Gorilla trekking is the highlight of all Africa Safari activities in Rwanda but there is more to this. After recovering from the tragic genocide of 1994, Rwanda embarked on creating peace and cleansing its international image by taking part in mountain gorilla conservation. These gentle giant were also victims of this genocide adding to the then dwindling numbers of about 250 mountain gorillas.
The Rwanda recovery program includes allowing tourists to visit genocide museums with preserved remains of these 100 days of ignorance with hope that they too can learn from it.
Kigali City Genocide Memorial in Rwanda
In order for the country to honor the victims of 100 days of Rwanda genocide and also remind to those living not to take this direction again, genocide memorials are the mouth piece.
Although this may sound terrific, it’s worth adding to your Rwanda safari activities. You get to learn more about Rwandese and reasons why stability is key in the country. Lists of over 800,000 names of victims hang on walls, remnants of some victims are preserved here. Some hall photographs, and sculptures tell the unspoken details of this horrific story. Hiring a walkie-talkie gives you a wider picture of what transpired.
Game Drive in Akagera National Park on Rwanda Safari
An Africa safari without game drives sounds half-baked and Rwanda is not one of the countries to leave without viewing game. From Kigali city, 2 hour and a half on the road get you into Akagera National Park.
Early morning game drives in the park may give you chance to see herds of buffaloes, zebras, Rhinos, lions, leopards. Lake Ihema which is the largest in the park is home for hippos and Nile crocodiles.
Numerous birds also enjoy spending the days in the park. During a boat trip, you get a clear view of park surroundings including hills, swampy and forest vegetation cover.
Nyungwe National park lies in the northwestern side of Rwanda and home to Rwanda Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees trekking starts with briefing early morning from the ranger guide who later escort you into the forest following trails constructed by regular tourist.
Chimpanzees have about 98% human DNA so be careful when in there territory. They also have spies who warn the rest of the community about presence of intruders.
To communicate with others, chimpanzees hit tree trunks with there palms and the rest of the group gets to know about your presence. Trekking chimpanzees is like acting a movie in the jungle where you have to pay elegancy to the leaders.
A number of monkey troupes are members of nyungwe national Park including ,olive baboons, blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangebay, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus and others
Rwanda Tour to the King’s palace Museum
Most African history revolves around Kingdoms and chiefdoms and Rwanda is no exceptional. Rwandese are mainly cattle keepers and this is well demonstrated by the Inyambo long horned cattle at the King’s palace Museum.
What’s amazing about these unique cows is there ability to go under the spell of mere poems. Rwandese singers recite special poems to the cows throughout the day sending them to a calm state.
A grass thatched demonstration home of the traditional king’s house with gourds where milk is stored close to a fresh milk hut initially run by virgin girls only.
This rich culture distinguishes Rwanda traditions form the rest of Africans although some traditions cut across the continent.
After colonial era, many traditional leaders changed there place homes to resemble colonial master styles. Even King Mutara III Rutahingwa followed the trend but incorporated his design with Rwanda traditions. Some of the royal regalia still stand even after the falls of the kingdom.
Stretching about 90 meters over Nyungwe forest if the suspension bridge. Nyungwe Forest is famous for chimpanzees trekking and Rwanda Birding but canopy walk is picking up momentum. This unique canopy walk is the only one of its Kind in East Africa bringing into view amazing tree tops. During a Rwanda safari inclusive of canopy walk, you may have chance of spotting several birds including Albertine endemics.
Lovely mountain ranges come into view during this walk elevated about 50 meters above the tree tops. Many tourists use this chance to make lifetime moments like proposals, birthday surprises during this walk.
It starts a few meters from Uwinka Visitor center.
Golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes National park
Although gorilla trekking is the highlight of Volcanoes National park, the golden monkeys are equally victims of extinction. They are covered by brown hairs that distinguish them from other monkeys.
Golden monkeys are larger in size compared to other monkeys and keep you up on your toes while in the forest. They are very mobile and exciting to trek.
