Gorillas are one of the majestic animals in the world one can ever meet. Due to the fact these animals are so intelligent in the way they live their lives. Although some people look at them as beasts that can endanger human life, this is not the case they are wonderful animals are peaceful and herbivorous animals that cannot feed on human flesh.

The mountain gorillas are so wonderful to meet as they bring one close to nature in such a way one can easily fall in love with way they lead their lives and you can feel so petty for the people who destroy their homes. Gorillas live in very organized family, for example you can never find a gorilla on its own in the jungle. Each and every gorilla has a family it is attached to and in the family it might be a father, a mother, a child in the family or a relative to the silver back.

These gorillas are found in the small country of Africa called Rwanda located in the eastern part of the continent. This country has embarked on conserving these gorillas which has given opportunities to the people who would love to see the gorillas in their environment. People have not disappointed to the chance give to them as many people throughout the year visit this country for gorilla trekking safaris.

Rwanda has seven habituated gorilla families that can be watched by the tourists. These gorillas are found in volcanoes national park on Virunga ranges that is share by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Virunga region holds 480 gorillas half of the world’s mountain gorilla population (480) and the part that is found in Rwanda of the Virunga has 320 mountain gorillas. This makes Rwanda to having a third of the world’s mountain gorilla population.

Virunga Mountains where Gorillas Live

Mountain gorilla trekking experience is incredible as one does not need to travel for long distances to see the gorillas and the gorillas in Rwanda are seen clearly and easily as the volcanoes national park forests are not so thick. Visitors strictly spend one hour with gorillas as they watch them move around, feed, play and at times the young gorillas come near the visitors with an intention of playing. The visitors are also able to take wonderful pictures and videos in the jungle.

Mountain gorillas are one of four the subspecies of gorillas and the other being the western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and the cross river gorillas. All gorillas are primates and classified as apes due to their well developed brains, digits on the endings of the limbs and also do not have a tail at the back. The other apes are mankind, orangutans, gibbons and chimpanzees and this means that gorillas are also among the closest cousins of mankind. These gorillas are called the mountain gorillas due to the nature of their habitats. The mountain gorillas live in forested mountain ranges of Virunga and Bwindi Forests in the east central African region. The three countries with the mountain gorillas are Rwanda, Uganda and DR.Congo.

Silverback Gorilla in the Jungle

There are less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world today. Uganda has the biggest percentage of gorillas almost inhabiting a half of the total population and the rest of the countries share the rest. Mountain gorillas are regarded as endangered species of animals by the international union of conservation for nature (IUCN) and this means they will get extinct in the forthcoming generation if conservation efforts are not made. The decrease in the population of mountain gorillas is due to habitat loss where by the local people are settling in areas where the gorillas stay.

Diseases are also a major factor for the decreases as very many helpless gorillas die of epidemics. For instance in the early 2000s, hundreds of gorillas died due to the outbreak of Ebola in Congo and some parts of southwestern Uganda. The Ebola was transmitted to the gorillas by the local people who were infected since the gorillas have almost the same immunity as mankind. Other causes of fall of gorilla population are civil wars that are occurring in the forests of Congo and also poaching of the gorillas for bush meat.

However, measures have been put in place to conserve and protect the gorillas from getting extinct as protected areas have been put in place like Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, in Rwanda there is volcanoes national park and Congo Virunga national parks. Also different organization plus the governments of the three countries have come up to protect the mountain gorillas. One way of protecting and conserving the gorillas is visiting them in their protected areas since it creates awareness of how important gorillas are to people as they bring joy and excitement in their lives and also the some money paid to see the gorillas is injected in the gorilla conservation work.

