Rwanda is a fascinating destination, not least because it is the best place in the world to see the endangered Mountain Gorilla. The thickly forested slopes of the Parc National des Volcans in the north, where the borders of Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda meet, are one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the species. With their survival under threat, it is truly a privilege to see them in their natural habitat. Sitting amidst these amazing apes must surely be one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences.
For the ornithologist, botanist or primate enthusiast, Nyungwe Forest, which borders Lake Kivu, is well worth a visit. The vast tract of montane forest boasts a quarter of Africa’s primate species, hundreds of bird species, and over a thousand plant species. Mammals abound although they are shy and you rarely see them in the thick undergrowth, but it’s good to know they are there!
Rwanda’s recent history is a tragic one and it is inspiring to see how determined the Rwandans are to move on from the genocide of 1994; this is a country that has enjoyed impressive economic growth of late and is looking firmly forward to a brighter future. A visit to the genocide memorial in Kigali is highly recommended, but it’s not for the faint hearted.
Rwanda can easily be combined with a Kenyan or Tanzanian safari to add a totally different facet. If you truly want to do a primate safari, then combining the Mahale Mountains in Tanzania to see chimpanzees, followed by Rwanda's Mountain gorillas is an opportunity too good to be missed!