that is part of the East African countries and is also referred to as the land of a thousand hills. Kigali is the capital of Rwanda and it is made up of rolling hills and valleys and is linked to the rest of the country. Kigali city is described by many who visit Rwanda as a clean city which is also dynamic and progressive.

Rwanda development board (RDB) manages the national parks of Rwanda and maintains the tourism facilities and infrastructure and marketing in the tourism industry of the country.

There are different national parks which are visited during safaris to Rwanda and they include the following;

Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park is located in the north western part of Rwanda and is home to the endangered mountain gorillas.

The national park consists of steep slopes, montane ecosystems, bamboo forest open grassland as well as heath.  Volcanoes national park which is found in the town of Musanze is also known as parcs national des volcans in French.

Volcanoes national park is the oldest national park in Africa and it borders Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga national park in the south western part of Uganda. This national park also encompasses 5 of the 8 volcanoes in the Virunga mountains such as Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabinyo.

Apart from gorilla trekking, other activities which are carried out in Volcanoes national park include golden monkey trekking, twin lakes visit, community visits in Iby’iwacu cultural village, Dian fossey hike as well as mountaineering.

With about 200 bird species, Volcanoes national park is also home to wildlife species such as golden monkeys, bushbucks, mountain gorillas among others. This national park is popular among tourists for gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking.

Volcanoes national park can be visited at different times of the year however the dry season is recommended in the months of September and October as well as in December to February when the roads using the roads is easier and the tourists can pass through the gorilla trekking trails.

The different gorilla families in Rwanda include Susa, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Umubano, Kwitonda, Hirwa, Karisimbi, Ugenda, Bwenge, and Titus family. A gorilla permit in Rwanda is at a cost of 1500 USD for an individual interested in gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park.

Kwita izina is a traditional naming ceremony in Rwanda during which babies are named. This ceremony involves giving names to the newly born gorillas and this helps to monitor the individuals in the gorilla families. This ceremony also attracts tourists from different parts of the world to enjoy the festivities which take place during the ceremony such as traditional dance performances.

The national park can be accessed by drive from Kigali international airport which is about 2 hours’ drive to Volcanoes national park. 

Akagera national park

Akagera national park is another national park which is found in Rwanda. This national park is located in the eastern part of the country. The national park was established in 1934 and has a scenic and diverse landscape.

The national park is the oldest in Rwanda and is also a savannah national park which is known for wildlife viewing in the country. Akagera national park is named after Kagera river which flows in the national park.

A third of Akagera national park is covered by lakes and swamps and the national park is also made up of rolling hills in the south and open savannah in the northern parts of the national park which is a short drive from Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

Attractions in Akagera national park include Lake Ihema which is found in the southern parts of the national park. The big 5 (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalos) are also among the wildlife species which can be seen during a safari in the national park.

Wildlife species in Akagera national park include giraffes, elephants, kobs, zebras, bushbucks among others. Many bird species i.e. over 420 bird species can also be seen around Akagera national park during a wildlife viewing experience.

There are also different activities which are carried out in Akagera national park by tourists during their safaris and they include game drives, bird watching, fishing, boat cruise as well as cultural tours.

During cultural tours, tourists interact with the Kinyarwanda people and get to know more about their culture, norms, traditions and way of life. Tourists also enjoy seeing the cattle as they are milked and how milk is preserved traditionally and also the local art and crafts of the Rwandan people.

Akagera national park can be accessed by driving for about 2 to 3 hours from Kigali to the national park. 

Nyungwe national park

Nyungwe national park is a destination in Rwanda which is known for its rainforest and rich biodiversity. The national park is located south of Kigali which is the capital city of Rwanda.

There are about 75 wildlife species, 260 tree species and 12 different primate species in Nyungwe national park such as the l’hoest monkeys, chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys among others.

Chimpanzee trekking is among the activities which tourists engage in during their safaris to Nyungwe national park. This activity is at a cost of 90 USD and can be carried out in the morning.

Other activities which are carried out in Nyungwe national park include hiking, cultural tours, birding, canopy walk and many others. There are about 15 trails in the national park which visitors to the national park can choose from as they explore the forests.

The canopy walk activity in Nyungwe national park takes place on a suspended walkway above the rainforest. The walkway is about 70 meters high and is part of a guided walking experience in the national park along trails such as igishigishigi trail, imbaraga trail or Umuyov trail.

Apart from the different activities carried out in Nyungwe national park, tourists can also enjoy coffee tours in Butare.

Visit Rwanda and experience beauty of the rolling hills and valleys as you enjoy a safari across its different destinations.