Home » Rwanda Wildlife Safaris, Rwanda Wildlife Safari, Wildlife Safaris in Rwanda
Rwanda wildlife safaris are one of the most remarkable tours on the African continent. They take you to the best wildlife destinations in Rwanda to encounter unique wildlife species like the Big Five that is the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, and Rhino.
You will see many amazing animals on your Rwanda wildlife safari which will allow you to witness the true wilderness of Africa and write your own story.
Most game viewing tours are enjoyed in Akagera National Park the only savannah national park in the land of a thousand hills. This park has a rich biodiversity of mammals, and they roam within the savannah plains, woodlands, wetlands, and lakes.
For an outstanding experience, tourists accompany wildlife trips with Chimpanzee trekking and Nyungwe Forest canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park. There is also the unforgettable Mountain Gorilla trekking in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park to meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat during Gorilla trekking.
The other fun experiences to enjoy on a Rwanda wildlife safari are cultural experiences, visiting genocide memorial centers, visiting Dian Fossey’s grave at Karisoke Research Centre, hiking Mount Karisimbi with views of the Crater Lake, and a Kigali city tour.
Wildlife trips in Rwanda give endless excitement especially when you embark on game drives and a boat cruise on Lake Shakani and Lake Kivu largest freshwater lake and you get up close views of animals.
We offer all wildlife holidays at any time of the year with the suitable accommodation of your choice ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget.
This land locked country is a cheaper wildlife trip destination compared to other destinations in Africa making it worth it for you.
Where Can I See Wildlife in Rwanda?
Rwanda wildlife safaris are amazing within the national parks of the country and give you great sightings of wildlife.
Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is in the northeastern province/eastern part of the country covering an area of 1,122 km2 near the border of Tanzania and it is managed by Rwanda Development Board.
It is the only savannah national park in the country offering remarkable Rwanda wildlife safari vacations. This park is dominated by savannah plains, swamps, and many woodlands.
Within the park boundaries, there are a dozen lakes that are fed by the Akagera River, and the majors include Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani. Rwanda’s Akagera National Park has the big 5 animals – Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffaloes, and Black Rhinos and you can sport them on your Explore Rwanda tours.
Also, Akagera National Park has 490 bird species making it a great destination for birding Rwanda tour and other animals to see on a Rwanda wildlife safari including Hyenas, Giraffes, Baboons, Jackals, Bush pigs, etc.
You can explore Akagera National Park during game drives as it is the best way to see animals on a Rwanda wildlife safari tour. A boat cruise on Lake Ihema is also a highlight of a tour in this park as you get to see pods of Hippos, Nile Crocodiles, and many water bird species.
Volcanoes National Park
This is another park ideal for Rwanda wildlife safari tours with many animals and it is the best place to see the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat during Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris.
Gorilla trekking is also amazing in Virunga National Park when you book Congo tour packages for your private tour.
Volcanoes National Park is in the northwest of Rwanda with a chain of dormant Virunga Mountains. Apart from Gorillas for Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park also has 200 bird species and other primate species like the L’Hoest’s Monkey, Golden Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, and other wildlife species.
Volcanoes National Park has 12 Mountain Gorilla families and at least each Mountain Gorilla family has a dominant Silverback and you can also enjoy Golden Monkey trekking when on your explore Rwanda tours.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is in the southwestern part of the country and it is good for a Rwanda wildlife safari. This park has amazing wildlife species including 75 mammal species including 13 primate species to see on the forest floor along the hiking trails during nature walks.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is among the best national parks in East Africa for Chimpanzee tracking on your private tour. Nyungwe National Park has primate species like the L’Hoest’s Monkey, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and many other monkey species, and other animals like Forest Elephants though rare to spot during Rwanda tours.
Nyungwe Forest National Park has no Gorilla families though you can enjoy a Nyungwe Forest canopy walk on Rwanda safari tours.
What Wild Animals Are in Rwanda? | What Animals Do You See on Safari in Rwanda?