Visiting the mountain gorillas is much more than conservation, gorilla trekking experience comes with discovery, excitement and enjoyment. When one visits the gorillas in their natural environment he/she will see unique characteristics that cannot be found in any other animals that is the way they take care of their young ones, family organization and also their ability to use tools like tree branches to gather food and also for shelter. During the gorilla trekking experience, the visitor is able to take very beautiful photos of the gorillas if you are lucky enough you can also take a selfie with a gorilla! It is really an interesting moment to visit the mountain gorillas in their nature habitat. One can book a 15 day tour in Rwanda and Uganda to allow you track the gorillas twice in both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The same tour exposes you to all the hidden treasures of the 2 destinations such as Kidepo valley, Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks among others, see the African Big 5 animals as well as the chimpanzees.

View of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda

There are very many online tour operators that you can contact to book yourself a gorilla trekking safari and have fun with the mountain gorillas in their natural environment before their extinction. A gorilla permit goes from 600 us dollars in Uganda, Rwanda 750 us dollars and DR. Congo 400 us dollars.

There are very many people out there who would like to see the gorillas in their natural environment. I guess you have seen gorilla caged in the zoo and they are normally two or three in the cage. All I can tell you is that these gorillas do not interact as they are supposed to.

Gorillas are nomadic animals which move from one place to the other looking for feeding areas in the jungles and are social animals which enjoy company of very many gorillas that is around 8-10 gorillas in the group. In the jungle is where they feel more comfortable as they independently do their own things other than being restricted like the way they are kept in the zoos.

The life span of a gorilla is normally 45 year in their natural habitat but a gorilla in captivity only spends 35 years on earth according to by the World Wildlife fund (WWF). This means that gorillas have more life when they are in the jungle where they feed on more organic and nutritious foods of the wild fruits, tree shoots, stems, leaves, flowers, vines and the small vertebrates.

In the jungle is where these gorillas normally express their natural intelligence in the way they lead their lives. This is why they are among the closest cousins of man. Due to their intelligence, many people have traveled to their natural habitats to see the gorillas.

There are many kinds of gorillas in the world from the western and eastern lowland gorillas, the cross river gorillas to the mountain gorillas. Gorillas are found in ten African countries; that is, the countries in the western, the central and eastern parts of Africa.

But for our case we shall enlighten you on the mountain gorillas that are found in Uganda, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. Here we find over 20 habituated gorilla families available for tourism purposes, mountain gorilla trekking is one of the main foreign exchange earner for those countries.

Rwanda has seven habituated gorilla families found in volcanoes national park in the Virunga region which is straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the DR.Congo and Uganda has ten habituated gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park in the southwestern part of the country and one habituated family at Mgahinga national park in the Virunga region. A 5 day African gorilla safari can combine Bwindi and Volcanoes National parks with 2 gorilla treks in both gorilla destinations.

The only way to see these amazing animals is by taking a gorilla safari that are normally organized by various tour companies and these have affordable tour packages and this can be proofed by going to the internet.

The other way to trek the gorillas, one may get in the Rwanda and Uganda, hire a car in Uganda and take a gorilla tour safari on your own. In other words, it is a self drive gorilla safari.. This is the most adventurous experience one can ever encounter.

Gorilla tours are truly awesome as one get in touch with nature and one of man’s closest cousins in their natural environment.

Rwanda formally known as the Republic of Rwanda is an Independent country in the East Africa and is among the smallest states on African Continent. It’s located south of the equator, bordering Uganda in the north, Burundi in the south, Tanzania in the East and DR. Congo in the west. The country is in African Great Lakes Region and its geography is dominated savanna in the east and mountains in the west and due to the rolling landscape the country earned it’s the name ‘land of thousand hills’

Numerous visitors come to Rwanda to trek mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, which has spread the good news about the country as a peaceful and perfect destination for tourists, changing the bad picture made by the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Other than the mountain gorillas, different attractions incorporate the golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park, birds and wildlife in Akagera National Park, chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park and obviously, the Rwandan interesting culture.

The country is an amazing family tour destination with awesome places to visit, incorporating three wildlife parks with stunning wildlife, Rift Valley lakes, and the busy capital city of Kigali, which is incredible for phenomenal family outing in and around the city.

