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Rwanda attractive sights

Rwanda sights

01 Life changing: Mountain Gorilla Tracking

01 Life changing: Mountain Gorilla Tracking

The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla.
There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. The other is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Some primatologists consider the Bwindi population in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no description has been finalized. As of September 2015, the estimated number of gorillas remaining is less than 900.

02 Visit grave of Dian Fossey

02 Visit grave of Dian Fossey

For those interested visiting Dian Fossey’s original scientific base Karisoke, a trek is available from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters. Karisoke scientific base was established by Dian Fossey in the saddle area between two volcanoes; Mt Visoke and Mt Karisimbi (from which the name Karisoke is derived).

The camp site stands at an altitude of around 3000m (over 9000 ft) and was abandoned during the unrest of the 1990’s.
All that remains today is the graveyard where several of Dian Fossey’s favourite gorillas were buried. Dian Fossey is  also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas.  

03 Trekking the Golden Monkeys

03 Trekking the Golden Monkeys

Guests will set off from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters for your trek to see the golden monkeys.
This rare species is listed as endangered and there are currently two troops of the monkeys which have been habituated to visits by tourists in the park, both of which number around 80 members.

The golden monkeys live in the bamboo vegetation towards the base of the volcanoes and have overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists. You will trek to find the golden monkeys in a similar way to the gorilla trek - in a small group of no more than eight people, and you can spend one hour with the monkeys once you find them.
They are very sprightly creatures, and leap from tree to tree which is really entertaining, if a little difficult to photograph!

We recommend setting your camera to a fast shutter-speed to allow for low light in the dense undergrowth and to better your chances of capturing the golden monkeys on film! This is a great way to spend an extra day in the Volcanoes National Park and if you're interested in wildlife, this is a rare and delightful experience not to be missed!

04 Visit the Rwandan weavers

04 Visit the Rwandan weavers

These finely crafted, delicate baskets are made from natural fibers and woven using a technique that has been practiced for almost a thousand years.
The baskets, with their unique form only made in Rwanda, have served many functions in Rwandese history including holding food, celebrating weddings, and carrying secrets from one woman to another. 

The sale of beautiful, handmade goods plays an important role in Rwanda's transition. 
The traditional Rwandese basket with its conical top and "zipzag" stripes is the centerpiece of Rwandan rebuilding, and a national symbol that adorns the official Rwandese seal.

06 The Sky of Kamonyi

06 The Sky of Kamonyi

It is there that King Yuhi III Mazimpaka and his successors used to live until King Yuhi Musinga.
It is also there that lived Nyombeli, a famous archer of the army of Mazimpaka; Nyombeli who went to participate in a shooting competition in Gisaka and stayed there after he was promised lots of good things.
Hence the saying " Things left like Nyombeli ". It was in 1642.

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08 The Palace of the King

08 The Palace of the King

King's Palace Museum-Rukari Based in Nyanza, 88 km south of Kigali City, this was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built.
This Palace offers a detailed look into Rwandan traditional seat of their monarchy, it is an impressive museum, restored to its 19th century state and made entirely with traditional materials.

Recently the Long horned Traditional cows, known in Kinyarwanda as "Inyambo" were also introduced because of the fact that cows form an integral part of Rwandan Culture. On the neighboring hill of Mwima, one can also visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.

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09 The National Museum of Rwanda

09 The National Museum of Rwanda

The National Museum of Rwanda is considered to be one of the best museums of Central Africa.
It is built in the City of Huye in 135 km from Kigali. It was publicly inaugurated on September 18, 1989.
The artifacts which are exposed in the National Museum of Rwanda allow visitors to have an idea of history and culture of Banyarwanda.
By preserving these objects, carrying out research and teaching, the National Museum of Rwanda plays a role in the conservation of the national patrimony and the development of Rwanda.

At present the National Museum of Rwanda has started establishing its branches in all the provinces of Rwanda.

