Rwanda Listed as one of The Best Places to go in Africa in 2024
Rwanda is currently one of the top tourism destinations in East Africa so it is no wonder that the country has been listed as the best places to go in Africa in 2024 by Conde Nast Traveler. Conde Nast Traveler abbreviated as CN Traveler is a luxury travel magazine with publication offices in the City of Westminster, London. The travel magazine offers expert advice and travel recommendations to travelers from United Kingdom (UK) and across the world. Tourism in Rwanda’s tourism sector has grown over the years and the Rwandan Government through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has played a commendable role in championing the conservation of wildlife and nature in Rwanda. There are a number of conservation and community projects that have been set up in Rwanda to champion conservation and these projects have led to tangible efforts in wildlife conservation.
A popular conservation project in Rwanda that has gathered international recognition because of its positive contribution include the Kwita Izina Ceremony. Kwita Izina is an annual baby gorilla naming ceremony that happens in Kinigi in Musanze district, Rwanda. Kwita Izina was introduced in 2005 and the annual special event welcomes thousands of locals, conservationists and visitors from across the world to witness and participate in the naming of the amazing baby gorillas that live in the deep jungles of Volcanoes National Park. Kwita Izina in “Kinyarwanda” which is Rwandan local dialect means “to give a name” and naming of new born babies is an ancient tradition in Rwanda that saw members of a community gathering to give a new born bay in a family a name, it is from this old tradition that Rwanda derived the annual Kwita Izina event.
The above annual event also shows just a snippet into the rich attractions that Rwanda has to offer making it a worthy destination to visit in 2024 and CN Traveler listing the country as one of the best places to go in Africa in 2024 comes as no surprise as Rwanda has so much to offer her visitors. In this article we will go into detail on why Rwanda is one of the best places to go in Africa in 2024 as we show you the numerous attractions and activities that you can indulge in while on safari in Rwanda.
Top Attractions in Rwanda
Rwanda has a vast array of attractions that one can visit while in the country, from the vibrant Kigali City to the scenic country side to the diverse national parks. Rwanda is dotted with numerous attractions that will leave one with memorable encounters of Rwanda – “the land of a thousand hills” and these are elaborated below;
Volcanoes National Park
Located in North-west Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is one of Rwanda’s most popular national parks and an internationally recognized tourism attraction. The park is home to the famed Mountain Gorillas making it one of the best places in the world to do the mountain gorilla trekking adventure. Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is a memorable activity that involves going into the deep and dense jungles of Volcanoes National Park in search of these gentle and fascinating primates. Volcanoes National Park is not only home to the mountain gorillas but also home to the active golden monkeys, a primate specie with a golden fur coat and rather active than the gorillas. The national park has a lot more to offer including cultural tours, birdwatching and also has beautiful lodges with stunning views of the Virunga Mountain Ranges.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest is one of the oldest rain forest in Africa and this attraction in Rwanda is worth visiting in 2024 as it is one of the most diverse national parks in East Africa and a top site for bird watching. The park is home to over 300 species of birds and 27 of these are Albertine Rift Endemics. Nyungwe Park is a bird watching haven that attracts specialist birders and ornithologists from across the world who come in search of the beautiful unique bird species in Nyungwe Forest. Some of the Nyungwe specials include the Abyssinian Thrush, Great Blue Turaco, Rwenzori Turaco, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black-faced Apalis, Yellow-whispered Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, Mountain Oriole, Red-throated Alethe, Doherty’s Bushshrike among others.
Nyungwe National Park is well known for being home to the chimpanzees in Rwanda and is a prime destination for the chimpanzee trekking adventure with about 500 individuals living in the rain forest. Chimpanzee Trekking is the main attraction for visitors to the park who are usually looking for a closer encounter with these primates that are also known as man’s closest relatives sharing 97% of DNA with humans. The park is a hub for primates where about 13 primate species have been recorded and aside from the chimpanzees Nyungwe is also home to L’Hoest’s monkey, Golden monkeys, Red-tailed monkey, Vervet monkey, Silver monkey, Ruwenzori colobus, Hamlyn’s monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboon, Bush babies,Potto and Dent’s mona monkey.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a center that is situated amidst Kigali City which is Rwanda’s capital and was set up in remembrance of the Rwandan genocide and dedicated to the victims of the massacre against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The Rwandan genocide happened during the Rwandan Civil war in 1994, the genocide against the Tutsi occurred between 7th April 1994 and 15th July 1994. This was a period filled with massive bloodshed as armed Hutu militias killed the Tutsi who were a minority ethnic group of Rwanda. Victims were targeted by their fellow neighbours, villagers and Hutu gangs that sought them out in their homes and villages. The Kigali Genocide Memorial visit takes you through the history of the genocide, the civil war and to the resting site of the genocide victims where one can pay their respects. The visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial can get emotional for visitors but is an important way to learn more about the past events that occurred in Rwanda.
Akagera National Park
Located in north-eastern Rwanda, Akagera national park is Rwanda’s finest savanna park well known for its incredible wildlife sightings and stunning landscape consisting of open grassland and undulating hills. Akagera national park is very accessible as it is just a 2 hours’ drive from Kigali city making it a perfect destination for a one day tour or two day wildlife safari. The park is the only savanna park in Rwanda and this makes it the best place for game safaris and wildlife encounters in the acacia savanna area. The Park covers an area of 1,122 square kilometres that encompasses open savanna grasslands, acacia trees, swamp habitats, muddy terrain, herbaceous climbers, dense thickets, small and large lakes and undulating plains. The national park is one of the most scenic parks in Africa well known for its rich bio diversity and is one of the best destinations in Rwanda to go in 2024.
