Rwanda has a fertile and hilly terrain that makes it an explorer’s dream. It’s broken up by plateaus and highlands and is a fascinating mix of mighty volcanoes, lush vegetation, tea plantations and dense rainforest. It’s filled with natural wonders, but even among such incredible biodiversity, the mountain gorillas are undoubtedly the star attraction.
It’s humbling to meet creatures so similar to ourselves and yet so much more vulnerable. To see them, you need to head to the protected forests of the Parc National des Volcans. Just one hour in the gorillas’ company is enough to bring home how fragile their community is. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that will never leave you. If you can, time your visit to coincide with Kwita Izinga, the annual naming ceremony which has included new arrivals to the gorilla family for the last thirty years.
Gorillas aside, there are plenty of things to see and do. Nyungwe Forest to the south is where to trek chimps and colobus monkeys beneath a lush forest canopy. And Akagera National Park is an ‘off grid’ safari fan’s dream – it’s one of the largest protected wetlands in Africa and home to a unique swamp ecosystem.
Rwanda is a remarkable nation that’s successfully come back from the very brink to move forwards. The Rwandan people are rightly proud of their country and kinsman, and their spirit makes visiting this beautiful nation even more special.
When to go
You can go gorilla trekking in Rwanda year-round, but the best time to visit is during the short dry season from December to February or over the long dry season months of June to September. These offer the easiest walking conditions.