Rwanda

Experience the most unforgettable wildlife encounter of your lifetime – a trek to see the magnificent mountain gorillas.

Rwanda’s famous Parc National des Volcans (that borders Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) is one of the best places to see these incredible, highly endangered primates.

As peace and stability have returned to Rwanda, the Parc National des Volcans has once again become the most popular place to undertake one of Africa’s greatest wildlife experiences. These endangered primates, made famous by zoologist Dian Fossey, live in the rainforests of the Virunga Volcanoes on the border of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The park is easily reached by road from Kigali, the capital, which is a short flight from Nairobi.

You can also trek in search of chimpanzee and other primates in the beautiful montane rainforest of the Nyungwe Forest National Park south of Lake Kivu. In the country’s east, Akagera National Park can easily be combined with a gorilla trek. The park boasts diverse landscapes, huge densities of hippo and more than 520 bird species.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Africa is home to the world’s largest primate, the gorilla. The Mountain Gorilla lives at higher altitude and has longer and more abundant fur than the lowland species.

Chimpanzee viewing

A healthy population of chimpanzees can be found in the pristine and beautiful Nyungwe Forest, south of Lake Kivu, and guided treks can be arranged here.

The Virunga Volcanoes

This majestic chain of volcanic mountains in northwest Rwanda is not just the best place to see mountain gorillas, it is an area of great natural beauty.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

This magical montane rainforest is one of the best preserved in Africa and home to over 1,000 plant species, and its mammal species include a remarkable 13 species of primate.

Best Rwanda Safaris

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Luxury accommodation in Rwanda

Below are some of our preferred accommodation options in Rwanda, carefully selected for their superior safari locations, service and level of comfort. Explore the highlights sections above to view more of our handpicked luxury lodges in Rwanda.

The Bishop’s House

The Bishop's House is a boutique property conveniently located just 30 minutes’ drive from Volcanoes National Park, the starting point for gorilla treks.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Singita Kwitonda Lodge is set within a landscape of wetlands and lush meadows and shares a border with the renowned Volcanoes National Park.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Close to park headquarters and just outside Rwanda’s enchanting Parc National des Volcans, community-owned Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is an ideal base if you’re going trekking for Mountain Gorillas

One&Only Nyungwe House

On picturesque working tea plantation at the edge of Nyungwe National Park, One&Only Nyungwe House offers the highest standards in luxury and warm Rwandese hospitality.

One&Only Gorilla Nest

Located just outside Rwanda’s famous Volcanoes National Park, and one of the country’s newest luxury lodges, One&Only Gorilla Nest is perfectly positioned in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.

Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge is easily one of the most sumptuous accommodation options for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, set at the edge of Volcanoes National Park.

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When is the best time to visit Rwanda?

Rwanda can be visited year-round, however there are certain times of year that are far more popular. If you are wishing to see the incredible mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, generally the best time of year to visit is during the drier months of June to September. Rwanda is also popular for visitors who want to see the chimpanzees; the best times to see these primates is during the two rainy seasons – from March to May and during October and November. There are four fairly distinct “seasons” that we have broken down for you below:

This time of year is Rwanda’s “dry season” and the best time to see the legendary mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. It is also the best time to visit some of Rwanda’s other major parks including Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Parks. Even though it is the dry season, it is important to still take waterproof clothing when trekking to see the gorillas. If you are combining a visit to the gorillas with a safari, this is the time to go. This time of year is peak season in neighbouring Kenya as well as across much of Southern Africa – including both Botswana and Zimbabwe.

From about mid-October to the end of November is the country’s “short rains” season. Rains tend to come in short heavy bursts, whilst it is also a great time for birdlife. It is still possible to trek and see the gorillas at this time, however be aware that trekking conditions can be tough.

The months of December to February is the other terrific time to visit Rwanda when conditions are drier. Outdoor activities (including trekking to see the gorillas) are popular. If you are looking to combine a gorilla trek with a big game safari, the southern section of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is the best option.

Rwanda’s “long rains” span from early March until mid-May, and as a result, one of the quietest times in the country. The rain can be particularly bad in the mountain regions and almost continuous. Though possible, gorilla trekking is not recommended during this time. If you do wish to see chimpanzees, than this is a very good time to go. The reason for this is that their food source – figs and fruits – are ripe, and the chimpanzees tend to be more stationary and sitting in the lower tree branches.

Rwanda FAQ’s

Both Rwanda and Uganda offer the chance to enjoy excellent gorilla encounters. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is one of the best places and is only two hours from the capital Kigali. Rwanda also has many more habituated gorilla families than neighbouring Uganda. However, permit prices for Rwanda are significantly higher.

A gorilla trek may take as little as half an hour or up to 6 hours depending on where the gorilla family might be located. These are wild animals which are always on the move looking for food. Once found, a maximum of one hour can be spent with them.

Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park) is one of the best places in Africa to see the last remaining mountain gorillas. The majority of habituated family groups in the Virunga Volcanoes can be found in this park. Gorilla treks can also be combined with chimpanzee trekking in the Nyungwe National Park. The country also has a good tourist infrastructure with some excellent lodges.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda should be combined with a traditional wildlife safari in the renowned game parks and reserves of neighbouring Kenya or Tanzania. Alternatively it is also possible to combine a southern Africa safari with a visit to the gorillas.

Rwanda’s capital Kigali is easily reached by air from international destinations including Nairobi in Kenya, Entebbe in Uganda and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. From Kigali, you will be transferred by road to your lodge in the Parc National des Volcans.

US – Travelling from the United States requires at least one stop. The three best options are to fly with Kenya Airways via Nairobi, Delta or KLM Royal Dutch Airlines via Amsterdam or Qatar via Doha.

UK / Europe – Airline choices are much the same coming from Europe. The quickest way is through the Kenyan capital of Nairobi or via Doha flying with Qatar Airways.

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