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RWANDA - National Parks
 

Introduction


Rwanda boasts with majestic volcanoes, lush, dense greenery, imposing mountains and spectacular wildlife. Nicknamed the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda has suffered a turbulent history in recent years, but is now a top tourist destination of natural beauty. Where else can you reach dizzying peaks, wade through plush vegetation and enjoy time in the presence of the magnificent mountain gorillas? Trek for endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif, before driving east to Lake Kivu or continue South and visit the larges mountain forest left in East Africa, Nyungwe National Park with its 14 primate species! For the ultimate experience of Rwanda's wildlife, combine chimpanzee and gorilla treks.
 

Volcanoes National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covers 330 sq.km
  • Where Dian Fossey carried out her work
  • Park includes five of the eight Volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains
Highlights:
  • Mountain gorilla trekking
  • Golden monkey trekking
  • Hiking
  • Cultural experience
  • Breath-taking scenery
  • Bird watching
Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans in French) is part of the big Virunga Conservation area and lies in the north-western Rwanda. It borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

Today, the park covers an area of 130 sq.km and is covered by rain forest and bamboos. The park is best known for the mountain gorilla, Gorilla Beringei Beringei. In 1967 zoologist Dian Fossey made it her base and she set up the Karisoke Research Centre. It was through her efforts and profound research findings that they managed to reduce poaching of the gorillas, binding it illegal.

The tallest of the mountains in the park is the Karisimbi, which ranges in altitude from 2400m to 4,507m. The park includes five of the eight Volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains which include: Karisimbi (4507m), Bisoke (3711m), Muhabura (4127m), Gahinga (3474m) and Sabyinyo (3634m). Although the park is well known for its mountain gorillas, there are also other mammals, which include: golden monkeys, black-fronted duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena and bushbuck. There are 178 recorded bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains.

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Nyungwe National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering over 1000 sq. km
  • Probably the best preserved rainforest in the mountains throughout Central Africa
  • 275 Bird species, 25 of which are endemic to Rwanda
Highlights:
  • The park contains 13 different primate species (25% of Africa's total)
  • Birding
  • Chimpanzee’s – with 500 living in the park
  • Angolan Colobus Monkeys with “super groups” of over 350 individuals in a group
  • Sky walk
Set in southwest Rwanda, Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest forests, and a rainforest in its purest sense, with regular rainfalls of up to 2,000mm per annum. Absolutely teeming with wildlife, the national park is a great destination to include in a safari, especially if you like primates. It is known to be one of the richest areas of Africa for its endemic species and stunning biodiversity. Whilst not guaranteed, is it not uncommon to spot troops of Angolan colobus monkeys with over 300 swinging through the trees!

There are also a healthy number of chimps in the forest, estimated at 500 in total. Other primates include the Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, golden monkey, olive baboon, vervet monkey, several species of bushbaby, grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey.

There is an equally rich variety of flora in the forest, with over 100 orchid species alone and over 200 types of tree. The area also has the greatest concentration and variety of birdlife in Rwanda, with nearly 300 species recorded, including iridescent sunbirds, giant hornbills and the extravagant blue turaco, and many species, which are endemic to the Albertine rift.

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DRC: Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covers 6000 sq. km
  • Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain
  • 1,178 plant species in the mountainous region of the park
  • Some 136 species of mammals 349 species of birds
Highlights:
  • Eastern lowland gorilla trekking
  • Hiking
  • Breathtaking scenery
  • Bird watching
Kahuzi-Biega National Park is in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 50 km west of the town of Bukavu and near the Rwandan border. The Park was established in 1970 to conserve and preserve the Grauer's (lowland) gorilla, which is the world's largest gorilla species. Kahuzi Biega is named after two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biega (2,790 m). This park is one of the last refuges of the rare eastern lowland gorilla. The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. It is distinguished from other gorillas by its stocky body, large hands and short muzzle. Despite its size, eastern lowland gorillas subsist mainly on fruit and other herbaceous materials, just like other gorilla subspecies. There are nine gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega and two are habituated for visitors. The park is divided into two forest zones which are connected by a narrow corridor: on one side of the Park is mountain forest covering 600 sq km (altitude of 1,800m to 3,300m) and on the other side, is a tropical forest (altitude 600m and 1,200m). This makes the park therefore one of the biggest reserves serving to conserve flora and fauna in central Africa's high mountain regions. In 1990 the park was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Besides lowland gorilla trekking in the park, the park also offers a lot of other activities since it is a home to 135 other mammal species which include twelve species of primates (among them eastern chimpanzees, red colobus, Blue monkey, Red Tailed monkey, L'Hoest monkey, Owl-faced monkey, Angolan black and white colobus, baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey), forest elephants, leopards, civets, genets, otters and many antelope and duikers. Thirty of the 336 bird species found in the park are endemic to the Albertine Rift, such as the Rockefeller's sunbird, Ruwenzori Turaco, Grauer's broadbill, Grauer's warbler and Shelley's crimsonwing. There are further 69 species of reptiles and 44 species of amphibians.

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GALLERY

Rwanda Packages

R1: Rwanda / Uganda Safari (4-Days)

Highlights Bwindi National Park (Uganda)
Duration:  4 Days / 3 Nights
Date:  July / Aug / Sept 2019
VERY POPULAR!
 

R2: Great Ape Safari

Highlights:  Gorilla & Chimp Trekking
Duration:  10 Days / 9 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 

R3: Gorillas and Nyiragongo Volcano Hike

Highlights Virunga NP / Mount Nyiragongo
Duration:  4 Days / 3 Nights
Date Schedule as you wish!
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK IS CLOSED UNTIL 2019          
 

R4: Gorilla Luxury Safari

Highlights:  Volcanoes National Park
Duration:  4 Days / 3 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 

R5: Rwanda Gorilla and Wildlife Safari

Highlights:  Gorillas & Wildlife
Duration:  7 Days / 6 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 
 
 
 

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