Rwanda Tourist Attractions
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Located in the Virunga Mountains, a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the north of the country, the park forms part of the extension of the Congo-Nile Divide, separating two of Africa's most important watersheds. They're also home to the world's last surviving mountain gorilla population, currently a mere 700 individuals.
Gazetted: 1925 to protect the Mountain Gorillas. It was the first National Park in Africa
Size: 12, 500 Hac.
Location: Ruhengeri 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kigali.
- The Virungas with five peaks - Karisimbi (4507m), Bisoke (3711m), Sabyinyo (3634m), Gahinga (3474m) and Muhabura (4127m).
- The last families of mountain Gorillas on earth.
- Other animals including - the rare golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Cape buffalo, black fronted duiker; a profusion of bird life including the Ruwenzori turaco and beautiful francolins.
- In the vicinity the beautiful lakes Burera and Ruhondo.
- The Virunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: Bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m), Sub-alpine (3300-4000m) and Afro-alpine (4000+m).
- Between Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes lie lakes Ngezi, Nyirambubu, Gasindikira and Muraro. Crater Lake is at the peak of Bisoke. Visit to the lakes can be organized.
High altitude makes it generally cold, especially during the evenings. Gorilla viewing is possible all year round.
Five families of gorillas are habituated for tourists. These are:
- Susa group - the largest group with a recent count of 37 due to recent twin birth
- Amahoro groups A and B
- Sabyinyo group
- Group 13
Apart from Gorilla tracking other activities in the vicinity of Ruhengeri and Volcanoes include:
- Visit to the grave of Dian Fossey and her gorilla Digit
- Climbing Karisimbi 2 days
- Climbing Bisoke 1 day
- Tour of the lakes Burera and Ruhondo
- Cave exploration - visit Musanze cave and natural bridge
- Tracking the Golden Monkey
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
This 1000 km². jungle in the south of Rwanda is the largest and most ancient Afro-Montane forest remaining in East & Central Africa, dating back to the last ice age. One of Africa's best-kept secrets, the forest is interspersed with well-marked and maintained trails and boasts 13 rare primate species, the world's largest ever recorded arboreal troop of black/white colobus monkeys, over 300 species of birds and 100 types of orchid. Nyungwe Forest and chimpanzee tracking is the ideal complement to any gorilla safari.
Size: 970 km2
Distance: 225 Km from Kigali, 90 Km from Butare and 54 Km from Cyangugu.
Altitude: 1600 M-2950 M above sea level with temperatures varying between 0°C and 30°C; average day temperatures 15°C.
Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year. The rainy season is from September to May. Dry season June to August with some dry weeks in December and January.
- Largest montane rainforest remaining in Africa
- Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
- Kamiranzovu marsh (13 Km2)
- In the vicinity Cyamudongo community forest with a resident population of Chimpanzees.
- 260 species of trees and shrubs
- Over 100 species of orchids and giant lobelias
- 13 recorded species of primates (25% of Africa's total) including chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Ruwenzori colobus (Colbus angeolensis ruwenzori) l'Hoest's monkey (Cercopithecus l'hoesti), silver monkey (C.mitis doggetti), golden monkey (C.mitis kandti), owl-faced monkey (C.hamlyni), red-tailed monkey (C.ascdanius), Den't mona monkey (C.mona denti), vervet monkey (C.aetiops), olive baboon (papio anubis), grey-cheeked mangabey (Cercocebus albigena) and three species of bushbaby
- Leopard, golden cat, serval cat, side stripped jackal, Genet, African civet, slender and marsh mongoose represent the carnivores
- Other mammals include three species of duikers, two species of flying squirrels, tree hyrax and Congo clawless otter
- 120 species of butterflies
- Reptiles including three species of horned chameleons
- Bird walks
- Primate trekking
- Excursions to Kamiranzovu Marsh
- Excursions to Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factory
- Scaling Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
Chimpanzee tracking starts at 06:00 Hrs. Visitors are advised to book chimpanzee tracking in advance.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Situated at lower altitudes on the Tanzanian border, Akagera is dominated scenically by a labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, one of the main sources of the River Nile.
Giraffes and zebra haunt the savannah alongside more than a dozen types of antelope, such as the diminutive oribi and the world's largest antelope, the eland. Pods of hippopotami splutter throughout the day while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws agape.
Along the lake shores are some of the continent's densest concentrations of water birds, while the marshes are home to endangered bird species like the exquisite papyrus gonolek and the bizarre shoe-bill, probably the most eagerly sought of all African birds.
Year of Gazettement: 1934
Size: 90, 000 Hac.
Location from Kigali: Two and half hours drive east of Kigali
- Bush Savannah tangled with acacia and branchystagia woodlands with stands of Euphorbia candlehbrum, patches of rolling grasslands, riverine, lakes and swamps.
- To the west of the park are hills reaching elevations of 1600m-1800m above sea level
- Akagera River
- Lakes: Ihema, Kivumba, Hago, Mihindi, Rwanyakizinga
- A large concentration of mammals e.g. elephants, buffalos, lions, Maasai giraffe, gazelles, impala, baboons, oribi, Butchel's zebra, topi, bushbaby, leopard and bushbuck
- Aquatic life e.g. crocodiles and hippos
- A large concentration of bird life over 425 species was identified. Unique species such as Shoe billed stocks and papyrus gonolek can be encountered. Endemics include the jacanas, ibis, sandpipers and herons.
- Mitumba hills
Accommodation: Akagera Game Lodge, Campsites
Gates: Kabarando and Kiyonza
- Visitors are not allowed to go beyond point 19 in the direction of Gabiro Guest House
- The park is open between 07:00 Hrs and 17:00 Hrs
- For maximum enjoyment of this park, always use a ranger guide
- ORTPN is not responsible for any injuries sustained from animals within the park
- Clients are advised to respect the right of animals, especially the flight distance
- Visitors are advised to follow the instructions of the guides
- Fishing/Game drives
- Game drives, Tennis at Akagera Game Lodge
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