Rwanda's National Parks
Rwanda is a small but beautiful landlocked country in East Africa. It is renowned for its gorilla trekking safaris in the well-known Volcanoes National Park. In addition to encounters with the mountain gorillas, Rwanda is also home to several remarkable national parks.
Akagera National Park
After lion and black rhino were reintroduced in 2015 and 2017 respectively, Akagera National Park officially became Rwanda’s only Big 5 destination.
Akagera sits on the north-east border of the country and is two hours from the capital city of Kigali. Named after the Akagera River which flows through the park's eastern reaches and feeds into a number of lakes found across the park, Akagera National Park is made up of a diverse ecosystem. The scenic landscape moves from forest and savannah plains to rolling highlands and papyrus swamps. It is also the only place to spot savannah adapted species in Rwanda.
In Akagera you will find plains game, primates including blue monkeys and olive baboons, +-12000 large mammals including leopard, hyena, and hippo. While in Akagera National Park, travelers can embark on game drives, boat trips, walking tours and cultural tours.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Ngungwe Forest National Park in the south west of Rwanda is an area made up of a vast mountain rainforest and is home to a number of primates. Travelers to Nyungwe Forest can look forward to embarking on chimpanzee tracking to find one of the habituated chimpanzee families that call the forest home. Hiking is also a popular activity in Nyungwe. The dense treetop canopy is where you will find East Africa’s highest canopy walk.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park
In the north west of the country, Gishwati-Mukura National Park is the most recent addition to Rwanda’s list of national parks. The national park combines the Gishwati and Mukura forests. The newly created protected area is important for wildlife and biodiversity. At Gishwati-Mukura, travelers will experience dense montane forests, primate tracking, birding, guided nature walks, and beautiful scenery.
Volcanoes National Park
Possibly the best known of Rwanda’s national parks, “Parc National de Volcans” (Volcanoes National Park) encompasses the Rwandan section of the Virunga Mountains (shared across the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo) in the north of the country.
Volcanoes National Park is most famous for its gorilla trekking safaris up into the highlands of the Virunga Mountain range. Travelers venture through the landscape lead by skilled guides in search of the habituated gorilla families. An encounter with the critically endangered mountain gorillas is one of the most memorable wildlife experiences available. In addition to the gorillas, travelers can enjoy hiking adventures as well as trekking for golden monkeys. Volcanoes National Park is also a center for conservation. It has historical ties to famed primatologist Dian Fossey who conducted her research with the gorilla families in the Virunga Mountains. Travelers can visit the Karisoke Reaserch Center or hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb which is described as challenging but beautiful. This hike can provide a great add on to a gorilla trek if visitors are spending a few days in the park.