Here are some of the best and interesting cities to visit with a family in Rwanda

Lake Kivu
late-afternoon-serena-hotel-lake-kivu-rwandaLake Kivu is the among the Africa Great Lakes situated along the border of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The lake is among the highest altitude Rift Valley lakes found above 1,460 meters above the sea level. Lake Kivu is large with shallow waters perfect for swimming, kayaking and boat cruise.

There are three tourist towns found at the shore of this lake; including Lake Kivu. Gisenyi is the most famous one. Situated on the northern shores, it is blessed with white sandy shorelines and amazing views of the Rift Valley scenes and the Virunga Volcanoes.

Here, there are a lot of chances for trips and water sports on the lake itself. Gisenyi has variety of vacationer hotels on the lake shores, including Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Waterfront Resort Lake Kivu and Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel.

The other town at the shores of Lake Kivu are Karongi, which is effectively reached from Kigali and is clamoring with market and lodgings, and Rusizi on the remote southern shores of the Lake.

Butare Town
rwanda-national-museumThe town of Butare otherwise called Huye, is found in the southern of the country. This once a colonial town offers tourists an insight into the way of life, history and modern day life of the people of Rwanda.

Your family can visit the Rwanda National Museum where you can discover more about the pre and post colonial history of Rwanda and the traditional culture of Rwanda displayed through relics.

Another interesting destination to visit with family in Rwanda is the Gikongoro Genocide memorial found just outside the Butare Town. It is found in just a 15minutes drive from Butare Town. Local tour guides will clarify how the huge number of Tutsi was killed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

Huye market is a busy town with bars, restaurants and shops with local and international cuisine to feast on. Tourists can appreciate everything from meat omelets, fish omelets, and boiled cassava, to sandwiches, pork, chicken and vegan dishes. Also the local market can be visited during the day, there are various hotels for overnight stays, including Motel da Munt Huye, Hotel Ibis and Shalom House.

Kigali City
kigali-cityKigali is the capital and business center of Rwanda and also is home to International hotel chains, such as Radisson and Serena, in addition to a host of local casinos, craft shops, shopping malls and bars. There are also good banks and forex bureaus in case you want to exchange, deposit or withdraw money.

In addition to the shop and local markets, a tour around Kigali City also offers tourists a visit to genocide memorial centers. This memorial center is a remembrance of the genocide incident that happened in the country in 1994 that claimed the lives of over 800,000 people with just 100 days.

The Gisozi, otherwise called the Kigali Genocide memorial, is a burial ground where 250,000 Rwandans where killed and buried. In this genocide memorial center there are three exhibitions including educational sections, children’s exhibitions, gardens and archives telling the story of the genocide.

Still on Kigali city tour, you can visit other genocide memorial centers like, Murambi, Ntarama and Nyamata churchs situated in the southern part of the city. These have melancholy displays including skeletal remains of the casualties of the genocide. A visit to these places is a lesson in building reconciliation.

Tours to see the mountain gorillas in Africa have become one of the leading and most adventurous activity in the world. Thousands of visitors to Africa visit Volcanoes National Park Rwanda to take part in the daily gorilla tours to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

mount-karisimbi-view-rwanda
Mountain Karisimbi View in Rwanda

While on your gorilla tour in Rwanda, never miss adventurous trek to the peak of mountain Karisimbi, requiring on 2 days and 1 night camping in the mountains.

About Mountain Karisimbi in Rwanda

Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight volcanoes in the magnificent Virunga Mountains. It has a huge dome, now dormant, that dominates the range, more in girth than in height.

Karisimbi means White shell in Kinyaruanda, which refers to its often white-capped summit. Interestingly, this cap results not from snow but from hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms.

Mountain Karisimbi is situated in Volcanoes national Park which is also known as the Parc National Des Volcans, located in northern Rwanda, less than 2 hour drive from Kanombe International Airport.

Mountain Karisimbi stand at an elevation of about 4507m above sea level. The mountain is situated along the border between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda on the western branch of the Eat African Rift valley.

