Rwanda, affectionately referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills ” is a treasure located in the heart of Africa. With its range of landscapes spanning from savannahs to rainforests and its abundant wildlife population including primates and, over 700 species of birds it truly is a haven for photographers. This comprehensive guide will delve into the must visit destinations. Captivating attractions that should be part of your photography adventure in Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park stands out as Rwandas attraction renowned for its population of endangered mountain gorillas. This park is home to one third of the worlds surviving mountain gorillas totaling around 350 individuals. It provides an opportunity for wildlife photographers from around the globe to capture these creatures in their natural habitat.
Encompassing an area spanning 160 kilometers Volcanoes National Park showcases a tapestry of six volcanoes. Its diverse topography offers awe inspiring vistas encompassing volcanoes, rainforests, bamboo groves and lively golden monkey troupes. Whether you aim to immortalize the presence of volcanoes as a backdrop for gorilla families or seek to capture the antics unique to golden monkeys found only in this region this park promises endless photographic opportunities.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts one of Central Africas preserved rainforests across its expansive territory spanning over 1,020 square kilometers. Recognized as a biodiversity hotspot this park serves as a sanctuary for thirteen primate species including chimpanzees and black and white colobus monkeys. Furthermore it houses, over 300 species of birds that will mesmerize any birdwatcher or photographer alike.
Rwanda is a destination, for nature enthusiasts boasting a collection of 60 different orchid species. One of the highlights is the Canopy Walkway, a suspended bridge that stretches 200 meters long and stands at a height of 50 meters. This extraordinary vantage point offers photographers a birds eye view of the forest below providing perspectives on the diverse range of primates and birds that call this place home.
Akagera National Park
Located within Akagera National Park, which spans across 1,122 kilometers this sanctuary serves as a haven for savannah wildlife. Following a reintroduction program this park has earned its reputation as a ‘Big Five’ destination since 2015. Here you can encounter creatures like lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards and rhinoceros in their habitat.
Akagera National Park also prides itself on its population with over 1,000 individuals and hosts around 480 different bird species. The parks numerous lakes provide shelter to one of Africas concentrations of Nile crocodiles. Whether capturing images of the majestic ‘Big Five’ or seeking out sightings like shoebill storks and African finfoot – you’ll witness the raw beauty of savannah life in all its glory.
When exploring Rwandas capital city Kigali you’ll be enchanted by its cleanliness, safety standards and vibrant cultural scene. The bustling markets offer opportunities for photography while museums and memorials provide spaces for reflection on both history and contemporary Rwandan society. Notably among them is the Kigali Genocide Memorial—a reminder that evokes contemplation, about the countrys past tragedies.
Best Time To Visit Rwanda For a Photo Safari
The ideal time to visit Rwanda for a photo safari depends on your preferences. Rwanda has a climate so you can visit throughout the year. However for wildlife viewing and gorilla trekking experiences it is recommended to go during the seasons which are, from June to September and December to February.
If you’re a bird photographer the wet season from March to May could be more appealing as migratory birds flock to the rainforests during this time.
Activities For a Photo Safari Holiday in Rwanda
Here are some activities you can enjoy on a photo holiday in Rwanda;
1. Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Get ready for an adventure as you observe mountain gorillas in their habitat. Volcanoes National Park is home to around 350 mountain gorillas making up a third of the worlds population. Only a limited number of permits ( 96 per day) are issued for gorilla trekking ensuring an experience. Accompanied by trained guides, venture into the rainforest and capture behaviors of these majestic creatures while abiding by the 7 meter distance rule that safeguards both them and you.
2. Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest
If birdwatching is your passion Nyungwe Forest National Park is a haven with over 300 bird species waiting to be discovered. Among them 27 species are unique to the Albertine Rift region.
These activities offer opportunities for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike during their visit, to Rwanda.
If you want to witness the colors and behaviors of birds you should consider observing species, like the great blue turaco, red faced woodland warbler and Rwenzori turaco.
3. Big Five Animal Safari in Akagera National Park
Immerse yourself in the heart of wilderness by visiting Akagera National Park. This park has achieved success in conservation through a reintroduction program now boasting all of the ‘Big Five’ species. It is also home to a population of over 1,000 hippos and a number of Nile crocodiles. You can enjoy an safari experience here with plenty of opportunities for photographing not only the ‘Big Five’ but also other savannah inhabitants.
4. Nyungwe Canopy Walk
In Nyungwe Forest National Park, one unique experience awaits; the Canopy Walkway. This suspended bridge stretches for 200 meters. Stands at a height of 50 meters providing a birds eye view of the forest. It offers a perspective for photography while bringing you face to face with bird species and primates that inhabit the treetops such, as black and white colobus monkeys L’Hoests monkeys and many others.
5. Kigali Genocide Memorial
When in Kigali make sure to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial—a place dedicated to remembering Rwandas past while promoting learning and understanding.The number of people buried in this place exceeds 250,000 serving as a reminder of the events that unfolded during the 1994 genocide, where approximately one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus lost their lives. While documenting the memorial it is crucial to approach the subject with respect and sensitivity.
6. Kigali Photo Tour
Exploring Kigali through photography offers an opportunity to capture the essence of Africas city and one of the safest places globally. The dynamic markets, modern architectural marvels and lively street scenes showcase the blend of Rwandan life with contemporary elements. Make sure not to miss capturing the views that reveal why Rwanda is often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills.”
7. Rwanda Village Tours
Immersing oneself in communities presents an enriching experience to delve into Rwandan customs and ways of life. The Iby’Iwacu cultural village, near Volcanoes National Park stands as an example providing glimpses into Rwandas colonial Kingdom era. Engaging in ceremonies dances and rituals presents opportunities, for candid photographs that depict both cultural richness and diversity.