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  • Rwanda
  • Rwanda
  • Rwanda
  • Rwanda
  • Rwanda

Rwanda - Oasis Highlights

Rwanda is blessed with many highlights, below are just a few of our favourite picks.

 

Lake Kivu

 

Part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu in the west of Rwanda is surrounded by magnificent mountains and has deep emerald green waters covering a surface area of 2,700 km2. It is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest in Africa.

Rubavu – previously known as Gisenyi – is a large town on the northern edge of Lake Kivu, an hour’s drive from Volcanoes National Park and the perfect place to relax after gorilla trekking. Once a colonial beach resort of note, Rubavu’s waterfront is lined with fading old mansions, hotels and trendy bars on the lakeshore, ideal for sundowner cocktails.

Karongi, halfway along the lake, is a popular beach resort with hillsides covered in pines and eucalyptus serve as a backdrop to the sparkling lake. At dawn and dusk, the sound of local fisherman singing carries across the water as they paddle in unison.

From Rubavu in the north, the Congo Nile Trail extends 227 kilometres of breathtaking landscapes all the way to Rusizi in the south of Lake Kivu. The trail gently curves back and forth as it weaves through hills and mountains beside the lake with eucalyptus trees lining the road and every inch of the hills seemingly terraced with bananas.

For adventurous travellers, an exciting way to explore Rwanda is a kayaking tour on Lake Kivu, or mountain biking or hiking one of the six off-the-beaten-path stages of the spectacular Congo Nile Trail.

 

Volcanoes National Park

 

Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the endangered mountain gorilla and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif: Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with its verdant crater lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura.

Tracking endangered mountain gorillas through the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, is only one of the truly unique experiences in the area.

Within the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park are Buhanga Eco-Park, an ancient forest holding Rwanda’s most intriguing folklore and Musanze Caves formed 62 million years ago after the last estimated volcanic eruption.

Hiking, canoeing, mountain biking and village experiences offer something for everyone to enjoy.

 

Nyungwe National Park

 

One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. The mountainous region is teaming with wildlife, including a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other species of primate, including the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift. With six walking trails and various excursions, visitors can dip a toe into the delights of the forest or keep themselves busy for a week or more.

Primate tracking tops most visitor’s list, but it’s worth lingering a little longer for those with time to relax and take in the primal atmosphere.

Botanists will marvel at the 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids while birdwatchers will be enchanted by glimpses of the 310 different birds of every colour. Butterflies are also a common sight, with at least 120 species.

There are 75 known mammals in Nyungwe, such as the Cerval cat, mongoose Congo clawless otter and leopard to name but a few. Many tend to be shy so sightings are luck of the draw.

Memorable and photogenic moments include walking up to theIsumowaterfall or along the Canopy Walk suspension bridge. Tea plantations border the edges of the park, with a habituated troop of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys at Gisakura as well as forest fringe birds.

With plenty of rainfall, Nyungwe is also the major catchment area in Rwanda and supplies water to 70% of the country.

A ridge running through the forest forms a watershed between the drainage systems of the Nile and the Congo. A spring on the slopes of Mt Bigugu is said to be the most remote source of the Nile, the world’s longest river.