10 The church of the Holy Spirit of Save

10 The church of the Holy Spirit of Save

The first church in Rwanda was built in 1900, and led for the first time by a father called Brard, who was nicknamed " TEREBUKA ". by the population.
This church was built in thatch because the first house in brick was only built in 1905.
This church is surrounded by several primary and secondary school establishments and there is even another church which was recently built with enough places in case the number of people who want to pray increased.

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11 The big Stone of Shali

11 The big Stone of Shali

It is an enormous stone of the size of a small Rwandan traditional hut, which is at Shali at Riba in Kibingo. I is at about 12 km from the city of Huye towards Burundi, near the main road.
The top of the Big Stone of Shali looks as it had a lid. There is also near the Stone, another big stone but smaller.
The history of this place has several versions: some people say that the lightning struck a big stone which was smashed to bits and a piece of which broke loose and flew into the air then fell back to the ground to form the lid which can be seen. Others say that it is the big one that gave birth to the smaller, given that it is twice its size.  
As for the origin of the big stone, it seems that it could be situated during the reign of Ruganzu Ndori.  
Some people say that when King Ruganzu carried on a war of expansion against Burundi, seeing that they had not enough forces to fight him, the Barundi sent him a big boa to prevent him from continuing to progress. Instead of becoming afraid, Ruganzu took a stone and threw it in the mouth of the boa which became immediately the Big Pierre.  
Others assert that under the reign of Ruganzu, there was a big boa which had decimated people and property in the village of Shali.
As that boa was ravaging everything that passed by the road of Shali which led to the court, people could no more go to offer their presents to the king.  
As soon as he heard that, Ruganzu went to hunt that boa which took refuge in a hole. Ruganzu took then a stone and blocked the hole in which the boa had entered and took another stone to block the other extremity of the hole. It is for that reason that the inhabitants of that village say that if those stones were moved, the boa would return to decimate again the people who live there.
Those stones continued to grow until they reached the size they have today.

12 Rwandan Dancing INTORE

12 Rwandan Dancing INTORE

The traditional Ballet of Rwanda is one of Africas longest established and least exposed musical traditions.
The use of the word Ballet is a product of Belgian colonial rule. In fact, the art form was refined over centuries in the courts of the Rwandan Mwami (kings).
There are three main components to Rwandan Ballet, and a standard performance by a group will contain all three. These are the songs/dances that are the essence of the art form (and are referred to here as 'the Ballet'), Intore (dance of heroes) and Ingoma ('drums').

The 'Dance of Heroes' is performed by men wearing grass wigs and carrying spears.
The background is a dance performed by returning warriors, celebrating victory in battle. The dancers move from side to side combining grace and complex choreography with a raw aggression.
At certain stages the dancers stop, with arms outstretched and make blood-curdling battle crys.

14 Rusomo Falls

14 Rusomo Falls

Rusumo Falls is a waterfall located on the Kagera river on the border between Rwanda and Tanzania, part of the most distant headwaters of the river Nile.
The falls are approximately 15 m (49 ft) high and 40 m (130 ft) wide and have formed on Precambrian schists and quartzophyllites.
Although the falls themselves are not of significant height in comparison to other waterfalls, they have played an important part in the history of Rwandabecause they form the only bridging point on the river in that area.
Significant Events The falls were the scene of the first arrival of Europeans in Rwanda in 1894, when the German count Gustav Adolf von Götzen came across from Tanzania (Rwanda had been considered part of German East Africa since 1885 but no German had yet entered the country). He continued from there to the palace of the Mwami at Nyanza, and onward to the shores of Lake Kivu.
The Belgians also entered Rwanda via the falls, when they took over the country during World War I in 1916.

The bridge at Rusumo was the only feasible crossing of the river at the time, and the Germans had entrenched themselves on the Rwandan side. By taking up positions in the surrounding hills, the Belgians were able to remove these guards using mounted artillery opening up the route by which they invaded the rest of the country.
The falls gained international fame during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as thousands of dead bodies flowed underneath the Rusomo Bridge while a simultaneous stream of refugees crossed over it, fleeing into Tanzania to escape the slaughter. This was one of the first mass outflows of the Great Lakes refugee crisis.
The Kagera drains water from all areas of Rwanda except the far west, and consequently carried all the corpses which had been discarded into rivers nationwide. This led to a state of emergency being declared in areas around the shore of Lake Victoria in Uganda, where these bodies eventually washed up.

