7 Fascinating Things About Rwanda You Probably Don’t Know

Are you curious about Rwanda and would like to learn more about this small and beautiful country during your African safari?

Do you wish to learn about the breathtaking attractions and strange laws of the country? Well, this is the time for you to know, everything you need to learn about her and untrue facts you need to clarify. However, some of the things you will find out will take your breath away and these include;

The World’s finest coffee comes from Rwanda

The Land of a thousand Hills favors the growth of some of the World’s finest coffee beans. Due to Government, farmer co-operatives and Non-Governmental Organizations’ efforts, the quality of coffee exported from Rwanda is always the best thus allowing to tourists to not only track the Mountain gorillas but also taste some of the World’s finest coffee brands.

One of the three countries to encounter the critically endangered Mountain gorillas

If you didn’t know, then you need to know that Rwanda is among the three exceptional countries in the World that can be visited for the critically endangered mountain gorillas. They are found within Volcanoes National Park, in the North-western side of the country thus can be visited at anytime of the year. Additionally, it is easier to track the mountain gorillas in this country than it is with the other countries (Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo)

Another interesting fact about this country that will take your breath away is the annual naming ceremony of the newborn mountain gorillas popularly known as the “Kwita Izina Ceremony” introduced in 2005. You can plan your next gorilla safari and Kwita Izina in September.

Plastic bags are not allowed (are illegal) in the country

You will discover that when you buy anything (be it souvenirs, groceries, food, shoes or clothes) in a store or supermarket, it will be packed or wrapped in a paper bag instead of plastic/polythene bags as it is done in the neighboring countries. Plastic bags were banned by the Government in 2006 in an effort to reduce the litter within the streets of the country.

Kigali is the cleanest City in the African Continent

One of the obvious reasons why Kigali is among the cleanest Cities in Africa is probably because Plastic bags were abolished in the country and surprisingly, you can be arrested if found littering rubbish on the street. This is strange for a Ugandan because in this country, even a smartly dressed man or woman will not be ashamed to throw rubbish on the streets and no one cares. Besides that, everyone including the President of Rwanda participates during the “cleaning days” of the City known as Umuganda. This culture is said to be contained in the traditional practice of Communal cleanliness.

Golden monkeys can also be tracked

Besides Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys can be tracked within Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and this also takes places within Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The country suffered a genocide and has now recovered

The year 1994 was the most painful time for the people of Rwanda because over 800,000 people especially the Tutsi were killed and more than 2 million became refugees to the neighboring countries of Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda is a land of a thousand Hills

Oh yes, Rwanda is the land of a thousand Hills, thus offering one of the most picturesque views you can ever find during an African safari. Not only that, this country has been known as the Switzerland of Africa, due to the numerous Hills and the cool climate.

Did you know that Rwanda is the only place with majority female parliamentarians?

Strange as it sounds, the country is the first place in the World with majority of female Politicians and mainly female-run institutions. It was actually ranked by the UN as the highest country in the World with most women in Parliament as of January 2017. There are currently 59 women in the 106-seat of Parliament (representing more than half).

Here’s Why You Should Go to Bwindi Forest for Gorilla Trekking in 2018

Bwindi impenetrable forest has been a favorite park for many tourists to Africa especially those on gorilla safaris but today its one of top choice  for budget gorilla treks. The park offers an exciting mix of primate viewing, culture and community retreats an experience that is cherished for life. Are you planning to track mountain gorillas soon in Africa on budget? Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is the only place to go gorilla trekking on budget and even save enough dollars for other tour adventure activities to come.

Besides in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, seeing mountain gorillas is a must with 99%chances in a single trek though one can track mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Congo. Also the park is home to the largest number of mountain gorillas living on the planet hence being the best destination for gorilla trekking in Africa. Here is what makes the park a top choice for all travelers seeking for affordable gorilla safaris  in Africa.

