Rwanda is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of the mountain gorilla and a great destination for adventure travel. There are believed to be no more than 700 mountain gorillas left in the world today. As such, seeing these rare and captivating primates in their native habitat is the focus for most Rwanda holidays. It's an unforgettable and moving experience that ranks as one of Africa's undisputed travel highlights.
Gorilla treks among the forest-clad slopes of Volcanoes National Park form the basis for tailor-made tours of this tiny, landlocked African country. The park contains the volcanic peaks of the Virunga Mountains and it was in this scenic corner of Rwanda that American primatologist Dian Fossey undertook her pioneering studies into mountain gorilla behaviour.
Wildlife sightings can be had in Rwanda's other excellent National Parks. Nyungwe and Akagera National Park are home to Big Five animals and a spectacular array of birdlife. Rwanda has more than 500 bird species, around a third of the birds found in all of Africa.
Adventure and wildlife tourism are gradually enabling Rwanda to get back on track, following the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi that ignited in the early 1990s. This culminated in a brutal genocide, which is commemorated at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital, Kigali.
Rwanda is now a thriving and safe travel destination. All of its major attractions are within easy striking distance of Kigali, a busy city known for its good restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Beyond lies a green and pleasant land of rolling farmland, terraced tea and coffee plantations, and swathes of rainforest. Rwanda's lush landscape has given it the name of Les pays des milles collines - the land of a thousand hills.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Rwanda, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
Warm all year throughout the country, cooler in the mountains. The rainy seasons occur from mid-January to April and mid-October to mid-December.
Easter, Christmas and New Year are all celebrated as national holidays. Other annual public holidays include Democracy Day, on 28 January; Independence Day, on 1 July; and Republic Day, on 25 September. Genocide Memorial Day, on 7 April, is a particularly emotive occasion, commemorating the savage massacres of 1994, from which the nation is still recovering.
Maize meal eaten with a sauce of meat gravy or vegetables is a staple. Brochettes are available at street stalls and some restaurants serve Franco-Belgian cuisine. Good selection of wines, beers, and spirits.
The traditional way of life is based on agriculture and cattle. Kinyarwanda is the language most widely spoken, while English and French are also spoken. Two-thirds of the population is Christian, however tribal religious beliefs are also widely held. The majority of the population belong to the Hutu tribe. There is a significant Tutsi minority (15 per cent) and a smaller minority of Twa, a pygmy group believed to be the country's first inhabitants. Be aware that anyone aged over 12 will have been affected by the terrible events of 1994, and sensitivities remain.
Kigali (KGL) 12 km from the city.
Goos bus network of mostly minibuses. Main roads are in good condition, country roads may be impassable during wet season. Car hire is scarce and mainly in the capital or Ruhengeri.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Rwanda. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Rwanda. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Rwanda, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
Alison Nicolle - Africa Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0611