Rwanda lies suitably in Eastern and Central Africa. It is dominated by scenic rolling hills that make it a true land of a thousand hills. It features several water Lakes, rain forests and savanna grasslands that all reward travelers with breathtaking views while on safari in Africa.
Despite its small size, Rwanda is one of a few stunning destinations that offer you a great opportunity to strike your imaginations with a group of mountain gorillas while in their natural habitat. It is a favorite destination for those seeking gorilla trekking and other primate watching safaris in Africa. The others include Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the remarkable Rwanda, these unique apes are tracked only in Volcanoes National Park northwest.
For starters, you may wonder why this landlocked country has become an exceptional gorilla destination regardless of the fact that there are other destinations with the same creatures. Not to worry anymore, there are a number of factors that makes a Rwanda Safari such a special experience and they include among others;
Compared to Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park, the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park is reachable just within 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Kigali airport. This makes it the most accessible gorilla watching destination compared to Uganda’s Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park where you need about 8 to 10 hours to drive from Kampala or Entebbe Airport. This alone makes Rwanda an exceptional destination and a favorite to tourists looking to short trips in Africa. Volcanoes National Park is about 120 kilometers off Kigali International Airport which is a shorter distance. Bwindi National Park on the other hand is about 450-580 kilometers off Kigali capital.
The fact that, you can even have a 1 day gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park makes it the favorite destination to travelers with less time. This isn’t the case with Uganda and DR Congo. For trips to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park or even the Virunga National Park require more days to have a complete trip. The least number of days to spend on a gorilla safari in Uganda or Congo is 3 Days.
In order for you to trek gorillas in Rwanda, you need $1500 to secure a permit which is relatively higher than the cost of permits in Uganda and even the DR Congo. Rwanda increased the cost of its gorilla permits from $750 to currently $1500 per person mainly to protect the home of the mountain gorillas from mass tourism. With less numbers of tourists visiting the park, there is less pressure on the gorilla territory. This measure was necessary given that the most important factor is protecting the resource on which tourism is based. Like other destinations, permits in Rwanda can be obtained through a trust worthy, recognized and registered tour operator or at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) offices in Kigali.
Rwanda has also positioned itself as the best luxury destination. The country has realized the developed of several luxury properties. These include the Bisate Lodge, One and Only Gorilla Nest Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Sabinyo Silverback Lodge. Today, no other destination can attract high end tourists like Rwanda and it is of no doubt that this magical country has become a luxury safari destination.
Volcanoes National Park’s vegetation isn’t that very thick compared to that of Bwindi National Park and this makes it a little bit easier for trekkers to take pictures of these creatures without much interruption while in their natural habitat. Regardless of its strenuous hikes, at end of day, you get the best of these primates’ pictures. Equally, its altitude isn’t high like that of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. On gorilla trek, visitors are assigned to gorilla family based on their physical wellness.
Besides trekking mountain gorillas, Rwanda also features other exciting adventures. Every year, Rwanda holds the Kwita Izina event, a gorilla naming ceremony that is conducted in Kinigi in September every year. This is a special event of its own where the newly born gorillas are given names. It attracts different categories of people- locally regionally and even beyond. It was initiated in 2005 and currently, it is catching the attention of most conservationists, nature lovers, primate lovers and other stake holders.
In summary, Rwanda is such an exceptional gorilla destination of its own. There are a number of factors that make this magical landlocked country an exceptional gorilla destination but the most important one is the fact that it is a home to rare mountain gorillas that thrive within only 3 countries-Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo.