Rwanda is one of the countries to visit if one is looking for luxury tours. The country has a number of places to visit on this safari among which include the national parks – volcanoes national park, Nyungwe forest national park, Akagera national park, and Giswati-Makura national park. Apart from Gishwati-Makura national park, all the other parks can be accessed by air transport which saves time for travelers as well as bumpy dust roads.
Around the national parks in Rwanda, there are accommodation facilities that are categorized as luxury so there is no need of worrying about where to stay. The distance between these lodges and the national parks is very little so getting to the park for tourism activities can take a little time. To have the best of your luxury safari in Rwanda, you need to know when to come into the country and the best time has always been the dry season of June to September and December to February characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the trekking trails less slippery, vegetation short and roads leading to destination passable.
Activities To Do On A Luxury Tour In Rwanda
Primate trekking: Primate trekking is the most done activity on a luxury safari in Rwanda. There are a number of primates that are found within Rwanda’s national parks and these include mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in volcanoes national park, as well as chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park and Gishwati-Makura national park. Primate trekking in Rwanda is done by travelers that are above the age of 15 years and participants must poses a valid trekking permit.
Primate trekking does start with a briefing at the park offices where participants get to learn about the dos and don’ts of the activity. After the briefing exercise, the trekkers are assigned armed ranger guides to led them into the jungle until they meet the primates. During the search, the trekkers are able to meet different park animals, birds, and vegetation but when the primates are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Birding: Luxury travelers to Rwanda can visit different places in the country to spot a number of birds. Rwanda has over 750 bird species that have been so far recorded and these are found in places such as Nyungwe forest national park, Kigali, Lake Kivu, Akagera national park, Gishwati Makura national park, and volcanoes national park. Some of the bird species you can spot in Rwanda include Archer’s ground robin, black and white manikin, dusky crimson wing, Rwenzori double-collared, francolin, dusky crimson wing, strange weaver, baglafecht weaver, handsome francolin, red-backed shrike, bateleur, Rwenzori batis, grauer’s rush warbler, red-faced woodland warbler, white collared silverback, lesser honeyguide, and African green broadbill.
Other bird species in Rwanda include papyrus ganalex, eastern grey plantain eater, grey crowned crane, saddle-billed stork, palm-nut vulture, crowned lapwing, white-browed coucal, black-headed weaver, helmeted guinea fowl, great egret, common squacco heron, eastern grey plantain-eater, white-browed coucal, crowned lapwing, lilac-breasted roller, cardinal woodpecker, ross’s turaco, grey-backed fiscal, little bee-eater, grey-backed fiscal, northern fiscal, and red-billed fire finch among others.
Hiking: On luxury tours to Rwanda, you can be part of the hiking activities that are mainly done in the volcanoes national park. Hiking activities are done on Mountain Karisimbi, Gahinga, Muhabura, and Bisoke. Hiking any of these mountains does start with a briefing from the park offices after which an armed ranger guide leads participants to the summit of the mountain. Hiking takes different hours but all the mountains are hiked to and from in just a single day apart from Karisimbi which takes 2 days.
During the hike, the participants are able to spot different park animals, birds, and vegetation covers. At the summit of these mountains, you get to have a distant view of the surrounding mountains, plantations, national parks, lakes, rivers, and on top of Mountain Bisoke is a crater lake. After enjoying the summit of these mountains, you hie back to the starting point where you meet your driver to transfer you back to the lodge or your next destination.
Game drives: On a luxury safari in Rwanda, game drives are only done in Akagera national park. It’s the only savanna park in the country with over 100 large mammals. Game drives in Akagera national park are done in the morning and evening hours and the activity gives tourists an opportunity to see animals such as lions, zebras, buffaloes, rhinos, antelopes, hyenas, leopards, elephants, olive baboons, hippos, and much more.
Boat cruises: Luxury travelers to Rwanda can have boat cruises in Akagera national park on Lake Ihema and these are done in the morning and evening hours. The boat cruises expose tourists to animals such as crocodiles, hippos, water birds, and some of the park animals on the shores of the lake trying to drink water. Another boat cruise in Rwanda can be done on Lake Kivu where you just have to enjoy the cool breeze water breeze with a distant view of surrounding mountains, plantations, and hills.
