By Jenna Jolie
Blessed with some of the most amazing landscapes on earth, Rwanda is often referred to as the "Land of a Thousand Hills." Notably, this country is a land of rich biodiversity, strongly emphasizing the restoration of its wildlife, national parks, and natural vegetation. That's why the nation has emerged as a prominent tourism destination in Africa, enticing travelers with its allure and promoting its unique offerings to the world.
Let Rwanda Immigration Services take you to discover the most well-known national parks in Rwanda, in which numerous species of wildlife are protected. From iconic mountain gorillas to rare bird species, Rwanda's national parks showcase its commitment to conservation and preserving its natural heritage.
Volcanoes National Park
Located in the northwestern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park spans an impressive area of 160 square kilometers. The park was established in 1925 with the primary objective of protecting the mountain gorillas. It is characterized by its awe-inspiring landscape, encompassing five volcanoes/mountains: Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Sabinyo, and Gahinga.
Visitors can explore diverse habitats within its borders, including bamboo forests, rainforests, picturesque lakes, marshes, and the fascinating Musanze caves. Notably, Volcanoes National Park boasts the second-highest population of mountain gorillas, trailing only Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Visitors can also encounter rare animals while trekking in the forest, such as golden monkeys, forest elephants, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, buffaloes, various primate species, and an impressive array of 178 bird species.
Volcanoes National Park is characterized by its awe-inspiring landscape
Things to do in Volcanoes National Park
Regarding exciting activities in Volcanoes National Park, gorilla tracking is undoubtedly the highlight, allowing visitors to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. Exploring the Musanze caves and golden monkey trekking is also popular there, providing an interesting opportunity to interact with other primate species. Adventurers can also choose to hike one of the five volcanoes. Hiking Mount Karisimbi is an exciting choice, closely followed by Bisoke. Volcanoes National Park promises an unforgettable experience, immersing visitors in the splendor of Rwanda's natural wonders.
Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park, the largest national park in Rwanda, sprawls across an impressive 1222 square kilometers and offers diverse ecosystems. From expansive Savannah plains and woodlands to montane forests and vast swamps, the park's landscapes are captivating and impressive. Notably, Akagera is blessed with numerous water bodies, renowned as the Kagera River, Lake Shakani, and Lake Ihema.
At the moment, Akagera National Park is home to the big five animals, including leopards, elephants, rhinos, lions, and buffaloes. Beyond the big five, visitors can also spot a rich array of wildlife, including zebras, impalas, oribis, bushbucks, elands, tsessebes, hippos, and crocodiles. With its impressive wetlands and marshes, Akagera National Park is also a haven for bird enthusiasts, boasting a remarkable concentration of water birds. Over 425 bird species have been recorded in the park, including the iconic shoebill stork and the vibrant papyrus gonolek.
Highlights of a trip to Akagera National Park
A tour of the Akagera National Park is not dull since this attraction offers thrilling wildlife safari activities for tourists. Game drives, boat safaris, and walking tours provide visitors with unforgettable experiences and a chance to witness the remarkable diversity of African wildlife. Game drives are the most chosen activity, providing the perfect opportunity to witness the park's diverse wildlife. Whether in the morning, afternoon or even at night, these drives take visitors through the park's stunning savannah vegetation and papyrus swamps, granting them sightings of wild animals engaged in hunting or retreating to their hiding places.
On the other hand, a boat cruise on Lake Ihema provides a serene and refreshing experience. Gliding along the lake, you can appreciate the tranquil breeze while admiring the Savannah flora lining its shores.
Akagera National Park is the largest national park in Rwanda
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Things to see in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nestled near Rwanda's borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda is a captivating natural treasure. The park is one of the country's two newest national parks, established in 2004 with an area of 270 square kilometers. Nyungwe Forest is dominated by a group of mountains that share their formations with those in Congo and Uganda, offering breathtaking views of Lake Kivu and the Virunga Volcanoes on clear days.
Over 200 species of trees, including bogs, bamboo, and grasslands, thrive, creating a diverse and vibrant ecosystem in this lush forest home. Regarded as Rwanda's primate capital, Nyungwe Forest National Park preserves an impressive array of primate species, with over 13 recorded. From the charismatic Angola Colobus to Silver Monkeys, the L'Hoest's Monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Hamlyn's Monkeys, Grey-cheeked Managabeys, and over 500 chimpanzees, visitors have the extraordinary opportunity to observe the unique behaviors and habits of these magnificent creatures.
Nyungwe Forest is renowned as a premier birding destination, with 275 recorded species. The dense forest provides a haven for 85 mammal species, 120 butterfly species, 38 reptile species, and 32 amphibian species. Among the diverse mammal population, visitors may encounter elusive species such as Golden cats, Leopards, serval cats, Mongooses, civets, and stripped jackals.
Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda is renowned as a premier birding destination
Top Interesting Activities In Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest offers an array of captivating activities for visitors to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the park.
Your trip to Nyungwe Forest national park is incomplete without embarking on an exhilarating chimpanzee trekking. Accompanied by experienced guides, tourists can easily venture into the forest in search of these intelligent primates. By joining a chimpanzee trekking tour, travelers will have a great opportunity to observe their behavior, listen to their calls, and witness their captivating interactions in their natural habitat.
The Canopy walkway can only be found in Nyungwe Forest national park. When you walk along suspended bridges and elevated walkways, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the dense forest canopy below. Let’s seize this chance to marvel at the beauty of the flora and fauna in the park.
Nyungwe Forest is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 275 recorded bird species living within the boundaries. It’s best to embark on a birding excursion with a knowledgeable guide who will help you spot and identify a diverse range of bird species, including the colorful papyrus gonolek and various endemic and migratory species.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda's newest national park, which emerged in 2015 through the fusion of the Gishwati and Mukura forests. The establishment of Gishwati-Mukura National Park was driven by the imperative to safeguard the remnants of the Mukura and Gishwati forests while protecting their resident chimpanzee populations. Within this pristine sanctuary, an array of fascinating primate species thrives, including golden monkeys, L'Hoest's monkeys, and blue monkeys, coexisting harmoniously with a group of 20 chimpanzees in Gishwati. The number of bird species is also remarkable, boasting an impressive record of 232 species observed in Gishwati and 163 in Mukura, encompassing Albertine Rift Endemic species.
Since 2019, visitors have been able to partake in various exploring activities within the park. Guided nature hikes allow individuals to explore the park's enchanting landscapes, while guided chimp and monkey tracking expeditions offer a unique opportunity to observe these remarkable primates in their natural habitat. Birdwatching enthusiasts will delight in the numerous species that grace the park's skies. Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers traveling to Rwanda. This attraction gives them a glimpse at Rwanda's commitment to conservation, offering visitors an unforgettable journey into a realm where wildlife thrives, and nature flourishes.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda's newest national park
The list of national parks in Rwanda is worth putting on your travel itinerary to this African country, owing to the remarkable number of rare animals in nature. Whether encountering mountain gorillas, witnessing the majesty of African wildlife on the savannah, exploring ancient rainforests, or witnessing the rebirth of a forest ecosystem, these parks offer an unforgettable adventure. As visitors visit these Rwanda's pristine wilderness, they also contribute to the sustainable development of local communities and the preservation of these extraordinary landscapes.
Get a Rwanda visa today and get prepared to enjoy all the happy moments you will have for the upcoming trip to Rwanda!