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Rwanda has a number of unique delights to offer travellers. Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga volcanoes is home to the mountain gorillas to which Dian Fossey dedicated her life. Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa, is renowned for its large troops of colobus monkeys and rich variety of orchids. Akagera National Park is a savannah park with elephants, hippo and crocodile. Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep terraced hillsides. There are a large variety of birds. Rwanda has a rich culture with its second city, Butare, having one of the finest cultural museums in Africa.

Introduction
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. French, English and Kinyarwanda are the most widely spoken languages and the population of about 10 million people is largely Christian with some Muslim and Animist communities. ‘The Rwandese are truly amazing people for their willingness to forgive and forget. Guide extraordinarily knowledgeable.’

Main Attractions

Parc National des Volcans (PNV) gorilla park
The park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from on the Rwandese side, some of which have specific attractions and trails to the summits.

Gorillas Trekking safaris
The park currently has 7 gorilla groups and 56 permits available per day. The number of permits can change without notice if the gorillas go across the border. PNV’s seven habituated gorilla families are Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa; Kwitonda and Hirwa. Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take 5-7 hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave and the graves of the gorillas which she studied, and see the endangered golden monkey. Clients stay at Volcanoes Virunga Safari Lodge. The lodge is in Rwanda and faces the Virunga Mountains but is not in the mountains and it should not be confused with Virunga National Parc in DRC.

Tracking the Golden Monkey
An Elusive Treasure in the Virunga Mountains This little known monkey is one of the most endangered primates in Africa and it is now thought that the only viable population of these monkeys is in the Virunga Volcanoes. A smaller population may exist in the Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda but this has yet to be verified. The golden monkey is a distinct species of guenon – Cercopithecus Kandti and is endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Two groups are being habituated for visitors in the Virungas. The Kabatwa group is found in the east of the park, on the flanks of the Sabinyo volcano and has about 40 in the group and can be viewed already. The Musongo Group lives higher up on the flanks of the Karisimbi volcano at an altitude of about 2800-3000 meters and has about 100 individuals. This will be open to visitors shortly.

Seeing the Golden Monkey makes a fantastic short excursion into the misty Virunga forest and it is a great addition to the activities clients can do in the magical afro-montane forest. As with the gorillas, only one hour is allowed with the Golden Monkeys and six visitors are allowed per visit. There is one visit a day, which starts at 7.30am from the park office at Kinigi.

Chimpanzees tracking
Chimpanzees, along with 12 other species of primates, can be found in the massive afro-montane forest of Nyungwe in southern Rwanda, the largest montane forest in Central Africa.

Volcanic Lakes in Rwanda
Rwanda, like Uganda, is bordered by five famous volcanic lakes – Kivu, Bulera, Ruhondo, Bunyoni, Mutanda, each offering its own unique attractions and experiences. Lake Kivu is the largest and is home to the 10th largest inland island, Idjwi. The beach resort city of Kibuya provides many great activities including swimming and water-skiing.  Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo should not be missed by anyone on a Rwandan safari tour. Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi provide luxury respite where you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings at a leisurely pace. We can provide you with a private trip Volcanoes’ private island on Lake Mutanda, Toyo Island. Away from the tourist trail, you will be free to enjoy the lush surroundings.

Nyungwe Forest primate park
This massive montane forest, in southern Rwanda, the largest in Central Africa, has thirteen species of primate including chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey. The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa. Around 300 bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies are other attractions

Akagera National Park
Akagera has beautiful undulating plains with dense, broad-leafed woodland, lighter acacia woodland and rolling grassland with an extensive series of lakes linked by papyrus swamps forming a sprawling wetland. The game in the park is recovering after years of poaching and human presence, with elephant, buffalo, giraffe and lion and different antelope beginning to be seen. Accommodation and the road system in the park have recently been renovated.

rwanda hut 1

Diane Fossey Memorial Butare
Butare is a pleasant university town, which contains the exceptional National Museum which has a fine display of the history of the country and people. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, built in memory of Princess Astrid of Belgium, is the largest in the country. At Nyanza, nearby, there is the court of the former King.

The city of Kigali
Kigali has been the capital of Rwanda since 1965. An attractive city, it spreads over a number of hills and although it saw some difficult times through the genocide in 1994 and as power changed hands subsequently, it now has a pleasant, buoyant air. The main shopping and commercial area is around the Hotel Mille Collines, with the government district on the neighboring Kaciyiru hill. The markets, the handicrafts, the Muslim quarter and a new genocide memorial being built in Gisozi are some of the main places of interest.

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