Climbing Mountain Karisimbi is a strenuous and it requires a minimum of 2 days hike. The climb starts early in the morning taking 6 hours and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 metres for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.

The hike to the summit of Mountain Karisimbi rewards the view of several bird species, monkeys and some times mountain gorillas to lucky visitors. As you climb Mountain Karisimbi, be a ware of rain which can come at any time due to the altitude. Therefore, it is advisable to move with rain Jackets.

Some level of fitness is needed to climb mountain Karisoke and it is wise to hire porters to help you carry your day pack and hiking equipment. No prior climbing experience required.

You need 4-5 day safari package in Rwanda to combine gorilla tracking and mountain Karisimbi climbing and the itinerary can be as below in brief;

Proposed Itinerary for Gorilla Tour and Mt. Karisimbi Hiking in Rwanda

Day 1: Kigali city tour, lunch, Transfer to Volcanoes National Park

Day 2: Gorilla Tracking, afternoon relaxation

Day 3: Start Mt. Karisimbi hiking, overnight camping in the mountains

Day 4: Reach the summit, descend to the base, relax at your lodge or drive back to Kigali where the tour ends.

Other Tour Activities around Virunga Region

Your visit to Virunga region not only rewards you with mountain gorilla tracking but also other interesting tour activities such as golden monkey tracking, community tours around the Virungas in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo, forest hiking, visiting the tombs of Dian Fossey, Mt. Bisoke hiking, Trekking the active volcanoes of Nyiragongo and Nyamurangira in DR Congo and many others.

Similarities between Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park:

Both Volcanoes and Nyunge forest National Parks are found in Rwanda – the country of a thousand hills.

nyungwe-forest-water-chanel-rwanda
Water Channel in Nyungwe National park Rwanda

Both parks host primates. Volcanoes National Park hosts Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys while Nyungwe Forest protects 13 primate species including Chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, mona monkeys, olive baboon among others.

Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Parks are ranked among the world heritage sites. In other words, both parks are world heritage sites.

Both parks protect birds- therefore; birding can be conducted in Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Parks.
Both parks are accessed from Kigali city/ Airport.

Both Parks are known internationally.

The two parks are under control of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to ensure welfare of all wildlife.

Volcanoes and Nyungwe Forest National Parks were officially opened for tourism activities.

Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park are home for Rwanda’s major tourist attractions, Chimpanzees and Gorillas respectively.

Both Parks offer employment opportunities to people hence reducing unemployment rates.

Differences between Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park:

Nyugwe National Park is dominated by rain forest while Volcanoes National park bamboo forests.

baby-gorilla-in-bambou-forest-rwanda
Baby Gorilla in bambou forest Rwanda

Nyungwe National Park is Larger than Volcanoes National park – the park lies within the 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi) while Nyungwe forest Spreads over 1,020km².

Nyungwe became a National Park in 2004 as Rwanda sought to increase its tourism beyond the country’s mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, and is certainly worthy of its status because of its spectacular biodiversity While Volcanoes National Park in 1929. There fore, Nyungwe is one of the newly officiated parks in Rwanda.

Nyungwe forest protects 13 primate species more than Volcanoes National Park’s two species (endangered mountain gorillas and rare golden Monkeys).

Nyungwe Forest National park is dominated by tall trees than Volcanoes National Park which is dominated by bamboo.

Volcanoes National Park is situated in Virunga Mountain a range which is not the case with Nyungwe Forest National park.

From Kigali, reaching Volcanoes National park is 2 hours drive while Nyungwe is 6 hours. Therefore, Nyungwe Forest National Park is situated far away from Kigali capital than Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes national Park hosts the chief tourist attraction in Rwanda – which is Mountain Gorillas.

Statistically, Volcanoes National park receives more Visitors than Nyungwe Forest National Park. This is because tourists come to Rwanda mostly to see Gorillas – this is according to annual RDB statistical data. It should be noted that, Rwanda has a perfect destination for gorilla tracking in the world in its Volcanoes National park, regarded to be the leading Rwanda safari park, thus receiving a huge number of tourists than other parks.

