All parks in Rwanda


All parks in Rwanda; Rwanda is a small non-coastal realm geographically located in East Central Africa. The size of Rwanda is comparable to the state of Maryland in the United States of America. In her small size, Rwanda has four national parks, which are the major tourist attractions in the country.

Rwanda’s neighbours

Rwanda has four neighbours: Tanzania in the East, Uganda in the North, the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West and Burundi in the South. What is more, the capital city of this beautiful country is Kigali, another major tourist destination.

Rwanda’s incredible features and national parks

Seating in the arrays of the Great Western Rift Valley makes this country open to great African endangered species. Rwanda parks host incredible wildlife species, which makes them worth visiting. Some of these include; mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzees, Big Five games, several bird species and several others.

Management of Rwanda’s parks

All Rwanda National Parks are under the management of the Rwanda Development Board. This board is responsible for the sustainable management of all parks. It also issues permits for trekking the gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees in their respective habitations.

The four National Parks of Rwanda include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park. All these National Parks are significant eco-diverse destinations featuring various amazing landscapes and several vegetation amidst a wide variety of wildlife.

National Parks in Rwanda

1. Volcanoes National Park

Trek Golden Monkey in Rwanda

Located in the Northern section of the country in Musanze province, Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s most famous tourist destination. The Park is renowned for being the world’s most luxurious gorilla trekking destination. For many safari plans to visit Rwanda, the Mountain Gorillas in this park always top the wish list. Volcanoes National Park boasts of protecting Rwanda’s steep slopes where the country got her name, “A Land of a Thousand Hills”.

Moreover, this Park is part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) with segments of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in Congo. Also, the VCA accommodates over a third of the World’s Mountain Gorillas, and many of the rest reside in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The park is a chain of 5 dormant volcanoes of the eight in the Virunga Massif. These volcanoes include; Karisimbi, Bisoke Volcanos, Sabinyo, Muhavura and Gahinga.

A base for Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey
The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Volcanoes National Park was a base for the renowned primatologist Dian Fossey who initiated gorilla conservation efforts in Rwanda. Dian Fossey set up a research centre, Karisoke Research Centre, at the foothills between Karisimbi and Bisoke volcanoes. Unfortunately, due to opposition from the poachers, Diana Fossey and some of the mountain gorillas were killed. However, her actions continued to yield several fruits with a tremendous increase in mountain gorillas and awareness about their conservation.

Besides Gorilla Trekking, the park offers exciting activities such as golden monkey tracking, Bird watching, Visiting Dian Fossey’s grave, volcano hiking, and cultural visits to the surrounding local communities.

Akagera National Park

This national park covers an area of 1,222 square kilometres. In addition to that, it is the only savannah park in Rwanda that consists of montane forests, woodland, and swamps. Some of the wildlife species that one can find include; savanna elephants, zebras, elands, lions, buffaloes and many others. The park also accommodates over 500 bird species making it a fine place for birding activities.

Akagera National Park is located in Eastern Rwanda, bordering Tanzania. The park comes from the Akagera River and consists of several water bodies, including lakes, rivers and swamps. Although Volcanoes National Park is the most popular park in Rwanda, Akagera National Park is the most visited.

History of the park

Akagera National Park was established in 1934 to protect the animals and vegetation of the Savanah, Montane and swamps eco-system. In the 1990s, the park faced several challenges from the widespread genocide. After the genocide in 1994, survivors settled on the park’s land for farming.

In 2009, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the African Parks Network made a 20-year renewable agreement for the joint management of Akagera National Park. Then in 2010, the collaborative management of the park was formed, i.e. The Akagera Management Company.

Activities at Akagera National Park include; game drives, boat rides at Lake Ihema (the largest lake in the park), bird watching, and community visits, among other activities.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park

At the border with Burundi and DRC, lies Nyungwe Forest National Park in the Southern part of Rwanda. Nyungwe forest is the most preserved in Central Africa and is primarily known for chimpanzee tracking. It also features montane forests, valleys and tropical rainforests. Additionally, the forest hosts about 13 primate species, with chimpanzees being the most dominant.

The park was established in 2004. It’s the second largest park in Rwanda, covering an area of 27 square kilometres. Additionally, the tropical rainforest offers an all-time green ambience that accommodates over 85 mammal species, 275 bird species, about 120 butterflies, 38 reptiles and 32 amphibians.

Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular tourism activity in the Nyungwe forest. Chimpanzees here are not fully habituated; a close-up encounter might be uncommon. Other adventure activities at the park include mountain climbing, nature walks, canopy walks, primate tracking and bird watching.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park

This recently became a national park in 2015 after combining both Gishwati and Mukura forest reserves. Gishwati-Mukura National Park was established to protect the remnants of the Gishwati and Mukura forests and protect and conserve the chimpanzee population of the reserves.

The forest has several primate species, including 20 chimpanzees, the endemic golden monkeys, blue monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Activities in the park started in 2019, including guided nature hikes, chimpanzee and monkey tracking, bird watching and visiting the waterfalls.


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