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RWANDA WITH A&KRwanda is famed for its thrilling gorilla tracking on northern volcanic slopes crinkled with lush valleys. Yet as any of our returning guests will tell you, there's an awful lot more to this beautiful, wonderfully friendly central Africa state. From startlingly tranquil lakes to misty rainforest and rolling grass plains, the country dubbed 'The Land of a Thousand Hills' is a landlocked jewel.
Thankfully, it's a jewel that sparkles in A&K's heartland, where we began over half a century ago. With multiple offices across the continent, we offer seamless travel with 24-hour emergency contact and the very best vehicles. With long-established contacts and a large team of experienced staff, including top-notch guides selected for their specialities from gorillas to birds, and travelling families, we offer one-off experiences unavailable to other tourists.
Go on safari or gorilla tracking in Rwanda with Abercrombie & Kent in 2014 and we'll take you to the north of the country where the lush forest and bamboo of Parc National des Volcans, part of the cross-border Virunga Conservation area, hosts five families of gorillas - and sitting alongside them is the reward for a hearty tramp through verdant undergrowth.
As our clients who visited Rwanda regularly tell us, their time with the extraordinary animals, grouped into a dominant silverback, female harem and playful infants, is a lifelong memory. 'The expression in his eyes was unfathomable,' said Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist. 'Spellbound, I returned his gaze that seemed to combine elements of enquiry and acceptance.'
Yet Rwanda's most famous adventure is one ace in a generous pack. In the Southwest the Nyunga National Park's mist-swaddled rainforest is alive with 13 species of primate and 300 species of birds including the strange and exquisite Rwenzori Turaco. To the east the rolling plains of the Akagera National Park are another ornithological hotspot, while to the west Lake Kivu's ribbon of startlingly blue water ringed by white sand offers some divine R'n'R.
And we must mention Kigali. Poured over several hills, the capital has emerged from the terrible civil war of the 1990s to become one of Africa's cleanest, most interesting capitals. For a country half the size of Scotland, Rwanda offers an awful lot - and with A&K it's all possible.
Kigali via Nairobi
10 hours 10 minutes
GMT +2 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate required
Best time to travel
July - September, December - January
The driest months in Rwanda are between July and September and from December to January. The rains tend to fall between April and May and then again from October to November. However, trekking for gorillas involves entering the rainforests so you need to be prepared to get wet and muddy most of the year.
I tracked the Susa group which is the one I really wanted to see - it was almost as if gorillas were tumbling out of every bush, shrub and even at times they seemed to fall from the sky.
- MM, Edinburgh