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Gorilla Trekking Safaris In Rwanda

Wildlife, Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris in Rwanda

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Rwanda Safaris: For those interested in doing a gorilla safari in Rwanda Africa or an African wildlife safari in Rwanda to tour Rwanda cultures, people and scenery, the following are common questions for who ever wants to safari Rwanda have been answered for you to make your safaris in Rwanda easy to undertake.

What time is it in Rwanda? Is it safe to visit Rwanda? Do I need a Rwanda Visa? What is the best time to visit Rwanda? It is noted that while planning to visit Rwanda, a range of travel questions do arise and here at Prime Uganda safaris we attempt to answer them for the benefit of those that take safaris to Rwanda.


Rwanda’s history as Rwanda Safari product

Rwanda was a monarchical Kingdom right from the pre-colonial era with three tribal groups namely the Bahutu who were the majority 85%, the Batutsi 14% and Batwa who comprised 1%. These people had different modes of livelihood as the Tutsi were cattle keepers, the Batwa were cultivators while the Twa were hunter gatherers. The Kingship was in the hands of the Batutsi and the leadership was hereditary. Since there were no overlapping interests, the traditional Rwanda was at peace and these three tribal groups despite the distinct differences, they lived together in the society harmoniously. These tribal groups are noted to have varying ethnic origins with the Bahutu belonging to the Bantu group while the Tutsi belonged to the Hamitic groups from the north east of Africa. The Batwa are indigenous to the region of East Africa.

The political history commences with King Rwabugiri’s reign that ascended the throne in the year 1860 and expanded the Kingdom as far as the present state of Rwanda on a feudal arrangement.

In the period 1887 – 1914, the traditional highlands of Rwanda became of interest to the Europeans and in the year 1894, Count Von Götzen a German national visited the court of Rwabugiri. Unfortunately, the King passed away the following year and the succession turmoil had to arise and the Germans took advantage of the situation and conquered Rwanda in addition to Burundi forming the Ruanda- Urundi territory for their mighty Kaiser.  The German rule did not last long as her colonies were taken from it following its defeat in the World War 1 1914 – 18 a decision that was taken in the hall of mirrors in France under the Versailles Settlement of 1919.

The Belgians took over until 1962 following the League of Nations resolution in 1924 that granted Belgium the responsibility of managing the colony. However, it should be noted that the Belgian were already in Congo with the center of administration in Brussels. When Ruanda – Urundi was added, the administration was left in the hands of the Tutsi as it was traditionally and took advantage of the differences in these two major tribal groups.

The colonialists introduced forced labor targeting the Hutu as the workers but put the Tutsis as their supervisors which spoilt the relations between these two local groups without realizing who exactly the enemy was. In the year 1993, every individual in Rwanda was required to have an identity card showing the tribe. The relations between these two groups worsened in the 1950s and the few educated Hutus started to mobilize against the Tutsi culminating into the 1959 Rwandan Revolution which put many Tutsis in exile including the then reigning Mwami Kigeri who was 25 years old then.

Elections were conducted in the process of preparing Rwanda for independence and Gregory Kibanda emerged the winner and was one of the Hutu manifesto authors. He led the provisional government up to the independence time. However, in the neighboring Urundi, the Tutsi managed to persist and a joint Tutsi and Hutu party won the 1961 elections under the leadership of Prince Rwagasore who was Mwami’s eldest son. Though he was assassinated a little time after, the incident did not lure Burundi into an ethnic conflict.

In the year 1962, Rwanda attained her independence and it became a republic and it was when the name changed from Ruanda to Rwanda. However, Urundi maintained a constitutional monarchy but name also changed to Burundi. Gregory Kaibanda under his Party for the Emancipation of the Hutu (Parti du Mouvement de l’Emancipation du Peuple Hutu) won the first Presidential election and by the name of the party, one can tell what his government policy would focus on.


Rwanda Genocide memorial centers 

The tribalistic movement that Kaibanda had initiated branded the Tutsi as cockroaches – the Inyenzi and the killing of cockroaches was not too far to occur in this land of a thousand hills. In the month of December 1963, the hundreds of Tutsi attempted to enter Rwanda out of nostalgia from the southern section through Burundi. When they had advanced remaining with 12miles to the country’s capital, the army stopped them and the government was forced to declare a state of emergency aiming at clearing the bush of the subversive features and within a count of days, over 14,000 Tutsis were put to death in Gikongoro in the southern province in the move that was branded by Bertrand Russel as “the most horrible and systematic massacre” since the Holocaust. However, this was far minor than what the Hutu would come to achieve in the 1990s.