Volcanoes National Park is situated in the northern part of Rwanda while Nyungwe National park the South West corner of Rwanda.

Volcanoes National park surrounded by volcanic peaks while Nyungwe National park is surrounded by tropical forests.
It is only in Nyungwe Forest National park where canopy walk is conducted.

MAJOR TOURIST ACTIVITIES IN RWANDA

The things to do in Rwanda are not many, but so unique. The country is long passed its war torn days and now is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. I was blown away when I first arrived in the country because it didn’t feel like Africa at all, it felt like Germany. Unlike other Eastern Africa countries there is strict law and order, there isn’t any garbage on the streets, and lawns are manicured to impossible perfection.

The country is extremely small and there is one thing that everyone knows you can do in Rwanda, gorilla trekking. I would implore you to get to know the people of the nation as they have been through very tumultuous times and have risen above that to create a very unique place in Africa.

Kigali city tour

Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, very unique and very clean, strategically located in the heart of Rwanda; Kigali is a gorgeous city with great weather. In Kigali, you can visit Gisozi Genocide memorial museum to know more about the 1994 unrest in Rwanda. If you come to Africa and fail to reach Kigali, you have really missed a lot. Other genocide memorial museums around Kigali include Nyamata and Ntarama churches, located 30 - 35km from Kigali city.

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking is the climax of all safaris in Rwanda – visiting Rwanda with out reaching mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park is a big mistake. A very unique experience when you can get inches away from Gorillas is something that you can’t put a price on. The largest groups of gorillas are in Uganda but you can also have a great experience in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park hosts ten habituated Gorilla groups which are set for tourism. These include Susa, Group 13, Hirwa, Ugenda, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Umubano and others. Every gorilla group is tracked once by 8 people maximum per day. This aims at reducing human impact on the gorilla habitat.

To go gorilla tracking, you must have a gorilla permit, obtained in advance because their demand is very high throughout the year. Each gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US dollar 750 for foreign non residents, US dollars 450 for foreign residents living in East Africa excluding Rwanda, US dollars 375 for foreigners living in Rwanda, US dollars 300 for East African residents (Ugandans, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Burundians and 30.000 Rwanda Francs for Rwandans.

Gorilla in the Jungle

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park

Chimp trekking is the second thought for activity after mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Rwanda’s chimpanzees are found in Nyungwe forest national Park. The park is known for its rich biodiversity and being the most endemic species- rich area in all of Africa. Other primates include the Grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, ververts, golden monkeys, baboons, Red tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkeys among others. Here we currently have only 2 habituated Chimps groups and tracking activity starts early at 5am from the park headquarters. Each Chimpanzee tracking permit costs US dollars 90, booked through tour operators or Park offices directly.

Forest and Canopy walk

Also takes place in Nyungwe National Park, with about 4 trails where you can take a guided walk in the forest. Each trail takes different duration. We also have adventurous canopy where one gets a fantastic view of the forest and birds.

Game drives

Rwanda is famous for protecting a variety of wild animals and birds – Akagera national Park is situated in Eastern region of Rwanda. Boat cruise on Lake Ihema leaves a lot to be desired.

Lake Kivu

Part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu is the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. A great relaxing region where tourists are safe to visit and swim (ask locals where) and it’s also extremely picturesque. Make sure that you try to visit cities like Kibuye, Goma and Gisenye near the DR Congo border. On Kivu Lake, we have a boat ride to the hot springs, or to the coffee Island.

Butare or Huye

This is the cultural hub for the country and was once the most important city before 1965. Here you will find a great national museum that will show the great history of Rwanda and also it’s entrance into the modern world. Visit the nearby Nyabisindu (Nayanza) where you can find the impressive royal palace of Rwanda’s fuedal monarchy.

