Travel to Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills, where epic mountain ranges and rich bamboo forests hide rare and elusive mountain gorillas. Beyond the wildlife, Lake Kivu's serene inland beaches, the sophisticated capital of Kigali, and the stunning Volcanoes National Park all signify that luxury Rwanda holidays are different from the norm in every single way.
Enchanting and largely unspoilt thanks to a commitment to conservation, the African nation of Rwanda is one for nature lovers to explore and adore. Volcanoes National Park is not only home to the spellbinding Virunga Mountains, but also Rwanda's most alluring attraction – mountain gorillas.
Head out from your luxury lodge and trek into steamy bamboo forests for a face-to-face encounter with this intelligent and gentle endangered species, who also share the park with the equally rare golden monkeys.
Seek out yet more adventure and high-end accomodation in Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of the largest remaining high-altitude rainforests in Africa. Hike through lush green valleys to catch a glimpse of distinctive black-and-white colobus monkeys. Look towards the sky and you’re also sure to see cheeky chimpanzees perched in the Ficus trees above.
Whereas rural Rwanda plays host to traditional villages and unique cultures, the family-friendly capital of Kigali is calmly cosmopolitan and well worth a visit. Red-roofed houses and terraced farm plots retain much of Rwanda's old charm, but trendy bars and restaurants make for an increasingly modern metropolis. Hillywood is where Rwanda's blossoming film industry lives, while the colourful Nyamirambo serves up a slice of authentic everyday life.
The driest months in Rwanda are between June and September. This is the best and most popular time to go trekking through the jungle, as walking conditions are better underfoot (and the gorillas less grumpy too). The rains fall between April and May or October and November, so remember to bring wet weather clothing.
Despite being close to the equator, Rwanda's climate is tempered by altitude. Temperatures don't often climb above 25 degrees, which makes for comfortable touring, though it's advisable to have layers for early mornings and evenings.
30-day tourist visas are available on arrival. You can pay in cash (sterling, US dollars or Rwandan francs) or by Visa/Mastercard. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Rwanda. Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports, visas, and travel.
Traditional meals make use of local crops such as potatoes and cassava served alongside tilapia (Nile perch), goat, chicken or beef brochettes (skewers). Cooked plantains, known as matoke, are often used instead of potatoes, while the maize dish ugali is a common staple.
Rwanda's French ties are evident in city restaurants, with the plat du jour (plate of the day) usually drawing European inspiration. The country's beer of choice is Primus, but locally brewed urwagwa (fermented banana beer) also deserves a taste.