Rwanda has a number of unique delights to offer travellers. Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga volcanoes is home to the mountain gorillas to which Dian Fossey dedicated her life. Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa
, is renowned for its large troops of colobus monkeys and rich variety of orchids. Akagera National Park is a savannah park with elephants, hippo and crocodile. Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep terraced hillsides. There are a large variety of birds. Rwanda has a rich culture with its second city, Butare, having one of the finest cultural museums in Africa.Scheduled Rwanda Safaris
Our scheduled luxury safaris
depart on set dates, and follow a set itinerary. A maximum of five clients travel on each scheduled safari.For more information about our Safaris click hereTailormade Rwanda Safaris
Volcanoes' tailor-made safaris are created to meet your specific interests and are kept private. You can decide where, when and what you would like to do. For inspiration for your perfect Rwanda safari holiday - check out the suggested itineraries below for a flavor of what is possible. For more information about our Safaris click hereIntroduction to Rwanda'The Rwandans are truly amazing people for their willingness to forgive and forget. The scenery in the shadow of the volcanoes was some of the most breathtaking in Africa. Guide extraordinarily knowledgeable.’
Chris Tarrant, Broadcaster.
A tiny, landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, Rwanda lies on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift and the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo. Often called the "land of a thousand hills", Rwanda is a mountainous country with a moist, temperate year-round climate.Wildlife
Rwanda has a number of unique delights to offer travellers. Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga volcanoes is home to the mountain gorillas to which Dian Fossey dedicated her life. Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa, is renowned for its large troops of colobus monkeys and rich variety of orchids. Akagera National Park is a savannah park with elephants, hippo and crocodile. Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep terraced hillsides. There are a large variety of birds. Rwanda has a rich culture with its second city, Butare, having one of the finest cultural museums in Africa.The Country
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. French, English and Kinyarwanda are the most widely spoken languages and the population of about 10 million people is largely Christian with some Muslim and Animist communities.
Originally the domain of hunter-gatherers, Rwanda emerged into a centralised state with a feudal monarchy in the fifteenth century. It became a German colony in 1890 and was mandated to the Belgians after the First World War. In 1962, under Prime Minister Gregoire Kayibanda, Rwanda gained independence. Ten years later Major General Juvenal Habyarimana came to power. His death in a plane crash in April 1994 unleashed the genocide in which about one million Rwandans are thought to have been killed and nearly twice as many fled into exile. In recent years, as peace and stability have returned under President Kagame, many Rwandans have come back. Local elections were held for the first time in 35 years in 2001 and are an encouraging sign of the steady return of stability to the country.Main AttractionsParc National des Volcans (PNV)
The park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from on the Rwandese side, some of which have specific attractions and trails to the summits.Rwanda Gorillas Trekking
The park currently has 7 gorilla groups and 56 permits available per day. The number of permits can change without notice if the gorillas go across the border. PNV’s seven habituated gorilla families are Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa; Kwitonda and Hirwa. Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take 5-7 hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave and the graves of the gorillas which she studied, and see the endangered golden monkey. Clients stay at Volcanoes Virunga Safari Lodge
. The lodge
is in Rwanda and faces the Virunga Mountains but is not in the mountains and it should not be confused with Virunga National Parc in DRC.Tracking the Golden Monkey
An Elusive Treasure in the Virunga Mountains This little known monkey is one of the most endangered primates in Africa and it is now thought that the only viable population of these monkeys is in the Virunga Volcanoes. A smaller population may exist in the Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda but this has yet to be verified. The golden monkey is a distinct species of guenon - Cercopithecus Kandti and is endemic to the Albertine Rift.
Two groups are being habituated for visitors in the Virungas. The Kabatwa group is found in the east of the park, on the flanks of the Sabinyo volcano and has about 40 in the group and can be viewed already. The Musongo Group lives higher up on the flanks of the Karisimbi volcano at an altitude of about 2800-3000 meters and has about 100 individuals. This will be open to visitors shortly.
Habituation has been a slow process as acceptance to humans has not been easy but was finally achieved in 2003. The monkeys now chatter and play quite happily while being observed. They spend a large proportion of their time climbing the vegetation, some 2-3 meters above ground, feeding on bamboo leaves and shoots. The juveniles are quite small and fluffy and their infectious good humor makes them charming to watch. They live near the lower reaches of the park and it is usually only a short walk to reach them.
Seeing the Golden Monkey makes a fantastic short excursion into the misty Virunga forest and it is a great addition to the activities clients can do in the magical afro-montane forest. As with the gorillas
, only one hour is allowed with the Golden Monkeys and six visitors are allowed per visit. There is one visit a day, which starts at 7.30am from the park office at Kinigi.For more information about our Safaris click hereChimpanzeesChimpanzees
, along with 12 other species of primates, can be found in the massive afro-montane forest of Nyungwe in southern Rwanda, the largest montane forest in Central Africa.Volcanic Lakes
Rwanda, like Uganda, is bordered by five famous volcanic lakes – Kivu, Bulera, Ruhondo, Bunyoni, Mutanda, each offering its own unique attractions and experiences. Lake Kivu is the largest and is home to the 10th largest inland island, Idjwi. The beach resort city of Kibuya provides many great activities including swimming and water-skiing. Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo should not be missed by anyone on a Rwandan safari tour. Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi provide luxury respite where you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings at a leisurely pace. We can provide you with a private trip Volcanoes’ private island on Lake Mutanda, Toyo Island. Away from the tourist trail, you will be free to enjoy the lush surroundings.
Akagera has beautiful undulating plains with dense, broad-leafed woodland, lighter acacia woodland and rolling grassland with an extensive series of lakes linked by papyrus swamps forming a sprawling wetland. The game in the park is recovering after years of poaching and human presence, with elephant, buffalo, giraffe and lion and different antelope beginning to be seen. Accommodation and the road system in the park have recently been renovated.Butare
Butare is a pleasant university town, which contains the exceptional National Museum which has a fine display of the history of the country and people. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, built in memory of Princess Astrid of Belgium, is the largest in the country. At Nyanza, nearby, there is the court of the former King.Kigali
Kigali has been the capital of Rwanda since 1965. An attractive city, it spreads over a number of hills and although it saw some difficult times through the genocide in 1994 and as power changed hands subsequently, it now has a pleasant, buoyant air. The main shopping and commercial area is around the Hotel Mille Collines, with the government district on the neighboring Kaciyiru hill. The markets, the handicrafts, the Muslim quarter and a new genocide memorial being built in Gisozi are some of the main places of interest.Nyungwe Forest
This massive montane forest, in southern Rwanda, the largest in Central Africa, has thirteen species of primate including chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey. The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa. Around 300 bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies are other attractions.For more information about our Safaris click here