Kandt House Museum
The Kandt Museum is the perfect site to visit for a glimpse in to the culture and history of the Rwandan people. The museum formerly known as the Natural History museum is situated in Kigali city and is filled with artifacts and Rwanda’s natural resources. The museum is best explored with a site guide but even without one you can still learn about the history as most of the writings are framed and seen hanging next to the museum items for example if a section of the museum contains tools that Rwandans used during ancient times to hunt there will be a frame with writings detailing what each tool was used for and the history attached to the tools. The Kandt House Museum is named after the German administrator Richard Kandt who lived and worked in Rwanda during the colonial period, the museum is therefore an important site showcasing the history of Rwanda. The museum also has a reptile park in the same compound as the museum that hosts snakes and Nile crocodiles that are available to visitors interested in watching them.
If looking for a place to relax and unwind while visiting Rwanda then Lake Kivu is the place to be. Situated between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda Lake Kivu is one of African Great lakes and lies within the Albertine Rift region. Lake Kivu offers spectacular views across the lake and offers a refreshing breeze especially while relaxing in the gardens at your preferred lodge of choice along the shores of the lake. An afternoon boat ride can be arranged and is a great way to spend time while at the shores of Lake Kivu as well as other activities like bird watching, kayaking or canoeing.
Top Activities to do while visiting Rwanda in 2024
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking is the ultimate adventure to go on while on your Rwanda safari. The gorilla trekking in Rwanda adventure brings you closer to the Mountain Gorillas and about half of the world’s mountain gorilla population lives in Rwanda making it one of the best places to track the gorillas. Gorilla trekking happens at Volcanoes National Park where 12 habituated gorilla families are available for visitors to trek and visit. The national park issues 96 gorilla permits per day and only 8 people are allowed to visit a gorilla group at a time. The other gorilla families are mainly for research and not fully habituated as yet. Gorilla trekking is a top tourism activity in Rwanda and the Rwandan government has done a commendable job in conserving and protecting these amazing primates.
Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest
The canopy walk is one of the best ways to spend time in Rwanda as it takes you on an experience atop Nyungwe Forest while walking on a 200m walkway that is suspended 74 metres from the ground. The canopy walk happens at Nyungwe forest national park and begins at the Uwinka park headquarters where you receive a briefing from a site guide before embarking on the activity. The canopy walk offers stunning views of Nyungwe forest as you look out for wildlife and birdlife in the park while on the nature trails. This video below shows a detailed experience by our founder Ritah detailing the Nyungwe canopy walk activity, you can click the video to watch it below;
Golden Monkey Trekking
Golden Monkey trekking in Rwanda is a less known tourism activity however spending time with the golden monkeys is a wonderful and memorable experience as the primates are cheeky, playful and rather active. Photographing the golden monkeys is amazing as the golden monkeys have such distinctive features. Golden monkey trekking can be done at Volcanoes National Park and can be combined with gorilla trekking while on safari. Golden monkeys exist in groups of up to 30 individuals and there are 2 habituated troops of golden monkeys in Volcanoes national park. One group is in the bamboo forest of Mt. Sabyinyo and the other group is on the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi. Both groups are open and available to visit in accordance to the park guide lines. Golden monkeys are endangered mammals and have been listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Kigali City Tour
What better way to experience Rwanda than touring its most vibrant city – Kigali? The Kigali City tour can be done in one day and involves visiting the key landmarks of Kigali for a feel of Rwanda. The sites you can visit while on a 1 Day Kigali City tour include the Kandt Museum, the Kigali Convention center, the Kigali Genocide memorial, the Nyamirambo women’s center that is set in a historic neighborhood. The women at Nyamirambo women’s center make beautiful handicrafts and the center was a started by a group of Rwandan women with the goal to address gender-based violence and inequality. You can also visit Ivuuka Arts studio, Karisoke Gorilla center and the presidential palace museum. Lunch can be had at a local restaurant in Kigali if trying local food is up your alley, alternatively you can opt for a buffet lunch at one of the hotels in Kigali.
Game Drives in Rwanda
Game drives in Rwanda offer incredible wildlife sightings and the best game viewing can be done at Akagera National Park. The accessibility of the national park to Kigali city makes it easy to visit the park on a 1 Day or 2 Day Wildlife safari to Akagera National Park. Guided game drives are available at the park where you explore the park in search of wildlife including the Big Five. Animals in Akagera national park that you can look out for while on game drives include Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Topi, Eland, Roan antelope, Sitatunga, Warthogs, Maasai Giraffes, Impala, Klipspringer, Common Duiker,Oribi, Bohor reed buck, Defassa waterbuck and Bush buck. Akagera national park is also home to hippos and large crocodiles that are often seen while on a boat safari on Lake Ihema. Akagera boasts of one of the largest concentration of hippos in Africa. Wildlife and game viewing in Akagera Park cannot be compared to East Africa’s finest game reserves as they have more concentration of wildlife than Akagera however it does offer a visitor some good sightings while on safari.
Rwanda also known as the “land of a thousand hills” has so much to offer her visitors and one is assured of having a great time while in the country that is why it is of no surprise that CN Traveler has listed it as one of the best places to go in Africa in 2024.