Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is one of the amazing ecotourism destinations to visit in Africa. Earlier in the 1990s, before the outbreak of the 1993 civil war and 1994 Rwanda Genocide in which several lives and ecosystems were destroyed, Rwanda was a naturally endowed country with the beautiful green vegetation covering all its country rolling hills. But following the outbreak of the civil war, a lot of its beauty was demolished as many ecosystems were destroyed, killing several wildlife species as well and even the situation was worsened by the government’s need to resettle the survived victims of the 1994 genocide that they ended up encroaching the ecosystems.
Tourism nearly lost ground in the country! After the end of the civil war, the new government together with some international and local conservationists decide to embark on the struggle of restoring the previously destroyed ecosystems; setting up several organizations that all fought for the conservation and protection of ecosystems and their habitats. This has been quite a tough struggle, but in the current years has proved to be very effective as many ecosystems have been brought back to light like the Akagera national park – (and lions have been reintroduced into the park), the number of mountain gorillas increases on a yearly basis – viewed from the baby gorilla naming ceremony, and these have all led to increased levels of performance in Rwanda’s tourism industry. And it’s no surprise that Rwanda is currently, one of the leading tourist destinations in East Africa.
The formerly destroyed tourist centers like the volcanoes national park (a former fighting base), Akagera national park among others, have all been restored and so far the most frequently visited places by tourists from all over the world especially those with a great passion for nature.
The Volcanoes National Park – is Rwanda’s home to mountain gorillas which are the world’s number one tourist attraction lately. This national park had been affected by the 1993 civil war but due to the continuous government struggles and conservation programs by the international and local conservationists like Dian Fossey, Volcanoes national park has regained its ground in the country, with nearly half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas in the whole world. Many tourists flock the country for this major tourist activity – mountain gorilla trekking; where 8 visitors a permitted to a specific gorilla family group daily and for a duration of one hour for the safety of these creatures. The Volcanoes national park is found in the north eastern part of the country.
Nyungwe Forest national park is another frequently visited ecosystem in Rwanda. It’s among East Africa’s thickest natural green forests. It’s an interesting tourist destination as it’s a home to several wildlife and bird species with chimpanzees as the major attraction. The national park provides several tourist activities and attractions like chimpanzee tracking, birding, forest nature walks, forest canopy walks, and camping among others. It’s located in the southwestern part of Rwanda and can be accessed by both air and road transport.
Akagera national park is also an interesting tourist destination that should not be left out when visiting Rwanda. Akagera national park is found within a water basin with several water bodies like Lake Ihema, and River Akagera that keep it water saturated all year round. It’s a savanna park and a home to several wildlife species such as the lions, hippopotamus, and crocodiles among others. Great game drives and boat cruises can be enjoyed at the Akagera national park viewing the different wildlife and bird species. The Akagera national park is found in the eastern part of the country.
In the western part of Rwanda, there’s a newly established national park- Gishwati – Mukura, also an interesting tourist destination. It offers great sights and sounds for the nature lovers.