Exploring the Enchanting Wonders of Rwanda Safari

Planning your Rwanda Safari - Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes National Park
The Majestic Virunga Mountains

Rwanda, often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” is a country in East Africa that has gained international acclaim for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and remarkable wildlife. 

While the country is often associated with its tragic history, it has emerged as a beacon of hope and resilience. 

Among its many treasures, a Rwanda safari offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the natural wonders that make this nation truly extraordinary. Let’s explore the wonders that make Rwanda tours an amazing experience.

Book Your Rwanda Safari With Us

To secure your African safari to Rwanda we invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at safarioffers@kenyaluxurysafari.co.uk or safarioffers@ajkenyasafaris.com.  

James Gatheru, our Senior Consultant is on hand to answer questions and help you plan a safari filled with memorable wildlife encounters in Rwanda. We’re a leading travel agency offering African safari services in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and beyond.

Rwanda Tours - Photos by Our Clients

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Discovering Rwanda on Your African Safari

Discovering the wonders of Rwanda on vacation to Rwanda
Giraffes in Akagera National Park

Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African continent, covering an area of approximately 26,338 square kilometres. Rwanda’s nickname, “The Land of a Thousand Hills,” is more than a poetic description; it encapsulates the country’s stunning topography. The rolling hills, terraced fields, and scenic landscapes provide a picturesque backdrop to every safari adventure.

Rwanda is renowned for its commitment to wildlife conservation. The Volcanoes National Park in the northwest is home to endangered mountain gorillas, drawing tourists from around the world for gorilla trekking experiences.

The natural beauty of Rwanda goes beyond just the gorillas. The country is a treasure trove of wildlife and stunning landscapes, each offering unique experiences that further enrich your visit to Rwanda.

The country’s two other national parks—Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park—offer incredible opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitats. From the elephants and lions of Akagera National Park to the chimpanzees and colourful bird species of Nyungwe Forest National Park your safari to these parks will be nothing short of memorable wildlife encounters.

Gorilla Trekking Volcanoes National Park

Spotting Gorillas on Gorilla Tours Rwanda - a female gorilla and her infant
A gorilla mummy and her baby

At the top of any wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list is the chance to engage in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. The Volcanoes National Park, located in the Virunga Mountains, is home to nearly half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. 

Trekkers embark on a journey through dense bamboo forests, guided by experienced trackers and park rangers to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. 

The magical encounter with these gentle giants is an emotionally stirring and humbling experience that leaves an indelible mark on visitors.

Big Game Safaris in Akagera National Park

Big Cat tours on Rwanda trips - A lioness and her cubs
Cute lion family in Akagera National Park

Both Kenya and Tanzania offer fantastic Big 5 safaris in East Africa and so does Rwanda. Located in the eastern part of Rwanda, Akagera National Park is characterised by vast savannahs, lakes, and wetlands, creating an ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife. This gorgeous habitat is a testament to Africa’s bountiful natural beauty.

On a game drive to this wilderness, you just might spot the Big Five – lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes. On a walking safari, you may come across giraffes browsing among the shrubs or see zebras and antelopes roaming among the grassy plains nibbling on grass. 

The “Walk the Line” tour offered by Akagera National Park takes you on an invigorating 7km hike around the park’s perimeter fence. Not only can you spot wild animals but lets you see Akagera from a different perspective. It makes for an amazing experience.

The most ideal time to visit Akagera is during the dry season, from June to September, when the weather is especially favourable for a safari trip.

Primate Encounters in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee trekking while Touring Rwanda - A chimp in Nyungwe Forest
A chimpanzee up a tree

Nyungwe is a biodiversity hotspot with a variety of ecosystems, including montane rainforests, bamboo forests, swamps, and grasslands. The park is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the region. 

Nyungwe National Park is endowed with diverse landscapes, including rolling hills, deep valleys, and mist-covered forests, contributing to its scenic beauty. The lush greenery and the tranquillity of the surroundings make it a visually stunning destination

Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to 13 different primate species, making it a paradise for primate enthusiasts. 