Dian Fossey’s grave yard

The American researcher Dian Fossey set up a research center high in the Virunga volcanic mountains midway between Karisimbi and Bisoke, naming it the Karisoke Research centre. Now all that remains are some foundation stones and signs detailing what were there. She is buried there next to her beloved mountain gorilla digit. A guide leads the strenuous 3-4 hours hike. You will need at least good 6hours to do the round trip, allowing time to explore.

Dina Fossey Grave Yard

Gisenyi is a bustling market town on the edge of Lake Kivu and not far from the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (worth a wander to if you have a spare half hour to see the bustle of truckers and coaches sorting out visas to cross into or from Goma). There are hot springs just out of town and also the major brewery that brews the local Primus beer and has a license to brew Guinness. You can visit on weekdays by prior arrangement.

Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park

These elusive cheeky creatures hang out quite low down in the park, so are a good warm up for the gorillas. At $ 100 a permit they are also considerably cheaper. You will get a guide to accompany you and tell you facts about their habitat and habits.

Rwanda National Ballet

Watch a performance of the Rwanda National Ballet, famous for its traditional dancing and singing.

Virunga Volcanoes

Climb the Virunga Volcanoes between Ruhengeri and Gisenyi. Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most commonly climbed volcano from Gisenyi. The Parc National des Volcans region is composed of volcanic mountains, of which two, Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, across the frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still active. These are best trekked rather than climbed, and are still for the intrepid. In Rwanda we have Mout Bishoke hiked in one day, and Karisimbi that requires two days.

Rwanda is a small land locked country making part of the East African community. The country is emerging up as one of the leading tourist destination in Africa. Among the places to visit in Rwanda include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest and Akagera wildlife park as well as culture and genocide museums. The magnificent Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is the leading tourist destination in East Africa due to presence of the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is the most popular tourist attraction into the country.travel tips

It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Below are the top responsible travel tips for Rwanda
1. Be considerate of Rwanda’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Descent dressing is highly recommended. In other words, visitors to Rwanda are advised to dress modestly and respectfully- Clothes which cover body parts are highly recommended especially in worshiping places.

3. Ask permission, remove your shoes and cover your shoulders with a jacket or wrap before entering a place of worship.

4. To protect the environment, avoid polythen bags or papers and try to avoid buying bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings and thanking will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products like crafts and wooded materials. In doing so, you are supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Avoid supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals and birds.

8. Always seek permission before taking photos of people, businesses, and buildings among others. Without people consent, please do not take photos.

9. When on community visits or home stays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals. However, if you are visiting orphanages, please give to the needy.

10. Respect Rwanda’s recent history. Try to avoid discussing politics, ethnicity or genocide because some Rwandans would not like to remind about their past bad experience.

11. Always follow instructions when trekking primates like Gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys among others.

12. Always listen to your safari guides’ advise and try to ask where you have not understood.

13. Try to keep time set to start any activity. Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking starts in the morning at around 8am among others.

I and my 4 friends had a wonderful moment in Rwanda with African Jungle Adventures Limited! We booked a 5 day Rwanda gorilla tour package going to Nyungwe National Park for primates / birds and Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla tracking. We also visited some genocide memorial museums in Rwanda like Bisesero, Gisozi in Kigali and Murambi technical school along the highway from Nyungwe National Park to Kigali city. Baker was our tour guide and he made our safari experience unforgettable!!

Our gorilla trip started on 15th to 19th of April, 2015. Our flight from South Africa delayed and we arrived in Kigali a bit late at 11:20am, Baker our tour driver from African Jungle Adventures was already at Kigali International Airport waiting for us. He warmly greeted and welcomed us to this part of the world. Because we were a bit late for our drive to Nyungwe National Park, he got for us packed lunch in Kigali, then we set off in our comfortable 4×4 Land cruiser to Nyungwe National Park. We never wanted to drive late at night. This is about 5hours drive. We had brief stops at Nyanza King’s Palace and Murambi genocide memorial museum! We were so shocked with what we saw at Murambi genocide site, this was a technical school where many people gathered during the genocide, they were expecting to be safe in this school yet it was a trick to get them all killed. The Army with guns and machete came and massacred all children and adults who sought security in this area. We had to shade tears on what we saw (see photo below). Workers of this place / destination guides are genocide survivors and narrated to us all that happened before, during and after the genocide around Murambi.

