Home of the noble “gorillas in the mist,” the mountain dwellers studied by zoologist Dian Fossey, Rwanda is a key destination for ape encounters. At Volcanoes National Park, a hike of one to four hours is rewarded by a face-to-face meeting with these rare creatures. Just 40 people are allowed to enter the park each day, and safari companies handle the visitor’s permit for you.
Rwanda has reinvented itself in recent years as a destination for ecotourism. In addition to Volcanoes National Park, the soothing waters of Lake Kivu draw visitors in search of wildlife sightings and awe-inspiring mountain scenery.
Rwanda safaris are available year-round, though travel can be hampered by seasonal rains between February and April and again in October and November. The country sits just south of the equator, but its high altitude keeps temperatures relatively low.