Some people call Rwanda the “land of a thousand hills”.
Lush, green and boasting some of Africa’s most varied wildlife (of which more, later), a country once known for its civil war of the mid-1990s, is now a byword for stability, ecology and wonder.
And it’s for these – and countless other reasons – that Rwanda is one of the most important destinations for Quintessentially Travel in 2020. Our holidays, planned with the most knowledgeable local guides, will give you
a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, dubbed ‘Africa’s Singapore’, is known for its fantastic restaurants, thriving art scene and exciting start-up culture. One of the cleanest (and safest) cities in Africa, it’s the perfect place to take in some paintings, go for a stroll and drink coffee – the beans produced here are some of the best in the world. The city also warrants a visit to the sobering, but essential Genocide Memorial and Museum.
There are many luxury properties to stay in, but we’d recommend making The Retreat by Heaven your base. Opened by Josh and Alissa Ruxin, two American health workers who came to the country after the 1994 genocide, this beautiful boutique hotel boasts 11 rooms, a pool, spa and a restaurant that makes staying here an effortless pleasure.
Away from the city, there’s one experience that you have to witness that takes place in Rwanda’s scenic countryside.
The annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony (Kwita Izina in the local language), takes place on the first Friday of September every year. Broadcast on national TV, and with the president in attendance, it showcases the official naming of every gorilla born in the previous year. Not only does it mark the importance of wildlife to Rwanda’s identity, but it’s also a celebration of its rejuvenation.
If you’re keen to see more gorillas, we’d also recommend a visit to the Volcanoes National Park, located in the south-west of the country. Here you’ll be taken on an official gorilla trek, where you’ll meet families of gorillas. Most exciting of all, you’ll be given an hour with your chosen family, all under the watchful eye of your guides. You can then relax in style at one of the luxury lodges adjacent to the national park. Bisate Lodge, a six-villa property, is built in the hillside of an extinct volcano; while trekking begins from the doorstep of the eight-suite Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Gorillas aren’t the only animals who make Rwanda their home. Another unmissable location is the Nyungwe National Park, a rainforest also in Rwanda’s south-west. This time, it’s not gorillas you’ll be looking for, but chimpanzees.
With local guides leading the way, you’ll be taken on a ‘chimp trek’ in search of our closest common primate, though while you’re there, there’s a good chance you’ll also meet some colobus monkeys. And, as at Volcanoes National Park, you’ll be relaxing in luxury, this time at the One&Only Nyungwe House, a five-star property located in a tea plantation.
On our Rwandan trip, we’ll do the hard work for you, which means booking you into the very best luxury accommodation, sorting out any transfers and putting you in the capable hands of local experts on the ground. And with members of the Quintessentially Travel team having experienced the extraordinary itinerary for themselves, we can attest that this is an emerging destination for good reason.
Rwanda may be a newcomer on the global bucket list, but as you’ll discover, today it’s ready to show you everything it has to offer. And that, as you’ll find out, is rather a lot indeed.