15 Rock of Kamegeri

15 Rock of Kamegeri

Kamegeri was a leader under the reign of king Mibambwe Sekarongoro Mutabazi who was burnt on that rock after he had asked that criminals be thrown on that rock after it was made red-hot.  
Since then that rock cliff was attributed to him to become the Rock of Kamegeri, which is situated at Ruhango.
The rock had always existed without a name but later got the name when a man by names of Chief Kamegeri decided a wrong punishment for a man who had disrespected the king, and in turn the King ordered Chief Kamegeri to be burnt on that rock because chief Kamegeri was unhuman since he was proposing horrible death for other people.

16 Musanze Caves

16 Musanze Caves

The 1.25 mile long cave is home to a large bat colony. Most of the caves in Rwanda are developed from Cenozoic volcanic rocks for instance Manjari which is 1.660 m and Nyiragihima in Ruhengeri which 1.116 m (Northern Province).
There are in total 52 surveyed caves in the province with 15.2 km cave passages.
The longest cave of Rwanda is called “Ubuvumo Bwibihonga” a multi-level system of parallel lava tubes with 4.530 m length.
The commonly visited cave is called Musanze cave which is 2 km long; it lies in the volcanic region where lava flow layers dating from 65 million years ago to today have created the Albertine Rift Valley. The cave has 31 entrances, most being roof collapses. It is formed from lava basaltic layers from the Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes.
The cave entrance is vast, exceeding 10 km and it is well proportionate with several side passages leading off from the main cave. Bat roots are a feature of the cave and the collapses create a truly incredible array of coloured shafts of light. (A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter.
Some people suggest that the term cave should only apply to cavities that have some part that does not receive daylight; however, in popular usage, the term includes smaller spaces like sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos. Speleology is the science of exploration and study of all aspects of caves and the environment which surrounds the caves.
Exploring a cave for recreation or science may be called caving, potholing, or, in Canada and the United States, spelunking.)

17 Kaplaki Craft Market

17 Kaplaki Craft Market

Kaplaki craft market, which is probably the largest craft market in Kigali.
It’s made up of dozens of little craft booths with baskets, cards, sculptures, and the like, the company also Rwandan fabric bags, purses, stuffed animals, clothing, aprons and other accessories.  
All these new craft allow Rwanda to also express its traditions through carving, cutting and crafting of different sculptures and artistic creations

19 Congo Nile Trail

19 Congo Nile Trail

Get lost along the lake in Rwanda's wildest corner. The Congo Nile Trail is a trail along Lake Kivu that extends from Rubavu, continues through Rutsiro via the Karongi, Nyamasheke districts and ends at Rusizi District. 227 km (141 miles) of beautiful landscapes, including rolling hills and clear water.
The entire trek can be completed in a 10- day hike. However, the trip can be done in sections if travelers do not have the time to complete the entire trail.
Trails give stunning views of the Lake Kivu coastline and offer adventurous travelers an exciting way to discover Rwanda. Biking the Congo Nile Trail can be completed in 5 days, with rich views and immersive cultural experiences along the way.
This trail appeals to adventure travelers and is a great way to experience Rwanda.
The trail can also be split up if visitors do not have the time to commit to the 5 day journey. However, it is an experience worth selling to those who crave an off the beaten path adventure.

Whether you’re keen to tackle the trail with paddles, pedals, or pieds (feet), the RDB publishes a detailed map available for free at any of their offices in Gisenyi, Musanze, or Kigali, which can point you in all the right directions.
Featuring detailed descriptions of the day-to-day trail conditions, walking times, elevation changes, camping facilities, and not to mention more than a few of the unforgettable sights along the way, the RDB map is everything you need to get you from Gisenyi to Kamembe and everywhere in between.
If you don’t have the time to commit to the whole 10-day excursion, there’s still plenty to see on any stretch of the trail, and the map also features the rarely-trod sub-trails at Pfunda (for tea lovers), Gisovu, and Shangi.
Side trips from the trail abound as well, and the MGS can even help you paddle over to the otherworldly Nkombo Island if you’d like to stretch your trip just that tiny bit further.

