Though small by African standards, Rwanda is perfectly located as a wildlife destination, lying at the point where East Africa’s expansive grasslands evolve into wooded hills and mountains. The result is the epithet of the Land of a Thousand Hills, and a variety of endemic plant and animal species almost unique to this welcoming and forward-looking nation – not least the mountain gorilla and 670 different species of bird.
It’s to the mountains of the west that most visitors travel for the best Rwanda safaris – gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) one of only a handful of spots on Earth where it’s possible to encounter mountain gorillas. It is estimated to be home to a third of the world population of these majestic, intelligent, and highly-endangered creatures.
At the southern end of Lake Kivu, Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest expanse of forest left in the country, and is an important home to more than a dozen primate species including the chimpanzee.
But it would be remiss to visit Rwanda and not explore its urban landscapes too. Kigali, the capital, lies amid lush rolling hills, and is one of the continent’s most pleasant cities. Both clean and safe, its bustling streets have an atmosphere of quiet confidence and an ever-growing number of important cultural and historical attractions.
The best Rwanda safaris and trekking combine Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National park, Lake Kivu and Kigali.