Canopy walk: Tourists on a luxury safari in Rwanda can decide to have a nature walk and this is only done in Nyungwe forest national park. The canopy walk starts with a briefing and later rangers do lead the participants on a 90m long bride that is raised 50m from the ground. The canopy walk gives tourists an aerial view of the park surroundings, hills, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, mammals, birds, and different plant species.
Places to visit on luxury tours in Rwanda
Nyungwe forest national park: While on a luxury safari in Rwanda, don’t miss out on visiting Nyungwe forest national park. The park is located in the southwestern part of the country covering a total of 970 sq. km. Nyungwe forest national park is home to the endangered species of chimpanzees are over 500 in this place. Chimpanzee trekking is an activity a tourist on a luxury safari to this park shouldn’t miss out. 2 families in Nyungwe forest national park are up for trekking and one of them is found in Nyungwe forest and the other on Cyamudongo forest. Apart from chimpanzee trekking, other activities such as birding, nature walks, and community tours are done in this park.
Volcanoes national park: This is the most visited park in Rwanda by luxury tourists. What makes the national park famous are the mountain gorillas that are found nowhere else in Rwanda but this place. Volcanoes national park is located in the northwestern part of the country protecting more than half of the mountain gorilla population on an area covering 160 sq. km. Mountain gorilla trekking is the main done activity in volcanoes national park and it’s done mainly on the slopes of Virunga volcanoes like Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Muhabura, Karisimbi, and Bisoke. Other activities done in volcanoes national park include birding, golden monkey trekking, and hiking.
Akagera national park: Located in the northeastern part of the country, Akagera national park is another area you don’t have to miss visiting while on a luxury safari in Rwanda. The park is the only savannah park in the country protecting over 100 large mammals. The main activity that luxury travelers to Akagera national park can do is a game drive where they meet different park animals such as zebras, rhinos, leopards, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, and antelopes among others. Other possible activities in Akagera national park include birding, hot air balloons, nature walks among others.
Gishwati-Makura national park: Luxury travelers can take a visit to Gishwati -Makura national park on their luxury safari in Rwanda. Visiting Gishwati Makura national park gives tourists an opportunity to trek some of the remaining species of chimpanzees in the country. Chimpanzee trekking is the main dine activity in this park and there is only one fully habituated family. Another activity that can be done in this park is birding where you get an opportunity to encounter over 126 birds.
Lake Kivu: Luxury travelers to Rwanda can spend some time relaxing on the fresh waters of Lake Kivu. The lake is located on the borders between Rwanda and DR Congo. While on Lake Kivu, there are a number of activities luxury travelers can be part of and these include boat cruises, sport fishing, birding as well as fishing.
Travel in a helicopter on luxury tours in Rwanda: While on a luxury tour in Rwanda you can travel to different destinations using helicopters from Akagera aviation a company in charge of domestic flights within the country. Using flights to different places in the country saves time as well as bumpy roads full of dust. Luxury travelers on a safari in Rwanda can fly to Nyungwe forest national park to encounter chimpanzees, volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking, and lastly Akagera national park where they can have game drives.
Best time to have a luxury safari in Rwanda
Luxury tours in Rwanda can be done at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest and these are the dry months. The dry months in Rwanda do happen from June to September and December to February and they are characterized by little or no rainfall which does not affect the activities in the places visited. Inside the national parks, the trekking trails and game trucks are less slippery, the vegetation is short giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to these places are passable.
Tourists can still have luxury tours in Rwanda in the rainy season which occurs from March to May and October to November. During these months, the accommodation facilities give huge discounts but there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails and game trucks are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to these places are impassable.
Accommodation on a luxury safari in Rwanda
While visiting different areas around Rwanda, in places you want to spend a night or more there are accommodation facilities that are luxury around all areas in Rwanda. In volcanoes national park we have One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Bisate Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Virunga Lodge, and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge among others. Luxury lodges in Nyungwe forest national park and Gishwati-Makura national park include One & Only Nyungwe House, and Nyungwe Forest Lodge. In Akagera national park, the only luxury accommodation is Ruzizi Tented Lodge.