rwanda-victimsYou can see blood on the walls of classes. people massacred included children, students, youths and old people and were all buried in mass graves. The top of mass graves were turned into volley ball pitch by French Soldiers and started playing volley ball from there as a way to hide evidence!! Genocide survivors reported. After the genocide, mass graves were dug and bodies preserved in classes for all people allover the world to witness what happened in Rwanda. My dear, it was terrible!!
We had to continue with our journey to Nyungwe Forest, the staff of Nyungwe Forest Lodge was already waiting for us, we arrived by 7:25pm, welcomed us, we had dinner and overnight. The lodge is very amazing, its the best lodge around Nyungwe National Park.

The next day we started early at 4:30am, we had breakfast and continued for Chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest. The walk in the forest was quiet adventurous, the jungle grounds were so slippery, I went on falling down and all am friends were laughing at me! Chimps in Nyungwe forest are so fast and you must be also fast to see them. I have ever been in Kibale National park in Uganda and found chimps in big numbers. Kibale offers great views than Nyungwe forest. We returned to the lodge, relaxed as we waited for lunch.

I and my boy friend stayed behind for massage, we took a guided walk in the tea plantations and nearby communities. the other friends went for canopy walk adventure. The other activities you can do around Nyungwe National Park include bird watching with over 300 species, guided forest walk with different forest trails, not forgetting colobus monkey tracking. It was reported that Nyungwe National Park has about 13 primate species. This marks the end of our day 2 of our safari in Rwanda.

The next day we had a longer drive to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, a home to some of the world's remaining population of mountain gorillas. We checked-in Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge on the edges of Volcanoes National Park. We had a relaxed evening, dinner and overnight.

On Day 4, we start our day with mountain gorilla tracking. We had breakfast at Sabyinyo lodge, then we assembled at the park headquarters (with our packed water and scacks) at Kinigi for a briefing about gorilla trekking experience in Parc National des Volcans as well as group allocation. The park has 10 habituated gorilla groups, some are close, some are far. Because we had to return to Kigali after gorilla tracking, our tour guide requested the park warden to assign us to a nearby gorilla group so that we return early and drive back to Kigali. The drive to Kigali is between 90 and 120 minutes drive.

virungagorillasWe are assigned to Sabyinyo group and the trek was quiet easy. We had fun with the gorillas, we took fantastic photos and video. This was the highlight of our safari in Rwanda. After 1 hour with the gorillas, we had to descend to the base, boarded our vehicle, we returned to the lodge for lunch and hit the road back to Kigali. We were awarded certificated to surviving the trek. This is a must do when you visit Africa. On my next vacation, I will combine gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, its such amazing experience.

Tips to successfully enjoy a gorilla trek in Rwanda

Start with heavy breakfast because the trek is strenuous.

Carry enough water and snacks in your day pack

Hiring a porter is highly recommended. He will assist carry your day pack, pull and push you when you get stuck during the trek. Also this is direct creation of employment to local people, thus, reducing the problem of poaching.

Proper body protection wear is so important. Recommended are long sleeved shirts / blouse, long pants, hat, garden gloves, hiking boots up to ankle level and insect repellent.

Above all, you must follow instructions from the guide during the trek and when with gorillas.

Rwanda is famusly known as "A Country of A Thousand Hills", located in East Africa, and a home to one of the last groups of mountain gorillas in the world. The fact that mountain gorillas is a critically endangered specie, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is one of the best places to go gorilla trekking in the World. A wide variety of Rwanda gorilla safari packages available online offered by over 100 travel agents found in Kigali capital city and in Ruhengeri town on the edges of Volcanoes National Park. and is renowned for its excellent tourist infrastructure and wide range of accommodation, from luxury game lodges and five-star hotels to friendly country houses, small hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and camping and self-catering establishments.