From the primate species, this country has over 136 mammal species and you can see most of these during your game viewing tour in Akagera National Park and other national parks.
The common wildlife to see on your Rwanda tour includes;
Carnivorous game animals; range from the big cats counting Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Side-stripped Jackals, etc. You can see these wildlife species on your Rwanda wildlife safari in Akagera National Park the only savannah national park.
Primates; the most common are the Gorillas within Volcanoes National Park ideal for Gorilla trekking during Rwanda tours. Other primate species include; Golden Monkeys, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, and Blue Monkeys, as well as the rare L’Hoest’s Monkey as you can find it on the thick forest floor of Nyungwe Forest National Park.
You can also see nocturnal creatures like Pottos and Bushbabies and other monkey species. Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park are the best national parks to see primate species during wildlife tours.
Herbivores animals; include Buffalos, Black Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Hippos, and many antelope species.
Reptiles and these include Nile Crocodiles, Pythons, and snakes
Bird species include the Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Sunbirds, Herons, Bee-eaters, Papyrus Gonolek, Grey-crowned Cranes, etc. Most of the bird species are within Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park and you can spot them on Rwanda tours.
Best Time to Visit Rwanda for A Wildlife Safari | What Is the Best Time of Year to Safari in Rwanda?
You can explore Rwanda for a wildlife safari at any time of the year though the best time is during the dry season. The dry months are from June to August and from December to February.
During this time, the savannah grasslands are short making game viewing easy and the wildlife species gather at water sources to refresh from the hot temperatures. It is also the best time for Rwanda Gorilla trekking and trekking Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park as the hiking trails be dry.
The wet months are from March to May and from September to November. The hiking trails in the national parks during this time are slippery though it is the low season of the Rwanda safari and most accommodation is discounted.
What are the Big Five in Rwanda?
Rwanda has the Big Five and it is one of the few destinations in Africa to see these animals and you can spot them in Akagera National Park, not any other national parks on your Rwanda tours.
The Big Five in this country include Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos, and Black Rhinos.
Are There Lions in Rwanda | Can You See Lions in Rwanda?
Yes, there are Lions in the land of a thousand hills and you can see them in Akagera National Park the only savannah national park in the country on a Rwanda wildlife safari.
You can see Lions on a game drive on your Rwanda wildlife safari trips in Akagera National Park.
Are There Leopards in Rwanda?
Yes, there are Leopards and you can only spot them in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park during your Rwanda wildlife safari mostly during a game drive.
Are There Big Cats in Rwanda?
Yes, there are big cats in this amazing country and these include Lions, Leopards, and Cheetahs. You can spot these cats on your Rwanda wildlife safari tours in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park and other wildlife species on a game drive. This is because the big cats like living within the Savannah National Parks.
Does Rwanda have Tigers?
There are no Tigers in this country as they are native to Asia. However, you can see many other animals on your Rwanda wildlife safari within the national parks including Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Zebras, etc.
Can you see Elephants in Rwanda?
Rwanda is one of the private tour destinations in East Africa with Elephants as these are within Akagera National Park.
You can see large herds of Elephants on a game drive during your Rwanda wildlife safari. On a lucky day, you can spot Forest Elephants within Nyungwe Forest National Park and other wildlife species which are rare like the endemic bird species.
Amazing Rwanda Safaris to Undertake on Top of Your Wildlife Safari
On your wildlife tour in Rwanda, you can combine the tour with other charming Rwanda safari adventures like;
Gorilla Tours in Volcanoes National Park
The land of a thousand hills in East Africa offers amazing thrilling Mountain Gorilla tracking tours. The Rwanda Gorilla trekking safaris take you to meet Gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park.
This park has the highest number of Gorilla families within the Virunga ranges having 12 habituated Gorilla families that dwell on the forest floor. When Gorilla tracking on your Gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park, you get to see colorful bird species and other primate species.
When you allocate a Mountain Gorilla group or Gorilla family within Volcanoes National Park, you spend one magical hour with the Gorilla family or Gorilla group in the thick forest giving you a lifetime experience.
