WILDLIFE OF RWANDA
Rwanda lies just south of the equator in the heart of Africa. Nation’s capital, Kigali – one of the greenest cities in Africa – is served by seven airlines linking Rwanda with the rest of the world.
Rwanda is home to some Africa’s most beautiful scenic views and is one of the three countries in the world where visitors can see the majestic mountain gorillas.
There are many new incentives to visit Rwanda. They include the reintroduction of lions and rhinos to Akagera National Park, the opening of the new Gishwati-Mukura National Park, and the state-of -the-art Bugesera International Airport.
WILDLIFE IN RWANDA – PEACEFUL KIGALI
From its warm and welcoming people, through its comfortable and reliable public transport system using tap-and-go cards, to private car hire, Kigali is an ideal city for visitors to relax and unwind.
The city offers an excellent choice of accommodation – from five-stars hotels like Radisson Blu, the Kigali Serena and The Retreat, through four-star properties such as the Hotel des Mille Collines and the 2000 Hotel Dwontown Kigali, to a wide selection of budget hotels.
There is no lack of shops in Kigali, including two large commercial malls, the Kigali Heights and the Kigali Business Centre, with regional chain of restaurants and coffee shops, pizzerias, wine bars and pubs as well as local regional clothing outlets. The central business district has a car-free zone with a range of artisanal stands.
Restaurants such as Heaven, Beirut and Pili Pili, Century Park Chinese Restaurant and Mamba Club have play parks and other facilities for children to ensure a family-friendly atmosphere. If you like dancing and discotheques, there’s a good choice of clubs such as Bougainvilla, Cocobean, Envy, 514 Club and People, while the profusion of bars and pubs includes Dolce Bar, Fuchsia, Riders Lounge and Sundowner.
A jewel in city’s crown, in terms of luxury accommodation and space for top meetings, is the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre, opened in 2016. With its impressive hilltop location set in lush gardens, the hotel has 291 rooms and suites along with first-rate amenities and excellent service.
The Convention Centre has 18 meeting rooms, including a state-of-the-art auditorium with capacity for 5000 people. It also provides a sophisticated venue for weddings and other social events. The centre has beeb used to host major events as such as the African Union Heads of State Summit.
RWANDA WLDLIFE – VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
This park is home to famous mountain gorilla, with about half of the world’s population of the primate living within its boundaries. Volcanoes National Park in the far north-west of Rwanda, is an area of magnificent volcanic peaks.
A mosaic of montane ecosystems the park contains both evergreen and bamboo forest as well as open grassland, swamp and heath. As a result of conservation efforts, the total population of mountain gorillas is up by well over a quarter since 2010. In January 2018 the African Wildlife Foundation donated an additional 27.8 hectares on the outskirts of the park to its existing 16,000 hectares in order to expand the habitat of the rare but thriving gorillas and other wildlife.
The Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and mountain gorillas often roam between all three parks.
The forest is also home to small populations of hard-to-spot buffalo as well as black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena and bushbuck. The are also contains over 200 recorded bird species.
The Volcanoes National Park also contains the Buhanga Eco-Park – despite its small size, this serene forest packs a great deals of biological and cultural significance, home to a variety of bird and butterfly species. The location is built on an ancient sacred site that was used for coronation rituals of Rwandan kings.
Every year since 2005 on the first Friday of September in Kinigi a conservation event called Kwita Izina takes place involving the naming of a baby gorilla, bringing together communities from all around the park.
The lively town of Musanze, 13 km from the park headquarters, offers a wide range of hotels and guesthouses to suit all budgets. There is a good choice of places to eat as well a markets and artisanal trades. There are also a variety of mid-range properties in Musanze town.
At Musanze there is a natural bridge composed of solidified lava that were formed 62 million years ago, a reminder of the volcanic activity that gave the ares its name. Here you will also find the Musanze Caves. Close to Musanze town are the lakes of Burerea, Ruhanda and Karago.
WILDLIFE OF RWANDA – Akagera National Park
In former times, Akagera was one of the great East African national parks, is made up of three distinct ecosystems: the lakes (Shakani and Ihema) and swamps along the course of the Akagera River; classic african savanna with trademark acacia trees and breathtaking mountain landscapes.
Akagera is now officially home to Africa’s Big Five: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo. This underlines Rwanda’s successful efforts to restore its ecosystems and enhance its tourism sector.
Akagera National Park is on record as having the largest protected wetland in Central Africa as well as the last remaining refuge in Rwanda for savannah- adopted species. Given the swampy nature of much of the park’s terrain, comes as no surprise finding large pods of hippo as well as giant crocodiles inhabiting the area.
In addition to small herds of elephant and buffalo, Akagera is home to leopard, spotted hyena and the occasional lion. The park also contains giraffe and zebra and more than a dozen species of antelope, including the world’s largest, the Cape eland, as well impala, bushbuck and topi.
Located away from the park, Epic Hotel and Suites, on the outskirts of Nyagatore town is a one of the recommended place to stay. Tourists can also camp at Ruzizi Tented Lodge and Karenge Bush Camp.
WildLife In Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest National Park
With altitudes ranging from 1600 metres to 2950 metres, Nyungwe Forest National Park covers 970 sq km and is one of richest areas in Africa in terms of endemic species, making it the largest expanse of montane forest in East or Central Africa.
The forest is best known for its amazing diversity of flora with over 250 species of tree, and for its 13 varieties of primate. Flowering plants include the giant lobelia and over 100 colourful orchid species. Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest forests and the park receives up to 2000 mm of rain each year.
There are thought to be 86 species of mammal in the park. Primates include the owl-faced, mona, blue, golden, red-tailed and vervet monkeys, as well as grey-checked mangabey, black-and-white colobus, greater bushbaby, dwarf galago, olive baboon and over 1000 chimpanzee.
Nyungwe is also considered the best birding destination in Rwanda with over 320 bird species, of which at least 29 are unique to the montane forest environment of the Albertine Rift. The park is also renowned for its butterflies.
There is a choice of accommodation that includes the upmarket Nyungwe House and few other mid-range properties as the Nyungwe Tot View Hill House or Gisakura Guest House, run by the Gisakura Tea Estate.
Rwanda Wildlife – Gishwati Mukura National Park
In the Rwanda youngest national park area, key attractions are the Gishwati forest, the rivers Pfunda and Sebeya, the waterfall trail, the Umuswati trees trail, the Rushubi tea trail and the Gishwati community trail.