The park is particularly known for its numerous chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and golden monkeys, the rare L’Hoest’s monkeys. It offers guests the opportunity to trek through the lush forest in search of these intelligent and charismatic creatures. 

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the main attractions in Nyungwe Forest. Guided by experienced trackers and park rangers, travellers have the chance to observe chimpanzee families in their natural habitat, gaining insight into their behaviour and social dynamics.

Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts one of East Africa’s only canopy walkways, providing a unique perspective of the forest ecosystem. Suspended above the forest floor, the walkway allows tourists to observe birds, primates, and other wildlife from a different vantage point.

Relaxation and Water Activities at Lake Kivu

Lakeside Tours in Rwanda - Lake Kivu
The scenic Lake Kivu

Four hours from Kigali, Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, offers a serene setting for relaxation. Guests can enjoy boat cruises on the lake, explore the nearby islands, and partake in water activities such as kayaking and fishing.

Lake Kivu shores are characterized by lush green hills, creating a picturesque setting while the calm waters and the gentle breeze contribute to a tranquil environment. Perfect for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing retreat.

Further, the Congo Nile Trail follows the shores of Lake Kivu, offering stunning views and opportunities for trekking and cycling. The trail provides a unique way to experience Rwanda’s natural beauty and connect with local communities along the route.

Encountering Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas

The star attraction of Rwanda, gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travellers can embark on guided hikes to encounter and observe families of endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Preparing for Your Trek

Gorilla Trekking on your Rwanda safari - A gorilla trekking trail in Volcanoes National Park
A trekking trail in Volcanoes National Park

While treks to see the Rwanda gorilla are exhilarating, they demand a fair amount of physical fitness. Gorilla trekking can take 1 to 3 hours meaning the more physically fit you are, the greater your chances of a successful hike. After all, you’ll be navigating the undulating (and many times slippery) terrains of a national park.

If you hike regularly or enjoy active exercises you should be fine. Before your gorilla trekking trip we recommend practising by walking a lot or hiking regularly. Be sure to increase the distance you cover each time to maximise endurance.

The ideal clothing for gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park includes:

  • Trekking pants
  • Moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt
  • Hiking boots
  • Light raincoat

The Trek Experience

Encountering gorilla families while Touring Rwanda - A Mountain Gorilla Family
Hanging out with Gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park

Step by step, your tour takes you through the highland rainforest of the Virunga Mountains, a landscape of breathtaking beauty. The trekking experience may last one to three hours depending on how close or far the gorillas are. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Dian Fossey grave and learn about her work.

Dian Fossey, an American primatologist and conservationist, studied mountain gorillas extensively. Her research helped in the conservation of the gorilla which previously faced extinction. Unfortunately, Dian Fossey was murdered by those who considered her mountain gorilla conservation efforts a hindrance to their poaching business. 

Today, her remains are buried in the heart of the Volcanoes National Park next to her favourite gorilla Digit. Authorities use her experiences to habituate other gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park.

However, gorilla trekking isn’t the sole attraction at Volcanoes National Park. During your trek, you may also stumble upon other amazing wild animals that call the rainforest home. Forest elephants, spotted hyenas, buffalos, bushbucks, duikers, and other primates like baboons and colobus monkeys can be seen here. Quite the safari experience, right?

Conservation Efforts

Learning about gorilla conservation on Gorilla tours Rwanda - Dian Fossey with Mountain Gorillas
Dian Fossey spending time with Mountain gorillas

In previous years, mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif (encompassing DR Congo, Rwanda & Uganda) faced extinction as a result of poaching, armed conflicts, diseases, and deforestation. With the end of the civil war and the government implementing measures to protect its Rwanda gorilla population and their habitat, the primates are flourishing.

The efforts of organizations such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Ellen DeGeneres Campus play a crucial role in gorilla conservation, focusing on research, public education, and supporting the local people.