The president Kaibanda was toppled through a military coup by Juvenal Habyarimana in the year 1973 and the new president ruled for 21 years presiding over a complete military dictatorship with support from Western states especially France. The ethnic policy continued and the number of Tutsi refugees in the neighboring states became too much and their host countries opted to send them back home and yet at home they were not welcome.

In the year 1986, Habyarimana made it clear that the refugees were no longer allowed to return home and in the year that followed, the refugees hatched the idea of Rwanda Patriotic Front which was to launch an armed struggle against the reigning Rwandan government so as to get the means of getting back home.

On the date which they had earlier planned October 1st 1990, the participants most of which were serving officers and men in the Ugandan Army and had actively participated in the NRA guerilla war that brought Gen. Yoweri Museveni in power deserted along with other equipment and launched an invasion from the north west of Rwanda. The incident started as a small invasion but saw the overthrow of the Habyarimana government. Unfortunately, they provoked the most horrific genocide act of the century.


Rwanda Safari traditional dancers

The first invasion was repulsed by Habyarimana with the help of the French Paratroops that were extended by President Mitterand in October 1990. This was followed by the tough times for the Tutsis.  The Rwanda’s most racial newspaper published the ten (10) commandments and some of these called for the complete separation of the Hutu from the Tutsi to ruthless hand upon them. In fact like the commandment eight read “the Hutu should stop having mercy on Tutsis” and this gave birth to the Hutu power in 1991.

The president Habyarimana supported the Hutu power and recruited the Hutu militia who were named Interahamwe literally translated to those who attack together. This group exhibited extreme hooliganism in the name of the President including conducting drunken meetings in public. They also met in private to perfect the skills of machete wielding, setting houses ablaze and listing the Tutsi names and the Hutu moderators.

As if that was not enough, the Radio Rwanda spread a false rumor in March 1992 that the Tutsi had the plot to exterminate the Hutu.   In the same year, the Hutu extremists were disappointed by their own president who out of international pressure embarked on negotiations other than suppressing the guerrillas. In august 1992, when the news spread that the president agreed for a cease fire, the Hutu made attacks on the Tutsi.

The peace process continued taking the president far from the Hutu power move and in August 1993 the President Habyarimana signed the Peace treaty with the Rwanda Patriotic Front to put the war to the end. The highlights of the Arusha Peace Accord included the refugee return, the incorporation of RPF in the national Army, the transitional process that would lead into elections and establishment of a democratic government and in this period the power was to be in the hands of the provisional government with good representation of RPF and the United Nations forces were to come to make sure that the situation was in order.

It should be noted that these terms were a total disappointment to the Hutu extremists and on April 6th 1994 the presidential jet was brought down by a rocket believed to have been released by the Hutu extremists leading to the death of 2 presidents Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart. This occurrence sparked off the genocide.

The Hutu extremism exploded over the next weeks and the radio broadcasts called upon all the Hutus to look out for the Tutsis and eliminate them. The State Radio announced on 29th April that 5th May should be the cleaning day and that the city of Kigali should be cleaned up of the Tutsis. In fact one broadcast went ahead and emphasized that even the unborn babies should be ripped from their mothers’ wombs even if their mothers are dead. The Hutu using their ordinary tools like the Machettes and other advanced weapon for the military were able to put down over 800,000 Tutsis and the Hutu sympathizers between April and July. This was followed by massive refugee influx mostly by the Hutus to Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi in fear of the advancing Rwanda Patriotic Front which had resumed the fighting following the President’s assassination.


A silver back Gorilla in Rwanda

The entire country was in control by August 1994 since RPF had captured Kigali in July. The issues of Interahamwe making attacks from the neighboring Congo have been dealt with overtime and some other extremists still exist the Congo forests. The RPF has tried to build an all-inclusive nation with equal representation in government where numerical strength is given priority. And as a result, Rwanda has rejuvenated and re-built her image in the international scene ensuring economic flourish, social cohesion and political stability. The international travellers have increasingly picked interests in Rwanda safaris especially the Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris and the future for Rwanda looks much brighter than it’s past. The memorial sites are spread all over the country as living testimonies of their history.

Time in Rwanda while planning a safari to Rwanda

Rwanda has no time difference that is posed by the summer and winter months. What should be noted that the destination Rwanda is two (2) hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) also known as the Prime Meridian.

