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Rwanda Wildlife Safaris: Best Rwanda Wildlife Safari Tours

Rwanda wildlife safaris/ wildlife safaris in Rwanda are one of the thrilling experiences to enjoy on your explore Rwanda tours to Africa.

This land of a thousand hills is famously known for the Mountain Gorillas that live within Volcanoes National Park and tourists can enjoy gorilla trekking trips as well as other wildlife species.

Wildlife tours in Rwanda are mostly enjoyed in Akagera National Park, the only savannah national park among other national parks in the country. The wildlife species you can see in this park are herbivores, carnivores, reptiles, and primate species.

Popular Rwanda animals to see are Forest Elephants, Antelopes, Lions, Giraffes, Black Rhinos, and Zebras and you can see them on a game drive, nature walk, or boat trip on Lake Kivu the largest freshwater lake in Rwanda.

Rwanda wildlife tours also take you to Volcanoes National Park to meet the sought-after primates the Gorillas for Gorilla trekking and Nyungwe Forest National Park for Chimpanzee trekking.

Other primate species to see within these national parks include L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Black, and White Colobus Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, etc.

This wonderful country will have you explore Africa in a unique short time and give you a memorable African adventure. From the national parks on the wildlife trips, you can also enjoy the Kigali city tour, and cultural community tours when you visit Ibyiwacu cultural village, visit the Genocide memorial sites/genocide memorial centers, visit the grave of Dian Fossey at Karisoke Research Centre, or hike Mount Karisimbi.

A Rwanda wildlife safari can be combined with Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda in a single itinerary for a better experience.

Top 16 Rwanda Wildlife Safari Packages

Where to Go for Your Rwanda Wildlife Safaris

Rwanda wildlife safaris are enjoyed in the top Rwanda wildlife safari national parks, the best being Akagera National Park and the only Savannah National Park.  Other Rwanda safari parks are Volcanoes National Park, the only Rwanda wildlife safari destination where you can meet the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking in Rwanda, and Nyungwe Forest National Park, known for the chimpanzees and good for chimpanzee tracking.

Below are the best places for your wildlife trips in this country:

Akagera National Park

Rwanda Wildlife Safaris

Akagera National Park is the only savannah national park situated in the eastern province of the country, covering an area of 1,122 km2 close to Kigali, making it good for a Rwanda wildlife safari within East Africa.

This diversity is comprised of savannahs, woodlands, wetlands, and various lakes, for example, Lake Shakini and Lake Ihema.

Akagera National Park has wildlife species including the Big Five wild animals and some of the animals to see in their natural habitat include Rhinos, Buffaloes, Lions, Leopards, Giraffes, Elephants, Cheetahs, etc.

With the concerted efforts of the Rwanda Development Board, it has made sure that Akagera National Park offers the best wildlife trips as it reintroduced the Black Rhinos. Akagera Park has different primate species, including vervet monkeys, white monkeys, white cocolobus monkeys, olive babies, and bush babies.

It is the only savannah national park in Rwanda where you can do a game drive on a Rwanda wildlife safari Other activities to do in this park are boat trips, bird-watching to see several bird species, nature walks, community walks, and fishing.

The Akagera River feeds Lake Ihema, Lake Kivu, and Lake Shakani, all of which are located within Akagera National Park.

Lake Kivu is the biggest lake in Rwanda, though it is one of the two smallest African great lakes. On your Rwanda wildlife safari, you can embark on a boat trip on Lake Kivu for a memorable experience with amazing sightings.

Volcanoes National Park

Wildlife safaris in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park is one of the few national parks with endangered mountain gorillas, making it ideal for gorilla trekking in East Africa. This park has about 350 mountain gorillas, making it the highest number within the Virunga ranges, and this makes it the best for gorilla trekking on a Rwanda tour.

Volcanoes National Park is within the Virunga Mountains, and it was the first place where Dian Fossey began her work of habituating the gentle giants in 1966.

