Rwanda: Gorillas and Luxury Hotels

Magashi Camp, Rwanda
Opening in December, Magashi Camp will be the base for Red Savannah’s new “Big Five & Gorillas in Rwanda” program.

What’s behind the tourism boom in the tiny central African country of Rwanda? Could it be the coffee (it won “Best of the Best” in the third annual 2018 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards)? Perhaps it’s because its name sounds like the near-utopian nation of Wakanda from Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie? Most likely it’s the opportunities to visit and the forested habitat of endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. 

In any case, 1,135,000 international arrivals are expected to boost tourism expenditures there by 5.7 percent in 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, which also projects visitor numbers to grow to 1,731,000 by 2028.

Major hotel companies have taken notice: In 2016, Marriott and Radisson Blu opened hotels in the nation’s capital, Kigali, and Hilton has plans to build there within the next five years. Just last month, One&Only Nyungwe House resort, set on the edge of the vast and ancient Nyungwe rainforest in the dramatic mountainous landscapes of Rwanda’s southwest, began welcoming guests.

Rwanda is one of a dozen African countries that Travel Impressions recently added to its portfolio, with programs that, “are equipped with more in-depth experiences and memorable encounters with authentic local cultures,” Scott Wiseman, the company’s president, tells us. Its “Rwanda – land of a Thousand Hills” itinerary certainly fits the description, spending most of its nine days in the country’s national parks with an emphasis on gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, as well as bird watching.

In a recent interview with Travel Agent, Jeremy Palmer, senior vice president of Tauck Land Journeys, cited “our two African safaris that culminate with a mountain gorilla trek in the Rwandan highlands,” among the operator’s three most exotic, unusual new offerings. Both also visit Tanzania, with one including Kenya as well.

With the reintroduction of lions and rhinoceroses, Rwanda’s Akagera National Park is now home to the Big Five —lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants and buffalo. Opening this December is Magashi, a brand-new safari camp in Akagera National Park. Guests who book Red Savannah’s new 10-day “Big Five & Gorillas in Rwanda” itinerary will have the chance to stay in one of six spacious tents and enjoy expertly guided game drives, walks, and boating where they will see wildlife such as lions, elephants, giraffes, spotted hyenas, zebras and leopards. Travelers will then continue to the Nyungwe Forest National Park to observe various species of monkeys and come face-to-face with mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains.

Rwanda: Gorillas and Luxury Hotels

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