Rwanda Safaris Overview
Rwanda is most known for wonderful gorilla trekking and that is the driving force for the bulk of tourism. Gorilla trekking is definitely one of the pinnacle wildlife experiences on earth and well worth the trip to Rwanda for that reason alone. Rwanda does currently have the best logistics for high quality gorilla trekking and because it is a very small country it is possible to get a lot of flavor for the place during a 2 to 3 night stay to focus on the gorillas.
Rwanda is forever linked with the tragic genocide that occurred there during 1994. Surprisingly to most it has rebounded from that turbulent time to become one of Africa’s most progressive countries and time and again people comment on how friendly, welcoming and lovely the people are. This creates a real awakening opportunity for travelers as you are struck by the friendly culture and yet realize how shocking it is that horrific genocide occurred here, driving home the point that all human cultures are at such risk.
There is a great national pride and the country has made the decision to keep the genocide history out there to educate rather than shrink from it. As such there is an impressive genocide museum which in fact recounts just how often it has happened in the world. There are also large numbers of sites of atrocities where shocking reminders continue to exist.
Often logistics make it necessary to stay a night in the capital city of Kigali. It is certainly one of the cleanest cities on earth and feels very manageable and safe. Travel to the mountains where the gorillas reside is simple with just a 2 ½ to 3 hours of driving on good quality roads that wind through scenic mountain areas with terraced farming dominating throughout. Small villages give a glimpse into local culture and it is possible to visit local businesses or schools to expand your cultural experiences.
Wildlife beyond the gorilla focus is a point of emphasis for Rwanda’s future but is not yet compelling for the typical safari goer. Nyungwe National Park is working on habituating chimpanzees but viewing is difficult at this time, however, there is excellent viewing of colobus monkeys. The forest at Nyungwe is extremely ecologically important and has the potential to become a safari jewel in the future as tourism further develops. Akgera is the only general safari game area and is rarely visited but sightings are still developing and not on par with Kenya and Tanzania that can be easily combined with Rwanda.