Rwanda is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of the mountain gorilla and a fantastic destination for adventure travel. There are believed to be no more than 700 mountain gorillas left in the world today. As such, seeing these rare and captivating primates in their native habitat is the obvious focus for most Rwanda holidays. It's an unforgettable and moving experience that ranks as one of Africa's undisputed travel highlights.
Gorilla treks among the forest-clad slopes of Volcanoes National Park form the basis for tailor-made tours of this tiny, landlocked African country, while on the slopes of Mount Visoke in the Virunga Mountains, world-renowned primatologist Dian Fossey carried out her pioneering studies.
But it's not all about the gorillas, wildlife sightings are abound in any of Rwanda's excellent National Parks. Nyungwe draws in discerning travellers as the prime spot to witness chimpanzees – visitors here can track these chattering chimps by their forest-filling hoots and hollers without the costly price paid for a gorilla tracking permit. Over in Akagera National Park, all the mighty members of the much sought after Big Five can be found which puts this park on the map for most wildlife lovers as it's the only place in Rwanda that such a safari experience can be achieved. Both of these popular parks boast a spectacular array of birdlife and as Rwanda is home to around a third of all the birds found in Africa – more than 500 species – the bird-watching opportunities here are unmatched.
Adventure and wildlife tourism are gradually enabling Rwanda to get back on track, following the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi that ignited in the early 1990s. This culminated in a brutal genocide against the Tutsi, which is commemorated at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital, Kigali.
Rwanda is now a thriving and safe travel destination. All of its major attractions are within easy striking distance of Kigali, a busy city known for its good restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Beyond lies a green and pleasant land of rolling farmland, terraced tea and coffee plantations, and swathes of rainforest. Rwanda's lush landscape has given it the name of Les Pays des Milles Collines – the land of a thousand hills.