Which Currency to expect in Rwanda during Rwanda safaris

Rwanda uses Rwandan Franc abbreviated as RWF and it can be got at the Airport on arrival by exchange any foreign currency that you might have carried along with you or in any other foreign exchange bureaus in Kigali city.

Rwanda’s International Dialing Code – while code to put while making a call to reserve your safari in Rwanda

+250 is the Rwanda’s International Dialing Code and this is flowed by the respective number that you want to contact. If you are interested in making a call from Rwanda to outside world, you can dial 001 for the USA or 0044 for the UK. Telephoning can be made using the Rwandatel which is the largest Telecommunication Company in Rwanda.

Food in Rwanda – what food to expect during a Rwanda safari

The Rwandan food differs from the ordinary to good. The Belgian inspired cuisine and fresh fruit are commonly good. It should also be noted that Rwanda maintains a considerable hygiene standards though variability in results.  The local Rwandese cuisine features sweet potatoes, beans, corn, peas, millet, fresh fruit, such as Ovacadoes, Papayas and mangoes. The combination of Corn and Cassava locally named Umutsima, the combination of Cassava Plant leaves with spinach and eggplant named isombe and fried plantains named mizuzu are noted to be the poplar traditional dishes of Rwanda. The drinks include; local beer and a locally sorghum brewed beer named ikigage.

Travelling in Rwanda – accessing various Rwanda Safari sites

In Rwanda, if you have a 4WD Vehicle whether you intend to do a self-drive or take a driver, you can traverse the whole of it. The hilly landscapes at times present road sections that make the 4WD drive ideal. It should also be noted that most of the main routes in Rwanda are tarmacked but the road network in more rural areas tend not be tarmacked and are at times in poor condition. It would be more ideal to take a local driver who is well conversant the landscapes if you are visiting for the first time.

Health in Rwanda – Is your health safe while on safari in Rwanda

Rwanda has medical facilities of western standards in her capital city Kigali. Apart from Kigali, other regions of Rwanda feature basic health centers. It is would be wise if you are up to date in terms of vaccinations for tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and polio. A range of travellers also take the Havrix vaccine safeguarding themselves against Hepatitis A. Rwanda requires world travellers to resent yellow fever certificate before entering Rwanda. Additionally to note that Malaria is common in lowland Rwanda and as a result malaria precautions are important.

Besides that, it is always recommended to cross check with your respective doctor or the travel clinic on the latest health situation before setting to embark on the safaris to Rwanda.

AIDS like in most of the African states is common in the destination Rwanda and the rate of infection is high. Therefore taking the necessary precautions to avoid contracting it is very important. The blood supplies in hospitals are thoroughly subjected to screening for some time thus are virus free. Therefore, you have to be keen on other means mostly unprotected sex. The Scottish NHS site can also be useful in ascertaining the health tips in Rwanda

Language in Rwanda – what language to use on Rwanda Safari

Kinyarwanda is the predominant language spoken in Rwanda. It is a Bantu language. The foreign languages used in Rwanda include the French which is majorly spread because of the influence of Franco phone colonialists and then English. It can be noted that English is increasingly gaining ground in Rwanda and most Rwandese are flocking English schools especially from neighboring states like Uganda to learn English. This is partly motivated by the need to fit in the East African community.

Visas for Rwanda – do you need a visa to enter Safari to Rwanda?

Every Rwanda safari undertaker is required by the government of Rwanda to purchase a Rwanda Visa apart from those that hail from countries which are Visa exempt.  Applying for Rwanda requires you to submit the application on line for the Visa and the acceptance letter is presented upon arrival and pay $30. The Rwanda Visas can also be applied through a local Rwandan consulate in the respective country.

However, there are countries that do not require to apply for Rwanda Visa in advance and these include; Israel, Australia, Germany, United States of America Sweden, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa. They just pay for the Visa the normal $30 on arrival.

For the African countries nationals whose countries are not Rwanda Visa exempt pay on arrival while visiting Rwanda or if transiting and do not need to apply before.

The countries that are Visa exempted from paying for Rwanda Visa include; Mauritius, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and Democratic Republic of Congo. These are given free visa lasting 90 days.

Rwanda offers the citizens of the East African Community a renewable visitor pass of six (6) months and can be obtained on arrival at a zero cost

Regarding the Rwanda Visa Expiry, the destination Rwanda offers five (5) days grace period for the Rwanda safari undertaker to either depart or renew the Visa at a zero cost but he / she refuses intentionally to extend the Visa, a penalty is imposed.

