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Unveiling the Magic of Rwanda: An In-depth Guide to Planning Your Ultimate Safari Holiday

Often referred to as the ‘Country of a Thousand Hills’ or the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, Rwanda is known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and a wide variety of animals. Rwanda safari holidays have been incredibly popular for many years, attracting travellers from all around the globe. 

However, there is so much more to this central African country than what first meets the eye. You may be surprised as to what you’ll discover upon doing a bit of research for your upcoming Rwanda safari.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the unique attractions that make Rwanda a top choice for safari holidays. We’ll also provide guidance regarding the best time to visit, the variety of safaris available, cultural experiences, and so much more.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Rwanda is during its dry season, which takes place between June and September each year. This is when you will experience warm, dry weather with very little chance of rain. The light cloud cover that is common during this time of year is also perfect for going on safaris and gorilla trekking. 

Something else that you can look forward to in June is the yearly Kwita Izina Ceremony. The ceremony has been going on for nearly two decades and was put in place to show the country’s commitment to sustainability and tourism. During the ceremony, baby mountain gorillas, who were born the previous year, all receive their names.

What Types of Animals Will I See in Rwanda?

Rwanda is home to a diverse array of different animals, including mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles. While the country is synonymous with gorillas, it is actually the leopard that is Rwanda’s national animal. 

Other creatures you can look forward to seeing include hippos, lions, buffalo, zebras, giraffes, chimpanzees, baboons, owls, bats, civets, parrots, eagles, and more. The country is truly an animal lover’s paradise.

What Types of Safaris Are Available?

While there is plenty to see and do in Rwanda, the thing that most visitors look forward to is the wide range of safaris on offer. From gorilla trekking to bird watching, there is a Rwanda safari to suit every preference! See your favourite animals in their natural habitats as you explore Rwanda’s vibrant ecosystems. 

One of the most popular safaris is the Big Five Safari, which provides you with the opportunity to see rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalos all in just one exciting excursion. Some of the best places to see the Big 5 include the Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks.

While gorilla trekking is highly sought-after, you may also be interested in chimpanzee trekking, which allows you to see families of chimpanzees swinging from the trees. Keep in mind that both chimpanzee trekking and gorilla trekking require a permit and a guide.

You can also choose between walking safaris and safaris that take place in a classic safari Jeep. If you decide to go on a walking or trekking safari, you should have a moderate level of physical fitness. 

Cultural Experiences

Rwanda offers you the opportunity to experience authentic African culture. One of the best places to delve into Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage is the Kigali Cultural Village, where you’ll find dozens of local artisans and food vendors. The cultural village also hosts a variety of workshops and events that allow you to learn more about local crafts, music, and cuisine.

The local people of Rwanda are very friendly. Take the opportunity to chat with them about their traditions and way of life. While Kinyarwanda is the language that is most widely spoken, many locals also speak both English and French.

Beautiful Landscapes

Known as a land of contrasts, Rwanda is known for its diverse landscapes, which range from lush valleys to massive lakes and everything in between. The most famous lake in Rwanda is Lake Kivu, which is over 90 kilometres long. The lake is a great place for fishing, kayaking, and other water activities.

We can’t talk about Rwanda’s landscape without mentioning its dense forests. One of the best ways to experience these beautiful forests for yourself is by walking along the Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walkway, which is a 2-kilometre route above the trees.

Rwanda is also home to 8 volcanoes, including 2 active volcanoes. Volcanoes National Park is where you’ll find 5 of the 8 volcanoes, and there are plenty of trekking and safari opportunities within this national park too.

The Kamiranzovu Waterfalls are another one of Rwanda’s natural wonders. These picturesque falls cascade down over 50 metres and are surrounded by forests inhabited by monkeys, birds, and insects.

Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation options in Rwanda, you are truly spoiled for choice. One of the most popular options is luxury lodges located within national parks. These luxury lodges provide you with everything you could need for a comfortable stay, and you’ll be close to nature at all times.

Alternatives include boutique hotels, comfortable guesthouses, budget-friendly hostels, and even campsites.

Culinary Delights

Rwanda’s cuisine is simple yet tasty. Some of the country’s most popular dishes include ibirayi (Rwandan fries), akabenzi (pan-fried pork), isombe (pounded cassava leaves), and mizuzu (deep-fried plantains).

If Rwanda’s traditional dishes are not quite to your liking, you’ll find a wide range of familiar Western options in most restaurants and hotels.

What to Pack

A few essential items that you should pack for your trip to Rwanda include:

  • Sun protection, including a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Light, long-sleeved clothing
  • Camera
  • Insect repellent
  • Binoculars
  • Small daypack for trekking and hiking
  • Rain jacket
  • Khaki, beige, green, and brown clothing. Black and blue clothes should be avoided as they attract flies.

Don’t worry if you forget to pack an essential item. There are plenty of places in Rwanda where you can buy waterproof bags, clothing items, chargers, binoculars, and sun protection.

How to Choose the Right Safari Package

With so many tour operators offering a diverse variety of Rwanda safari packages, all with different prices and inclusions, it can be difficult to find an option best suited to your specific needs. 

Things that you should take into consideration when booking a safari package include:

  • Your budget
  • The animals you most want to see
  • Your level of physical fitness
  • What type of accommodation you require
  • The amount of time you have in Rwanda

If you have the time, it is recommended that you book more than one safari experience, as this will allow you to see as many animals as possible.

Our other recommendation would be to book a custom safari package. This way, you’ll experience Rwanda in a way that ticks all your boxes and best suits your preferences, resulting in true value for your money and a trip you will never forget!

Are you interested in booking a custom Rwanda safari? At Tailormade Africa, we create your dream safari based on your specific needs and requirements. No two packages are the same, and we truly take all your unique preferences into consideration to come up with the perfect experience for you and your travel companions. Contact us today to begin chatting about your dream Rwanda holiday!

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