Delving Into Rwandan Culture and History

Learning about the Rwandan culture on Rwanda safari - Rwandan traditional dancers
Energetic traditional dancers

Beyond its natural wonders, Rwanda also offers a rich cultural tapestry waiting to be explored. From the lively city of Kigali to the rural communities, each part of the country narrates a story, bearing witness to the resilience and spirit of the Rwandan people. Throughout your travels in Rwanda, you’ll encounter numerous historical sites, each providing insight into the nation’s history and its path towards recovery and growth.

Kigali, the capital city, is a vibrant hub that beautifully marries modernity with tradition. Travellers can explore local markets, visit museums that tell Rwanda’s story, and engage in cultural performances that showcase the nation’s artistic prowess.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre is a crucial historical site. It commemorates the 1994 genocide and serves as a powerful testament to Rwanda’s journey of healing and reconciliation. Rwandans take pride in their cultural heritage, which is expressed through traditional dances, music, wood carvings and other crafts. The Rwanda Art Museum in Kigali showcases the vibrant contemporary art scene in the country.

Besides being a dynamic and rapidly growing urban centre, Kigali is also known for its cleanliness, orderliness, and modern infrastructure.

On your Kigali city tour be sure to spend time with the locals in a local restaurant and sample their food. Rwanda’s diverse culinary scene reflects its cultural richness and promises a gastronomic adventure. Top food favourites include:

  • Ibihaza (Grilled Plantains)
  • Ibihaza (Grilled Plantains)
  • Brochettes (Grilled Skewers)
  • Akabenz (Fried Pork)
  • Local drinks such as Ikigage (traditional sorghum beer) and banana beer.
Sampling local food on Rwanda trips - Yummy skewers
Made-in-Rwanda skewers… yum

Coffee lovers will not disappointed. The country has gained recognition for producing some of the finest Arabica coffee beans in the world. The coffee industry in Rwanda has experienced significant growth and transformation, contributing to the country’s economic development. Speciality coffee from Rwanda has gained recognition in international markets and has received awards for its exceptional taste. If you’re at Lake Kivu, you can consider visiting nearby coffee plantations and even sample freshly brewed Rwandan coffee

Engaging with Local Communities

Interacting with the locals offers one of the most genuine insights into Rwanda and the local culture. You’ll find that the warmth and hospitality of the Rwandan people are as memorable as the country’s breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife.

We recommend participating in community-based tourism activities such as visiting the Iby’wacu Cultural Village near the Volcanoes National Park to experience traditional Rwandan dance and music. You can also purchase souvenirs (wood carvings and crafts) to support the local economy. Furthermore, practising good tourism practices benefits travellers, wildlife and the people of this nation. To this end, we recommend not bringing plastic bags into the country. Rwanda banned the use of plastic bags back in 2008 to battle plastic pollution.

Staying in Style on Tour

Where to stay while Touring Rwanda - the luxury One&Only Gorilla's Nest
Room with a view at One&Only Gorilla's Nest

Rwanda’s accommodation options are as diverse and unique as the country itself. If you’re on a gorilla trekking tour you can enjoy sumptuous accommodations at Singita Kwitonda Lodge, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Bisate Lodge, and Singita Kataza House. Villa Gorilla, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge are fine options for those looking for mid-range options.

After a day of tracking chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park, you can sink into the luxurious comforts of One&Only Nyungwe House or the Nyungwe Forest Lodge. Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel works as a mid-range option.

How about Akagera National Park accommodations? Magashi Camp, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, and Akagera Game Lodge promise to make your stay comfortable and amazing. If you’re heading out to Lake Kivu, then Lake Kivu Serena, Asante Hotel, and Inn on the Lake are worthwhile options.

When to Embark on Your Rwanda Safari

Choosing the right time is essential when scheduling your Rwanda safari. Not only do weather patterns affect the quality of your experience, but some events like gorilla trekking must be booked in advance. Similarly, you will require a permit to see the golden monkeys of Rwanda and while demand for this event is not as high, you may need to secure your permit a month in advance.

