Everyone has heard of the Rwandan Mountain Gorillas and they remain the country’s prime attraction, however Rwanda has amazing natural scenic beauty plus unique flora and fauna in her three National Parks.
Classic African savanna is the main attraction of the Akagera National Park situated in the east of Rwanda. As well as free roaming Impala, Giraffes, Zebra, Elephants, buffalo and the statuesque Cape Eland (the world’s largest antelope), the area is also a paradise for birds. With four unique endemic species plus 525 types of birds not including the many migrants, Akagera is becoming a year round mecca for international birdwatchers.
Smaller but with an equally diverse habitat, Nyungwe Forest National Park situated in the South East of Rwanda, is a pre-historic forest containing 13 different types of primates including human-kinds closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome Lhoests monkey plus hundred strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola Colobus. As you would expect the forest is a maze of different shades of green, moss covered barks, interspersed with numerous streams and waterfalls. An extensive network of well maintained walking trails leads to various viewing points, some of which allow one to look directly onto the rainforest canopy.
Finally there is the world famous Volcanoes National Park with its population of silver back gorillas. On the border with Uganda, this National Park has become a monument to work of Dian Fossey, who lived with the gorillas for eighteen years before being buried here. The lush rainforest slopes of the Virunga peaks create a dramatic natural setting for what is arguably the most poignant and memorable wild life experience in the world.
For non-nature lovers, Rwanda has cultural, historical and community activities covering traditional music, dancing, crafts and folklore. An essential part of a visit to the vibrant capital city, Kigali, is a stop at the modern and thought provoking, but undeniably world class,Genocide museum.
For fun and sun lovers, Lake Kivu provides water sports and the resort town of Gisenyi. Sitting within the 6000 kilometre long Great Rift, valley, Lake Kivu is a volcanic lake surrounded by spectacular peaks and with safe sandy beaches.
International flights to Rwanda arrive at Kigali International Airport which is 10 km from the city centre. The national carrier is the expanding Rwandair which operates international services to DR Congo(Goma), Kenya (Nairobi), Burundi (Bujumburra), Tanzania (Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro), Uganda (Entebbe) and Johannesburg (South Africa).Domestic flights operate to Cyangugu and Gisenyi. There are direct flights to Kigali from Brussels with Brussels airlines plus international flights by Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa and Kenya Airways from Nairobi.
Harvey McEwan writes about African countries and tourism
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