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Experience a classic African Safari in beautiful Akagera National Park. With Lake Ihema in the background and cooler temperatures, this is a safari experience unlike any of Rwanda’s neighbors.
Akagera is located approximately 110 km from Kigali. The majority of the way is paved, and the last 28km are on a dirt road, therefore it is recommended to have a 4×4. For self-drive safaris, there is no need to book. Cars are available for hire, there is one 7-seater game viewing vehicle which can be hired out for either a half or full day, all which includes the vehicle, driver and guide.
Guides are available for hire from the reception and can join visitors on their self-drives. Booking a guide a head of time is not necessary, unless for special groups such as school trips. An information center to assist with activities is also available.
When it comes to birding, Rwanda is amongst Africa’s most exciting destinaitons – within this relatively small and compact country, there over 701 bird species of which 27 are Albertine Rift endemics.
Highlights include the Red-Faced Barbet, Shoebill Stork, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Papyrus Gonolek and the Miombo Wren-Warblers.
Rwanda has seven Important Birding Areas (IBAs) including the three National Parks—Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe. The other IBAs are at: Rugezi Swamp, Akanyaru, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo.
Rwanda’s location in the Albertine Rift makes for an ideal and stunning landscape for bird enthusiasts. Bird-watching in Rwanda can appeal to every level visitor – from the absolute novice (who maybe only visited for the primates) all the way to the most serious of birders, due to the diversity and appeal of certain species. Birding is experienced throughout the year, with the migrant bird season being from December through to February.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is often described as “life changing” and with good reason. With only an estimated 880 Gorillas left in the world, to see these gentle creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unique moment.
Gorillas make their homes in and amongst the bamboo-covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. Trek to see them and you’ll be introduced by your expert trackers and guides to one of the fully-habituated families of mountain gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe-inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about their daily lives.
Hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours + depending on the family allocated to your group and their location. The journey back can take just as long, but you are often carried along by the euphoria you feel at seeing the gorillas!
While it might have been the gorillas that entice you to Rwanda, it’s the people of Rwanda who will keep you coming back. Ancient traditions of honour and hospitality run strong here, and anybody who takes the time to discover Rwandan culture for themselves will find a proud and unique people, happy to welcome you into their lives and introduce you to their traditions. Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life here, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture. Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga—a harp-like instrument with eight strings—while more celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members who collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms. Below we list different cultural experiences that you can easily incorporate into your trip to Rwanda.
Beyond the gorillas that made Rwanda famous, wildlife junkies will be thrilled to know that they can track three more species of primate on their Rwandan holiday: Chimpanzees, Black-and-white colobus monkeys, and the endangered Golden monkey. Chimpanzee groups live high in the canopy of Nyungwe National Park, and catching your first glimpse of one crashing through the forest after hiking into their territory is nothing short of astonishing. The black-and-white colobus live in Nyungwe as well, and these resplendent, long-haired creatures are every wildlife photographer’s dream. Finally, like their neighbours the gorillas, the Golden monkey can be found in very few places outside of Volcanoes National Park, and their rich colors, energetic demeanour, and sizeable troupes of up to 30 individuals are truly a sight to behold. The gorillas may be what brought you to Rwanda, but it would be an absolute shame to leave without seeing any of the wonderful creatures they share a home with.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
Nyungwe forest lodge was set up in 2010 and has fast become a favorite with tourists in the area. It is situated in a tea plantation close to the Nyungwe forest. This lodge was the first ever 5 star accommodation establishment in the region. It has some of the best facilities in Rwanda and very good service.
Nyungwe forest lodge has luxury facilities such as a gym and a swimming pool, and over looks the forest canopy so you are guaranteed some good views of the scenery in the area.
It has comfortable luxury rooms, one of them even has a jacuzzi.
Board basis is full board and it includes meals. You can either dine outdoors, or in the restaurant, or in your room.
There is access to WIFI, and telephone services, so you can communicate to people back home. There are also sate-lite TVs in the rooms to keep you in touch with the rest of the world.
Set within 2.9 km of Kigali Centenary Park in Kigali, Amacumbi Steclem provides accommodation with free WiFi.
A continental breakfast is available each morning at the lodge.
Guests can relax in the garden at the property.
MTN Centre Kigali is 3.9 km from Amacumbi Steclem, while Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial is 4.2 km away.
Bisate Lodge is a new, luxurious lodge in Rwanda’s Virunga Volcanoes region, opened in mid-2017. This sumptuous eco-lodge aims to provide guests with more than just a ‘gorilla express’ experience, rather immersing you into the local atmosphere, giving you a greater understanding of the conservation work that helps to protect the gorillas, eco-systems and the local community.
With just six forest villas spaced across the large but private Bisate site, you will feel as though you are actually staying within the national park itself.
The design of the lodge focuses on traditional architecture with thatched structures that echo those dotted around the region. Each thatched forest villa comprises a large double bed, spacious bathroom, central fireplace and large private deck from which to take in the wild surrounds.
Five Volcanoe Boutique Hotel
Located near Kinigi on the outskirts of the Volcanoes National Park, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel accommodates a select number of guests in comfortable bedrooms with all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay.
This is one of the best locations from which to track the gorillas and knowing you have a spotless bathroom, comfortable bed and delicious cuisine to come back to after your hard day trekking is a definite bonus.
Five Volcanoes is located around three hours from Kigali on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park. Being situated in Kinigi means you have both access to the mountain trekking in the park, as well as other activities in the surrounding area.
Kigali Serena Hotel
Kigali Serena Hotel is a large and luxurious hotel close to Kigali Airport and the City’s Commercial Centre. Built with polished granite, the hotel is centred on a lounge and bar area which opens out on to a wide sundeck overlooking the pool. The hotel exudes luxury, with 148 rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, bars and a spa all in a pan-African style starring some Rwandese cultural art.
All of the guest accommodation here is luxurious, with 24 hour room service, a mini bar and air-conditioning. Standard rooms are large and sumptuous, with en-suite bathrooms complete with a tub and shower. As you work your way up through Superior, Deluxe, Junior, Prime and executive to the Presidential Suite, you gain a Jacuzzi, private office, private conference room and 2 en-suite guest rooms. As well as this you have your own private vestibule entrance and reception area.