Those enjoying gorilla trekking can visit the grave of Dian Fossey at Karisoke Research Centre. She made the gorillas known from the outside and fought for mountain gorilla conservation within Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes National Park has 12 habituated gorilla families, and tourists can enjoy gorilla trekking in Rwanda while here. At least each mountain gorilla family or gorilla group has a dominant silverback.

Tourists on Rwanda wildlife safari tours can also embark on Golden Monkey trekking within Volcanoes National Park or hike the Virunga Mountains, like Mount Karismbi, with views of the Crater Lake.

The other Virunga Mountains you can hike are Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Bisoke. However, the gorilla families are near Mount Karismbi, with amazing exotic plants within Volcanoes National Park.

Apart from the gorilla families for gorilla trekking in Rwanda tours, other wildlife species in Volcanoes National Park include golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys, and many bird species in their natural habitat.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Rwanda wildlife safari

Nyungwe National Park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda, and it borders Burundi, Lake Kivu, and the Congo. This park is one of the oldest in Africa, protecting 13 primate species, including the L’Hoest’s Monkey, in this country.

You can find many other primate species while on your Rwanda tours on the thick forest floor of Nyungwe Forest National Park, though the most common are the chimpanzees, which are ideal for chimpanzee trekking during your Rwanda wildlife safari.

Nyungwe National Park does not offer golden monkey trekking, but there are guarantees that you will see many primate species on the forest floor on your Rwanda wildlife safari. If you are lucky, many forest elephants are present on the forest floor of Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is also well known for the Nyungwe Forest canopy walk suspension bridge, which is a good spot for taking photos on a Rwanda tour. The Nyungwe Forest canopy walk gives you amazing sightings of other primate species and birds in their natural habitat.

Tourists should know that there are no gorilla families for gorilla trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

The other primate species and wild species to look out for here on a Rwanda safari are the L’Hoest’s Monkey, black and white Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and many bird species.

What is the wildlife in Rwanda? | What animals are in Rwanda?

Wondering what animals you see on a safari in Rwanda? Or what wildlife does Rwanda have? This country is good for wildlife tours because of its mammal species.

This beautiful country has about 189 mammal species, including 15 primate species. The most common primates are mountain gorillas, ideal for Rwanda gorilla trekking; golden monkeys within Volcanoes National Park; chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park; and other monkey species.

There are also the Big 5 animals in Rwanda and you can see them in Akagera National Park on your Rwanda safari.

Below are some of the animals to see within the national parks on Rwanda safaris, including:

Mountain Gorillas, Lions, Leopards, Forest Elephants, Buffaloes, Zebras, Black Rhinos, Hyenas, Jackals, Giraffes, Bush pigs, Baboons, Golden Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Giraffes, Bushbucks, Topis, Oribis, Water-buck, Roan antelope, Duiker, Klipspringer, Impala, Eland, etc.

Rwanda Wildlife Safari: Major Activities

On your Rwanda wildlife safari tours, you will see animals on game drives, boat cruises, and nature walks.

Game Drives

Game drives are ideal in Akagera National Park on a Rwanda wildlife safari and are enjoyed in the morning, afternoon, and night game drives on a private tour. They take place within the open savannahs so that you get up-close views of animals on your Rwanda wildlife safari, including the Big Five.

Most animals you will see on a Rwanda wildlife safari are only found in Akagera Park and not in other national parks and these include Elephants, Buffaloes, Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, Zebras, Giraffes, and many bird species.

Boat Cruise

You can explore Lake Ihema on a boat cruise, which is in the southern part of the park. You can explore the lake’s islands and bird species on a boat ride and the sightings are amazing during the Rwanda wildlife safari private tour.

Ihema Lake is also connected to the Akagera River, which pours into the lake and the boat trips are of four sessions when on visit Rwanda tours.

