Home Tips What to Expect on Self Drive in Rwanda’s Parks

What to Expect on Self Drive in Rwanda’s Parks

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Rwanda Safari

Exploring Rwanda’s national parks via self-drive offers an incredible opportunity to encounter a diverse range of wildlife species in their natural habitats. From majestic mountain gorillas to elusive leopards and colorful birdlife, Rwanda’s parks are teeming with biodiversity waiting to be discovered.You can easily obtain a Rwanda car rental and get to explore the land of a thousand hills on your own.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the wildlife encounters self-driving can expect while exploring Rwanda’s national parks:

Volcanoes National Park

Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei): Undoubtedly the star attraction of Volcanoes National Park, mountain gorillas are one of the most iconic and sought-after wildlife species in Rwanda. Visitors embarking on a gorilla trekking expedition have the opportunity to observe these gentle giants up close in their natural habitat. The park is home to several habituated gorilla families, and encounters with these magnificent primates offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Golden Monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti): In addition to mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park is also renowned for its population of golden monkeys. These striking primates, with their vibrant golden fur and playful antics, inhabit the bamboo forests of the park. Guided golden monkey trekking tours provide visitors with the chance to observe these endangered monkeys as they leap from tree to tree and forage for food.

Other Wildlife: While gorillas and golden monkeys steal the spotlight, Volcanoes National Park is also home to a variety of other wildlife species. Keep an eye out for forest elephants, buffalo, spotted hyenas, and various species of antelope during your self-drive adventure. Birdwatchers will also delight in the park’s avian diversity, with over 200 bird species recorded, including the colorful Rwenzori turaco and the rare African green broadbill. 

Akagera National Park

African Elephants (Loxodonta africana): Akagera National Park is known for its thriving population of African elephants, which roam freely across the park’s savannah plains and woodlands. Self-drivers can expect to encounter these majestic giants bathing in rivers, grazing in open grasslands, or traversing the park in family groups. Elephant sightings are a common highlight of game drives in Akagera.

Lions (Panthera leo): Following their reintroduction to the park in recent years, lions have made a remarkable comeback in Akagera National Park. Self-drivers have the opportunity to spot these apex predators as they prowl the savannah in search of prey. Lions can often be seen resting in the shade of acacia trees or socializing with members of their pride.

Leopards (Panthera pardus): While elusive and nocturnal by nature, leopards can occasionally be spotted by lucky self-drivers during night drives or early morning safaris in Akagera National Park. These solitary cats are known for their stealth and agility, making them a thrilling and elusive sighting for wildlife enthusiasts.

Other Wildlife: Akagera National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, and various species of antelope such as impala and waterbuck. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the park’s rich avian diversity, with over 500 bird species recorded, including the iconic African fish eagle and the secretive shoebill stork.

Nyungwe National Park

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Nyungwe National Park is renowned for its population of chimpanzees, our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom. Self-drivers can embark on guided chimpanzee trekking expeditions to track these intelligent primates through the park’s dense forests. Witnessing chimpanzees swinging through the canopy and interacting with one another is a truly unforgettable experience.

Colobus Monkeys (Colobus angolensis): Nyungwe National Park is home to one of the largest populations of colobus monkeys in Africa. These black-and-white primates are often spotted moving gracefully through the treetops in large troops. Self-drivers can observe colobus monkeys feeding on leaves, grooming one another, and displaying their acrobatic prowess in the forest canopy.

Other Wildlife: While chimpanzees and colobus monkeys take center stage, Nyungwe National Park is also home to a variety of other wildlife species. Keep an eye out for L’Hoest’s monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and red-tailed monkeys during your self-drive adventure. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the park’s avian diversity, with over 300 bird species recorded, including the endemic Albertine rift endemics such as the Ruwenzori turaco and the Rwenzori batis. 

In conclusion, self-driving in Rwanda’s national parks offers an incredible opportunity to encounter a diverse range of wildlife species, from iconic primates like mountain gorillas and chimpanzees to charismatic mega fauna such as elephants and lions. Whether embarking on a gorilla trekking expedition in Volcanoes National Park, spotting lions in Akagera National Park, or tracking chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park, self-drivers are sure to be enthralled by the abundance of wildlife waiting to be discovered in Rwanda’s pristine wilderness.

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