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Rwanda Vacation Safaris

Rwanda gorilla trekking tours, Big Five game viewing safaris and cultural expeditions.

If it’s your first travel vacation through Rwanda, I promise you’ll be blown away by the lush landscapes and incredible safari experiences. From gorilla trekking to tracking down a pride of African lions, safaris in Rwanda offer unparalleled adventure experiences. One of the many highlights of your vacation in Rwanda will be a visit to Volcanoes National Park, where you can get up close and personal with Africa’s majestic mountain gorillas. Akegera National Park is another must-see destination, home to the Big Five and promising epic wildlife sightings. Throughout your travels, you’ll encounter diverse Rwandan cultures that will enrich and fascinate you. Whether you’re a nature lover, safari enthusiast, or simply seeking an unforgettable escape, our guide has everything you need to plan the ultimate Rwanda vacation safari.

Highlights

  • Embark on an extraordinary adventure trekking mountain gorillas in the dense forests of the Virunga Mountains.
  • Marvel at the picturesque landscape of undulating hills, terraced farmlands, volcanic mountains, and untamed lush countryside.
  • Discover the rich biodiversity of Nyungwe National Park, a haven for endangered primates, where you can track wild chimpanzees and other primates. Don’t miss the exhilarating experience of walking on the canopy walkway, offering a unique perspective of the ancient treetops and wildlife.
  • Journey through the famous circuit connecting national parks, immersing yourself in breathtaking scenery and warm interactions with the friendly locals.
  • Explore Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s only savannah park, and encounter the iconic Big Five.
  • Immerse yourself in Rwanda’s vibrant culture, from the cosmopolitan city of Kigali, with its genocide memorials and museums, to the traditional countryside gatherings and annual events like the Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony.
  • Experience the tranquility of Lake Kivu’s coastline by kayaking, allowing you to fully appreciate the stunning mountainous backdrop from the serenity of the water.

Personalized Rwanda Vacation Packages

Tailored Rwanda tours offer personalized vacation packages to explore the beautiful landscapes of mist-clad mountains, emerald forests, and serene lakeshores. Whether trekking endangered gorillas or birdwatching, our experts will guide you on a transformative experience of wonder and unforgettable memories. Take a look at these Rwanda vacation tours to inspire you to customize a safari for yourself.

Why you must vacation in Rwanda.

Besides gorilla trekking, the rise of Rwanda as a top tourist spot in East Africa is well-deserved and should be considered for your next vacation. The country’s dedication to conservation and sustainable tourism has transformed it into a top destination for both wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its captivating landscapes, diverse ecosystem, and distinctive cultural heritage, Rwanda is an excellent choice for those seeking an authentic African wildlife safari encounter.

A key factor that distinguishes Rwanda as a top safari destination is its remarkable achievements in safeguarding gorillas. The Volcanoes National Park is a haven for the endangered mountain gorillas, offering visitors a rare chance to go on gorilla trekking expeditions. This extraordinary opportunity lets you observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, witnessing their intricate social dynamics. The encounter with a mountain gorilla is an unforgettable memory.

Rwanda’s dedication to conservation goes beyond gorilla preservation. Sheltering the renowned Big Five, Akagera National Park in the east provides captivating wildlife safari experiences. The park allows for exhilarating game drives to spot lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. Its scenic setting, adorned with lakes, savannahs, and wetlands, enhances the allure of your safari journey.

Yet, Rwanda’s appeal extends beyond its wildlife safaris. In the far southwest lies Nyungwe Forest National Park, a sanctuary for primates and birds. This lush rainforest shelters various primate species, including chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. Bird enthusiasts can revel in the park’s diverse avian population, encompassing over 300 species. Exploring Nyungwe Forest National Park immerses you in a mystical world where nature’s marvels unfold before your eyes.

Beyond the well-known safari destinations, Rwanda boasts hidden treasures waiting to be explored. The remote and breathtaking Gishwati-Mukura National Park unveils the country’s reforestation endeavors and provides a habitat for rare species such as chimpanzees and golden monkeys. The serene and less-frequented Lake Kivu offers a tranquil getaway with its unspoiled beaches and opportunities for water-centric activities.

Imagine being surrounded by nature’s raw power and beauty, with a 400-pound silverback gorilla and his family nearby. A safari adventure in Rwanda is more than just a trip; it’s a transformative experience that will ignite a passion for the untamed beauty of our world.

Best time to visit Rwanda for safari

The best time to visit Rwanda for a vacation safari depends on the specific experiences you are seeking. Rwanda has a temperate climate throughout the year, with two distinct rainy seasons from February to May and September to December. The dry seasons, from June to August and December to January, is the best time to visit Rwanda for safari.

