Visit Rwanda National parks
Visit Rwanda National parks- Famous for being a home of a thousand hills, Rwanda is a small country blessed with so many attractions in different parts of the country. Some of the attractions in Rwanda are the national parks which include Akagera national park, volcanoes national park, Nyungwe forest national park, and Gishwati Makura national park. These national parks are close to each other so you can even explore them all in less than 10 days.
Each of the above places has its own attractions and these include the primates, mammals, the mountains, the lakes, and the bird species. All these attractions can be explored at any time of the year with the dry season being the best for a visit to Rwanda since it’s characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the vegetation short for clear views of the animals.
Safari activities to do when you visit Rwanda National parks
The following are the key tourism activities you can do on your visit to Rwanda national parks;
Primate safaris in Rwanda
There are so many primates in Rwanda but the most trekked are the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and golden monkeys. Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are found in volcanoes national park which is located in the northwestern part of the country with these primates living on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes Bisoke, Gahinga, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, and Muhabura.
On the other hand, chimpanzees are found in Nyungwe forest national park and Gishwati Makura national park which has just been gazetted. Other primates in Rwanda include the blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, L’hoests monkeys, hamlyn’s monkeys, grey checked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and much more.
Primate trekking in all the mentioned places does require one to have a trekking permit which they present at the briefing center on the day of trekking. The activities do start with a briefing at the park offices where wardens teach the trekkers about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity before ranger guides lead them into the jungle.
As they search for different primates in different national parks, they are able to see some of the park animals, primates, and different bird species but on meeting the primates, they are given 1 hour to be around them before trekking out of the jungle. During the 1 hour, the trekkers are able to learn about the primate behaviors, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Game drives in Rwanda
The only place to have game drives in Rwanda is Akagera national park since it’s the only savannah park in Rwanda. The game drive safaris in Akagera are done at any time of the year in the morning, evening, or night game drives. The game drives do expose you to different park animals as well as birds of the park. Some of the animals you are likely to see on a game drive in Akagera national park include lions, impalas, cape elands, elephants, duikers, leopards, roan antelopes, klipspringer, zebras, buffaloes, impalas, topis, and rhinos among others.
Birding safaris in Rwanda
You can visit Rwanda to encounter the different bird species in the small country. There are so many birding places in Rwanda and most of these are in national parks such as Gishwati Makura national park, volcanoes national park, Akagera national park, and Nyungwe forest national park. other birding places include Lake Kivu, Kigali city, and areas around twin lakes Ruhondo and Burera.
Birding safaris in Rwanda will expose you to birds such as archer’s ground robin, Albertine owlet, Rwenzori turaco dusky crimson wing, strange weaver, red-faced woodland warbler, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, handsome francolin, bat hawk, red-faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori batis, Rockefeller’s sunbird, Kivu ground thrush, shelley’s crimsonwing, buff-throated Apalis, dwarf honeyguide, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, archer’s robin-chat, and great egret.
Other birds you will encounter in Rwanda include crowned lapwing, marabou stork, cattle egret, lilac-breasted roller, ross’s turaco, lilac-breasted roller, grey-backed fiscal, crested barbet, African darter, little bee-eater, grey-backed fiscal, red-billed fire finch, lesser striped swallow, eastern grey plantain eater, cardinal woodpecker, osprey, northern fiscal, Tropical Boubou, hamerkop, African rock pigeon, and Southern Black Flycatcher among others.
Hiking safaris in Rwanda
There are so many mountains and hills you can hike in Rwanda but the famously hiked are those in volcanoes national park. These are the Virunga volcanoes and they are about 5 of them though only 4 are up for hiking. You can hike Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Muhabura while on a safari in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park.
There is also mount Kigali in the capital city of the country available for hiking. Hiking any of these mountains requires one to have a hiking permit which they can buy at the park offices or from a trusted tour operator. The activity starts with the hikers waking up early in the morning and moving to the briefing points.
Here they will meet other hikers and the park rangers for briefing about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity and thereafter the hikers will pick walking sticks to help them balance during the hike. Hiking these Virunga mountains takes different hours with the ranger guides leading the hikers through different hiking trails as they spot different park animals like the buffaloes, elephants, duikers, several monkey species, and different birds.
Hiking until the summit of any of the Virunga volcanoes exposes you to the crater lake if its Mountain Bisoke, beautiful surroundings, views of other Virunga volcanoes, Lake Kivu, Lake Burera, and Ruhondo, and the aerial view of the park itself. When the hikers spend some good time at the summit, they do slope back to the starting point where the driver guides drive them to their accommodations or other destinations.
Boat cruise safaris in Rwanda
Tours can fly in Rwanda and have fascinating boat cruises on different water bodies spread across the country. The boat cruise in Rwanda are done in Akagera national park on Lake Ihema, twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo, and then Lake Kivu on the borders of Rwanda and DR Congo. The boat cruises on Lake Kivu give you breathtaking views of the surroundings, the bird species, and views of the Virunga mountains. The lake has no water animals like crocodiles, and hippos so it’s safe for swimming too.
The boat cruises on Lake Ihema in Akagera national park expose you to hippos and crocodiles, park animals like the buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, antelopes on the shores of the lake most especially in the dry seasons. The boat cruise also exposes you to a number of waterbird species like the papyrus gonolek, African jacana, shoebill stork, white-tailed blue monard, African harrier hawk, flycatchers, and sunbirds to mention but a few.
The other place to do boat cruises in Rwanda is twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo and this will give you an opportunity to spot local fishermen, village people crossing the lake on small boats, an aerial view of the surroundings, some of the Virunga mountains since the lakes are located at the base of mount Muhabura and you will spot some of the bird species around the lake such as Rwenzori turaco, strange weaver, red-faced woodland warbler and much more.