10 Reasons why one must visit Rwanda

10 Reasons why one must visit Rwanda, East Africa
10 Reasons why one must visit Rwanda, East Africa

Visit Rwanda

10 Reasons why one must visit Rwanda

Rwanda is a small country that lies just 2 degrees south of the equator to the east of Congo in East Africa. A country which has risen like the phoenix in record time and carved a niche for itself as a fast developing African nation. The country which is dubbed as a land with a thousand hills and a million smiles is indeed a revelation and a paradise for any traveler looking for some amazing adventures and unique moments to cherish for a lifetime.

The country is bound to enthral you with its enchanting landscapes which seem straight out of the imagination of a poet or a painter and set your hearts aflutter with its scintillating wildlife. Rwanda is a country that mesmerises you and surprises you around every bend in the road. However, before you visit Rwanda, you need to take heed of this statutory warning. Traveling to Rwanda is dangerous as you will be so captivated by its beauty, you may never want to return.

So here are are 10 reasons why one must visit Rwanda.

Visit Rwanda to Get Up and Close to the Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park

The top most reason to visit Rwanda is a tryst with the mountain gorillas. Your heart will start beating faster as you trek across fields, hills and slushy narrow paths to reach the thick of the jungle. As you walk with bated breath, cutting a narrow path in the almost impenetrable and thick vegetation, the excitement builds to a crescendo. The climax is when you are face to face with a huge but gentle silverback Gorilla or see a female gorilla nursing a baby just an arm’s distance away. That moment is bound to be frozen in your mind for life. This kind of encounter is possible only in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The park is home to the rare Mountain Gorillas who are an endangered lot and less than a thousand inhabit the world today. The Volcanoes National Park is at a distance of about 80 kilometres from the capital city of Kigali and a two and half hour drive would get you there. One needs to reach the Park by 7 AM as this is necessary to get to the Gorillas early before they move deeper in the Jungle. It is also advisable to book early as the Gorilla tracking permits are limited to around 80 per day. The Rwanda Development Board which is the governing body for tourism in Rwanda can be contacted on [email protected] for advance booking of Gorilla tracking Permits.

Visit Rwanda to have Encounters of the Wild kind in Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park - visit Rwanda

As you peer out of the jeep in anticipation, you are caught unawares as a graceful zebra suddenly blocks the road and gives you a quizzical look, as your eyes meet, the eyes of the zebra seem to be questioning your purpose for encroaching on his territory. In the twinkling of an eye the graceful zebra gallops away in a graceful sinewy movement into the bushes. Scenes like these are going to unfold before you as you settle comfortably in your ringside seat in the jungles of Rwana at the Akagera National Park. The Akagera National Park is home to the big 5 which means you are likely to sight Leopards, Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes, and Rhinoceros, apart from Zebras, Giraffes, different species of deer and monkeys.

The Akagera National Park also has the lake Ihema which spans over 90 square kilometres and is rich in biodiversity. The lake waters are home to Crocodiles and Hippopotami apart from sheltering more than 550 species of birds that include rare birds like Shoebill and the Papyrus Gonolek. A boat ride on the lake Ilhema is indeed an exhilarating experience. The Akagera National Park itself covers an area of 1,200 square kilometres and consists of savannah, swamp and mountainous regions. The Park has within its precincts environment friendly accommodation in the form of tents as well as luxury accommodation. Safaris ranging from half a day to full day are offered by the Park. The Akagera National Park is located around 80 kilometres from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Visit Rwanda to take a blissful walk high up on the Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forests

Canopy Walk, Nyungwe National Park

One of the best preserved montane rainforests in Africa is the Nyungwe Forest, the Nyungwe Forest National Park covers a distance of approximately 970 square kilometres and envelops in its fold varying landscapes of rainforests, bamboo forests, swamps and grasslands. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is at a distance of about 220 kilometres from the Rwandan capital Kigali. The drive from Kigali to the Nyungwe Forest National Park takes approximately 6 hours and is in itself an enchanting experience as you drive between verdant tea plantations. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is a paradise for hikers and offers more than 10 different natural trails with expert guides. These include treks to track Chimpanzees, Monkeys and to do the Canopy Walk.

