Wildlife in Rwanda

Rwanda has three main wildlife destinations, Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park, each of which host a quite different fauna to the others. Birdwatching aside, wildlife viewing opportunities outside these national parks are limited.

giant forest hog The Giant forest hog can reach a length of between 1,3 and 2,1 metres

Volcanoes National Park is best known for its population of several hundred mountain gorillas. This includes a dozen habituated groups for which a total of 96 tracking permits are issued daily. Other wildlife includes the golden monkey (also endemic to the Albertine Rift Endemic), elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog, bushpig, bushbuck, and black-fronted duiker. Around 200 bird species have been recorded, a list that includes at least 16 Albertine Rift Endemics, but logistically it is not an easy site for birdwatching.

potto in rwanda The unusual potto

Nyungwe Forest National Park is the most biodiverse site in Rwanda. It protects at least 1,050 plant species, along with 85 mammal, 310 bird, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Thirteen primate species are present: chimpanzee, Ruwenzori colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, owl-faced monkey, red-tailed monkey, Dent’s monkey, crowned monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, potto and at least two species of bushbaby. The only member if the Big five extant in Nyungwe is leopard, but they are very infrequently observed. Antelope include bushbuck and three types of duiker. The tree hyrax is a seldom-seen guinea-pig-like animal whose blood-curdling screech is often heard at night. Nyungwe is one of the top forest ornithological sites in Africa and a must-visit for dedicated birdwatchers. akagera national park elephant

Akagera National Park is a more conventional Africa savannah reserve where all the Big Five might be seen. Buffaloes and elephants are most common, but leopards are observed with increasing frequency on night drives, and lion and black rhino - respectively reintroduced in 2015 and 2017 - are also quickly growing in visibility. Other wildlife includes Maasai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, warthog, olive baboon, vervet monkey, hippo, impala, Defassa waterbuck, bushbuck, common duiker, eland, topi, Bohor reedbuck, oribi, roan antelope, klipspringer and the secretive semi-aquatic sitatunga. Spotted hyena, genet, civet, white-tailed mongoose, bushbaby, elephant-shrew and various species of owl and nightjar are often seen on night drives. Around 480 bird species have been recorded in Akagera, and it is particularly strong on raptors, waterbirds, and savannah and woodland species.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 1

Entebbe, arrival
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 2

Your drive to Kibale is well worth it
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 3

Full day with the Chimps
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 4

Onwards to Queen Elizabeth
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 5 to 6

Witness the unusual tree climbing lions
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 7

Bwindi National Park all to yourself
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 8

Gorilla trekking, enjoy every minute
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 9

Buhoma Village walk
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 10

Drive via Kisoro to Rwanda
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 11

Visit the Dian Fossey Tomb
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 12

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

Popular Rwanda Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

The Uganda Hills | The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

Enjoy East Africa's most celebrated highlights, from a snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, to sailing above the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon and meeting mountain gorillas...

 | Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders – to the endangered mountain gorillas and East Africa's Great Migration...

Chimpanzee | Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

See mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys and tree-climbing lions, take a boat cruise and visit Rwanda's genocide memorial ...

 | Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

This exclusive African honeymoon through East and Southern Africa is the perfect way to celebrate the start of your new journey together...

 | Gorilla trekking and the Great Migration Combined (11 days)

Gorilla trekking and the Great Migration Combined (11 days)

Unforgettable experience in the jungles of Rwanda to track the last Mountain gorillas on earth and view the awesome Great Migration river crossings...



You might also like

Volcanoes National Park

Protecting the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains, the 160km2 Volcanoes National Park is best-known as the place where Dian Fossey launched her pioneering study of mountain gorillas in the wild in 1966, and where the Oscar-nominated film Gorillas in the Mist was shot on location in 1988. It is one of Africa’s most scenic national parks, comprising a chain of six extinct and three…

Rwanda vs Kenya

The Great Migration Mara river crossing in Kenya Rwanda offers several attractions not found in Kenya or indeed in most other safari destinations other than Uganda. Foremost among these is the opportunity to track mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountains and chimpanzees in the Nyungwe National Park. Rwanda offers far greater diversity than Kenya when it comes to forest primates,…

Medical emergencies in Rwanda

If no other assistance is at hand, emergency numbers are 111 for the fire department, 112 for ambulances and medical emergencies, 113 for traffic accidents and 999 for the police. Superior private hospitals in Kigali include the King Faisal Hospital (tel: 0252 588888) and Polyclinique du Plateau (tel: 0252 578767 or 0788 301630. A recommended pharmacy is the Pharmacie Conseil (tel: 0252…

Rwanda in July

Highlands and medium-altitude regions, for instance Kigali, Lake Kivu and Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks, are warm to hot by day, and comfortably cool by night. Low-lying Akagera National Park is hot by day, and warm by night. July falls within the long dry season and monthly rainfall in most parts of the country is low (well below 50mm). July is an excellent month for…

Huye

The self-styled ‘intellectual centre’ of Rwanda, Huye (formerly Butare) stands at a breezy altitude of 1,755m to the southwest of Kigali. During the colonial era, it was the second-largest town in the joint territory of Ruanda-Urundi (after the capital Bujumbura, which lies in modern-day Burundi) and it came as a surprise when it was overlooked as capital of Rwanda when the…

Rwanda in November

Highlands and medium-altitude regions, for instance Kigali, Lake Kivu and Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks, are warm to hot by day, and comfortably cool by night. Low-lying Akagera National Park is hot by day, and warm by night. November is the peak of the short rainy season and monthly rainfall in most parts of the country is high (100mm or higher). November is not an optimum…

Solo travel in Rwanda

Rwanda is well suited to solo travel. Independent travellers using public transport will find that locals are very friendly and keen to engage in conversation with single foreigners. On more upmarket visits, all the national parks are serviced by the sort of small exclusive tented camps and lodges that encourage interaction between guests and offers a hand-on personalised…

Wildlife in Rwanda

Rwanda has three main wildlife destinations, Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park, each of which host a quite different fauna to the others. Birdwatching aside, wildlife viewing opportunities outside these national parks are limited. The Giant forest hog can reach a length of between 1,3 and 2,1 metres Volcanoes National Park is best known…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2