They live in troupes of about 100 to 200 members and the alpha male is the top leader. There are about 2000 to 3000 golden monkeys existing in the world. Before starting golden monkey trekking, you need a ranger guide to escort you. Never go into the forest without the escort of a ranger guide.
Gorilla guardian Village
After gorilla trekking, you can contribute to the gorilla conservation campaign by visiting the Gorilla guardian village which is non-profit making. Its run by former poachers who have reformed from the act of killing and torturing the mountain gorillas.
Here tourist get hand on with craft making like weaving baskets, try bow and arrow shooting, get down on a stone grinder to smash some grains and so much more.
If you hang-on for long local Intore dancers entertain you with there crested crane nuptial dance moves. They tie hairy skins on there heads, wear traditional Rwandese attire and loud but engaging traditional music accompanied beating long drums (lulunga). The rhythms are contiguous and in no time you may find yourself joining the fiesta.
Rwanda is proud of its culture and can go any miles to preserve its authenticity in the mix of modernity. The ethnographic Museum is one of the many museums that the country boasts of. It is located in Butare.
A lot of traditional treasures of ancient and modern Rwanda lie in exhibition glass boxes within. The accurate replicated King Rwabugiri’s retreat palace Urutare Rwa Ndaba and other royal belongings linger in the museum, ancient hand craftes, utilizes reed, bamboo species, banana leaves and so much more.
All these craftes of Rwanda create an amazing geometric array of neutral and bright colours.
Kigali city Tour
Leaving Rwanda without going through the one of the cleanest city in Africa may be the missing piece in your complete gorilla trekking safari. If you are looking for a gorgeous natural city view, Kigali gives you this as it meanders over thousand hills.
The city occupies three polical districts of Gasbo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. Visit the beautiful Kigali City Mosque, Kimironko market the largest in the city, Inema art Center with local art work.
Do not forget to visit Rwanda Art Museum which is the former presidential house where debris of the presidential jet that crashed with fallen president of Rwanda H.E Habyaruman are preserved. This incidence proceeded the 100 days of terror (genocide).
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda wouldn’t be where it is if Dr Dian Fossey had not stood for the mountain gorillas. Many local Rwandese had been poaching the gorillas for trophies or sell them off as circus pets.
This lead to dwindling of the numbers of gorillas to about 250 by 1980s. her life ended tragically when she was gruesomely massacred . She was buried amongst the mountain gorillas.
In her memory the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Musaze preserves all information. Researcher travel from all over the world to get check out on her findings about the mountain gorillas.
Birding in Rwanda
Birding in Rwanda is exceptional especially in Volcanoes National park which is one of the very survivors of ice age period. Rwanda hosts over 700 bird species including rare Albertine endemics.
Some birds you may get to spot include African Green Broadbill, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, red-faced woodland Warbler, African Hill Babbler, Collared Apalis, Western Green Tinkerbird and others.
Having a packing list to follow before a safari gives you chancenot to forget the essential travel needs.
Some warm wear
Rwanda is generally cold almost the entire day because of thousand hills and wide forest cover. You need to carry some warmers to last you the time you will be in Rwanda.
Keeping memories of your experience on an Africa safari in Rwanda is lovely. You get to go through events as they unfold through photos. Good lenses to take quality photos is a complement.
A pair of Binocular
Some views are incredibly fur from your reach so you need to focus with a pair of binoculars.
Some Hard Cash
Local currency is the main form of exchange used in Rwanda so carry some money to exchange into local currency. You may need this money to pay for souvenirs, taxi, Boda Boda ( Motor Cyclist)
Energy bites to keep you energized throughout the safari
An extra battery full charged that you ca exchange with the used-up one.
When in Rwanda do not dump garbage anywhere because this breaks the country Law. You may get arrested for violating this law.
Carry your Covid-19 immunization card or Covid free results obtained 72 hours prior to travelling to Rwanda.
When travelling on the motor bike in Rwanda always cover your head with the helmet. It is a rule worth a penalty from the government authorities once violated During gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda, carry nothing from Volcanoes National park and Leave nothing only your foot Prints