Safari Parks in Rwanda
Akagera National Park
Bordering Tanzania to the east, Akagera National Park is one of the oldest in Africa and was established in the 1930’s.
Offering endless scenery of mostly low grasslands and savannahs, this park has the feel of a traditional East African safari. The park feeds into a series of lakes, marshes, and swamps that make up some of East Africa’s largest protected wetlands.
This park has a troubled past, especially during the civil wars of the 1990’s when refugees returned to live within the park, damaging the environment through cattle grazing and poaching. The government allowed the returning residents to live in one half of the park and fenced off the other half to implement conservation methods to protect the wildlife.
The park is about a three-hour drive from Kigali and therefore should be visited for at least a two-day trip, though some ambitious visitors may try to do so in one day.
There are great boat trips that can be taken along the shores of Lake “Ihema” and fis hing expeditions on Lake “Shakani”. Wildlife in this park is more relaxed and easy to spot because of the lack of big predators — you will not be disappointed.
Rwanda’s largest and ranked in the top ten in Africa, this fresh water lake borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west of the country lying right along the great Rift Valley.
This lake is perfectly positioned for an amazing drive between Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park, as there are three main towns located around the lake where you will be warmly greeted by kids standing on the roadside waving you on. The drive is beautiful with every corner exhibiting a new piece of scenery.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
A vast, untouched rainforest with a high dense canopy of tall trees, this park was established in 2004 as the government wanted to expand tourism beyond the country’s main attraction of the mountain gorillas.
This is a perfect park for chimpanzee and colobus monkey safaris as it holds almost one-quarter of all of Africa’s primates.
There is an all-metal suspension bridge called the canopy walk built 50 meters above the forest so tourists can get a real sense of this dense landscape.
An endemic species-rich area, this park is great for a truly relaxing safari experience where bird-watchers and primate-lovers can get a real sense of the wonders of this rainforest.
Volcanoes National Park
This park is currently the main reason why people come to Rwanda, as it has become world famous for extraordinary mountain gorilla safaris. No visit would be complete without seeing these amazing and majestic creatures up close.
Volcanoes National Park is located in the Rwandan section of the great Virunga Mountains that are shared between Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. The gorillas cross between all three countries, but most habituated families are located within the Volcanoes N.P. Home to around 400 mountain gorillas, this park is definitely the best place in all of Africa to view these human-like mammals.
Volcanoes N.P. has been at the forefront of gorilla conservation for decades as it was the base of the legendary primatologist Dan Fossey, whose work started in the 1960’s and is portrayed in the book and film “Gorillas in the Mist.”