Rwanda Safari in the Dry Season

Best time for Rwanda safari - Giraffe and Zebra at Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park in the dry season

The dry season in Rwanda typically occurs from June to September and December to February and is the most ideal time to visit Rwanda. Some of the best reasons for setting your travel dates in the dry season include:

  • Favourable weather. The dry season is characterized by clear skies and reduced precipitation. This weather pattern enhances visibility, allowing travellers to enjoy unobstructed views of the landscapes, wildlife, and attractions.
  • Ease of Wildlife Spotting. With reduced vegetation and drier conditions, wild animals become more concentrated around water sources. This makes it easier for safari-goers to spot animals as they gather near rivers, lakes, and waterholes.
  • Ideal for Gorilla Trekking. The drier trails make trekking through the mountainous terrain more manageable, and the gorillas are often found in lower elevations during this season.
  • Landscape Photography. The dry season brings out unique features in the landscape, such as the contrast between dry savannahs and lush forests. This creates opportunities for captivating landscape photography, capturing the beauty of Rwanda’s diverse ecosystems.

Rwanda Safari in the Wet Season

Vacation to Rwanda in the wet season - Wildlife in Akagera Park in the wet season
Akagera National Park on lush days

The wet season in Rwanda is typically from March to May and October to November. While the season is characterised by increased rainfall, there are still several benefits to embarking on a safari during this period. Here are some advantages of choosing a Rwanda safari in the wet season:

  • Lush Green Landscapes. The rainy season transforms the landscapes into vibrant and lush environments. The increased rainfall leads to the growth of lush vegetation, creating a picturesque backdrop for safari adventures.
  • Baby Animals and Births. Many animals give birth during the wet season when food is abundant. This can result in opportunities to witness adorable baby animals, adding a special and heartwarming element to your safari experience.
  • Migratory Bird Watching. The wet season attracts migratory birds to Rwanda, presenting excellent opportunities for birdwatching. Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the increased bird activity and the chance to observe both resident and migratory species.
  • Fewer Tourists. Hey, with fewer visitors, you may have a more intimate and exclusive safari experience. Wildlife encounters and excursions may feel more private, allowing for a closer connection with nature. Plus, some accommodations and tour operators may offer reduced prices or special discounts.

Extending Your Adventure: Combining Rwanda with Neighboring Countries

Your Rwandan tour need not be confined within the country’s borders. Why not extend your safari to explore neighbouring countries? Combining Rwanda with countries like Uganda, Tanzania, or Kenya offers a unique opportunity to experience a wider range of cultures, landscapes, and wildlife in a single trip.

You can, for example, a tour package that takes you from the deep jungles of Rwanda to the open plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania. If you’re thinking of jungle and beach escapes, we can customise a jungle and beach escape tour. At one moment you’ll be exploring the wonders of Rwanda and at the next relaxing along a pristine beach along the Indian Ocean coast.

Multi-country safari tours are an exciting way to explore the African continent, providing a diverse experience that offers more than a glimpse into the heart of Africa.


Rwanda is a nation of contrasts, blending its tragic history with a determination to move forward and showcase its natural beauty and cultural richness. From the majestic mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park to the vibrant cityscape of Kigali, travellers often find a welcoming and resilient nation. You are bound to leave with memories of awe-inspiring encounters with wildlife, cultural immersion, and the warmth of its resilient people. Talk to us today, and let’s start planning your Rwanda adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rwanda Good for Safari?

Yes, Rwanda is a great safari destination for gorilla trekking and is known as one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. Other activities you can enjoy here include tracking chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and other primates, as well as Big 5 safaris, hot air balloon rides, and water rafting.

Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Safe?

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is safe as you will be in the company of rangers who are conversant with the mountains and mountain gorilla behaviour. Several gorilla families have been habituated (made accustomed to humans) making it safer to hang out with primates.

What Is the Best Month To Visit Rwanda?

The best time to visit Rwanda is between June and September, during the dry season. This is renowned as an ideal time for gorilla trekking, with light