A visit to southern Africa would not be complete without a trip to Rwanda. This vibrant and beautiful place should be on every travel destination wish list.
There are many amazing experiences to be had in Rwanda this list hopes to narrow your choices down to a manageable list and to give you a few ideas for your travel guidelines.
It is, as always, important to mention at the beginning of this article that Rwanda does fall into a malaria area and it is therefore vital that you consult your doctor before booking your trip.
- Volcanoes National Park and Gorilla Watching: Of all the various tourist attractions of Rwanda this is by far my favourite. 4×4 accommodation suggests that the best time to visit the gorillas is in September for the naming ceremony. As of 2005 there are 10 gorilla groups that are open to public viewing. Getting the chance to interact with these incredible creatures will most definitely be the highlight of your trip. The Volcanoes National Park boasts home to many other flora and fauna and there is some amazing geological history for anyone who is interested.
- Gishwati Forest: Gishwati Forest, while small today, has a very interesting and sad history attached to it. Situated in the north-western part of Rwanda, not far from Lake Kivu, the forest is a protected reserve. The forest was largely intact in 1978, and majority of the forest cover still remained in 1986. During the Rwandan Genocide, wave after wave of refugees arrived in Gishwati Forest and began clearing it, often for subsistence farming, this lead to the Forest’s steady decrease in size. By 2001, only a small circular patch of native forest remained. Left as one of the natural reminder of Rwanda’s worst pieces of history the Gishwati Forest has become a popular tourist attraction. The Gishwati Forest also boasts home to a small troop of chimpanzees.
- Kigali: Said to be the cleanest city in Africa Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda and is governed by strict laws preventing the city from falling into disarray. Kigali has a very rich, albeit sad, history and every tourist passing through should visit the genocide memorials. Kigali is the perfect example of a world class city that has survived almost being torn apart by one of the most horrific acts of war in history and bounced back something fierce. It is an absolute must see for anyone, especially those with a love for war history.
- Gitarama: Gitarama is the second-largest city in Rwanda, behind Kigali, see above, and is a popular tourist attraction in its own right. Gitarama is the capital and largest metropolitan area in the district of Muhanga. Due to its geographical location, the city serves as the gateway to the west and south of the country. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Gitarama was the seat of the provisional government. There are many museums related to the genocide and the history of this fine city. This city is a vibrant and interesting African city with a unique night life and fascinating people.
When traveling it is always important to remember and accept that you will never be able to do everything in one trip. There will always be things that you can’t cross off your travel list because you ran out of time or because of some unforeseen circumstance. There is nothing wrong with not sticking to your pre-planned itinerary, often the most amazing experiences are things that never even crossed your mind while you were planning your trip.
The best way to experience Rwanda is, as with any country, to interact with the people who live there. Don’t be afraid to try something that falls outside of your normal comfort zone.
Rwanda is truly a beautiful place. From the people to the experiences you are sure to have a once in a lifetime holiday. For more information go to http://sa4x4expeditions.com/.
South Africa 4×4 Rentals offer a selection of 4×4 vehicles suitable to make your adventure to Rwanda happen. Contact us for specifications and detailed planning.
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