The hike to reach the Canopy Walk takes one across a slippery path deep in the rainforest, one has to descend down a sloping trail which can be quite steep and difficult at times. But the hike itself is a lovely experience as you listen to the voices of the forest and move along as if in harmony with nature. Once you reach the Canopy Walk, your adrenalin is sure to start pumping as you walk on the shaking rope bridge suspended 50 metres above the ground. As you reach the centre of the Canopy Walk, you are sure to experience moments of bliss as you watch the white fluffy clouds parading in the distance, probably tinged by the golden hue of the setting sun. Exotic birds fly below and above you, their sweet melodies serenading you and if you are lucky you may even be able to see monkey traipsing among the trees. The experience of the Canopy Walk is one of those travel experiences that you relive again and again.

Visit Rwanda for Chimpanzee Tracking at the Nyungwe Forests

Chimpanzee Tracking

The beautiful and rich biodiversity of the Nyungwe Forests is indeed remarkable and something that one must experience when in Rwanda. Tracking of Chimpanzees is yet another Rwandan experience waiting to happen in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. The Cyamdungo forest is a small forest within the Nyungwe Forest National Park and is home to around 500 odd chimpanzees.

An early morning trek into the Cyamdungo Forest with a guide is indeed a revelation. As you set off on the track of the chimpanzees, you walk through narrow paths through thick forest cover and are treated to some breathtaking views of the valleys below. Strange sounds of the forest sound like music to your ears and the fresh, fragrant air of the forests ensure that your lungs go into a rapture. You hear the chimpanzees before you see them. Sometimes they are high up in the trees, having their breakfast and if you are lucky you may be able to see them at lower levels too. Watching the chimpanzees as they play, fight and love each other is indeed a revelation.

Visit Rwanda to take a Cruise on Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Rwanda which is known as the land of a thousand hills is also blessed with abundant water bodies in the form of lakes and rivers. The largest of these is the Lake Kivu which is one of the African Great Lakes and covers an area of approximately 2,700 Square Kilometres. The lake is a fresh water lake and is one which undergoes Limnic eruptions because of which it is also known as an exploding lake. The clear waters of the lake surrounded by hills and greenery all around, blue skies with white clouds dancing away merrily, make for an idyllic setting for a relaxed cruise.

A cruise on the placid waters of the lake is indeed a soothing indulgence for all the senses. An ideal way to take a leisurely cruise on the Lake Kivu is to board a houseboat at Kibuye which is about 120 kilometres from Kigali and cruise to Rubavu which takes about 4 hours. One can relax on the upper deck of the boat as the boat gently cruises along the serene waters. Rubavu is ideal for a stay before proceeding to the Volcanes National Park, which is about an hour’s drive away.

Visit Rwanda to pause to pray at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Kigali Genocide Memorial

Any visit to Rwanda would be incomplete without a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial.  The Memorial is built as a silent tribute to the millions who perished in the genocide that ripped through Rwanda in 1994. There is a museum which documents those harrowing times through exhibits, pictures and videos. The beautiful and strangely somnolent gardens contain the mass graves of those who perished in and around Kigali are buried together. Kigali Genocide Memorial is a story of destruction and a prayer for peace.

The Memorial is a silent reminder to mankind about the depths of depravity to which Man can plummet and a lesson to the World to live in peace and harmony. The Kigali Genocide Memorial is open on all days of the week except the last Saturday of the month between 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM. On the last Saturday of every month, the Memorial is open from 1.00 PM to 5.00 PM. A visit to the Memorial is sure to leave you in an introspective mood but also leave you with hope for the future as you behold a country which has risen like the Phoenix.

