Rwanda is a land-locked country South-West of Uganda. She is also referred to as ‘the Land of a Thousand Hills’.
Rwanda has five volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers. Her mountainous topography is a product of her position on the eastern arm of the Albertine Rift Valley, part of the Great Rift Valley which cuts through Africa from the Red Sea to Mozambique.
Rwanda has three main conservation areas: the Volcanoes Park, Akagera Park and Nyungwe Forest. Each of these protects a very unique ecosystem and combination of large mammals. Akagera supports a typical savannah fauna dominated by a variety of antelopes, zebra, buffalo and giraffe, the aquatic hippopotamus, and plains predators such as lion, leopard and spotted hyena. The Volcanoes Park is the best place in the world to track mountain gorillas while Nyungwe offers visitors a good chance of viewing chimpanzees and 400-strong troops of colobus monkeys – the largest arboreal primate troops in Africa today.
Rwanda can be visited at any time of the year. The long dry season, June to September, is the best time for tracking gorillas and hiking in Nyungwe, since the ground should be dry underfoot and the odds of being drenched are minimal. The wettest months are March to May. An advantage of traveling during the rainy season is that the scenery is greener, and the sky less hazy (at least when it is not overcast), a factor that will of an advantage to photographers. The season is also the best period to track chimpanzees in Nyungwe, while the months of November to March will hold the greatest appeal for birders, as resident birds are supplemented by flocks of Palaearctic migrants.
Rwanda is a wonderful destination for birdwatchers, with an incredible 670 species recorded in an area which is smaller than Belgium and has less than half the land surface of Scotland. Prime bird-watchers destinations include Nyungwe (275 species including numerous forest rarities and 24 Albertine Rift endemics) and Akagera (savannah birds, raptors and water-birds). Almost anywhere in the country can prove rewarding to birders: an hour in the garden of the capital’s larger hotels is likely to throw up a variety of colorful robin-chats, weavers, finches, flycatchers and sunbirds. Rwanda is a landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, located on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift, a western arm of the Great Rift Valley, on the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems the Nile and the Congo. Much of the country’s 26,338 km2 is impressively mountainous, the highest peak being Karisimbi (4,507m) in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Volcanoes National Park. Lake Kivu is the largest water body, but also Rwanda has other numerous lakes which include the Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi and Mugesera, some of them have erratic shapes following the steep mountains contours that enclose them.