10 Best Rwanda Safari Activities not to miss on your Rwanda Holiday Tour
Are you planning to visit Rwanda soon and you are not certain about what are the Rwanda Safari Activities or experiences to engage in? Rwanda isn’t only a beautiful Land of a Thousand Hills but an ultimate travel destination with plenty of thrilling activities or adventures.
On Rwanda safari, everyone has something exceptional to indulge in from wildlife safaris, birding, hiking, Kigali city tours, chimpanzee tracking, cultural safaris, canopy walks, nature walks and golden monkey tracking.
Top 10 Rwanda Safari Activities
- Gorilla Trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is one of the main Rwanda safari activities and Africa’s top attraction. Of the 1063 mountain gorillas left on planet earth, a third of them live in Rwanda and in Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri in the Northwest.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is all about immersing yourself into Volcanoes National Park rain-forests and bamboo forest while searching for the endangered mountain gorillas.
Trekking Volcanoes National Park mountain gorillas takes tourists on high elevation range of 2500-4000m. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda like in Uganda is conducted each day and maximum of 8 visitors always allocated to a single gorilla group to track of the present 13 habituated gorilla groups in Volcanoes National Park.
All gorilla treks at Volcanoes NP begin at 7:30am with briefing about gorilla trekking rules & regulations. After allocation of gorilla families and park guides, the actual gorilla treks start at 8:00am taking visitors an hour to 6 hours.
As soon as you come across a family of mountain gorillas, there is a maximum of 1 hour to enjoy face to face with them, taking pictures, observe their daily behaviors. Once you have returned to briefing point, visitors are given gorilla trekking certificates by the park official.
Gorilla Trekking Permits
To have opportunity to participate in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, a valid gorilla permit is needed. Each of Rwanda gorilla safari permit is available for booking at USD1500. Eligible persons to book gorilla permits in Rwanda should be 15 years and above.
Other popular mountain gorilla trekking safari destinations include Uganda and D.R. Congo. In Uganda, places to visit to see mountain gorillas include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The D.R. Congo mountain gorillas are trekked in the Virunga National Park.
- Golden Monkey Tracking
Rwanda is one of the exceptional countries and African safari destination where golden monkeys can be trekked. Golden monkeys in Rwanda are inhabited in Volcanoes National Park sharing the same habitat with the endangered mountain gorillas.
Golden monkeys/Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti a sub-species of the Sykes monkeys/Blue monkey and they are endemic to the rain-forests of Virunga Region.
Volcanoes National Park currently has two (2) golden monkey troops open for trekking by Rwanda safari holidaymakers. Each golden monkey troop consists of 80 to 100 individuals and these are amazingly playful creatures worth interacting with on Rwanda tour.
On actual golden monkey trek, the day begins at 7:30am with briefing on golden monkey tracking rules and guidelines then actual search commences at 8:00am, lasting for 4 hours. Permits for golden monkey trekking Rwanda are issued to tourists at USD100 per person and they can be booked via reservation team at Hail Tours Uganda.
- Dian Fossey Tomb Hike
Dian Fossey tomb hike takes you through the long gorilla conservation story. Hiking to Dian Fossey tomb site takes about 3 hours and there is possibility to keep an eye on diverse bird species, primates and a lot more.
- Chimpanzee Trekking/Tracking
Rwanda is an ultimate primate destination offering not only mountain gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking but also chimpanzee tracking. Chimpanzee trekking Rwanda is best done in Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Nyungwe National Park houses the largest number of chimpanzees, about 500 and treks begin from the 3 reception centers; Kitabi, Gisakura and Uwinka. Chimpanzees are very similar to humans sharing 98.7% of their DNA with us and chimpanzee trek lets you make comparisons.
- Game drives
Game drives Rwanda are provided only in Akagera National Park, Eastern Rwanda. It is an interesting wildlife safari experience presenting visitors a chance to enjoy a wide range of wildlife species such as giraffes, leopards, elephants, lions, warthogs, impalas, zebras, rhinos, birds and a lot more.
- Launch cruise
A boat/launch cruise is one of interesting Rwanda safari activities visitors should expect taking part. It offers a chance for you to explore diversity of animals such as hippos, crocodiles and variety of water birds including shoebill storks.
