Overview – Rwanda

Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills. It is a landlocked country in Central Africa, bordered by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. It gives an immersive experience in life with its Gorilla trekking. Chimpanzees and many other primates can also be found in Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda. It is a place of smouldering volcanoes, lavish mountains, historic rainforests and an abundance of wildlife, as well as rich and diverse vegetation. Volcanoes National Park is particularly famous for its gorilla trekking and volcano hikes. Around 13 species of monkeys can be spotted which is 25% of Africa's monkey species in this park.

  • Rates (USD)475

  • CurrencyRwandan franc (‎RWF‎)‎

  • CapitolKigali

  • TimezoneGMT+2 (CAT)

  • Size26,338 km²

  • LanguagesFrench, English, Swahili

  • Wildlife16 Animals

  • High SeasonJune to September

  • Best Time to GoJune to September

Pros & Cons

  • Gorilla tracking – one of only two countries where it’s possible
  • Combine primate viewing with a classic savannah safari
  • Excellent accommodation & Lodges
  • Good balance between vehicle, boat and walking activities
  • Remarkable Wildlife & Birding
  • Hot & Humid climate conditions
  • Gorilla Permits are expensive

Parks, Reserves and Wildlife Areas

Rwanda Map in Africa

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Food – Rwanda

Rwandan food is quite simple, with beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and sorghum being the most common foods. Dairy products are also widely consumed, particularly a traditional drink of curdled milk. Those who can afford to do so also eat meat, primarily beef, goat, and chicken. Sorghum and banana beers are common as well.

Culture – Rwanda

Rwanda's three ethnic groups have been identified with distinct aspects of the economy: the Tutsi with cattle, the Hutu with the land, and the Twa with the forests. Each group had distinct roles in public rituals, and each group had a distinctive mode of dress. The monarchy served as an important unifying symbol, representing the interest of all three ethnic groups. Hutu and Tutsi were also linked together throughout much of the territory in a system of cattle vassalage, in which Tutsi patrons provided cattle to Hutu clients.

Wildlife & Animals – Rwanda

Rwanda has the greatest diversity of large mammals found in its four national parks which are designated conservation areas. Nyungwe Forest boasts thirteen primate species including chimpanzees and Ruwenzori colobus arboreal monkeys; the Ruwenzori colobus moves in groups of up to 400 individuals, the largest troop size of any primate in Africa. Akagera contains typical savanna animals such as giraffes and elephants, while Volcanoes are home to an estimated one-third of the worldwide mountain gorilla population.

Wildlife Highlights

A variety of primates can be found in Rwanda which includes Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, l’Hoest’s monkeys, Rwenzori colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Except for the Leopard all four of the Big 5 can be also found in Akagera National Park in which elephants and buffalo can be spotted easily but the lion and rhino sightings are a bit more hit-and-miss. Cheetah is not available in Rwanda.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Gorilla trekking can be done around the year and sightings are pretty much guaranteed. Chimpanzee trekking is a little bit tricky and the best time to visit is in the Wet season from October to February. The best time for wildlife viewing is in the Dry season from December to February. It's better to avoid the Wet season from March to May.

Birds – Rwanda

Rwanda is a perfect birding destination with its 711 bird species, with variation between the east and the west. Nyungwe Forest in the west has recorded around 280 species of which 26 are endemic to the Albertine Rift. Some of the Endemic species include the Rwenzori turaco and handsome spurfowl. The eastern side features savanna birds such as the black-headed gonolek and those associated with swamps and lakes, including storks and cranes. The globally endangered species are 9 and species introduced are 3 out of a total of 711 species. Balaeniceps rex (shoebill) and Agapornis Fischer (Fischer's lovebird) are among them. 

Best Time for Bird Watching

Birding can be done throughout the year in Rwanda, especially when most of the species are residents. Most of the bird species can be found in Nyungwe National park and the best time to visit there is from January to June. Logistics can be challenging in the wet season. Forest trails and hiking are easier in the dry season from June to September.

Best Time to Visit – Rwanda

The dry season in Rwanda runs from June to mid-September and is the best time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit. There is another, shorter, dry season which runs from December to February. Due to its higher elevation, Rwanda enjoys a cooler temperature than some other equatorial countries.

  • Best Time

    June to September

  • High Season

    June to September

  • Low Season

    March, April, October & November

  • Best Weather

    June to August

  • Worst Weather

    March and April

June to September (Dry Season)

  • Perfect time for gorilla trekking
  • Remarkable Wildlife & Birding
  • Forest trails are less slippery
  • Less crowded in high seasons
  • There is more sunshine
  • Limited Gorilla permits so need to book in advance
  • Gorilla Permits are expensive
  • Chimpanzees trekking will be better in the Wet season

October to May (Wet Season)

  • Savannah scenery is greener in this season
  • More discounts because of low season
  • Best season for chimpanzees trekking
  • Forest trails become slippery and challenging
  • Trekking becomes difficult in heavy rains

Best Time to Go to Rwanda by Major Park

The dry season in Rwanda runs from June to mid-September and is the best time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit. There is another, shorter, dry season which runs from December to February. Due to its higher elevation, Rwanda enjoys a cooler temperature than some other equatorial countries.

Activities – Rwanda

National Parks & Game Reserves – Rwanda

Akagera National Park


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Akagera National Park is named after the Akagera River which streams along its eastern boundary. It is one of the...

Volcanoes National Park


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Volcanoes National Park lies along the Virunga Mountain range,(also known as Parc National des Volcans) and is...

Nyungwe National Park


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Situated in the South West corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is a lavishly biodiverse mountain rainforest...

Gishwati Mukura National Park


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Gishwati Forest Reserve is a protected reserve in the northwestern part of Rwanda, not far from Lake Kivu. It...



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Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, is a great starting point for exploring the country's rich wildlife and nature....

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Getting There – Rwanda

Kigali International Airport (KGL), on the outskirts of Kigali, would most likely be your point of entry point into the country. There are currently no direct flights from any North American city to Kigali. All require at least one stop, with most major cities, including New York, Toronto, Sao Paolo and Montreal only requiring one stop. Direct flights are available from Amsterdam and Brussels. There are also direct flights on Turkish Airlines, from Istanbul, and from Dubai on Rwanda Air. There are no direct flights from Doha and Qatar. Flights from major cities in Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, also require one stop. Flights from Sydney, Australia presently require two stops.

Rwanda is quite tiny, and most people travel inside the country by car. Rwanda's speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour on all roads. Akagera Aviation, on the other hand, provides charter helicopter transfers to and from any place in the country.


  • All foreign visitors need a passport that is valid for at least six months
  • Passports must have a clean and a full visa page for endorsement.
  • When arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required.
  • As of January 2018, citizens of all countries are now eligible for visas on arrival at US$30 for 30 days. More details at www.migration.gov.rw
  • For people visiting Rwanda in conjunction with Kenya and/or Uganda, it is possible to buy a joint visa for all three countries with advance application. See www.migration.gov.rw for details.

Domestic Flights

RwandAir operates the only domestic route between Kigali and Kamembe Airport (KME) in Rusizi, at the southern end of Lake Kivu. Travellers rarely use this flight.

Important Links

Safety & Security – Rwanda

Rwanda, in our opinion, is a safe place to visit. This is especially true if your vacation is largely for an organized safari. Although some governments have recommended against visiting some isolated border areas, all popular tourist spots are generally safe. Please visit the travel advisory links below for more information. Every year, a large number of tourists visit Rwanda, and the vast majority of them have a pleasant experience.

Please see the links below for travel advice on Rwanda Safari Trips: