Rwanda offers a once in lifetime experience tracking mountain gorillas. Excited? This beautiful country in East Africa is a nature lover’s paradise. Also known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda offers exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities in the many national parks and breathtaking scenery. Get up close to lions, rhinos, chimps and more. Stay in Atmospheric Lodgings surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife. Have an adventure of a journey as we list for you the top things to do in gorgeous Rwanda, East Africa.
Top Things To Do In Rwanda, East Africa
1. Say Hello to Mountain Gorillas at Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park is an unmissable top thing to do in Rwanda. This splendid park is home to several endangered mountain gorillas. Experience a mind-blowing trekking expedition to be among the mountain gorilla families. Journey through mystical bamboo forests and mushy meadows. Witness armed guards communicating with the gorillas by clicking sounds to keep you safe. Make friends with the primates who are mostly apathetic to human visitors for a superb time.
Price: $100 (golden monkey tracking)
Timings: 6.00 am to 5.00 pm
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include a daily trekking permit for about $1500 in your tour cost.
2. Head for a Safari at the Akagera National Park
The Akagera National Park is just two and a half hours drive away from Kigali. The park is maintained by the African Parks Organisation and has a vast expanse of incredible biodiversity. Witness a fabulous recovery of the park from near ruins after the Rwandan genocide. Spot hippos, zebras, elephants, giraffes and more on a fascinating self-drive safari. This is one of the largest wetlands in Africa that boasts an abundance of animals, birds and the Big Five.
Price: $7.50 (entry fee/self-drive permit)
Timings: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm
Pro Tip: For better viewing carry a binocular.
3. Sense Dizzying Heights on the Canopy Walkway
Imagine looking down more than 50 metres above an amazing rainforest. Walk on a 91-meter long suspension bridge for dizzying views of the treetops with mountainous backdrops in the vicinity. The Canopy Walkway tour is an unforgettable experience offered at the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Take in breathtaking views of Nyungwe and eye-level sighting of canopy wildlife. The spectacular park is filled with an array of bio-diversity that includes 75 types of mammals, 322 species of birds and 1068 plant species. You could also take the hiking trails to track chimpanzees, a memorable experience.
Price: $60 per person
Timings: 8.00 am, 10.00 am, 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm
Pro Tip: Avoid the walking tour if you are afraid of heights.
4. Sombre Moments at the Kigali Genocide Memorial
Remember and feel close to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi. The emotions that emanate from the memorial is heart-wrenching. This is the final resting place of more than 250,000 victims of the horrific genocide in 1994. In just about 100 days a large number of people were slaughtered by the Hutu extremists. Purchase a digital KGM guided tour to get an audio-visual experience of the memorial. The group guided tour also includes a visit to the main hall that features stained glass windows and moving sculptures.
Price: $100 (1 to 10 people guided tour)
Timings: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm
Pro Tip: Please check for filming and photography inside the memorial that costs $20. However, it is free to film or click photographs outside.
5. Relax on the Serene Shores of Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu in Rwanda is a 2700 square km of green oasis with mountainous backdrops. The palm-lined shore of Lake Kivu offers Rubavu, a resort town. Kick your feet up and enjoy stunning vistas, sandy beaches and water adventures. Take a sunset kayak trip on Lake Kivu as the fishermen sing along. Soak in the landscapes in awe and spend a few days in this peaceful town. Tour operators also offer multi-day paddling adventures in Rwanda’s largest lake. Take a boat trip on the shimmering waters and see rare waterfowl, pelicans, crowned cranes, and more.
Price: $78 per night onwards (Lac Kivu Lodge room rent)
Timings: 24 hours
Pro Tip: June and July are the driest months and the best time to travel to Lake Kivu.
You Might Also Like: 10 Incredible Things to do in Tanzania
6. Explore Rwanda’s Ethnographic Museum Galleries
The Ethnographic Museum is located about 130 km south of Kigali in the Huye district. Visit to see the best collections of archaeological artifacts that take you back in time. The fabulous museum was gifted to the city to honour the 25th year of independent Rwanda in 1989. Explore the seven galleries with impressive baskets, garments from animal hides, musical drums and more. Step inside to take you back to pre-colonial times and witness old farming tools. Take part in live handicrafts demonstrations in the museum for an all-encompassing experience.
Price: $12 (entry price)
Timings: 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
Pro Tip: We recommend booking the museum tour in advance.
7. Volcano Hike the Awesome Mount Bisoke
Take the unique experience of a hiking trail of a dormant volcano. The hike amid flourishing slopes reaches you to two crater lakes. If you are lucky, you will even see gorillas on your trek. The hike of approximately three hours ascent is amazing through various vegetation zones as you reach the beautiful crater lake at 3711 m. Mount Bisoke is one of the series of volcanoes that are part of the Virunga Mountain Range. The climb is somewhat challenging but worth it. Wander to another beautiful crater lake Ngezi, about 11 km from the summit. Discover spectacular views from the summit that is dominated by the crater lake as a variety of birds fly past.
Price: $75 ( for foreign non-residents)
Timings: 7.00 am ( hike starting time)
Pro Tip: Bring along trekking gaiters that are waterproof and breathable to help you trek the muddy slopes.
8. Take a Tour of Nyungwe Forest National Park
The amazing colourful plant world awaits you at the Nyungwe Forest Park. Home to over 100 orchid species and many different primate species enjoy a custom tour of the park. Go on to see chimpanzees, mantle moths and more. This is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. Witness spectacular biodiversity in the mountainous region teeming with wildlife. Primate tracking is a top thing to do among the 15 trails on offer with 322 bird species, 75 known mammals and over 120 species of butterflies that keep you enthralled.
Price: $40 per person ( entry fee)
Timings: 6.00 am to 4.00 pm
Pro Tip: You can book online for the park tour.
9. Enjoy the Plantation Tour in Gisovu Tea Estate
The tour of the shimmering fields of the Gisovu Tea Estate is a sharp contrast to wild forestry. Tucked away on the northern edge of Nyungwe National Park, the estate offers accommodation and day tours. Unwind here as you witness meticulous rows of tea grounds. Take part in the cupping ceremony or mountain bike through the grounds. Sip into the finest cups of tea and soak in the serenity of the vistas. The famous Rwanda tea plantation offers winding pathways and a unique experience.
Price: Based on the tour
Timings: Day tours
Pro Tip: Sip on world-class Silverback honey tea.
10. Go Bird Watching at the Akagera National Park
Birding in Rwanda is very rewarding as the country has the highest concentration of birds per square kilometre. Akagera National Park covers a chunk of savannah with rolling grasslands and broadleaf acacia. The park presents 525 species of some of the best birds such as Sousa’s shrike, white-collared oliveback, Ruaha chat and red-faced barbet. The Akagera River dissects the acacia woodland and runs along the course of a mosaic of wetlands. Spend time in the area for fascinating bird watching sights and watch papyrus canary, shoebill, papyrus gonolek and more.
Price: $7.50 (park entrance fee)
Timings: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm
Pro Tip: Do not carry a camera with a flash.
Explore More: 10 Extraordinary Things to do in Zanzibar