You will require Gorilla permits from the Rwanda Development Board to spend time with Gorilla families during Gorilla trekking on your Rwanda safari.
Chimpanzee Tracking Tours in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimpanzee tracking tours in Nyungwe National Park are not a must-miss adventure when you visit Rwanda. This Rwanda safari adventure allows you to spend time with the Chimpanzee species face to face in their natural habitat during the Rwanda safaris.
On your Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park, you also get sightings of the various bird species and many other primate species like the Black and white colobus Monkeys and other monkey species not leaving out the Forest Elephants that are roaming on the forest floor.
After Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park, you can also enjoy the Nyungwe Forest canopy walk experience for a remarkable Rwanda safari.
Bird Watching Tours
Rwanda has over 703 bird species including over 29 Albertine Rift Endemics and Lake Victoria biome endemics. Some of the bird species to see in the country within the thick forest include the Red-chested Bee-eaters, Neumann’s Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal Sunbirds, etc.
Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park offer the best bird watching in this country and another area is Lake Kivu with many water-associated bird species.
However, bird lovers on a Rwanda safari can spot Albertine Rift endemics in Nyungwe Forest National Park on nature walks and if lucky Forest Elephants.
Cultural tours give you the best opportunity of getting close encounters with the local people on your Rwanda safari. It is a golden opportunity to learn more about cultural norms, traditions, and beliefs.
You can visit the Ibyiwacu Cultural Village for an amazing traditional experience with dances and drama from local women and men. Apart from the Ibyiwacu cultural village, you can also visit the Batwa communities on your cultural tours for a captivating Rwanda safari adventure.
Visiting Rwanda Genocide Memorial Sites
Many tourists want to know more about the dark past of this country and the only way to know that is to visit Rwanda genocide memorial sites. The genocide memorial centers will give you all you need to know about the 1994 genocide where Rwanda patriotic people fought for their lives.
Some of the genocide memorial centers include;
All sites have a local guide to narrate the history of the genocide memorial centers, and since the dark past of the genocide, Rwanda has been one of the safest countries to travel to in Africa and the world over thanks to their concerted efforts.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Most tourists like accompanying Golden Monkey trekking with Mountain Gorilla trekking tours on their Rwanda safari. This adventure takes you to Volcanoes National Park in search of the Golden Monkeys in their natural habitat.
Golden Monkeys also live in communities of about 80-100 members and meeting them is memorable and if lucky, you can get sightings of other Monkey species.
Undertaking Mountain Hiking Adventures
Mountain hiking adventures are unspoken for as they give a memorable experience on a visit Rwanda safari. There are about 8 Virunga Mountains though Mount Karisimbi within Volcanoes National Park is the most accessible especially when Gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
However, tourists may decide not to hike Mount Karisimbi and prefer other hikes like Mount Bisoke with clear views of Crater Lake, Mountain Sabyinyo, Gahinga, and Muhabura.
All these are on the chain of the Virunga Mountains.
Other Rewarding Experiences Worth Undertaking on Your Wildlife Tour in Rwanda Include
Enjoying the Kigali City Tour; Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda. It is one of the cleanest cities in Africa thanks to concerted efforts and you need to visit the city for amazing experiences.
Relaxation at Lake Kivu; There are pleasing sites around Lake Kivu like white sand beaches. A boat cruise is the best way to explore Lake Kivu on your Rwanda safari.
Visiting the grave of Dian Fossey; Dian was a legend in Gorilla conservation and the world remembers her for that good work. Her grave is just outside the Karisoke Research Centre and you can see it either before or after Gorilla trekking experience.
You can as well hike Mount Karisimbi with views of the Crater Lake.
How Much Does It Cost To See Gorillas In Rwanda? | How Much Is Gorilla Experience In Rwanda?
Those who want to see the Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park should know that the cost of a Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is not the same. If want to see Gorilla families, you should know that Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits cost $1500.
Is It Safe to Travel to Rwanda to See Gorillas?
