From tracking gorillas to hanging out with hippos, here are the best adventure activities in Rwanda!
If you look up Rwanda in Lonely Planet, you will see the country described with a tagline that says, “Rwanda is a front-row seat to the jungle”.
This in itself is enough to give an idea of the thrills, excitement, and adventure that awaits visitors to this beautiful East African country that at a latitude of 1.9403 degrees is very close to the equator.
Top 5 Adventure Activities In Rwanda
Rwanda is a country blessed by nature with a beauty that enchants. Its diverse landscapes and forests make the ideal setting for an adventure filled experience.
Here are 5 adventure activities in Rwanda that promise to take you on an adrenaline high, and leave you asking for more.
Gorilla Tracking At The Volcanoes National Park
The forest ranger cut a path through the thick vegetation and we followed him, our hearts beating loudly, and was probably the loudest noise in the eerie stillness of the forest.
As we emerged into a clearing, they were in front of us, a family of the endangered Mountain Gorillas including a silverback who is the head of the Gorilla family.
The silverback looked at us calmly and then suddenly stood up and swivelling his body on his two hind legs, beat his chest with his two hands and let out a loud cry that clearly said that we should not step into his territory. What we saw was straight out of a scene from a Hollywood movie.
As I aimed my camera to take a shot of the Silverback, something brushed past me. It took me a minute to realise that another member of the Gorilla family had just brushed past me!
The one hour you get to spend watching a Gorilla family at a distance of a few feet is an experience that you are never going to forget in your life.
The encounter with the Gorillas is of course a one of a kind experience. But the trek that takes you there is in itself an adventure that will leave you gasping but joyous.
A trek that takes you over farms, steep cliffs, marshy land, and thick forests and could last anywhere between 1 to 5 hours depending on the location of the Gorillas, is a complete adventure in itself.
Canopy Walk at the Nyungwe National Park
The Nyungwe forest is one of the largest protected mountain forests in entire Africa and spans an area of approximately 2,000 Square metres.
It is rich in biodiversity and is home to a varied range of flora and fauna as well as wildlife. The Nyungwe National Park is also a haven for adventure seekers looking for some thrilling experiences in the midst of pristine nature.
One of the most thrilling and satisfying experiences at the Nyungwe National Park is doing the Canopy Walk. A 2-hour trek which descends into the bowels of the rainforest after negotiating a steep downhill path which is usually rendered slippery by rain is an adventure that tests your nimble foot.
The Canopy Walkway itself stretches 200 metre and is perched at a height of about 60 metres above a deep chasm with dense forests at the bottom.
One may feel that walking 200 metres is not a big deal, however, if the walk is on a narrow suspended hanging bridge that starts swinging at every step then that step is definitely a step towards conquering your fears.
Chimpanzee Trekking In Nyungwe National Park
Though gorilla trekking is one of the most sought after adventure activities in Rwanda, no less interesting and exciting is the experience of chimpanzee trekking in the Nyungwe National park.
For your rendezvous with the chimpanzees one needs to start early in the morning and reach the starting point in the forest by jeep.
The early morning ride is through some spectacular landscapes which make for a great start. Once you arrive at the entrance to the forest, rangers who would have identified the location where the chimpanzees have nested at night and now are busy with their breakfast.
You trek a couple of hours, again depending on the location of the chimpanzees, through some challenging forest trails. The trek is very exciting as you experience the beautiful flora and fauna of the region.
Once you reach the chimpanzees, who unlike the gorillas are up in the trees, you can observe them going about their morning routine in their characteristic boisterous ways.
When we were there we actually witnessed a couple mating high up in the trees. The Chimpanzee trekking in the forests of Nyungwe National Park is one of the interesting adventures that one must experience when in Rwanda.
Chasing The Big 5 In Akagera National Park
The jeep skid on the soft, deep and sticky slush and dramatically turned 180 degrees as the driver applied the brakes and skid to a halt with a screech. “They are a little ahead, they just upturned a truck!”
This was what the driver of another jeep told our jeep driver. Hearing this our driver pushed on the gas and we shot off holding on to our seats in search of the elusive Rhinos.
This is a typical scene when you embark on a safari in the Akagera National Park. A park that abounds in swamps, savannahs, and mountains.
Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Zebras, Giraffes, Wild Buffaloes, Elephants, and hundreds of birds have made this terrain their home and watching them as they roam majestically in their natural environs is a treat to the senses.
Another thrilling experience that remarkable Rwanda has on offer.
Getting Close To The Hippos At Lake Ihema
The lake stretched out on the edge of the Akagera National Park, its waters reflecting the royal blue hues of the sky. Huge white clouds that looked like giant bundles of cotton framed the horizon.
With a jerk the boat we were seated in took off and we were carried away by the mesmerising beauty of the place and the thrill of the speeding boat. Suddenly the boat came to a standstill and the engines were killed.
A pregnant silence descended on the boat as we watched the waters in the direction that the guide pointed out. We could spot a few bubbles and suddenly a dark shape emerged from beneath the water and was submerged again before we could react with our cameras.
We watched in silence as hippos emerged all around with their snouts preceding them. We were of course not taken too close to the hippos as they could actually emerge under the boat and overturn it.
Apart from the hippos, the water is also infected with crocodiles which made an appearance from time to time on the banks. Apart from these inmates the lake was abuzz with the activities of many exotic birds which would have delighted any ornithologist worth their salt.
A boat ride on the lake Ihema is definitely an exciting adventure one should experience when in Rwanda.
These are 5 adventure activities in Rwanda that we experienced during our travels, but there are still more. Both the Nyungwe National Park and the Volcanoes National Park offer many more treks and hikes with varying degrees of difficulty but all guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for adventure.
Have you been to this African nation? If so let us know in the comments what your favourite adventures in Rwanda are!