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20 Climbing the volcanoes

20 Climbing the volcanoes

There is more to Volcanoes National Park than the Mountain Gorillas and Golden Hikes and Volcano ClimbingMonkeys that you can track here.
There is also Hiking and Volcano Climbing, the visit to ancient and magical forests, Caves, Lakes and more.
The possibilities are endless here for the outdoor enthusiast, he will find this close to his kind of heaven as he climbs some of the volcanoes he will be, this is simply a great place for those that want to do something off of the beaten tourist path.
The answer is that one explores Volcanoes National Park beyond Gorillas and Golden Monkeys.
One can easily spend a week in and around Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda – if you are into out-door adventurism – Volcanoes National Park is the place for you to explore and discover.

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22 Canopy walk in Nyungwe

22 Canopy walk in Nyungwe

Nyungwe Forest National park is, without doubt, one of the reasons why Rwanda has lately become a top tourist destination the world over.
A visit to this place should be among the things on your ‘To Do List’ before this year ends. It is not only a place for relaxation but also one for adventure and insight into Rwanda’s unique beauty.

Nyungwe Forest is the largest protected mountain forest in Africa covering between 1600 and 2000 square meters; and, being a five-hour drive into the heart of Rwanda, the long drive to Nyungwe gives visitors a chance to drink in the country’s diverse scenery and impressive landscape en route to the main attraction.
Once you get there, prepare yourself to embark on one of the most incredible adventures you will ever have: The Canopy Walk! Besides the beautiful scenery, huge, centuries-old trees and extra thick forest, this outstanding tropical forest is shelter to a 200m Canopy Walk way that will give a thrill that can hardly be matched by anything else.
Getting to the Canopy is about 2 hours from the starting point at Uwinka Visitors center. This forest is on a mountain and so the hike down is quite slippery because of the mere fact the ground on which the tourists trek is wet and moist.
Seeing the Canopy on arrival, especially for those afraid of heights, it could be described as ‘The endless walk to Hell’. The bridge suspended between huge trees gives one a feel of fresh air, 60 meters above the forest floor. Besides the freshness in the air and magnificent aerial view of the trees, you will enjoy the sight of beautiful birds flying across as you enjoy the walk.
The Canopy Walk is the favorite activity for park visitors. It is one of those things you want to attempt before you die.
Opened in 2010 it is the only one of its kind in East Africa and the third on the continent.
The 90 meter long Canopy walkway offers unique face to face encounters with butterflies, colorful birds and monkeys. Hard wood trees dominate the upper canopy while the lower part is beautified with a large selection of purple orchids and lush flora and fauna that flourish better in the higher altitudes.
Besides the Canopy Walk, the park offers a range of trails in to different parts of the forests for avid hikers and occasional walkers.
All the guided walks depart from the central Uwinka Reception center, the western Gisakura entrance and the eastern Kitabi entrance. While the view may be better from above, this tourist attraction is equally fascinating from the forest floor. A network of over ten mud trails takes you deep into the heart of the forest park.

Finally, do reward yourself after a 10km hike with a visit to Nyungwe Forest’s beautiful Ishumo waterfall. It may be small in size, but this calm waterfall is striking in its own way and the breeze to which one is welcomed will feel like one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures.

