TOP NATIONAL PARKS IN RWANDA
Are you trying to find out more about Rwanda's national parks? Continue reading. In Central and East Africa, there is a small landlocked nation called Rwanda. Rwanda is blessed with some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth and is frequently referred to as the "Land of a Thousand Hills." She is a nation with many bodies of water, Savannah plains, mountains, and unusual animals like mountain gorillas. One of the worst genocides in recent memory took place in the country in 1994, when the majority Hutu killed about one million Tutsis in just three months. Since then, the nation has admirably recovered by bringing its citizens together and putting forth great effort to foster an environment conducive to development.
There are 4 national parks in Rwanda. These include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park, and Gishwati-Mukura National Park, which all protect wildlife species and ecosystems. The newest national park was established in 2015 and is called Gishwati-Mukura. The management of all national parks, their associated infrastructure, and tourism promotion fall under the purview of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Each of Rwanda's national parks offers a unique ecosystem or variety of wildlife. Mountain gorillas can be found in the Volcanoes National Park, while all five of the big five mammals can only be seen in Akagera National Park. The Nyungwe forest in Rwanda is arguably the best place to go for chimpanzee trekking because it offers the oldest and cleanest montane forest in Africa. Gishwati is positioned to become the best ecotourism site and the best bird-watching destination in Rwanda, in addition to having its own population of chimpanzees. You might also want to read about the top things to do in Rwanda before we go into detail about the various national parks.
Game Parks in Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park
Rwanda’s northwest region is home to the Volcanoes National Park. It shares a border with the national parks of both Congo, which is Virunga National Park, and Uganda, which is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The 160-square-kilometer park was created in 1925 with the intention of preserving mountain gorillas. Compared to Rwanda's other national parks, Volcanoes national park is located at a higher altitude and is typically colder. The Musanze Caves, bamboo forests, rainforests, a few lakes, marshes, and five volcanoes (Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo, and Mount Gahinga). After Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable forest, the Volcanoes national park comes second with the highest mountain gorilla population. Volcanoes National Park is also home to golden monkeys, smaller primates, 178 species of birds, forest elephants, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, and buffaloes.
The mountain gorillas are what makes Volcanoes National Park so distinctive, despite its diverse biodiversity. Since 1967, Dian Fossey has conducted research with the gorillas that helped Volcanoes National Park gain international recognition. Dian Fossey helped stop poaching in the park by constructing the Karisoke Research Center.
Later, Rwanda’s government took significant action to get rid of militias and poaching activities in Volcanoes National Park so that there are now hardly any threats to tourists. Visitors are free to hike one of the five volcanoes. Visitors to the Volcanoes national park can go gorilla tracking, explore the Musanze caves, go for golden monkey trekking, and more. Volcanoes' most well-liked mountain to hike is probably Karisimbi, with Bisoke hiking coming in second. The best volcanoes to hike are Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Gahinga from the Ugandan side.
Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is situated within the borders of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyungwe Forest National Park is in the country's Southwest. The park opened its doors in 2004. It is one of the country's two newest national parks, occupying over 270 square kilometers of area. The Nyungwe Forest is one of the oldest montane forests in Africa. Nyungwe Forest national park offers breathtaking scenery as the forest is always green.
Nyungwe Forest National Park protects more than 200 tree species, including bogs, bamboo, and grasslands, all of which can be found in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to over 13 primate species, such as Angola Colobus, Dent’s Mona, Silver Monkeys, Lhotse’s Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Baboons, Velvet Monkeys, Hamlyn's Monkeys, Grey-cheeked Managabeys, Black & White Colobus monkeys, and chimpanzees.
Nyungwe Forest National Park records over 275 bird species, Nyungwe Forest is one of Rwanda's top bird watching destinations. Nyungwe's dense forest is also home to 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 120 butterflies, 85 mammal species, and 85 species of butterflies. Nyungwe Forest national park is home to a variety of animals such as golden cats, mongooses, serval cats, civets, and striped jackals.
