With its mountainous landscape dotted with towns, cities and farmland, Rwanda may seem an unconventional safari destination. However, it has emerged from its dark past to become one of the safest and most forward-thinking countries in Africa, with much to offer visitors.
The opportunity to spend time up close with the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla is definitely the top draw here – and with the largest population on the planet, in 10 habituated groups, you almost certainly can as long as you’re lucky enough to get a permit. This experience is rated extremely highly by all serious wildlife enthusiasts. Not only is it one that many find deeply moving, it unquestionably supports the preservation of this iconic ape.
Mountain Gorilla tracking is often treated as an add-on to a Serengeti safari and the direct flights certainly make this practical. There is however a lot more to this little country that is well worth exploring, making it a really interesting stand-alone destination.
You could embark on a safari in Akagera, where you’re likely to see elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, leopard and recently re-introduced lion. If your passion is primates, Nyungwe Forest in the deep south–west is home to nearly a quarter of all species in Africa, including Chimpanzees and absurdly large groups of Rwenzori Colobus. There is also world-class birding, interesting and varied hiking and some genuinely excellent camps.