Yes, it is safe to go for Gorilla trekking tours in Volcanoes National Park. Below are some of the reasons why it is safe to travel to this country to see the Gorilla families.
- When Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, you are accompanied by armed park rangers to meet a Gorilla family or Gorilla group.
- Volcanoes Park is patrolled by rangers to chase away poachers so that they do not harm the Gorillas.
- The Gorilla families you trek on your Mountain Gorilla trekking tours are fully habituated so that there is no home.
How Much Is a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda? | How Much Are Gorilla Tours in Rwanda?
Most tourists coming to see Mountain Gorillas should know that there is no fixed price for Mountain Gorilla trekking experience in this country. The price is determined by many factors of Rwanda safaris.
Below are some of the factors that determine the cost of a Mountain Gorilla trekking tour.
Gorilla trekking permits; are at a fee of $1500.
Group size: if many people are coming for Gorilla trekking in Rwanda in a group, the less costly the trip becomes and vice versa.
Class of accommodation; mind the lodge that you choose, if it is luxury, then the tour will be costly.
Type of vehicle to use; if you choose a van, the trip becomes less expensive, and if you choose land cruisers, then the vacation will be costly.
Other activities: the more activities you top up with Gorilla trekking will make the trip costly.
Is Gorilla Trekking Better In Rwanda Or Uganda?
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer amazing Gorilla trekking tours in Africa and that’s why we suggest that you visit both nations. Below is a comparison between these two amazing destinations.
- Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda cost $1500 and the Uganda Gorilla trekking permits cost $700
- Uganda has more habituated Gorilla families (20) than Rwanda which has 12 Gorilla families
- Uganda offers Mountain Gorilla habituation experience which is not available in Rwanda
- Also, Uganda holds half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas making it a better destination for Gorilla trekking
Packing List for Rwanda Wildlife Safari | What to Pack for Rwanda Wildlife Safari Tour
When going for a Rwanda safari, there are essential items you need to have though don’t forget to travel light.
A good camera with extra batteries and memory cards; is for taking pictures or videos for remembrance especially when Gorilla trekking in Rwanda with a Gorilla family or Gorilla group.
A pair of binoculars; are for giving you clear sightings of far animals so that you enjoy the adventure.
Sunscreen: keeps your skin well protected from the strong direct sunlight.
Insect Repellents; Keep away dangerous insects from infecting you with diseases while on your tour especially in thick forests.
A day backpack; is used to keep your belongings with you.
A rain jacket or Poncho; is to keep you dry in case it rains when enjoying your adventures
Other items are;
- Personal First Aid kit
- Personal Medication
- Charging Accessories
Never forget to exchange money for the Rwandan franc as it is the local currency.
Clothes for Your Rwanda Wildlife Safari | What to Wear During Your Wildlife Tour in Rwanda?
Most tourists coming for wildlife tours get confused with the right clothes to wear. However, there is no need to worry as we are here to guide you on that.
Below is the perfect wear for your Rwanda safaris;
- Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers; ensure to wear Khaki or brown colors
- Light hiking shoes or boots
- A hat or cap
- Garden gloves
Hotels (Lodges) in Rwanda to Use on Your Wildlife Viewing Vacation
There are many lodges where you can stay during your wildlife holiday and these range from luxury, midrange, and budget.
Luxury Lodges to Use on your Rwanda safaris
- Bisate Lodge
- Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
- Ruzizi Tented Lodge
- Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
- Magashi Camp
- Akagera Game Lodge
Best Midrange Lodges to Use on Your Wildlife Safari
- Karenga Bush Camp
- La Palme Hotel
- Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge
- Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
Recommended Budget Lodges to Use on Your Wildlife Tour
- Dereva hotel
- Shakani Campsite
- Mutamba Akagera Campsite
- Shakani Akagera Campsite
- Hotel Muhabura
Is Rwanda Good for Safari? | Why Do A Wildlife Safari in Rwanda?