Visit Rwanda to experience a slice of history at the Kings Palace

Kings Palace, Rwanda

Some 88 kilometres from the capital city of Kigali in a place called Nyanza is the intriguing reconstructed Palace of King Mutara III. The palace built in traditional style is very interesting and the explanation by the guide about the heritage, history and culture associated with the palace is really captivating. Along with the traditional Palace one can also see the modern Palace that was built by the Belgians for the King in the year 1932.

One of the star attractions of the Palace is the herd of royal cows which are known as Inyambo. The physical appearance of the cows is distinctive because of their extraordinary long horns. These cows hold a special place in the culture of Rwanda as they were trained to take part in ceremonial parades of the King and were bred with special care and attention.

 Visit Rwanda to experience the unique Umuganda

As you enter the beautiful country of Rwanda, one thing that is going to strike you is the impeccable cleanliness of the streets, villages, towns and cities. Not a piece of paper, plastic or any other debris is visible. All this is possible because of a unique community movement called Umuganda. Every last Saturday of the month is declared as Umuganda day and the entire population of Rwanda comes together and joins hands to work on community projects.

The projects range from cleaning the surroundings to building schools. The day sees all establishments closed and everyone including visitors joyfully participate in an exercise that has worked wonders for Rwanda. One should be in Rwanda on Umuganda day to be a part of this movement which is the nation’s pride and also a means of connecting people with each other and nature.

Visit Rwanda to connect with Nature in Remarkable Rwanda

Rwanda Nature

Rwanda is a country that seems to have been doubly blessed by nature. As you traverse across the country, you are sure to be spellbound the by the rich and varied landscapes. Tea gardens and Coffee Plantations grab your attention, while the hills and countryside leave you mesmerised. Rainforests and volcanoes present a grand tableau of nature while elsewhere beautiful lakes and waterfalls serenade the visitor around every bend in the road. When in Rwandan you will never be far from a mesmerising spell of Nature.

Visit Rwanda to pay homage at the Dian Fossey Tomb

Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey was an American Zoologist who immersed herself in the research of the Mountain Gorillas in the forests of Rwanda for 18 years. Dian Fossey has been acclaimed as one of the foremost primatologists. Dian Fossey gave her entire life to study the behaviour of the Mountain Gorillas and set up the Karisoke Research Centre in the remote rainforest between two volcanoes. Dian Fossey died under mysterious circumstances, murdered in her own house in the forest. Her tomb is located where she lived and worked with her beloved Gorillas.

If you visit the Volcanoes National Park, you can head to the tomb. It requires a trek through the forests that would take about 2 to 3 hours through dense foliage and comes with an opportunity of viewing elephants, primates and different species of birds. The trek takes one to the house where she lived and died. Nearby is her tomb where she lies in peace beside her favourite Gorilla named Digit and some 20 other Gorillas who died either at the hands of a poacher or because of other reasons. The trek to Dian Fossey’s tomb is indeed a humbling experience and one that cannot be easily forgotten.

Rwanda is indeed a veritable paradise that one must visit once in a lifetime. Visit Rwanda to experience paradise on this earth. It is a place that retains a purity which is so endearing to the senses. A place where life literally coexists with nature. Lonely Planet aptly calls it a front-row seat to the Jungle.

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67 thoughts on “10 Reasons why one must visit Rwanda

  1. Rachelle Reply

    Rwanda is a beautiful place that I associate with exotic animals and lush greenery. I’d love to visit and pay my respects to the genocide. I never knew about Dian Fossey. It would be a great learning experience to read more about her and what her contributions were.

  2. robin rue Reply

    Rwanda sounds like such an amazing place to visit. I would LOVE to take a trip there someday!

  3. candy Reply

    Rwanda isn’t on my top places to visit but it looks like a beautiful country. Your photos are beautiful and the huts and surrounding area look beautiful.

  4. Julee Reply

    Oh, my goodness what a beautiful country. I am so glad you put Rwanda on my radar. There are so many interesting, beautiful discoveries here–and I’m excited it’s RIGHT. BY. the Equator!