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23 Art of Imigongo

23 Art of Imigongo

In the beginning of the 19th century, Kakira, son of Kimenyi the King of Gisaka, lived in Kibungo Province (near the Rwanda-Tanzania border) and invented an art of embellishing the inside of houses to make them more attractive for living.
He called the art “imigongo.” Now, several artist cooperatives have taken over the traditional art by making smaller embellishments on pieces of wood.
One cooperative, Ikora Imigongo Kirehe, creates Imigongo daily at their shop in Kaziba Village, Kirehe District – the same area where Kakira first created the art. Kakira used natural material to make his house designs – he used cow dung to form the structure of the house painting and created paints from soil, kaolin, sap and banana peels. Ikora Imigongo Kirehe carries on this tradition; every painting sold is created with natural materials (although some paint colors are store-bought.) In ancient times, the red color was prepared from natural soil.
The white was made from kaolin.
Black was made from the sap of an aloe plant, mixed with ash of banana peel and the fruit of a local plant.
And the light orange color was created from clay soil. Ikora Imigongo Kirehe is a cooperative of local farmers who also love to paint and create the traditional art of Imigongo. While several cooperatives around Rwanda sell Imigongo, there are not many artists who know how to make it. Ikora Imigongo Kirehe translates to “preserving culture,” and that is what they want to do with their art production.
Before, the families of Ikora Imigongo Kirehe worked from their houses and did not have a workshop to sell or create the art.

Today, they have a workshop in Kaziba Village, Kirehe District in the Eastern Province as well as a couple markets in different areas of Rwanda, including Azizi Life near Gitarama. The artists welcome any visitors to their shop and always have different Imigongo designs ready to sell. At the shop, you can also watch as they make the art and try it for yourself!

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26 Karongi islands and peninsulars

26 Karongi islands and peninsulars

There are 16 Islands in Karongi district, five of which are situated around Kibuye. In simple terms, an island is a mass of land surrounded by water.
The Islands on Lake Kivu include; Munini Island, this is also known as Napoleon’s Island. It is said to be sharp like Napoleon’s hat.
This Island is a home to colony of fruit bats and supports a large number of birds. Mpembe Island is reached by boat from Kibuye. This beautiful Lake Kivu Island is connected by a bridge to the Mpembe peninsula. The Amahoro Island.
This Island is privately owed and surrounded other many Islands. The Island is has been developed as a tourism attraction and today, it offers camping facilities, a bar of restaurant, swimming among others. It is suitable for birding and water sport activities.
There are also peninsulas like Mpembe, which is a 4 km nature walk. It can easily be accessed by boat from Kibuye.
Mpembe peninsula footpath is privately owned but it is a tourism site, which offers camping facilities and birds’ sanctuary. More so is Nyakarwa peninsula, this is good for birding and a lovely recreational walk along a footpath beside the lake. Touring Islands on Lake Kivu can be done while on boat cruising.

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27 Hot springs in Rwanda

27 Hot springs in Rwanda

The Nyakanuye hot springs or Bugarama hot springs are situated about 60 km from Cyangugu by road.
The hot springs lie at the base of a limestone quarry, a couple of km from the Cimerwa cement factory. The area is lightly wooded with dotted sinkholes. The springs bubble up into a large green pool that looks initially a bit disappointed. However when you walk around the pool and go to the main springs, that bubble into the pool it gets better to see this creation of nature.
And for the people who care for nature it is also nice to know is that the smallest water lily only grew in Rwanda and ……. . “It doesn’t grow in a lake; it doesn’t grow in a river; it doesn’t grow in a marsh or in small pond. Where does it grow? This species grows in a thermal hot spring. It is the only place where it can be found.” A very rare and beautiful species. “Nymphaea thermarum” was only discovered in 1987 by Prof Dr. Eberhard Fischer and is so far only known from the hot springs (40C [104F]) Mashyuza near Nyakabuye. In the overflows of the springs, meaning where the water drains from the hot springs in little channels. Nymphaea thermarum grows at approximately 24-26C [75-79F] water temperature.” Rwanda’s Waterlily Saved From Extinction. In an interview with Carlos Magdalena, a scientist from the UK’s Royal Botanical Gardens, in Kew, Pallah Ghosh, science correspondent from BBC News, reported that Magdalena has successfully managed to grow a waterlily that was once thought to have become extinct in its natural habitat, the hot springs of Rwanda.

By emulating the Rwandan climate and creating the ideal environment to stimulate growth, the pymgy thermal waterlily has evoked great enthusiasm from Kew Gardens scientists. It was two years ago when this unique plant disappeared from Rwanda due to human encroachment and overexploitation of its natural environment. Nevertheless, in an amazing twist of fate, seeds were safely stored until Magdalena attempted to grow them in Kew Gardens, an area just outside London.
It took the scientist months to cultivate the right conditions for the seedling to grow, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing the thermal lily back into Rwanda.

