Rwanda is a little landlocked country in eastern Africa. Due to its geography, it is also called the "land of the thousand hills". Rwanda is popular for tourists who want to watch the very rare mountain gorillas in their natural environment, which is possible in some areas here.
Rwanda can be separated into three big landscape zones: First there is the high plateau in the centre of the country where the volcanoes of the Virunga Chain and the Volcanoes National Park are dominating in the north. Then besides the Nil-Congo water divide in the west there also is the Kivu Lake with its nice beaches and lots of little islands connecting to the Congo and additionally the Akagera National Park in the north with the Akagera River. The third national park can be found in the dryer sink in the south of the country: Nyungwe National Park protecting one of the oldest mountain forests.
The park is located in the utmost northwest of Rwanda, so that the border between Rwanda, Congo and Uganda directly runs through the peak of the extinct Virunga volcanoes. The national park is famous for its mountain gorillas living in the tropical rain forests at the hillslopes. The mountain gorillas and the golden long-tailed monkey attract lots of tourists, but the park with its 125 different bird species is also a paradise for ornithologists.
The forests of the national park are located in a height between 2.500 and 3.000 m and mainly consists of bamboo. Above you will find mountain cloud forest, the alpine dry zone following from about 4.000 m onwards.
The explorer Dian Fossey worked within this national park, she supported the protection of the mountain gorillas and also built a research station for the animals at the foot of the Visoke volcano. Today, tourists can visit her grave.
The Akagera Nationalpark is located in the east of the country at the border to Tanzania and near Uganda. The heart of the park is formed by a swampy graben which is about 15 km wide and 200 km long. The Akagera river flows through it.
The landscape of the park is diversified and comprises grass savannahs with acacias and also bush savannahs in the south and wetlands with lots of marshes.
Due to its different landscapes, especially this park is suitable for a little safari adventure as you might see lions, leopards, hippos, girafes and huge herds of impalas and zebras. Additionally there are more than 500 different bird species.
The Nyungwe National park is located in the west of the country between Butare and Lake Kivu and protects one of the oldest mountain forest areas in Africa. The park is situated near the foothills of the Great Rift Valley and crosses the country with high crests of up to 3.000 m.
The main vegetation is dominated by several hundreds of flowering plants, 200 tree species and beautiful orchis which can be found only in Rwanda. The area of the mountain forest is crossed by several waterfalls and mountain rivers.
The national home is home to mainly primate species like the Colobus monkeys and more than 500 chimpanzees. Additionally there are about 175 bird species and 200 butterflies which make this national park a really colourful place.