Rwanda Safaris - 4x4 Self-drive Trips and Holidays
Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is a small but stunningly beautiful country in the heart of Africa, her dominant feature being the milliard fertile green and beautifully terraced hills scattered all over the countryside. But she is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. In her north, track the rare Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, or the habituated Golden Monkeys popularly referred to as the little sisters of the gorillas; or enjoy a day-long guided hike up one of the volcanoes in this beautiful national park.
Tour Ibyi’Iwacu cultural village for a Rwandan cultural experience or join your Guide on a town tour of Ruhengeri including the local market where you meet, mix, and mingle with the local people. In the south, Nyungwe rain-forest National Park is a fairy-tale land nature lover’s paradise with stunning scenery, guided forest hikes down the valleys to beautiful water-falls; Tracking large troops of habituated Angola colobus Monkeys; get your adrenalin pumped on the Canopy Walk, the only one in East and Central Africa; Birding tours with expert guides; Track habituated Chimpanzees in Cyamudongo or enjoy Cultural interaction tours to some of the local tea plantations where you meet and mingle with local people.
In Rwanda’s east, the small but incredibly beautiful Akagera National Park is a big game country and home of the African Big-5; elephants, newly-introduced lions, rhinos, large herds of buffalo, even the elusive leopard when lucky, and milliard other plains game including eland and hippos and giant Nile crocodiles in Lake Ihema and her many other water bodies. On the gorgeous Lake Kivu, Africa’s 6th largest lake which forms Rwanda’s western border with DR Congo are found the resort towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu, perfect spots for a beach stay, leisure, and relaxation as well as guided town tours and dining where meet and mingle with local Rwandans as they go about their daily life.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is often described as “life-changing” and with good reason. With only an estimated 880 Gorillas left in the world, to see these gentle creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unique moment. Gorillas make their homes in and amongst the bamboo-covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. Trek to see them and you’ll be introduced by your expert trackers and guides to one of the fully-habituated families of mountain gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe-inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about their daily lives.
When it comes to birding, Rwanda is amongst Africa’s most exciting destinations – within this relatively small and compact country, there are over 701 bird species of which 27 are Albertine Rift endemics. Highlights include the Red-Faced Barbet, Shoebill Stork, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Papyrus Gonolek, and the Miombo Wren-Warblers. Rwanda has seven Important Birding Areas (IBAs) including the three National Parks—Volcanoes, Akagera, and Nyungwe. The other IBAs are at: Rugezi Swamp, Akanyaru, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo.
Experience a classic African Safari in beautiful Akagera National Park. With Lake Ihema in the background and cooler temperatures, this is a safari experience unlike any of Rwanda’s neighbors. Akagera is located approximately 110 km from Kigali. The majority of the way is paved, and the last 28km are on a dirt road, therefore it is recommended to have a 4×4. For self-drive safaris, there is no need to book. Cars are available for hire, there is one 7-seater game viewing vehicle which can be hired out for either a half or full day, all of which includes the vehicle, driver, and guide.
While it might have been the gorillas that entice you to Rwanda, it’s the people of Rwanda who will keep you coming back. Ancient traditions of honor and hospitality run strong here, and anybody who takes the time to discover Rwandan culture for themselves will find a proud and unique people, happy to welcome you into their lives and introduce you to their traditions. Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life here, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture.
Beyond the gorillas that made Rwanda famous, wildlife junkies will be thrilled to know that they can track three more species of primate on their Rwandan holiday: Chimpanzees, Black-and-white colobus monkeys, and the endangered Golden monkey. Chimpanzee groups live high in the canopy of Nyungwe National Park, and catching your first glimpse of one crashing through the forest after hiking into their territory is nothing short of astonishing. The black-and-white colobus lives in Nyungwe as well, and these resplendent, long-haired creatures are every wildlife photographer’s dream.
Rwanda’s capital Kigali to is a tourism attraction in her own right; a smart African city of over 1 million, reputedly the cleanest on the continent with wide boulevards, nice flowered pavements, world-class hotels and restaurants, and an international airport. Our city tour of Kigali includes its major historical, cultural, economic, and political landmarks as well as the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre; obviously a moving experience but of our recent history and really helps put everything else into perspective. As you tour other parts of the city, you will see just how incredible Rwanda’s recovery has been – a true testament to mankind’s resilience in the face of unfathomable odds. We also organize dining out experiences to sample Rwanda’s nice local restaurants serving a wide range of delicious Rwandan, continental, and international dishes that will leave you wanting for me.
The most amazing thing about Rwanda is encountering her people, Rwandans themselves, certainly some of the most beautiful, gracious, and charming anywhere in the world and hospitable to a fault, their ancient culture repackaged for the 21stcentury and still being practiced; it is they that always leave the longest lasting mark. Rwanda Tours are beautiful and amazing experience with the magic of the land of a thousand hills, and a million smiles, here in the heart of Africa.
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