  5. Terri Beavers Reply

    Rwanda Africa has been on my bucket list from the beginning. I’ve always wanted to go to see the wildlife. Your reasons have me wanting to go even more. I’m not sure if I am brave enough to go on that bridge but I’d like to think I am, lol.

  6. Anosa Reply

    It’s good to read better feedback on Rwanda as most of us are used to only seeing the war filled information for most African countries

  7. Tomi C Reply

    I’ve never thought of visiting Rwanda but I am loving your list of places to visit. Looks like a beautiful country full of adventures for those who venture there.

  8. Lynsey Reply

    Rwanda looks absolutely beautiful, I love all of the animals, the mountains and all the different things to see, definitely a bucket list item!

  9. John Reply

    Wow! Rwanda isn’t somewhere I had ever really considered visiting before, but I definitely want to learn more now. You have highlighted some really awesome stuff, and I think I am going to have to add Rwanda to my wishlist. 🙂

  10. Hang Around The World Reply

    These are only good reasons to motivated us to visit Rwanda very soon! We always wanted to visit a very natural and wild place like this one, we cant miss it…
    Added Rwanda on our travel list 🙂

  11. Amanda Reply

    I must admit that I never thought about traveling to Rwanda but it does look like a magical place. There is something about the untapped beauty that really speaks to me, living in a super populated and busy city.

  12. Carmy @ carmyy.com Reply

    My heart would definitely be beating fast if I was able to see a gorilla out in the open!! What an amazing experience you got! I never considered visiting Rwanda but now I just might have to!

  13. Dogvills Reply

    What a beautiful place to explore and appreciate the beauty of nature. The Canopy walk would be great, but I am a little scared of heights. My sons would enjoy that. I know they’ll be taking a gazillion photos of themselves.

  14. Tania Mukherjee Reply

    You are so informative. I have never heard of limnic eruptions ever before. Good to know where to find lakes with it. Lake Kivu must be very unique. I would absolutely love to go on a gorilla tracking trail and walk over the canopy bridge. Hope there are not many leeches! Fingers crossed.

  15. Abhinav Singh Reply

    One major reason why I want to go to Rwanda is the rich wildlife it offers. Of course, I am most intrigued by Gorillas. I loved your social media posts which you updated from Rwanda. Ever since, I have nursed the dream to go there one day. Lovely blog.

  16. Michelle Cantu Reply

    I’d visit Rwanda in a heartbeat. It sounds gorgeous there. I don’t know how I’d feel about seeing the gorillas, but everything else is right up my alley.

  17. Ozzy Reply

    Rwanda has been on my bucket list ever since I was a kid. Always been fascinated by the thought of being able to track silver-back Gorillas in the wild. There are so many things to do in this beautiful country.
    Thanks for a great post! Saved the post for future reference!

  18. Emily Reply

    The scenery alone is stunning! All of that wildlife would be so fun to see too! Africa is one place I hope to get to visit, now that my kids are older we plan to start traveling more. We can finally enjoy the vacations and not have them be just more work for us.

  19. Miranda Reply

    Though Rwanda and many other African countries aren’t the first on my list.. I hope to eventually go on an African safari trip to see the animals in their rightful habitat! Rwanda looks like a beautiful option for that.

  20. Jaime Nicole Reply

    I would love to go to Rwanda one day. I went to South Africa a few years ago and it was really a life changing experience.

  21. LaiAriel R. Samangka Reply

    Wow, Rwanda is like a paradise with so much to offer and enjoy. I love how you stated all your reasons as this would make us excited to visit Rwanda. Truly, Rwanda seemed to be like being clothed with so much nature’s wonder. I love the feeling of getting a chance to commune with mother nature and this place seemed to be just so perfect for me. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  22. Candy Reply

    I”m so happy I came across this. I watched the movie Hotel Rwanda when I was in college and that is the only memory I have of Rwanda. This post really opened my eyes to a whole new Rwanda and has me itching to go. I mean how cool is it to see Mountain Gorillas?!?!?