Nyungwe forest national park is traversed by the popular canopy walk, bird species, primate species, waterfalls, and other wildlife along the Congo Nile trail. Nyungwe forest has over 20 kilometers of well-maintained ground trails for nature walks, offering a chance to experience forest animals, waterfalls, marshlands, and rain forest, in addition to the Congo Nile trail route.
Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is Rwanda's only and biggest savannah park. Akagera National Park is also Rwanda's second national park. It was established in 1934 close to the border of Tanzania. Akagera National Park occupies approximately 1,222 square kilometers and is made up of savannah, woodlands, montane forests, and enormous swamps. Although Akagera is blessed with many bodies of water, the River Kagera, Lake Ihema, and Lake Shakani are the most notable.
Akagera National Park at the moment protects all the big five animals, such as leopards, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and lions. Besides the big five mammals, tourists can still see zebras, impalas, oribi, eland, bushbucks, hippopotamus, and crocodiles. Akagera National Park is one of the best places in Rwanda to go for bird watching. Akagera National Park has a high population of water birds surviving in the park’s vast bushes and wetlands. Akagera National Park protects about 425 bird species that have been recorded, Akagera National Park bird species include the shoebill stork and the papyrus gonolek.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda’s newest national park. Gishwati-Mukura National Park was formed in 2015 after combining both the Gishwati and Mukura forests. The Gishwati-Mukuru national park was created with the aim of protecting the chimpanzee populations as well as other primate species that were left in the Mukura and Gishwati forests, such as the Blue Monkeys, Golden Monkeys, and L'Hoest's monkeys.
Rwanda’s government and Wilderness Safari formed a partnership in order to restore what had been lost, stop encroachment, educate the locals about the park's advantages, and transform it into a premier ecotourism destination. Chimpanzee trekking, primate viewing, and birdwatching are being introduced by the government in partnership with Wilderness Safaris. Another illustration of how serious the government is about wildlife conservation is the tale of Gishwati-Mukura.
Other tourist attractions other than games Parks in Rwanda
Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda. Kigali is home to over 1 million people. Although it was founded in 1907 under German colonial rule, Rwanda didn't make it its capital until 1962. Kigali City is one of the three cleanest and safest capitals in Africa and is now regarded as Kigali. Despite its current allure, the city witnessed the beginning of the great genocide. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial while in Kigali to learn more about what actually occurred during this tragic period in Rwanda's history. Visit the Hôtel des Mille Collines as well, where about 1,000 people sought safety. If you're thinking about visiting Kigali in the future, our in-depth article about the city and its tourist attractions is a great resource.
Lake Kivu is one of Africa's great lakes. In both Rwanda and the DR Congo, Lake Kivu can be seen. Numerous rivers and streams feed into Lake Kivu, which then releases its water into the Congo and Nile, two of the largest rivers in the world. In addition to having stunning islands like Idjwi, Lake Kivu is well known for having significant amounts of dissolved methane in its depths. According to scientists, if a catastrophic event such as a large earthquake occurred, a significant amount of the gas (carbon dioxide) would be released into the atmosphere, causing a tsunami and suffocating the majority of life near the lake. Only three lakes exhibit this phenomenon.
Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre
Iby'iwacu Cultural Village is popular because of travelers who have gone for gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda since it is situated close to the Volcanoes national park. Iby’iwacu Cultural Center was founded as a way to stop poaching in the park by giving ex-poachers a chance to make a living off of tourism. It has grown to be the most well-liked center for learning everything there is to know about Rwanda's cultural heritage. When you arrive, be prepared for live entertainment and the opportunity to purchase a Rwandan souvenir to take home after your safari. You can read our article about Uganda's tourist destinations as well.
The Genocide Memorials
Rwanda has over six significant museums that are located throughout Rwanda. The best museum to visit is probably Rwanda's national museum in the Huye district. Through artifacts, videos, photos, and much more, it presents everything that you need to know about Rwanda and her history. If you want to learn more about the Rwandan genocide, after visiting the Genocide Centre in Kigali, you can visit other museums spread across the nation for more details and a deeper understanding of the tragic event. All genocide memorial sites display artifacts from the 1994 genocide, as well as clothing, pictures, and videos. In order to move past the tragedy and prevent another one like it from happening, the nation is open about the genocide.