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.


Popular Rwanda Safaris

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

 | 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...

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 ...

 | 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...

 | 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...

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...

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