Top 10 Inspiring Kenya Destinations

Rwanda, set in the heart of Africa, landlocked Rwanda has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and smiling towards a bright future having one of the fastest-growing economies on African soil.

Compared to other East African countries, Rwanda holidays offer something entirely different, whether it be relaxing on the sandy beaches of Lake Kivu, tracking the mountain gorillas of the Virunga Volcanoes, searching high and low for the chimpanzees of Nyungwe Forest, or relaxing on the savannah plains of Akagera National Park.

Apart from being well known as ‘the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda offers a hilly landscape that winds its way from the eastern plains of Tanzania through to the central gallery forests of the Congo Basin. During your Rwandan safari, you will meet and discover one of the friendliest communities in Africa, warm and very hospitable, welcoming, and forgiving. Apart from exploring the vast wildlife highlights on your Rwanda experiences menu, be sure you spend time to stop, listen, appreciate and enjoy, the hospitality of the Rwandan spirit.

Rwanda offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Africa, be it the dramatic Virunga volcanoes bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo or the forest of Nyungwe, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa, home to the cheeky chimpanzees and large groups of Colobus monkeys.

Parc National des Volcans is located in northwest Rwanda and is an area of thickly vegetated rainforest and bamboo providing shelter to endangered Golden Monkeys and approximately one-third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorilla population. This is where primatologist Dian Fossey carried out her seminal work, which was her adopted home and place of rest.

Dian expressed the feeling of coming face-to-face with Silverback Mountain Gorillas as “The expression in his eyes was unfathomable. Spellbound I returned his gaze – a gaze that seemed to combine elements of inquiry and acceptance.” This is an experience that only those who have lived can fully appreciate. Explore unlimited Rwanda holiday possibilities with Oluokos Signature.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Top Rwanda Tourist Attractions

On two feet or two wheels, Rwanda offers some fabulous trekking options. Nyungwe Forest has an extensive network of trails covering over 130km that take between two hours to four days. In Volcanoes National Park, head for Mount Bisoke with its beautiful crater lake at the summit or try the two-day trek of Mount Karisimbi, Rwanda’s highest peak at 4507m. Just beware the cold and the altitude.

The landlocked country, Rwanda has an answer to beach goers on the shores of Lake Kivu. This is the sixth largest lake in Africa, spanning 90km along the border with the Democractic Republic of Congo, with beautiful reflections of hills covered with patchworks of vivid green crops and terracotta-coloured earth. The prettiest town on the lake is Karongi, from where boats can take you to Napoleon Island to see the fruit bats or head to Rubavu for water sports and cool beach bars.

Rwanda’s capital Kigali is almost squeaky clean with shiny shopping malls, trendy coffee shops, gleaming administration, and business blocks. For some true African vibe, take a tour of Nyamirambo, the city’s oldest and most vibrant neighborhood, with Marie-Aimee Umugeni from the local Women’s Centre, visiting markets and shops and sampling local food. You’ll be supporting the centre’s work in education and empowerment.

Aside from the positive gorillas’ tourism news, Rwanda is most famous for the negative horrific genocide that devastated the country in 1994. During this dark past, almost a million people, the Hutu majority murdered mostly Tutsis. Today, there is little ethnic division: everyone is Rwandan, and the grace and fortitude of the people in moving on from this tragedy is astounding. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital to understand the history behind the horror – it’s a surprisingly peaceful haven with sweet-scented rose gardens representing unity and reconciliation.

The fabulously-named Igishigishigi Trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park features the Uwinka Overlook, a stomach-churning suspension bridge that sways 50m high above the rainforest. Look down if you dare and you’ll see nothing but trees panning out like gigantic broccoli florets and fantastical ferns after which the trail is named. All you can hear is birdsong, distant waterfalls and the occasional monkey squealing in the forest below.

Rwanda’s traditional cuisine is unadventurous. Meat particularly goat is usually served as brochettes, fish is often sardines or small tilapia and the staple food is ugali, a porridge-like paste made of cassava flour. But vegetarians are in for a treat: try matoke (fried green bananas), ibihaza (boiled pumpkin with beans), roasted sweet potatoes, veggie stews and dodo, a garlicky spinach-like dish with plenty of groundnuts and chillies.

Yes, managed by conservation organisation African Parks since 2010, Akagera’s once depleted wildlife is now thriving. Elephants, Cape Buffalo, Giraffe and plenty of antelope can easily be seen, while lions relocated here in 2015 and leopards are more elusive. Rhinos will soon be introduced too, making the 1120 square kilometre reserve a Big Five destination. One of Africa’s prettiest national parks, Akagera merits a visit regardless of its wildlife, with lakes and papyrus swamps, vast savannah plains and undulating highlands in shades of green and gold.

Rwanda is a haven for primates. A staggering 13 species live in Nyungwe Forest alone. Track the Grey-cheeked Mangabey or the Colobus Monkeys that look like ageing hippies with long white manes and beards. Catch chimpanzees leaving their nests in Cyamudongo Forest. Cutest of all are the playful Golden Monkeys, with reddish-gold coats and gorgeous expressive faces that cavort around the bamboo forests of Volcanoes National Park.

Rwanda’s traditional dance is exhilarating and requires an enormous amount of energy. Historically performed for the Rwandan mwami (Kings), they tell the story of warriors returning successfully from battle. The ground positively thumps with passion and energy as groups of dancers jump to drumbeats and singing. Women look demure in traditional colorful dresses while men wear headdresses of long white grasses that swirl frenetically as they toss their heads. Check out the King’s Palace Museum at Nyanza or the SACOLA Cultural Centre in Kinigi for some great Intore performances.

Rwanda Trip Ideas

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