Located in eastern/central Africa, Rwanda is the ninth smallest country in Africa and is located only a few degrees below the equator. Tiny Rwanda has suffered a difficult past and tourism is now slowly and steadily growing since the end of horrific genocide in 1993. Rwanda consists of many hills and mountains and the lowest point in the country is at 950m or 3117ft. Five of Rwanda’s mountains are volcanoes, which provide stunning backdrops to the lush, green hills and vegetation. Its climate is classified as a temperate tropical highland and has two rainy seasons roughly between the months of March and May and again between the months of October and November. Rwanda is home to Nyungwe Forest, which is home to thirteen species of monkeys. In fact, over 25% of Africa’s monkey species are found in this one park.
Volcanoes National Park, also called Parc des Volcans, is part of the Virunga (Birunga) Conservation area and is the highlight for many visitors. This park is home to over half the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Rwanda’s verdant, stunning backdrops and lush vegetation also make for excellent photo opportunities and many safari visitors select Rwanda for its photogenic scenery. Rwanda also offers a range of lodging options from very high end luxury lodges to more basic accommodation.
The gorillas are endangered and highly susceptible to human illnesses. To help protect and preserve the mammals, the number of daily tourists allowed within close range of the animals is severely restricted and day passes are steeply priced. The journey to reach the habitat of the mountain gorilla includes hiking through steep terrain which is often quite wet and slippery. It also required walking through very dense foliage, including large amounts of stinging nettles. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately and ensure all limbs are well-protected. A safari in Rwanda is very different to a safari in neighboring Kenya or Tanzania, as one is required to be in good enough shape to walk for at least four hours to where the animals are located. It is for this reason that Rwanda is recommended for those who are physically able to handle the trekking conditions of the parks and who are free from any contagious illnesses. Those who meet the aforementioned requirements will be rewarded with an intimate safari experience.