- Volcanoes – Gorilla
“In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”. Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.
This home of mountain gorilla also has colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant.
- Akagera National Park – Antelope
This park is situated at the border with Tanzania, it has a different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterise much of Rwanda. This is an archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland. Giraffe and zebra amble through the savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck.
- Nyungwe National Park – Colobus
Nyungwe is the source of Africa’s great rivers. Rain that falls on the east side feeds the Nile and on the west runs to the Congo. The Congo-Nile Divide is a mountain range that runs north to south through Rwanda.
This forest hosts 13 species of primates including the Angola colobus found in groups of 300-400 animals that is an attribute unique to Nyungwe. It also hosts a large population of chimpanzees and two other threatened species of monkeys; the owl faced monkey and reported but unverified sightings of the golden monkey.
Nyungwe is stated as “the most important site for biodiversity conservation in Rwanda” by Birdlife International for its approximately 280 bird species, 25 of which are endemic. It is also Rwanda’s primary water catchment, sheltering more than two-thirds of all of its waters. This park presents a new destination for walking and hiking enthusiasts.