Best Weather

The best time to visit Rwanda for a vacation safari depends on the specific experiences you are seeking. Rwanda has a temperate climate throughout the year, with two distinct rainy seasons from February to May and September to December. The dry seasons, from June to August and December to January, is the best time to visit Rwanda for safari.

January - February

January through February is a good time to visit Rwanda. It is a relatively hot season with clear skies, minimal rains, and more sunshine, great conditions for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and walking with chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

June - August

Best places to visit on vacation in Rwanda

From the lush greenery of Volcanoes National Park, where you can embark on a life-changing gorilla trekking adventure, to the serene shores of Lake Kivu, where tranquility merges with stunning vistas, these are the best places to visit on vacation in Rwanda. Explore the vibrant streets of Kigali, the capital city, where the resilience and progress of a nation are reflected in its bustling markets and captivating museums. Discover the ancient mysteries of Nyungwe Forest, home to an extraordinary array of primates and a sanctuary for those seeking solace in nature’s embrace. Amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes and warm hospitality, Rwanda vacation spots inspire us to cherish our world’s beauty and strive for a future where harmony and conservation thrive.

Volcanoes National Part

Volcanoes National Park is one of only four places where visitors can commune with the endangered mountain gorillas. The park is a small chunk of the Virunga Mountains and Rwanda’s tourism and conservation jewel. It is where you’ll watch the gorillas up close.

Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park may be most famous for chimpanzee trekking, but this stretch of lush woodland is dazzling with unique flora and fauna and an impressive spread of hiking trails. Wander through this jungle to meet chimps and see rare wildlife.

Kigali City

Most people will travel to Rwanda to see gorillas – but everyone should stay for the prolific cultural and historical medley in its cool, arty capital, Kigali, which deserves at least a few nights. Start or finish your first safari holiday to Rwanda in Kigali capital.

If you have time, also visit...

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is recovering with the reintroduction of unique game like lions and rhinos. You can watch the classic safari Big Five on a game drive and take a boat trip on Lake Ihema to watch hippos, Nile crocodiles, and abundant waterbirds.

Lake Kivu

Rwanda’s best lakeside adventure activities happen alongside Lake Kivu, including the Congo Nile Trail, popular with many cyclists and hikers. Visit the trendy Rubavu (Gisenyi) waterfront and Korongi beaches for a relaxing holiday after gorilla trekking.

Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura, located in the northwest, is Rwanda’s fourth National Park. It is home to chimpanzees, golden, blue, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, and a host of birds and smaller animals. Bird-watchers wouldn’t want to miss the variety of birds here.

Types of safaris in Rwanda

Rwanda offers a diverse range of safaris that cater to different interests and preferences. Whether you seek up-close encounters with mountain gorillas, thrilling game drives, or immersive birdwatching experiences, Rwanda has a type of safari for you. Some of the prominent types of safaris in Rwanda include:

Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla trekking is the most famous and sought-after safari in Rwanda. It involves hiking through the dense forests of Volcanoes National Park to encounter and observe endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Wildlife Safari

Rwanda boasts rich biodiversity, and safaris like those in Akagera National Park allow visitors to witness an array of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhino), antelopes, giraffes, zebras, and more.

Cultural Safari

Rwanda’s diverse culture and traditions come to life in cultural safaris, where travelers can engage with local communities, experience traditional dance, music, and ceremonies, and learn about the country’s rich heritage.

Birdwatching Safari

The country’s lush forests and wetlands are home to over 700 bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and ornithologists seeking to spot rare and colorful avian species.

Hiking and Nature Walk Safaris

Explore Rwanda’s beautiful scenery, lush forests, and picturesque trails on foot, taking in the sights and sounds of nature in a more intimate way.

Primate Safaris

Apart from gorillas, Rwanda is home to other primate species, such as golden monkeys and chimpanzees, making primate safaris a fascinating and rewarding experience.

Photography Safaris

With its stunning landscapes, wildlife, and vibrant culture, Rwanda offers excellent opportunities for photography safaris, allowing enthusiasts to capture unforgettable moments.

Kayaking Adventures

A kayak adventure along Lake Kivu’s coastline is a magical journey, allowing you to soak in the picturesque scenery while peacefully gliding amidst the majestic mountains.

Rwanda Safari Prices

 BudgetMid-rangeHigh-end
Safari Lodges & Campsunder $250$251 – $600over $600
Restaurants (per meal)under $12$12 – $30over $30
Safari Car (per day)under $100$100 – $250over $250
Local Guide (per day)under $50$50 – $150over $150

Most Rwanda safari lodge prices are full-board rates (with all meals) per person, including taxes, and assuming double occupancy. A few lodges operate on a half-board rate, and rare ones offer bed & breakfast except city hotels.  