Luxury: Rwanda has some of the most luxurious lodges and hotels in the east Africa, with names such as Lake Kivu Serena hotel, mountain Gorilla view lodge, Akagera game lodge and hotel Mille Collines. You’ll also find that you often pay less in Rwanda for your luxury than elsewhere in the world. Safari lodges usually offer an all-inclusive package incorporating game drives, meals and drinks. Most up market establishments also have spa facilities on site.

Mid-range: To save a bit of money, consider checking into one of the numerous bed-and-breakfast establishments on offer in Rwanda, or even hire a self-catering unit. Self- catering accommodation in Rwanda ranges from apartments and holiday villas to lodges and farm cottages. Guest houses are generally slightly more expensive, but also worth considering if you want to experience a warm Rwanda welcome.

Budget: Rwanda has a well-developed network of backpacker accommodation options, some of which are surprisingly comfortable and luxurious. There is also an active camping community and you will find well- serviced campsites throughout the country, particularly in the national parks, including the popular volcanoes National Park. Pre-booking is generally advisable.

Special events: Rwanda offers a range of accommodation for special celebrations, including weddings. Plan an authentic African wedding, a ceremony in the bush with wildlife around you, a beach or mountain wedding, or a reception in the romantic landscapes.

Nip and tuck: Rwanda is among the most sought-after destinations to receive the best medical procedures and treatments at reasonable cost with, if time permits, a recuperative holiday in the sun and some spectacular sightseeing thrown in. Medical tourism includes medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, fertility or rehabilitation, for which there are many excellent private facilities in Rwanda.

TRAVEL TIP: Bear in mind that grading in Rwanda is voluntary and so there may be many guest houses and Bed and breakfast that do not have star-grading but are still quality establishments. Look for recommendations from fellow travelers. Also check for off-season specials as there are great bargains to be had, especially in the luxury sector.

When to visit

Rwanda is in the southern hemisphere, so it is dry here when it’s winter in Europe and North America (November to February), which makes it ideal for anyone wanting to escape the cold weather. If you’re planning a safari, wet season in Rwanda are very pleasant as it’s warm during the day and dry and cool at night. Late wet season is popular for game spotting game because the vegetation is sparse and animals visit the waterholes to drink.

Stay healthy

Rwanda has a well-developed healthcare system. There are public hospitals throughout Rwanda, but as in many other countries, you’ll probably get quicker care at a private hospital. Be sure to top up on medical insurance before leaving home. Well-qualified doctors, dentists and other specialists can be found in the main centres but you will have to make an appointment to see one, unless it’s an emergency.

Consult a healthcare professional in Rwanda about a suitable prophylactic. Your choice of drug will depend on how long you are visiting the malarial area, the time of year and your personal health. The old adage ‘prevention is the best cure’ also holds true. Use repellent and cover up at dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes are most active by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and shoes and socks, if possible.

TRAVEL TIP: If you develop a bad headache, have aching joints and recurring fevers and chills after your trip, advice your doctor that you have been in a malarial area. Malaria symptoms can sometimes be confused with flu symptoms.

HIV/Aids: While Rwanda has a high prevalence of HIV/Aids, your only real risk of contracting this syndrome is if you have unprotected sex with an infected individual. There should be no reason for unprotected sex as condoms are freely available in pharmacies and convenience stores. Antiretroviral are issued free to rape victims at Rwanda hospitals. Should you be the victim of a sexual assault, it’s essential that you get prophylactic treatment for HIV/Aids within 72 hours.

Personal medication: There are pharmacies throughout Rwanda and many everyday medications, such as painkillers, are available over the counter. Some large chain stores, like Clicks, also have in-store pharmacies that offer good value for money.

If you have a specific medical condition, it’s wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement, even if the trade name differs in Rwanda.