Rwanda is good for tours and there are many reasons why you need to go for a wildlife tour in Rwanda. Some of those reasons include;
- Game viewing in this country is combined with Chimpanzee tracking or Gorilla trekking in Rwanda which is not common in other East African destinations, especially Tanzania and Kenya.
- When on your Rwanda safaris, you can encounter the Big Five animals within Akagera National Park.
- Birding cannot be missed as well on your wildlife viewing trip as this country has about 703 bird species including 29 Albertine endemics within its national parks making it ideal for bird lovers
- Rwanda is one of the safest countries on the African continent. Even Gorilla trekking in the jungle is safe just like any other activity.
- Rwanda offers amazing cultural tours as you can visit the Ibyiwacu cultural village for better experiences.
Rwanda Wildlife Safari Cost | How Much is A Wildlife Holiday in Rwanda?
There is no fixed price for a Rwanda wildlife safari as it is determined by many factors.
Some of these factors include;
Class Accommodation You Decide To Use
Always be mindful of the class of accommodation you want to choose for your trip, if you choose a holiday with luxury accommodation, then the tour cost will be high and if it is budget accommodation that you opt for, then the trip will be less expensive.
The Number of Days You’ll Spend on Your Wildlife Tour
If the Rwanda safari you are undertaking is for a few days, then the prices are low but if the holiday is longer, the cost will be high. This is because expenses are costed per day.
Type of Vehicle to Use on Your Trip
Some vehicles are costly compared to others like land cruisers are more costly than vans. Mind the type of vehicle you are willing to use for your Rwanda safari.
The Number of People on a Wildlife Trip in Rwanda
This is crucial because if you are coming for a wildlife safari in a group, then it will be less costly since all expenses are shared. However, if you are a sole traveller, then everything will be on you making your trip so costly.
The Number of Activities You Wish to Undertake on Your Wildlife Trip
If you are combing your Rwanda wildlife safari with other activities let’s say Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Chimpanzee trekking, your trip will become costly.
List of the Best Tour Companies in Rwanda to Use for the Best Rwanda Wildlife Safari
Several tour companies in Rwanda can help you organize wildlife viewing safaris in the national parks of this country.
Below are some of the best tour operators to use when booking a Rwanda wildlife safari;
- Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd
- Wild Gorilla Safaris
- Gorilla Safari Rwanda
- Gorilla Tracking Rwanda
- Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Safaris
- Africa Safaris Tours
Best Rwanda Wildlife Safari Packages
3 days wildlife safari in Rwanda – Encountering the Big Five, a boat trip on Lake Kivu, and visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial centers.
4 Days wildlife trip in Rwanda, Mountain Gorillas, and community visits – You visit Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, enjoy game drives in Akagera, Lake Ihema boat cruise, and visit the Iby’iwachu Village
6 Days Rwanda tour – Gorilla trekking, Golden Monkeys, Chimpanzees, Nyungwe Forest canopy experience, exploring Musanze caves, and Kigali City
7 Days Rwanda Tour – Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzees, Lake Kivu, Golden Monkeys, Mount Karisimbi
8 Days Rwanda Tour – Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Golden Monkeys, Wildlife, Lake Kivu Boat, Mount Karisimbi & Community Tours
10 Days Rwanda Safari – Gorilla trekking, Golden Monkeys, Lake Kivu, Mount Karisimbi & Scenery
12 Days Rwanda Tour – Gorilla Trekking, Nyungwe National Park, Lake Kivu, Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys, Wildlife Viewing & Communities
In summary, wildlife tours in Rwanda are unmissable as they offer unique experiences that you cannot get elsewhere. On your wildlife Rwanda tour, you get the best opportunity of encountering the Big Five in one place and these are Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos, and Rhinos.
Sightings of wild animals in Akagera National Park are endless as you are guaranteed to the Giraffes, Zebras, Hippos, and many antelope species.
The Rwanda wildlife safari can be accompanied by Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park to meet the Mountain Gorillas and Chimp tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park for the best African vacation experiences.
For Remarkable Rwanda Wildlife Tours, Please Inquire