One can always check out on the immigration website of Rwanda for any new development.

Weather and climate in Rwanda – what weather and climate to expect on Rwanda safaris


Dry season in Kigali city

Rwanda features an impressive tropical highland climate. It can also be noted that weather also has an effect on the best visiting time for Rwanda.

Rwanda lying in the south of the Equator enjoys high altitude and features considerable rainfall amounts. The temperatures differ largely between the locations motivated by altitude though little from month to month in one place. In Rwanda’s capital Kigali, the mean temperature for the day is around 21°C.

Rwanda features extended rain seasons from March to May and in these months, the rain is heavy and considerable persistent. From the months of June to Mid-September, there is a considerable dry season which makes it an ideal time for undertaking a safari in Rwanda.

From the Months of October to November, Rwanda is marked by shorter rainy season which is later followed by a dry season from December to February.

In Rwanda, it can be noted that there is usually light cloud cover in both rain and dry season which helps in moderating temperatures and also brings along light rain showers occasionally.

Rwanda Safari Flights

Flights to Rwanda; Rwanda Flights; How to travel to Rwanda; Travelling to Rwanda; How to access Rwanda while planning Rwanda safari

Rwanda is mainly accessed through Kigali International Airport which also referred to as Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport or Kanombe International Airport which is positioned 10km from the Kigali City.

Flights from different regions of the world where travellers interested in undertaking safaris in Rwanda originate land at Kigali International Airport and they can be booked from an agent in the local country, through on line booking agents or the Airlines themselves

Flights from London to Kigali Rwanda

The flights operated by British Airways depart London Heathrow and connect to Nairobi Kenya form where the Kenya Airways connects and transfers the passengers to Kigali International Airport.

Detailed information about Flights to Rwanda

Rwanda Safari National Game Parks

Nyunwe Forest national park

Located to the south west of Rwanda, the Nyungwe Forest National Park is close to the border of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo in the south and the west respectively. It is recorded to be among the ancient African forests that are noted to have survived the last ice age. Nyungwe Forest is among the largest montane forest in the East of Africa and considered to be the well conserved forest in the entire highlands of Central Africa.

Akagera National Park
The Rwanda’s Akagera National Park located to the east of the country with the views of the plains of Tanzania stretches over a geographical size 1122 km2 and it is being managed under the arrangement of public private partnership arrangement of the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks from 2010.

Volcanoes national park
The Volcanoes National Park is an English of the former French naming the Parc Nationale des Volcanos which is positioned to the north west of Rwanda sheltering the Rwandan section of the entire Virunga Volcanoes that comprise of eight (8) mountains shared by Rwanda along with adjacent countries of Uganda and DR Congo.

Wildlife Safaris in Rwanda

The Wildlife Safaris in Rwanda presents memorable Rwanda safari experience that is exclusive of mountain gorillas. The Akagera National park in the east of Rwanda is the only gazetted Rwanda safari park that presents a congregator habitat for the myriad of wild game and flora that making it the ideal spot to undertake wild game viewing.

The Akagera National Park features a myriad of wild game including; savanna elephant, the topi, the Cape buffalo, the zebra, the roan antelope, the defassa waterbuck, eland, the duiker, the bohor reedbuck, the oribi, the klipspringer, the impala and bushbuck which combine to make wild game viewing in Rwanda memorable.

Our wildlife safaris feature history, culture, primate tracking including Chimpanzees and Black and White colobus monkey other than mountain gorillas, water recreation both on Lake Ihema and Lake Kivu and the general nature experience.

Explore the wildlife safaris in Rwanda with Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd for the guaranteed safari memories.

Chimpanzee Safari in Rwanda 2 Days
chimp-inrwandaA Rwanda Safari taking you to the largest montane forest in Rwanda Nyungwe Forest
2 Days Rwanda Wildlife Safari to Akagera NP
nile-crocodiles-akageraVisit the famous River Akagera teeming with aquatics including the Nile Crocodiles, Hippos
Rwanda Safari to Nyungwe NP– 3 days
nyungwenp-monkeysThe activities range from the chimpanzee trekking experience, the colobus monkey tracking
Rwanda Wildlife Safari to Akagera NP – 3 Days
akageranp-giraffeeThe safari features magical wild game viewing in the largest savannah habitat

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