Rwanda's western side is bounded by Lake Kivu, one of a string of huge freshwater lakes which lie along Africa's Great Rift Valley. Dominating the border between Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo); Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake, and the sixth largest lake in Africa. The Volcanoes National Park (Parc des Volcans) was made famous by Dian Fossey's work, and the film Gorillas in the Mist. Along with an array of other endangered species, more than half of the world's last mountain gorillas live here. At present, it's probably the best place in Africa to see them.
Located in low lying eastern Rwanda, Akagera is where the tropical forests of Central Africa give way to the dry savannahs of East Africa. An appealing mix of wetlands and rolling wooded grasslands, Akagera National Park is where to go in Rwanda for the chance to spot classic African animals including elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, leopard and many antelope species.
Protecting the largest single tract of montane forest in East or Central Africa, Nyungwe is the best reason to further explore Rwanda after your gorilla trek. A magnificent rainforest full of birds, butterflies and orchids, the stars of the show are the 13 species of primate - including chimpanzees - that make the park their home.
Gorilla trekking is the region's unrivalled main attraction and the Volcanoes National Park is where to go in Rwanda to do it. Its mountainous terrain and dense forests make for tough walking conditions but the rewards are matchless: butterflies, birds and primates, headlined of course by families of habituated mountain gorillas.
In the span of 100 days, an estimated one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were systematically butchered by the Interahamwe in one of the most savage genocides in history. This memorial honours the 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded in this tiny, landlocked country.