Dubbed the "Land of a Thousand Hills," Rwanda is a country of majestic mountains, volcanoes, and hills, sandwiched between Congo and Uganda. Your luxury safari to Rwanda will take you to lush national parks well-suited for wilderness tours and safari adventures. Unlike many other African countries, Rwanda has more organised tourism infrastructures with decent roads and high-end accommodations.
If you're thinking of visiting the country for a luxury safari, here's a guide to luxury safari vacations in Rwanda.
What is a Luxury Safari Vacation?
African safaris often conjure images of lions roaring from a distance and hordes of elephants gathering around a waterhole. While seeing wild animals in their natural habitat offers exciting and memorable experiences, make the experience more enjoyable by choosing a luxury safari vacation.
With a luxury safari, you can stay in posh accommodations with world-class amenities, such as luxury tented camps or five-star lodges. You will sleep in the most comfortable beds in the heart of the African wilderness, where the wild animals live. Amenities include an ensuite bath featuring Western-style toilets, hot showers, luxe vanities, bathtubs, and a private veranda overlooking a stunning view of the African bush.
Your luxury safari vacations in Rwanda will also include an exceptional dining experience. You can choose from superb dining options, including welcome drinks of champagne and wine. If you are on a honeymoon safari, you can request a romantic candlelight dinner. Your safari will include meals for your entire stay, from breakfast to dinner. Food choices will vary and consist of local and international cuisines expertly prepared by the best chefs.
When is the Best Time to Go on Safari in Rwanda?
The best time for a safari in Rwanda is during the drier period, from June to September. During this time, you will have a better chance at spotting the highlights of most safaris in Rwanda - mountain gorillas.
On the other hand, the rainy season, which runs from March to May, and also in November, is the best time for tracking chimpanzees. It's also quieter during this time of the year.
Because of Rwanda's position south of the Equator, temperatures hardly vary throughout the season. Most days are warm, depending on the area you are visiting. But you can expect cooler weather at night.
You will find that Rwanda's mountainous regions in the north and west are much colder than in the central and eastern areas.
Don't neglect the two wet seasons of Rwanda when planning your trip. The long rainy season will start around the middle of February and last until May. Meanwhile, the shorter rainy season will be from mid-October until November.
What to Expect from a Safari in Rwanda?
Rwanda is especially famous for gorilla trekking adventures in the Virunga Mountains. It's where primatologist and conservationist Diann Fossey had her research during the 1960s. If you're interested, you can look for tour operators offering some amazing gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda, perfect for those seeking a unique break.
Aside from gorilla trekking, there are many other fun activities to experience on your luxury safari vacation in Rwanda. You can take game drives in Akagera National Park. Expect to see some of the world's most iconic animals, such as lions, African elephants, leopards, hippos, and buffalos. You could also be lucky to come across rare animal species and birds. Akagera National Park is also one of Rwanda's best locations for spotting gorillas.
Another place in Rwanda for gorilla trekking is Nyungwe Forest National Park, a vast tropical rainforest with over a thousand plant species and is home to over 200 bird species. Thus, aside from spotting gorillas and chimpanzees, you can also expect to see different varieties of birds. Taking the forest canopy walk is highly recommended for avid birders and those who want to track chimpanzees.
What to Pack for a Luxury Safari in Rwanda
Wearing proper clothing on your African safari in Rwanda ensures you can move freely and comfortably, allowing for more comfortable treks and game drives. You should pack loose-fitting clothing that you won't mind getting dirty. Since the weather in Rwanda can be unpredictable, consider bringing clothes you can wear in layers.
Avoid clothing with bright colours when exploring the bush or along mountain trails. Instead, choose neutral safari colours like green, light brown, olive, khaki, and beige. There are mosquitoes and flies in the jungles of Rwanda, so pack some long-sleeved shirts and pants. Of course, don't forget to bring an insect repellent.
Wear sturdy shoes and thick socks. Choose waterproof sneakers with proper padding to protect your feet from pebbles, stones, and blisters. While on your lodge or tent, you can wear sandals to air out your feet, but choose those that can protect your feet from pebbles, stones, and thorns.
If you are going for gorilla treks in the highlands of Rwanda, make sure you pack the proper clothing. Since it requires hiking for a long time over rough mountain terrains, wear hiking boots that will allow you to navigate uneven trails. Also, make sure they are waterproof since the trails can get muddy. If you plan a day trip to Lake Kivu, pack a pair of sandals for walking along sandy shores.
What Wildlife Can You See in Rwanda?
Rwanda is undoubtedly a haven for wildlife. It boasts a diverse landscape and is home to three national parks within 10,000 square miles. While it's most famous for mountain gorillas and is often the main reason visitors come to the country, it is also home to many other animal species. These include lions, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and over a hundred species of birds.
Half of the world's mountain gorilla population is in the jungles of Rwanda. The country's conservation efforts have been a success over the recent years, increasing its population to 25% during the last decade.
You could come across unique wildlife on your luxury safari vacation to Rwanda, which includes the Maasai giraffes, warthogs, Burchell's zebra, vervet monkeys, Dafassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, antelopes, impalas, common duiker, klipspringer, hyenas, civet, genet, white-tailed mongoose, and many others.