Our top selected safari lodges in Rwanda

These are our most trusted service providers for mid-range to luxury accommodation including full-board meals.

Primate Safaris

From $4000 pp

Awake your wild adventure spirit in One&Only Gorilla Nest’s enchanting escapes when you visit Rwanda for gorilla trekking adventures. Relish creature comforts of the sparkling infinity pool, fresh cuisine crafted inspired by local seasonal produce, and stimulating spa.

Wilderness Bisate Lodge

From $1838 pp

Bisate Lodge’s uber-funky design portrays glamour with stylish conical chalets and replicas of ancient Rwandese king’s palaces. The lodge sits 8 km (16-minute drive) from the gorilla trekking starting point and is beautifully tucked into the lush forest setting.

Volcanoes Virunga Lodge

From $1330 pp

Set on stunning hillside farmland, the glorious Virunga Lodge boasts panoramic vistas of the Virunga Massif and the beautiful lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera. The iconic safari lodge defines Afro-chic, setting the tone for Africa’s finest bush resorts.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

From $2100 pp

Kwitonda Lodge is designed to imitate the surrounding dramatic landscapes. It is deliciously stylish, with unique elements like woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork designed by local artisans. The lodge envelopes them in a sanctuary of warmth, stillness & solitude.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

From $1150 pp

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge by Governors Camp is a classic vacation resort hidden in the foothill jungles of the Virunga Mountains, close to Virunga National Park headquarters. From here, guests can quickly walk to the briefing point to start their gorilla trekking adventures.

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

From $380 pp

Nestled at the foothills of Mount Karisimbi, a 10-minute drive to the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is a superb base for gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking and nature hiking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Five Volcanoes Lodge

From $640 pp

Five Volcanoes hosts a delightful restaurant, a refreshing pool, and meticulously tended gardens, providing an idyllic retreat in Rwanda. Its advantageous location and easy access to the park entrance make it an exceptional choice for budget-conscious adventurers.

Magashi Camp

From $643 pp

Visit Rwanda and safari into Akagera National Park, and you’ll most probably be staying at Magashi Camp. The camp has superb views over a lake and the vast Akagera wilderness, teeming with hippos, crocodiles, rhinos, lions, and birds.

Ruzizi Tented Camp

From $195 pp

Ruzizi tented camp is nestled on Lake Ihema shores, a 15-minute drive to Akagera Park entrance. Its nine classic safari ensuite tents hide among swaying palms and fruiting fig trees with wooden walkways leading to a stunning viewing deck over the lake.

Akagera Game Lodge

From $200 pp

Akagera Game Lodge sprouts on a hill on the southern tip of Akagera National Park, with sweeping views over the savannah plains, the forest-fringed lake Ihema and the smaller lake Shakuni. It’s perfect for both business and leisure visitors.

The Retreat

From $450 pp

These suites at The Retreat feature wide spaces; boast oak floors, high ceilings, organic material mattresses, and outdoor showers. They also feature private saltwater plunge pools heated by solar energy. The Retreat is the best place to stay in Kigali city.

Amakoro Songa Lodge

From $450 pp

Amakoro Songa’s cottages’ rustic elegance seamlessly merges local elements with modern flourishes that give both comfort and warmth. The spacious rooms, with inviting fireplaces, provide a tranquil space for post-trekking relaxation.

Essential Rwanda Travel Information

The Kigali International Airport (KGL) serves as the primary international gateway to Rwanda, providing well-connected flights to various destinations. The country boasts a well-maintained road network, making it easy to navigate and explore different regions. Depending on your nationality, visa requirements vary, but many visitors can obtain an e-visa in advance. It is advisable to have travel insurance and check vaccination requirements before arriving. Rwanda has a reliable electricity supply, primarily using Type C and J plug sockets, so it’s recommended to bring appropriate adapters. Taking necessary precautions, such as drinking bottled water and practicing good hygiene, will help ensure a healthy trip. Below, you can find more essential travel information for Rwanda.

Entry Visa

Foreign tourists require visas to visit Rwanda. You can get a 30-day entry visa from the Irembo Immigration Website for USD 50. Check with your embassy or consulate for the latest regulations at least a month before your flight. Your passport must be valid for six months from the intended travel date and contain at least one blank page.

Entry Visa

Foreign tourists require visas to visit Rwanda. You can get a 30-day entry visa from the Irembo Immigration Website for USD 50. Check with your embassy or consulate for the latest regulations at least a month before your flight. Your passport must be valid for six months from the intended travel date and contain at least one blank page.