Rwanda is moving away from the historical views tainted by genocide, and towards a land of lush green rolling hills, gorilla trekking and cultural home stays. Personally, I found Rwanda much easier to travel around independently. The country has a good road network by African standards and bus links from Kigali to other towns. Kigali is an excellent place to use as a base for Rwanda tours, as it is not only the capital, but also centrally located.
Travelling around Rwanda
As Rwanda is a small country (you can travel the width of the country in approximately four hours) it is possible to see the other main cities (Butare, Ruhengheri, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Byumba) as a day trip, although I recommend an overnight stay to make the most of these destinations. For a visit to Cyangugu, it’s a longer drive (around 5 hours) and so you might prefer to fly.
Best Rwanda Tours on Viator Travel
From your base in Kigali, I recommend that the first Rwanda tour that you take is a tour of the capital city itself. You will visit the Gahanga local market, the oldest area of the city (Nyamirambo) and the most modern (Kigali Heights). It will also include the harrowing but all important trip to the genocide museum which will give you an insight into Rwanda’s dark past. Many of today’s generation are genocide survivors, and sadly, most people who you meet will have in some way been affected by the Rwandan genocide.
Wildlife in Rwanda Tours
Rwanda is brimming with wildlife. The most popular Rwanda tours are the Chimpanzees of Nyungwe forest and the Mountain Gorillas (from Ruhengeri).
Mountain Gorillas Rwanda
The main turn off for the Mountain Gorilla’s is the price, but the reason that it is so expensive to visit them is that you need a Gorilla permit to enter the area. Numbers are restricted for the good of the animals and the environment, and money from the Gorilla permits goes towards paying the park rangers and conservation in the area. It’s hands down one of the best things to do in Rwanda so if your budget can stretch to it, don’t miss the Mountain Gorillas.
Nyungwe and Akagera National Park
Nyungwe forest, in the South West of Rwanda, is a popular wildlife and chimpanzee trekking destination.
Akagera National Park in the East is a popular choice, but it tends to be a bit hit and miss as to what animals you see, and it is a long day trip from Kigali, so you are better to do two days.