In Rwanda, the best boat or launch cruise is done on Lake Ihema. This is found in Akagera National Park and the launch trip can take 2-3 hours. Visitors can be part of early morning boat cruise and afternoon/sunset boat cruise. Boat rides/trips are also offered on Lake Kivu and from this spectacular water lake, visitors can enjoy view of Mount Nyiragongo.
Rwanda is also one of the fascinating birding safari destinations in Africa, hosting up to 700 bird species. These include variety of Albertine rift endemic birds making it an exceptional birding destination.
There are several bird watching spots to visit on Rwanda safari including the 4 National Parks- Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest NP, Volcanoes NP and Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
The birds to expect sighting include Grauer’s warblers, Shelley’s crimson wings, shoebill stork, egret, grey backed fiscal, black headed heron, blue headed sunbird, Rwenzori nightjars, Rwenzori turacos, red collared babbler, Albertine owlet, Rockefeller’s sunbirds, yellow eyed black flycatcher, tabora cisticola, white winged swamp warblers.
Other birds of Rwanda include Rwenzori batis, strange weavers, striped pipit, Souza’s shrike, stripe breasted tit, ring necked francolin, regal sunbird, papyrus gonoleks, mountain masked apalis, Kivu ground thrush, papyrus yellow warblers, red faced barbets, purple breasted sunbird, Northern brown throated weavers and more.
- Canopy walk
For travelers in search for unique adventures, canopy walk is worth trying on Rwanda safari. This is a distinct activity done only in Nyungwe National Park, taking visitors on a suspended walkway 160m long and 50m above from the ground.
Canopy walk in Nyungwe can commence from Imbaraga, Igishigishigi or Umuyove trail. Canopy walk Rwanda costs nature lovers USD60 per person and you get a chance to enjoy sight of Nyungwe Forest’s interesting primates such as L’Hoest monkeys, colobus monkeys, baboons; birds and beautiful canopy of Nyungwe Forest.
Nyungwe forest canopy walk began in 2010 and it is the only one in the whole of East Africa. Visitors can embark on a canopy walk early morning from 8:00am-10:00am and 9. afternoon at 3:00pm. Morning or afternoon canopy walk; visitors are led by guides.
- Cultural safaris
Cultural safaris are amazingly a few rewarding experiences worth adding onto your long list of bucket experiences in Rwanda. Rwanda boasts of distinct cultures, traditions and heritage etc.
The main areas of interest for any enthusiastic cultural safari traveler in Rwanda include Iby’Iwacu cultural village at Volcanoes National Park, Kitabi cultural centre, Banda cultural village, King’s palace, museums and more.
- Hiking safaris
Hiking is one of the best and rewarding Rwanda safari activities. Rwanda like Uganda has many hiking opportunities for enthusiastic hikers and the important hiking spots include Volcanoes National Park where visitors can climb/hike through Virunga volcanoes such as Mount Bisoke, Karisimbi (4507m), Gahinga and Muhabura.
Other unmissable hiking/nature walking spots in Rwanda include the Congo Nile trail which can be explored for 10 days- this is enjoyable in Nyungwe NP.
The Nile trail covers 227kms and offers real rural experience as visitors navigate through the remotest side of Rwanda, fishing villages at Lake Kivu. Still in Nyungwe, other trails of interest include Rukuzi trail, Isumo, Uwinka, Karamba trail, Umuyove, Imbaraga, Irebero, Bigugu trail and Kamiranzovu.
For amazing forest walks, don’t miss setting on Buhanga Sacred Forest Walk a culturally endowed spot in Rwanda. The sacred forest happens to be spot where all Kings in Rwanda were crowned. There are also several and outstanding walking trails worth trying out while on Akagera National Park safari.
Best time to go enjoy Rwanda Safari Activities
Rwanda safari activities are enjoyable all year round. But the dry season is the best especially if your interest in visiting Rwanda for game drives, gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking, hiking and more.
The dry months of the year to consider participating in most of the Rwanda safari activities run from June to September, December to February.
Things to carry on Rwanda safari
- Rain jacket
- First aid kit
- Pair binoculars
- Long sleeved shirts, walking/hiking bootss
- Trousers etc