This 5-day safari trip is an ideal introduction to Rwanda's wildlife, stunning landscapes, and cultures. You'll track gorillas and golden monkeys in Rwanda's forests, visit Volcanoes National Park, paddle along Lake Kivu by kayak, and explore the happening capital city of Kigali.
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Rwanda is nicknamed the "Land of a Thousand Hills" for a reason. Its landscape doesn't stop rolling, and the hills are dotted with plunging ravines, waterfalls, and ancient forests. Rwanda is also one of the only places on earth where travelers can trek among 13 species of primates, including the world-famous mountain gorillas and the rare golden monkey.
With a serene and modern capital city and excellent national park infrastructure, the country's tumultuous past can feel worlds away—for travelers interested in learning more about Rwanda's somber history and honoring the victims of genocide, there are many opportunities in Kigali and beyond.
When is the best time to visit?
Rwanda has a tropical climate, meaning there's a chance of rain no matter what time of year you visit. There are technically "dry" and "wet" seasons—which unsurprisingly align with the high and low seasons for tourism. Rwanda can be visited year round, but the best time for gorilla trekking is during the short dry season from December-February, or the long dry season lasting from June-September. You may need to procure a permit further in advance, but you'll appreciate the mud-free trails.
Where should you go?
Most travelers fly into Kigali, the pristine capital city. It's worth staying a day or two and taking a guided city tour—there's a lot to take in, from culture at the Inema Art Center to colorful markets and the critically important Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum. From there, you'll be hopping between some of the world's most heralded national parks.
Perhaps the most unique and sought-after activity in Rwanda is trekking among the famed gorillas of the Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes National Park. While there, you can also spot golden monkeys, visit the Diane Fossey Museum, take a mountain biking tour, and more. For chimpanzees, head to Nyungwe Forest National Park, and Akagera for birdwatching. Rubavu, on the shores of Lake Kivu, is an hour away from Volcanoes and makes a good stopover on the way to or from Nyungwe.
How many days do you need?
With 5 days in Rwanda, travelers should prioritize visiting the gorillas. Head straight to Volcanoes National Park for two days of gorilla trekking, and spend the last half of your trip in Nyungwe Forest for a canopy walk and chimpanzee trek. Double that timeframe, and your options double along with it. In ten days, you can start with a game drive and boat cruise in Akagera National Park, continue to Nyungwe and Volcanoes parks for chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, and end in Gisenyi with a Lake Kivu boat cruise. Two weeks is equally easy to fill—add a visit to Buhanga Eco Park, observe golden and colobus monkeys, and enjoy guided city tours in Kigali and Kibuye.
This adventurous itinerary checks off two of Rwanda and Uganda's top national parks. Trek with gorillas and golden monkeys, see art and historical sites in Kigali and visit a rural village to learn about traditional life. End your journey with a trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park to see Africa's largest game—elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and possibly the elusive African leopard.
This exciting itinerary hits Rwanda's top cultural and natural sights. Try your bargaining power at a busy market, shop for local art, and visit the Kigali genocide memorial. Trek in Nyngwe Forest National Park to see reclusive chimpanzees in their natural habitat. End your journey with a visit to Volcanoes National Park to see where renowned naturalist Dian Fossey worked to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.
This adventurous itinerary checks off Rwanda's top 3 national parks. Start in Kigali and visit historical museums, browse local art, and see the 1994 Genocide Memorial. Visit a rural village to see everyday life, then trek into the forest to see wild chimpanzees and Dian Fossey's gorilla research station. End your journey with a trip to Akagera National Park to see Africa's largest game—elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and the magnificent African lion.
Start your adventurous trip in Kigali and visit historical museums, browse local art, and see the 1994 Genocide Memorial. Visit Ibyi Iwacu and Gastura villages to learn about traditional life and support local tourism, then trek into the forest to see golden monkeys and rare mountain gorillas. End your journey with a trip to Akagera National Park to see Africa's largest game—elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and the magnificent African lion.
This exciting itinerary hits Rwanda's cultural and natural highlights. Try your bargaining power at a busy market, see art and historical sites in Kigali, and visit Ibyi Iwacu cultural village to learn about traditional life. End your journey with a trek deep into Nyungwe Forest National Park to see wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
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