Cheap Gorilla Permits

All gorilla permits are discounted for three months every year to enable tight spenders to full fill their travel dream. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) sells gorilla permits at only $450 USD  during the months of April, May and November. This discount is valid until 2019 when the park management body is contemplating to revise its tariff rates. If you want to track gorillas on budget the time is now because no one knows what the future will bring. However, other months of the year gorilla permits in Bwindi Forest National Park cost $600 USD per trek still a lower price compared to one gorilla permit in Rwanda that go for $1500. You could book a private 3 Day gorilla trek at even less than $1000 in Uganda and even save a few dollars. The gorilla tour price goes more low if you travel with a friend or join a group tour offered by selected tour operators.

Book your gorilla permit with a tour operator in charge of organizing your tour and even get details on gorilla permit availability and more offers for those with a working permit and nationality.

Explore More During Your Tour

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a great place to see lots of things! The park is located close to other exciting attractions and destinations just in case you want to extend your tour to see wildlife or track chimps or relax at the beach.Just gather you trip interest and request your trip planner to come up with a breathing space tour program.

Transport and Accessibility

From Kampala Uganda’s Capital or Kigali Rwanda, its very easy to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by road in either a private safari vehicle or public transport unlike other gorilla tracking parks in the region.To use a private safari vehicle ,one must book a full package gorilla safari tour with a tour operator including transport, accommodation,meals and gorilla permits.However, if your budget is too tight,there are many public buses that leave Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable but still you need to book your backpacking gorilla tour with a tour agent who will ensure your safety to the gorilla park and back. Gorilla back packing tours are very cheap and affordable and you get the same experience just like those on budget private gorilla safari tours.

Same scenario applies to travelers who fly to Kigali but want to track gorillas in Uganda. Still your trip organizer will arrange safe transport to transfer you from Rwanda Kigali to  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where you will track gorillas.But ensure that your gorilla permit is reserved in time.Select a right tour company to organize your gorilla tracking tour.

Accommodation Facilities

Bwindi forest is a home of variety when it comes to accommodation facilities of all kinds and budget.Taking you back the park has four gorilla sector each with different accommodation facilities and habituated gorilla families. This gives tourists a chance to make a choice depending on the budget and preference than being locked in the corner of only particular lodges and campsites.With the various budget gorilla lodges in Bwindi National park,making a choice can be the problem but at least the lodge rates have helped to also see that sorted.However, reviews help a lot in making alodge or campsite choice, so  make it a point to read recent post about a particular lodge of interest on Trip Advisor or Safari Booking.

Would you like to learn more about the park? Check http://www.bwindiimpenetrablenationalpark.com

Rwanda Positions Itself as High End Tourism Destination

After the increment of gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 (in May 2017), there was fear that it would discourage intending trackers from making gorilla trekking safaris in the country. Of course the news of increasing gorilla permits was received with mixed reactions (with some saying it was a good thing for the country while others saying otherwise).

However, you will be surprised that it didn’t greatly affect the country’s gorilla tourism and interestingly, you will be surprised that several hospitality establishments started embracing the high-end tourism strategy (that involves consolidating its high value and low volume).

Tour operators now concur that from the time Rwanda Development Board (RDB) increased the price of gorilla permits, more tourists are appreciating and also embracing the tourism strategy since is was mainly done for sustainability of tourist attritions through stringent Conservation measures. International tourists now understand that the increment was done for a good cause-conservation of the critically endangered mountain gorillas and benefiting local communities surrounding the National Parks especially the Volcanoes National Park.

Not only that, there has been an increase in Up-market Safari Lodges and Hotels within Musanze district and the neighboring areas as a way of embracing Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy. For instance, the luxurious Bisate Lodge (locally translated as “pieces) was launched/inaugurated on the 1st September 2017 by the President of Rwanda-His Excellency Paul Kagame before officiating the Kwita Izina (Gorilla naming) Ceremony on the same day. This Lodge’s exceptional architectural and beautiful Interior design was derived from Rwandan building tradition of the Nyanza Royal Palace. This Lodge is sprawled on 30 hectares of former farmlands and boasts of 6 villas and 12 exquisite rooms, 6 of which are twin-bedded.

