It was in Rwanda that Africa's very first National Park was founded. Belgian colonialists created Albert National Park in 1925, in an attempt to protect the mountain gorillas that had been discovered on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains just two decades before.
What was once Albert National Park is now Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda's most celebrated wildlife reserve borders Virunga National Park in the DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Gorilla treks into the rainforest are challenging but hugely rewarding. The sight of a powerful male silverback gorilla and his harem of females is one that you'll never forget.
Nyungwe National Park is a great reason to extend your Rwanda holiday. It's home to several primate species, including large numbers of chimpanzees. Ruwenzori colobus and L'Hoest's monkeys can also be seen from forested hiking trails.
Akagera National Park, close to the border with Tanzania, lies at a lower altitude and has a landscape that differs distinctly from the rainforests to the west. It's acacia woodlands and open grasslands are home to native game that includes buffalos, zebras, giraffes and 11 species of antelope. Named after the Akagera River, a remote headwater of the Nile, the park is also a great spot for birdwatching - rollers, hornbills, and bee-eaters and fish eagles among the species to look out for.