Rwanda

Why you should visit Rwanda

The east African tiny, landlocked country of Rwanda is located in the center of the Albertine Rift in the Western section of Africa’s Rift Valley. The area consists of undulating hills and mountainous landscape which has earned it the nickname of “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

 

Rainforests cover the western heights and beautifully cultivated fields lie in the valleys below. From the center of the country the land slopes away to the savannahs and marshes of the east. The legendary Virunga Mountains in the northeast are home to volcanoes, misted cloud forest and half the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas. To the west is one of the world’s deepest lakes, Lake Kivu, with a depth of 475 meters (1558ft.)

 

Rwanda’s name often evokes memories of the horrific genocide which took place in 1994, but the country has moved on and is now a world away from the nightmare it endured. Today, this beautiful African country is the foremost destination for gorilla tracking. Its cities have a vibrant and charming small-town feel about them, luxury lodges are becoming prevalent in the mountainous national parks and the safari scene is still delightfully unknown.

When is the best time to visit

The best months to visit are June and July as they are the driest.

For Gorilla Tracking: June to August and mid-December to mid-March offer the easiest hiking conditions and the lowest malaria risk. The climate is perfect for a trip to the national parks to track gorillas and chimpanzees.

 

September is a good month to go hiking and witness the Kwitalzina ceremony when the baby gorillas are named. April and May can be rainy, but fewer travelers make it easier to obtain a gorilla permit.

 

For chimpanzee tracking, mid-February to early June, and mid-September to mid-December are the be at times to see the chimps in Nyungwe, when they are easier to locate. Since food is harder to find in the dry season, the chimp families often range far into the forest interior.

What to pack for your trip to Rwanda?

 

In winter between June and August, clothes suitable for spring and autumn are recommended, i.e. light daytime garments and a sweater or jacket for the evening. Sensible hiking shoes and a sun hat are essentials.

For the rest of the year, spring and autumn clothes as above may be worn, again with a sweater or jacket for the evenings and the obligatory hiking shoes and sun hat, but also sweatshirts and a raincoat for the evenings at altitudes above 1,500 metres (5,000 ft.). For the Virunga Mountains, warm clothes, sweaters, down jacket, hat and gloves will be necessary.

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