This Lodge is joined by the new luxurious Amakoro Songa Kinigi Lodge situated within Kinigi overlooking the magnificent Sabinyo Volcanoes and is an extension of Songa Africa. This facility is was built with modern energy efficient technology and is managed in the most sustainable ways while taking care of needs of the local community members as well as conservation of nature.

All these new Lodges and others being planned will join the already operating luxury Safari Lodges and Hotels within and around Volcanoes National Park such as Jack and Hannah Cottages, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla village and La Palme hotel as a way of embracing Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy. If you are looking for unmatched luxury accommodation, then you should be able to part with a minimum of $1000 per night.

During the grand opening of Singita Kwitonda Lodge, the Managing Director, Graham Lodger pointed that the construction is projected to cost about $16 million and will be open for tourist visitation in August 2019. It will be set up along the popular Kwitonda trail with at least 8 villas as well as 12 luxury rooms and is expected to employ at least 70 people especially the locals.

According to Justins Stevens the General Manager of One&Only Resorts in Rwanda, there was a nature Resort launched in October 2017 within Nyungwe Forest National Park and another, also under the One&Only Property called Gorilla Nest is going to be put up within Volcanoes National Park.

Initially when gorilla permits were increased from $750 to $1500 per person on the 6th May 2017, there were fears of tourists shunning Rwanda but according to statistics by Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), there has been an increase of 39% in gorilla revenues between May and July compared to the same time last year (2016) when permits were still at $750. This shows a positive response by tourists and service providers to Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy.

Rwanda Increases Gorilla Permit Prices

On 6th May 2017, Rwanda took a step in tourism sector by increasing the cost for gorilla permits from US$ 750 to US$ 1,500 each. This move has surprised various parties that include tour operators, other stake holders like Lodge/ Hotel owners, visitors who were planning to trek Gorillas among others. The policy was set and implemented urgently.

Currently, the number of people taking gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. This has reduced as many travelers claim they cannot afford to buy gorilla permits at US$ 1,500. Up to 2019, Uganda Gorilla permits remain at US$ 600 each that is why most tourists have decided to go gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Rwanda is called the Land of a Thousand Hills because much of the country is covered by rolling, grassy hills with volcanic mountains like Sabyinyo Volcano, Karisimbi Volcano, Karisoke Volcano among others. Such Volcanoes are found in the North Western part of the nation. Rwanda is becoming increasingly noticed for its environmental policies and breathtaking beauty. Positive internal and international support for infrastructure, education, security and eco-tourism has made it an attractive African destination.

For the past years, Rwanda tourism industry has been among the fastest growing sectors but the recent increase of the gorillas. Rwanda Tourism sector was booming in 2012 tourism sector generated US$ 281.8 million and it attracted investments totaling over US$323 million. The sector attracted over 1.07 million visitors representing an increase of 22 per cent compared to same period in 2011. Tourism sector has been the top foreign exchange earner for the country.

Rwanda has managed to sustain all the categories of accommodation ranging from Luxury to Budget. The super luxury accommodation near volcanoes national park include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge among others.

Rwanda’s people have a rich culture which includes ancient folk music and dances and this usually attracts visitors to the country. The famous cultural village near Volcanoes national Park is Iby’wacu, this is where you find ex-poachers performing to the tourists.

Rwanda has various means of transport which includes air transport that mainly caters for visitors that use Kigali International Airport and road transport connecting to various towns in the country. There is limited water transport on Lake Kivu.

The major entries to Rwanda include Kigali International Airport, Boarder entry points like Katuna (Uganda- Rwanda), Cyanika (Uganda – Rwanda boarder), Kanyaru (Burundi – Rwanda Boarder) among others.

Apart from Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda have two other national parks that offer, for example, a range of wildlife and biodiversity. Other national Parks in Rwanda include Akagera National Park (Home of a variety of wild animals and birds) and Nyungwe National Park (Home of primates). Furthermore, the country has been particularly successful in attracting large numbers of business and conference travelers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the neighboring countries of the East African Community (EAC).

For many years, Rwanda has been considering Tourism as a major strategy to fight against poverty, for example by directly involving local communities. The local communities are directly involved in tourism activities to preserve wildlife and their habitats.