RWANDA TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FIRST TIME AFRICA TRAVELERS
THE ULTIMATE RWANDA TRAVEL GUIDE
Tracking mountain gorillas in this landlocked nation of undulating hills, terraced farmlands, volcanic mountains, and untamed rainforests is an encounter not at all like some other. At the point when you travel to Rwanda on safari, you’ll wonder about remarkable displays, an excess of primates, meet cordial neighborhood individuals, and experience a blend of societies in perhaps of Africa’s generally encouraging capital. This Ultimate Rwanda Travel Guide will assist you with arranging a vital excursion, particularly on the off chance that you are arranging your most memorable safari in the East African destination.
Rwanda has taken huge steps in security and the travel industry advancement in the years and years since the 90s genocide and is presently globally perceived as one of the most secure travel destinations in Africa.
A feeling of request wins: rough wrongdoing is almost nonexistent, and police can be spotted at all significant crossing points. New streets and clean towns describe the open country.
Residents are expected to take part in a day to day activities of local area administration, and you’ll be unable to find litter in the city, especially plastic sacks, which are prohibited. You’ll track down new businesses, homes, and streets under development in each side of the country.
It’s actually significant that Rwanda travel offers something beyond mountain gorillas: the primitive backwoods of Nyungwe National Park are possessed by in excess of 75 unique mammals, including many chimpanzees and almost 300 bird species. Akagera National Park in the upper east offers the Big Five and a savanna safari experience without the standard khaki-clad groups.
- You will spend remarkable minutes trekking mountain gorillas in thick woods tracked down on the slants of the Virunga Mountains.
- Following wild chimpanzees and different primates in the southerly Nyungwe National Park. The canopy walkway will suspend you over a gorge in the lavish montane rainforest, an elating point of view on the old treetops and natural life.
- Simple to explore the well-known circuit between the public stops going through eminent view, with comforting grins good tidings from locals everywhere.
- Explore the Big game in Akagera National Park, however there is no cheetah in Rwanda.
- From Kigali City’s genocide remembrances, museums, and cosmopolitan culture showcases to field social occasions and yearly occasions like Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony, observe Rwanda culture and imagination.
- Take on the shoreline of Lake Kivu by kayak, a brilliant method for submerging yourself in the landscape, looking up at the rocky setting from the peacefulness of the water.
Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda
Rwanda is one of only 3 places where you can see Mountain Gorillas in the wild. The other two places being Uganda and Congo. The Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda live in Volcanoes National Park situated in the north-west of the country. The park is only 2.5 hours away from Kigali the capital city. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda has made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations and which has, in turn, won it recognitions such as Nr 4 in the Top 30 Travel Destinations to Visit in 2020 and the Visit Rwanda brand winning the top award for destination excellence in luxury and experiential travel at the 2019 Lux experience Awards in Sydney, Australia.
There will forever be an inextricable link between Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and the famous American Primatologist Diann Fossey who pioneered Gorilla Conservation, Research and Anti Poaching in Rwanda during the late 1960s
CHIMPANZEE TRACKING IN RWANDA
Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda is the primary place for Chimpanzee Trekking. There are around 500 chimpanzees in total in the forest with 2 habituated Chimpanzee groups in Nyungwe, one group has around 30 members and the other 60 members. Nyungwe Forest National Park is around a 4 and half hour drive from Kigali and is one of Africa’s oldest montane forests. Chimpanzee Trekking can also be done in Gishwati National Park which is home to a group of 20 chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, sharing an amazing 98.7% of our DNA. Much like humans they live in complex societies, can solve complicated problems, make and use tools, engage in elaborate interactions and communicate through a consistent range of sounds and gestures.They are extremely raucous animals that usually announce their arrival with a cacophony of whooping and hollering as they swing through the treetops. However, they can be very elusive when they want to be, so trained ranger guides, well acquainted with the forest and the characteristic calls of the chimps, are required to lead treks and locate them. Habituated chimpanzees are much easier to locate and easier to observe because they have been accustomed over time, to the presence of humans.
The Chimpanzee Trekking Experience
In Nyungwe, about 500 chimpanzees live high in the forest canopy alongside other primate species of which two chimpanzee communities are fully habituated and can be tracked off the beaten track, through dense rainforest. Chimpanzee trekking starts at dawn when trekkers can watch them rise from their nests to hunt, forage and feed, before settling down to nap, groom each other and play. Sessions are limited to no more than 8 people, for no longer than a couple of hours, to mitigate degradation of the natural habitat. Because chimpanzees can be quite mobile, swinging from tree to tree, it is not always easy to keep up with them, so some level of fitness is required on the part of trekkers
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest can be done from one of 3 starting points Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura. This is where the Park Rangers are met before hitting the road to the trek starting point within the forest. Like Gorillas Chimpanzees make new nests each thus sleep in a different nest every night, trackers head out in the forest ahead of the trekking group to locate the chimps and communicate back to the ranger guides and tourists. The tourist Chimpanzee Trekking group can only spend only 1 hour with the Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park, this is to ensure that the Chimpanzees don’t get too accustomed to human contact and to limit Forest degradation. Chimpanzees are more animated than Gorillas and communicate by way of deafening screams, the loud hoots and booming hitting of the tree bark and the buttress. The Chimpanzees live in large families of between 30 to 60 individuals but it is rare to see a group of this size all together, it is more common to see smaller groups of between 4 to 6 Chimpanzees playing and foraging for food.
What to wear Chimp Trekking
- Shirts made of a material that dries quickly or wick away moisture.
- A fleece layer for when you stop for a rest just in case you begin to cool down and for evenings as it can get quite chilly in Bwindi.
- A third rain layer just in case rains. (a poncho will do)
- Long pants, also made of a synthetic material. The length of the pants are important as this will help with the combat stinging nettle plants and red ants.
- Waterproof pants to wear on top of regular pants is optional.
- Boots that fit above the ankle are crucial as you might encounter ankle-deep mud at certain points, and even knee-deep mud that will attempt to suck the boots right off your feet!
- Gaiters (are garments worn over the shoe and lower pants leg. They are worn over your boots that go up to the knee). These are optional and are based on personal preference as well as the type of boots and trousers you choose to wear.
- Smart Wool socks
- All clothing should be neutral coloured, loose-fitting and relaxed clothing.
- Sunscreen and moisturising cream 11. Sunglasses with neck strap
- Insect repellent with DEET, please note that DEET can affect man-made fibres and plastics.
- Daypack / small rucksack
- Bush hat with a brim for sun protection
- Binoculars – Optional
Culture & Heritage in Rwanda
Rwandan history and culture are unique because unlike many other countries in Africa, Rwanda is populated by the Banyarwanda people who share the same language and cultural heritage which since pre-colonial times. Music, dance and storytelling are an integral part of Rwandan Culture and Heritage. They have always formed an integral part in ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings. The traditional Intore dance a highly choreographed dance which is performed throughout Rwanda. Drums are also very important in Rwandan culture; royal drummers have historically enjoyed high status within the cultural social hierarchy and play with a group of seven or nine.
Game Drives in Rwanda
The only place to see the Big 5 ( Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo ) in Rwanda is Akagera National Park. The park is made up of woodland, wetland, savannah, low lying plains and lakes and is managed by African Parks. Akagera National Park has the Big 5 due to the reintroduction of two animal species, a family of lions from South Africa in 2015 which are breeding successfully and 18 eastern black rhinos in 2017.