Rwanda - Destinations

Akagera National Park Rwanda

Akagera National Park is the largest protected wetland that is refuge for the remaining savannah adapted species in Rwanda. Akagera National Park suffered a lot with loss of land after the 1994 Rwanda Genocide as refugees were returning as they turned to the forests for timber, wildlife for food and the savannah grassland for livestock pasture.

However, strong conservation efforts have seen this park flourish again and have abundant wildlife. In 2010, African Parks assumed management of Akagera National Park in partnership with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which changed the story of the park from oblivion to hope. With poaching halted, the park’s wildlife has continued to rise with reintroduction of lost animal species. All the Big African Five animals are now present in the park, these are lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos.


Nyungwe National Park Rwanda

Situated south west of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa rich in biodiversity. The park covers about 970 square kilometers of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs.

The parks’ rainforest is spectacularly beautiful teaming with a wide diversity of wildlife, bird species and 13 primate species including a small population of chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in the forest have been habituated and therefore making chimpanzee trekking a top activity for the park. Being a tropical rainforest, there is a lot of flora in the forest including at least 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids.

About 75 mammals are known to live in Nyungwe National Park including the cerval cat, mongoose, leopard, Ruwenzori colobus monkey and Congo clawless otter. However, sightings of mammals in the forest are not very common. Primate species in Nyungwe National Park include the common chimpanzee, Ruwenzori colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, vervet monkey, Olive baboon and Grey-cheeked mangabey.

Nyungwe Park has three reception centers; one near the entrance at Kitabi, the other at he Uwinka reception center in the middle of the park and third one is Gisakura reception centre. Activities start from any one of the reception centers. Around the park are different accommodation facilities that tourists can stay in and spend the night, these include Luxury, mid-range and budget. The park also has some cheap camping services with a tented camping ground at Uwinka which is suitable for budget travelers.


Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s top safari destination popular for inhabiting mountain gorillas. The park is found in the northwestern part of Rwanda within the Virunga volcanoes. It covers 5 of the 8 volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains and these are Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo.

The park was made popular worldwide by the Dian Fossey activities in the park which contributed a lot to international interest in the conservation of the mountain gorillas. It covers 160 square kilometers (62 sq. miles) of rainforest. The park borders Virunga National Park of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda also covering part of the Virunga Mountains. The Volcanoes National Park is also unique in a way that it is home to two rare primate species which are the golden monkeys and mountain gorillas.

In 1925, the park was first gazetted as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno with an intention of protecting mountain gorillas from poachers. It was later on in 1929 expanded and went through a series of reductions for human settlement.

In 1967 American naturalist Dian Fossey arrived in Rwanda and set up Karisoke Research centre between Karisimbi and visoke where she spent a lot of time studying the gorillas and brought their plight to the attention of the international community. Though she was murdered by unknown assailants in 1985 she is still very much credited for championing to save the rare mountain gorillas, a story of her life that was later on portrayed in a film named Gorillas in the Mist. She was buried within the park near the research centre and gorillas that she loved a lot, her burial place can be visited during a gorilla safari in Rwanda.


Gishwati-Mukura National Park Rwanda

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda’s fourth national park covering just about only 34 square kilometers with a buffer zone. The park is a forested habitat formed by two forests which Gishwati forest and the other Mukura forest. In 2015, the government of Rwanda resolved to create another national park by combining Gishwati and Mukura forests.

The Gishwati and Mukura forests sit on the ridge which divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas, along the incredibly bio diverse Albertine Rift. Formalization of Gishwati-Mukura forests on national park status in 2015 was aimed at helping redress the balance of the eco system, increase a number of trees to improve soil fertility, stabilize slopes and regulate stream flow.

Gishwati Forest was once having a flourishing eco-system extending till far north near Volcanoes National Park. However, after the 1994 Rwanda Genocide many people who were returning from across the border spread out over the land heading towards the forested areas in order to find land to resettle their families.

The forest was destroyed and just a small portion remained with a few animals managing to survive. It was in 2007 when an American research facility stepped in with the aim of saving a population of less than 20 chimpanzees that had managed to survive. Following the successful conservation efforts, the protected area began to flourish once more.

Gishwati forest inhabits primates including a group of 20 chimpanzees, golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys and blue monkeys. Within Gishwati forest are about 232 bird species.

Mukura Forest held a reserve status for the past several years, however, the size of the forest reduced after pressure from the population. Mukura forest has about 163 bird species especially the Albertine Rift Endemic species and forest specialists.

The protected Gishwati-Mukura Park now gives both forests a protected status. The forests are linked by a wildlife corridor that offers incredible biodiversity providing for free movement of primates including the Black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Blue monkeys and golden monkeys.

Activities that can be undertaken in the Gishwati-Mukura Park include a guided nature hike, guided chimpanzee trekking and monkey tracking, visit to the waterfalls and bird watching.



The late Dian Fossey was so subjective to research on the behaviors of mountain climbing gorillas thus dedicated most of her life protecting and conserving them.

She carried out her research from Karisoke research center found in Volcanoes national park that lasted for only 18 years from 1967 to 1985 when she was murdered.