Bird Watching

Most bird lovers like this country as it has over 700 bird species, including 29 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. Bird watching is mostly famous in Akagera in the eastern part of the country, Volcanoes National Park, and Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Special bird species to see on your Rwanda safari tours in Nyungwe Forest and other parks include Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Nightjar, Handsome Francolin, etc.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla tracking is the most famous activity in Volcanoes National Park and you get to meet the gentle giants. When searching for Gorilla families during Rwanda Gorilla trekking, you can also hike Mount Karisimbi.

You can also enjoy Golden Monkey trekking to see the Golden Monkeys, bird species, and other monkey species on top of Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes Park.

Nature Walk Safaris in Rwanda

As you walk with rangers on a Rwanda safari, you can search for various animals, bird species, and butterflies on the dense forest floor in Nyungwe Forest, volcanoes, and Akagera Park.

These walks are mostly enjoyed in Nyungwe Forest National Park on the Nyungwe forest canopy walk. There are also other hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park like Bigugu, Igishigishigi, Isumo, and Ngabwe hiking trails.

Cultural Tours

This is the ideal way to learn about the local people and learn more about their way of life. Rwanda is an amazing country rich in culture and you get to enjoy cultural tours around Akagera National Park.

You can visit many local communities on your cultural tours, meet the local women on your Rwanda safari and learn about the local way of life. You can pay for most visits in Rwandan franc.

There is also sport fishing in Akagera Park on Lake Ihema and the wetlands of Lake Kivu.

Rwanda Tour: Major Attractions

There are many attractions that you can see on your explore Rwanda tours and some of these include:

  1. The most popular attractions are national parks, especially Akagera, Volcanoes National Park, known for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking, where you get to be with a Gorilla family or Gorilla group and Golden Monkeys, Nyungwe Forest National Park, and Gishwati Mukura
  2. Genocide memorial centers include Bisesero, Murambi, Ntarama, and Nyamata Genocide Memorial centers to learn more about the dark past of the genocide and appraise the Rwandan patriotic people
  3. Lake Kivu: Lake Kivu is one of the great lakes, providing the highest amount of fish to locals
  4. Cultural Villages like Ibyiwacu cultural village and other historical sites
  5. Kigali City

Best Rwanda Wildlife Safari Packages for You: Popular Packages

For the best Rwanda safaris, you need to choose the best packages for an unforgettable experience.

How Much Is a Wildlife Safari in Rwanda?

Numerous factors, including the cost of activities, park entrance fees, lodging, group size, and number of days to spend on vacation, affect a Rwanda wildlife safari.

Additionally, the nationality of the visitor—such as whether they are an East African citizen, a foreign resident, or both—determines it. Expect to spend about $200 and above per person per day.

Citizens can pay in Rwandan franc for Rwanda safaris.

Rwanda Wildlife Safari Lodges & Hotels: Accommodation

Best places to stay while on a Rwanda Wildlife Safari

For a memorable wildlife Rwanda tour, you don’t need to worry about the accommodation, as this country has the best facilities ranging from luxury to midrange and budget.

Luxury Lodges: Akagera Game Lodge, Magashi Camp, and Ruzizi Tenred Lodge

Midrange Lodges: Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Garr Hotel

Budget Lodges: Karenge Bush Camp, Dereve Hotel, Lake Shakani Campsite

Is Gorilla Trekking Better in Rwanda or Uganda? | Is Uganda or Rwanda better for gorilla trekking?

Both Rwanda and Uganda are great destinations for trekking mountain gorilla families. When choosing the right destination for a gorilla safari, consider the destination with many gorilla families, the cost of gorilla permits, and other Rwanda safaris.

  • Uganda has more gorilla families (20) than Rwanda (12). Uganda’s Bwindi has almost half of the mountain gorilla population, with 19 gorilla families, and Mgahinga has one mountain gorilla group.
  • Uganda sells 160 gorilla permits a day, and Rwanda sells 90 gorilla permits a day.
  • Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $700 per permit, and gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1,500, and you can buy them from the Rwanda Development Board. This makes Uganda a cheaper destination for a gorilla safari.
  • One can do a 1-day gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda, which is not possible in Uganda as it requires at least 3 days.
  • Those visiting Rwanda should know that it has one savannah park, which is Akagera National Park, within the eastern part of the country, though Uganda has 4 savannah parks, which are Kidepo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Lake Mburo, and you can enjoy cultural tours as well.