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28 Tourism activities on Lake Kivu

28 Tourism activities on Lake Kivu

Economical activities

An estimated 2 million inhabitants live in the catchment basin of Lake Kivu. Their activities are:

         - Marine and terrestrial transport of passengers and goods

         -  Tea plantations: Gisovu, Gisakura, Pfunda and Shagasha Tea Factories

         - 12 coffee washing stations: in Kinunu

          - Subsistence agriculture: kidney beans, potatoes, sorghum, maize, rice, tomatoes, cabbages and other vegetables,             sweet potatoes, cassava, green and yellow bananas…

         - Cattle farming: cows, goats, sheep and pork

         - Production of milk and cheese

         - honey harvesting

         - Fishing: isambaza, indugu and tilapia

         - Brewery Bralirwa in Bukavu and Nyamyumba

         - Small hydropower plants: in Gisenyi, Nkora, Cyimbiri and Kaya

         - Tertiary activities in the main cities: Goma, Bukavu, Gisenyi, Kibuye, Cyangugu

         - Mining and quarries

         - Methane extraction in Lake Kivu

         - Markets all along the coast: in Nkora, Kirambo, Kamemebe Market places

         - Boat building

         - Construction work: sand collecting and bricks

         - Medical care in hospitals and health centers

Leisure – Tourism activities

Swimming

Lake Kivu is probably one of the unique lakes in Africa, where you can safely swim:

     -No crocodiles

     -No hippopotamus

     -No bilharzias

     -Pleasant surface temperatures throughout the year from 23°C to 27°C

     -No gas outburst: the methane is trapped below 260 m and far away from the shores

Water sports

Kayaking, wind surfing, catamaran and jet-ski. The equipment can be hired at Kivu Serena in Gisenyi. Kayaks can also be hired in Moriah Hills in Kibuye.

Visit one of the beautiful islands

     -Visit Napoleon Island near Kibuye, home to thousands of bats

     -Sleep or eat on Amahoro Island near Kibuye

     -Relax on the island from Paradis Malahide Hotel in Gisenyi

     -Visit the inhabitants of Bugarama and Nkomo Islands

Fishing

The isambaza are attracted by the petrol lights from the fishermen at night. During full moon, fishing is therefore not possible.

     -Join the fishermen for an evening on their boat to learn more about their traditional  techniques

     -Listen to the fishermen singing as they paddled in and out their landing sites

     -Watch the isambaza fishing boats with their beams and telescopic poles during the day along the shores.

     -Taste the isambaza and tilapia fishes in local restaurants

Boat rides

     -Hire the speed boat “Munezero” from Rwanda Development Board in Gisenyi

     -Hire local pirogues

     -Use the pirogues from the public transport

The Congo-Nile Trail

Cycling, hiking or driving along the Congo-Nile Trail. This 227 km long trail runs from Gisenyi to Kamembe along the scenic shores of Lake Kivu.

Cycling

     -Hire or buy bicycles in Gisenyi

     -Cycle with bicycle guides and porters along the Congo-Nile trail

Nyiragongo Volcano – the world largest lava lake

     -Hike on the Niyragongo Volcano (1500 m of denivellation)

     -Camp in the bandas at the top (3500 m) and admire the lava lake

     -The smoke from the volcano during the day and its glow at night can be observed in Gisenyi, Kibuye and as far as Nyungwe Forest

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Faq

Rwanda

Question: Can I buy 1 visum for Rwanda and Uganda?

Yes you can.
You can buy 1 visum for three East African countries:

  1. Kenya
  2. Rwanda
  3. Uganda

Question: Where can I see the gorillas ?

You can trek the Mountain Gorillas in:

  • DR Congo
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda

Question: Is there a price difference for the permits in DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda?

Yes there is a price difference.
DR Congo is the cheapest, followed bij Uganda and Rwanda is the most expensive.

For the actual pricing, see the website, or contact us.