  23. krista Reply

    you have a wonderful writing voice! I was sold by the first paragraph, I have ALWAYS wanted to travel to Rwanda and this makes me want to go that much more!!

  24. Farrah Less G. Reply

    This is the first time I heard this place Rwanda very catchy name. I love Safari like scenery there is one in Canada but it is not as big as the one in Rwanda.

  25. Pete Reply

    Lush and green and apparently full of tranquillity and exotic animals. Also a very good spot to book an around the world flight from, owing to the peculiarities of the oneWorld pricing system.

  26. California Globetrotter Reply

    You had me hooked at seeing gorillas and wildlife! Everything else is just a bonus! I’ve never considered visiting Rwanda before but it certainly looks and sounds interesting! #feetdotravel

  27. Ruth Reply

    These is very eye opening post! I knew about the gorillas but that was pretty much it. I see this is a country full of natural beauty, history and wildlife. Feels like an excellent place to visit (I hope I can go one day). #feetdotravel

  28. Ami Reply

    The one thing that struck me about Rwanda from all your posts is that it is so clean. And then adding on the layer of nature and wildlife – there is no reason why anyone would not want to miss this place. Loved your entire series on this visit. And the pictures too. Cheers

  29. Cindy Collins Reply

    Visiting Rwanda is definitely on our bucket list. I so want to see the mountain gorillas and the Volcanoes National Park looks like the best place. The chimpanzee walk and the Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forests also sound awesome. I never knew there was that much to do in Rwanda. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Kaylene Reply

    Wow, amazing photos! I’d love to visit Rwanda, especially for its wildlife and nature. And I think I’d enjoy a cruise on Lake Kivu!

  31. Jeany Reply

    It looked quiet relaxing and adventerous at the same time! I am not so much into visiting Africa but I like the pictures you took! Maybe someday I want to go there 🙂

  32. Orsi Reply

    I just love how much you get to experience wildlife and nature in Rwanda. Lake Kivu looks so peaceful, going out on the water must be so calming. Thank you for the great post, I enjoyed that I learned and got a lot out of it after reading! Rwanda looks beautiful!

  33. Himanshu Reply

    Never knew Rawanda has so much to offer. I only knew of Gorillas.
    In a land of 1000 hills, i think canopy walk would be high on my list.
    Thanks for bringing Rawanda to my attention.

  34. Jennifer Reply

    Africa is high on my list, but my family isn’t eager for me to go, so I’m always happy when I can show them something like this. I have a feeling I would never come back home….

  35. Elaine Reply

    Seeing Mountain Gorillas in person is at the top of my bucket list. I love all gorillas but am especially drawn to the mountain gorillas as they so endangered.

  36. Anna Johnston Reply

    OMG… Allllllll the YES to the Canopy Walk, reading your description had me picturing myself stepping onto that shaking bridge (I am a little frightened of heights, but don’t look down – right?) Bliss moments indeed as you stare up at the white fluffy clouds, spotting exotic birds who are flying past and monkeys traipsing among the trees. I wanna visit Rwanda stat, all that nature and wildlife sounds magical.

  37. Shweta Reply

    A friend recently visited Rwanda for the mountain gorilla experience, and ever since then I have been thinking of when can we get there. But your post lists out many more options – the canopy walk looks like something I would love, though my family might not enjoy it.

  38. SamH Travels Reply

    I have never considered visiting Rwanda before, but having read your post I would really love to visit the Volcanoes National Park. Seeing Mountain Gorillias in their natural habit would be an absolute dream!

  39. Megan Jerrard Reply

    Getting up close with mountain gorillas is one of the man reasons I want to visit Rwanda – it has so many incredible national parks and for someone like myself and my husband who love the outdoors, and in particular wildlife, it probably has some of the most incredible opportunities to experience. I would love to pay homage at the Dian Fossey Tomb – what a once in a lifetime experience. Volcanoes National Park is at the very top of my list. Thankyou!

