There are several things to do in Rwanda. From the popular adventures such as gorilla trekking to leisurely holidays, there are lots of adventure activities that you can undertake during your holiday in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s dramatic mountains also provide a stunning backdrop for a weekend Getaway. Breathe in the crisp mountain air while enjoying shimmering views of nearby lakes, and the call of birds in the treetops. There are plenty to offer to its tourists though it is a land locked country. In the past few years, Rwanda has emerged as a major tourist destination. There are several adventure activities that make Rwanda safari a really memorable one.
Gorilla Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park
The Volcanoes National Park is arguably the most visited wildlife conservation site in Rwanda. Each year thousands of international visitors go to the park to see mountain gorillas alongside other popular activities in the park. The park has 10 habituated gorilla groups and only 8 people may track a group in a day. Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park starts with a briefing at 7am from the park office in Kinigi. From there visitors are taken out to track one of the gorilla groups in the company of armed Guides.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Rwanda is one of the last strongholds for golden monkeys. These beautiful monkeys thrive in the Virunga ranges (Uganda, Rwanda and Congo) and in Kahuzi Biega National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Golden monkeys are endangered and because of that are highly protected. Although eagles prey on them as their natural prey, humans are their greatest threat. Tourist love golden monkeys because of their beautiful gold coats and playful nature. Golden Monkey tracking in Rwanda starts with a briefing at 7:30am. It is less tiring than gorilla trekking because the monkeys don’t move too far off in the forest. Golden monkey permits cost $100 in Rwanda.
Things to Do in Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
In Nyungwe forest, Rwanda has one of the oldest afro-montane forests in Africa. This forest is found in the South Western part of the country and is home to 13 species of primates including chimpanzees. Nyungwe forest is one of the last strongholds of the Angola Colobus and Golden Monkeys. While exploring the forest, visitors have over 15 trails to choose from for a nature walk. If nature walks are not your thing, you can choose to go for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest or the very popular canopy walk.
Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest
Apart from chimpanzee trekking and nature walks, one of the best canopy walk trails in Africa is found in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. The forest canopy walk was introduced in 2010 in an effort to diversify tourism activities in the country. The canopy walkway is 50 meters high hence offering an aerial view of the forest and the creatures therein. The walkway sways left and right as one moves from one point to another hence requiring some confidence to complete the walk. You need to be warned in advance if you have a fear of heights.
Rwanda is an excellent birding destination with over 640 species of birds – 30 of which are endemic to the country. Birding in Rwanda is organized at Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park, and the Volcanoes National Park and around Lake Kivu. Other birding spots include the suburbs in Kigali and the various smaller water bodies, wetlands/swamps, marshlands and agricultural plantations. The main species to look out for are those endemic to the Albertine Rift and the Virunga ranges. The intriguing Shoebill stork can also be sighted in wetlands and marshes of Akagera.
Water sports and lake activities including fishing, kayaking, canoeing and adventurous boat rides on Lake Kivu, Lake Muhazi and Lake Ihema are great activities for the whole family.
Leisurely bike rides alongside the Nyarutarama Lake in Kigali and through the city quiet neighborhoods’ including the tree-lined streets of Kiyovu can occupy a relaxed and sunny afternoon.
Kigali, being the capital of Rwanda, is the major tourist hub of the country. This thriving town with a large population is a home to many historical sites, museums, events and shopping malls, places of attraction and restaurants that provide a wide range of interesting activities for the tourists.
The large number of shopping malls and the wide options for an exciting nightlife add a special touch to this small African country. The varied holiday activities of Rwanda keep the travelers engaged and allow them to relax at the end of a tiresome day. Rwanda may be referred to as a paradise of natural, historical and architectural beauty all combined into one.
Local Dance Performances
One of the fastest ways to understand the culture and traditions of the people of Rwanda is to watch a performance by one of the Intore Dance Troupe. All the good hotels organize evening dance performances for guests as they relax and end the day. The quality of the Intore Dance is measured by the excitement, energy and grace of the performer. The dance may be interrupted by folk stories or other narrations related to the Kinyarwanda culture. Observers are always encouraged to join in at some point.
Volunteer during Umuganda
One of the reasons for the remarkable cleanliness of the capital Kigali is the monthly “umuganda” and a government ban on careless disposal of plastic bags. Umuganda is a community service which is compulsory for all citizens in the country. It is organized every last Saturday of the month with the president a participant. Organized committees from each neighborhood decide on what to work on each month. One can be required to clear any litter on the roads, cut unwanted grasses/bushes or repair a broken public facility. After work is done, everyone gathers to discuss any other issues that may be affecting the community. Umuganda has helped create a sense of togetherness and patriotism among the people of Rwanda – something very important but still lacking in many African countries. You can join in as a volunteer and help clean up a road, repair a house/school or medical center.
The Congo Nile Trail
The Congo Nile trail is a new addition by the government of Rwanda as it diversifies the tourism attractions in the country. The Congo Nile trail is 140 miles long and can be traversed using a motorcycle, bike or on foot. If one decided to walk, it may take 10 days to cover the entire trail. The Congo Nile Trail is one of the best biking trails in East Africa. The trail rewards bikers with amazing scenery and all that is good about the Rwanda countryside – beautiful rolling hills, tea plantations, rural villages, Lake Kivu and Nyungwe National Park. By the time one completes the trail, they would have an understanding of how the local people go about with their lives. Accommodation is not a problem along the way as there are many campsites and hotels to choose from. You could even move with your own tent and set it up outside churches or schools.