You should visit both destinations for the best gorilla trekking to meet the gorilla family or gorilla group face-to-face in their natural habitat.

Packing List for Rwanda Wildlife Safari Holidays

Packing list while on a Rwanda Wildlife safari

There are essential items that you need to carry for your Rwanda tours and below are some of those items:

  • A good camera
  • A pair of binoculars
  • Insect repellent
  • A waterproof back bag
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Medications
  • A bottle of water

How Should You Dress for Your Rwanda Wildlife Safari?

When coming for a Rwanda wildlife safari in Africa, make sure that you put on the right clothing. Below is some of the gear to put on a wildlife tour to Africa:

  • Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers
  • Light hiking shoes or boots
  • A hat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Poncho or Rain jacket

Why go for a Rwanda wildlife safari?

Is Rwanda good for safari? Yes, Rwanda is a good destination for vacations and there are many reasons why you should go on safaris.

This country has Gorillas for Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and has other attractions, It is rich in culture and amazing bird species, including Albertine Rift endemics

You can also enjoy Gorilla treks, birding since there are many bird species, game drives, and cultural encounters when you visit the Ibyiwacu cultural village, as well as a boat cruise on Lake Kivu.

On your Rwanda tour, you will experience many amazing adventures worth exploring when you visit Africa.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Safari in Rwanda?

Tourists can visit Rwanda for remarkable Rwanda wildlife safari holidays at any time of the year, though the best time is in the dry season or dry months.

This time is usually from December to February and from June to August. You get to see animals gathering at waterholes, giving you better game viewing experiences. Also, the hiking trails for gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Chimpanzee-Training Nyungwe Forest are dry and offer easy accessibility.

Where can I see animals in Rwanda?

You can see animals within the national parks of Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, and Volcanoes National Park on your Rwanda safari private tour.

Is it safe to travel to Rwanda to see gorillas?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, to see gorilla families, as this country is one of the safest countries in Africa to travel to. Since the dark past of the 1994 genocide, the country has been stable, and tourism is at its peak. There is no doubt about that.

Each of the Gorilla family or Gorilla group is fully habituated, plus you are always in accompaniment with armed park rangers when encountering the Gorilla families.

Are there any wild animals in Rwanda?

Yes, there are wild animals in Rwanda, and tours on a Rwanda safari can spot them within the national parks, which are Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Nyungwe National Park.

Lions are within Akagera National Park, and you can see them when you visit Rwanda. With the concerted efforts of the Rwanda Development Board, lions are increasing in number as they are in a safe environment.

Rwanda is one of the tour destinations in East Africa with elephants, as these are within Akagera National Park, and you can see them on your Rwanda wildlife safari during a game drive.

On a lucky day, you can spot Forest Elephants within Nyungwe Forest and other wildlife species, especially other monkey species.

What Are the Big Five Animals in Rwanda?

Rwanda has five big animals within Akagera Park. The big 5 animals in this country are Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, and Buffaloes. Those coming on Rwanda safaris will see the big 5 in Akagera Park when they engage in a game drive.

Journey To the Land of a Thousand Hills: Explore an Unforgettable Rwanda Safari

Those who want to visit Rwanda will for sure find the uniqueness within this small country and this will offer great ways of experiencing Africa with unforgettable memories.

Wildlife trips in Rwanda are unmissable when you come to explore Africa, as you will engage in game drives, a boat cruise on Lake Kivu, the genocide memorial sites and genocide memorial centers, and the Karisoke research center, and get to see the big 5 animals in one place.

You will meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Chimpanzee species in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Wildlife holidays are magical and the excitement they give is endless!!

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