  40. Mia Reply

    I would love to visit Rwanda. So much history and beauty in this wonderful country. I remember watching the movie Hotel Rwanda which was about the Genocide that happened in 1994. It always brought tears to my eyes. Such an awful time in history. I would definitely take the time to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial on the first day.

  41. SindhuMurthy Reply

    I have been following your posts on Rwanda and I’m totally impressed already. This post is a great roundup of what to expect in Rwanda. I would love to go on the Gorilla trail and also visit Kigali Genocide Memorial which really touched my heart.

  42. Angela from Dang Travelers Reply

    Rwanda has been on my radar for some time, but I think you just helped it rise to the top! It sounds like you’ve been having a wonderful time digging in to the history and culture. National Parks are always a top priority for my husband and I so I am excited to hear about their natural beauty and wildlife!

  43. Drew Reply

    Really beautiful article about Rwanda. I’ve talked to some people who visited for gorilla trekking and they had nothing but amazing things to say about the country. It would be special to be able to see gorillas in person, not to mention the variety of other wildlife. Definitely a unique and special destination.

  44. Christopher Reply

    Wow 2 degrees south of the equator. Cool…well hot I guess…lol. The only place I’ve been to in Africa is Morocco. I’m excited to go explore more and Rwanda looks like a good start. The wildlife looks spectacular and nature beautiful. I would love walk high up on the Canopy Walk too.

  45. Archana Singh Reply

    I always associated Rwanda to wildlife and greenery. But I am so glad to see that besides exotic animals and lush greenery, there are other things to see as well. I am planning to go to Africa next year. Hope i can go to Rwanda too.

  46. SHRADDHA GUPTA Reply

    I would have always connected Rwanda with wildlife and gorillas – but your post adds so much more to it. I would love to do the canopy walk and also visit for the history. Great post!

  47. Shona Reply

    Rwanda does look amazing. I’d loe to get up close and personal with those gorillas but I’m not too sure about that canopy walk. LOL! As usual, you made me want to go! 🙂

  48. Corinne Reply

    We definitely should have visited last winter when we went to Uganda since it is right next door. We did get to go chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, but I’m sure there are differences that would make it all worthwhile.

  49. Marcelle Reply

    I always wanted to see the Gorillas in Rwanda, but I am too scared of the political unstable situation. Also the chimpanzees I’d love to see and visit these beautiful national parks. A stunning country and very good, that they limit the amount of tourists who can see the gorillas. Often I saw on the television that tourists can approach very closely which isn’t good for them as they should stay wild and not getting used to humans. The thread of being poached only gets bigger. How was it, did you have to respect a certain distance to them?

  50. Kate and Kris Reply

    We’d love to go to Rwanda. We’ve heard such interesting things about it, not only about the wildlife which we obviously appreciate, but also about the cities and the cleanliness and people. Amazing pictures!

  51. Carmen Baguio Reply

    As nature lovers, Rwanda looks like our kind of place. We appreciate the priority that Rwanda is making to preserve the environment for endangered animals!

  52. melody pittman Reply

    Definitely a different view than that of what I remember from the war days. Wow, really pretty destination. Seeing the animals would be fantastic!

  53. Punita Malhotra Reply

    What caught my eye was Nyanza’s Palace of King Mutara III. The architecture is so fascinating. I have always loved how the style and building materials of traditional houses reflect the local culture and environment.

  54. Nicola Hilditch-Short Reply

    I’d never really thought much about Rwanda before, but looking at this it seems to have everything that we love, so much rich culture and amazing wildlife too.

  55. Kavey Favelle | Kavey Eats Reply

    Rwanda has long been on my wishlist for the gorillas but it’s wonderful to read and see photographs showcasing all the other great reasons to visit. I’m particularly keen to see other wildlife, but also to visit the genocide memorial (it’s so important not to forget).

  56. Mike Reply

    Wow! Rwanda looks so beautiful. It is now on my list. I cannot believe you got to see gorillas in the wild! Looking forward to that!

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