The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country, a few degrees south of the Equator, and bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is regarded as one of the safest countries in Africa to visit.
One of the first things that strikes you, other than the warm, friendly people is its breathtaking scenery; Rwanda is often called the “land of a thousand hills” which becomes quite apparent as you begin to drive around. The capital is Kigali, located in the centre of the country.
Rwanda is also often remembered for the 1994 Rwandan genocide, against the Tutsi by members of the Hutu ethnic majority which over a 100-day period murdered as many as between 800,000 to 1 million people, mostly of the Tutsi minority.
Over the last several decades it has also grown into a vibrant destination for tourism. One of the first things most people notice immediately, as we did, is that Kigali is spotlessly clean as well as much of the rural areas. Residents of Rwanda take great pride in their country, and it shows, as you’re driving around, you’ll see residents sweeping up their streets. The country has also established many laws to protect the environment along with many practical measures like the city of Kigali has also placed waste bins all around the city to encourage citizens and tourists to avoid littering.
Gorilla trekking contributes a large amount of Rwanda’s tourism sector. According to our park ranger the gorilla treks which are operated by the Rwandan government, shares about 10% of the revenue with the communities that surround the national parks. The districts themselves determine how the money should be spent whether it’s on schools, infrastructure or other essentials to improve their lives.
For more images please see our Gorilla Trekking gallery.
With Rwanda’s conservation efforts, gorilla poaching has for the most part been eradicated. Community members who once may have been involved with that trade are now fairly compensated as porters and trackers.
The volcanic range which spans Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the endangered mountain gorilla. The largest living primate, gorillas are spread across much of the equatorial African rainforest.
One of the most unequalled wildlife encounters you’ll ever have, some even say life changing, is hiking Rwanda’s lush Volcanoes National Park to witness the mountain gorillas. For one treasurable hour, you can enter the lives of these extraordinary creatures. You’ll be able to witness infants playing, mothers cradle their young, adults going about their business foraging, and if you’re fortunate, an encounter with a gigantic silverback, heart-racing and never-to-be-forgotten.
Check out our Rwandan gorilla trek post.
Golden Monkey Trek
The Golden Monkey trek is also accessible in the Volcanoes National Park. The monkeys live at the bottom of the mountain range in the bamboo forest and terrain there is relatively flat and easy to trek. These shy but quick-moving small creatures live in social groups of up to 100 individuals. They’re also very pretty, with shiny reddish-gold backs.
For more images please see our Golden Monkey gallery.
Also check out our post Searching for Golden Monkeys in Rwanda.