Lake Kivu is a 2,650 sq. km. beautiful lake enclosed by steep, green terraced hills along the eastern edge of Rwanda. Three resort towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu are located along it’s shores and are connected by a wild roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and patches of ancient misty rainforest, offering sweeping views over blue waters with the nearby Virunga volcanoes providing a spectacular backdrop.
Nyungwe is one of the oldest forests in Africa. This is Rwanda’s most important water catchment area, a montane rainforest receiving in excess of 2000mm of rain a year. Covering an area of about 1000 sq km over the mountainous south east of Rwanda, Nyungwe protects a rich diversity of wildlife including, among others, 75 mammal species, 275 endemic and migratory bird species, 120 butterfly species and even a rare variety of orchid.
Nungwe forest’s main attraction is its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative, the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola colobus. This is also the most important ornithological site in Rwanda with almost 300 bird species, of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of montane forests on the Albertine Rift. The highlight is the great blue turaco - an outlandish blue, red and green bird which streams from tree to tree like a procession of streamlined psychedelic turkeys.
Named after the river which runs along the eastern boundary of Rwanda, Akagera national park is Rwanda’s equivalent to the famous savannah reserves of East and Southern Africa. The park supports an extensive network of wetlands, a complex of a dozen lakes linked by papyrus swamps and winding water channels which are fed by the mighty Akagera river.
Herds of Elephant and Buffalo emerge from the woodlands to drink at the lakes and lucky visitors may spot leopard, spotted hyena or lion. Giraffe, Zebra and more than a dozen type of antelope, including the world’s largest antelope the cape Eland, inhabit the park. The lakes support some of the highest concentration of hippo you’ll ever find anywhere in Africa, while ‘oversize’ crocodiles soak up the sun with their massive jaws menacingly agape.
"In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat, are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest - the Virungas" - Dian Fossey
The Volcanoes national park (Parc National des Volcans) is situated only 91 km north-west of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, it is an easy 2 hour drive on fairly good roads, through the beautiful Rwanda countryside. The park covers an area of 125 Km2, made up of mountain forest and volcanoes. The lushly forested slopes of the mountains form a dramatic natural setting for what is arguably the most poignant and memorable wildlife experience in the world: gorilla tracking. The exhilarating climb into the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo forest offers fantastic views in all directions. As a tracker you become immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkeys.