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Rent car and explore Rwanda

Rent car and explore Rwanda

02.11.2015
Rwanda is a small country in eastern Africa, which borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country got its nickname “country of a thousand hills” because of its hilly terrain. Tourists can explore Rwanda only by car because there is no public transport here. The main reason why tourists come to Rwanda is The Virunga National Park with mountain gorillas.

The country is located in the middle of Africa near the equator.

The country is famous for its different landscapes: volcanic chains with the snow-capped tops, savannahs and marshy lakes. It has a mild climate and lush flora and fauna. The great rivers start in Rwanda. There is a lot to see, but you can travel only by car. There are no other types of transport. To explore the whole country, you should rent a car for a week at least.

Car rental

It’s better to rent a car in the capital, Kigali. To get a car, you need:

  • passport and international driver’s licence;
  • credit card;
  • driver’s age – over 23.

We made trips in different directions from Kigali to see the wealth of the country.

По Руанде только на прокатной машине

Our first trip was to the northeast to visit the Akagera National Park. The small size of the country allowed us to see how quickly hills in the middle of Rwanda were replaced by the flat savannah, small lakes and swamps. There is the Akagera River flowing into the great Victoria Lake. It’s considered as one of the sources of the great Nile River. You can see grazing herds of elephants and buffalo; hippos rest in the lakes and marshes. Giraffes, leopards and lions walk free in the park. There are also a lot of different birds. Royal herons are the most notable representatives of them.

Driving and traffic rules

The rules in Rwanda are similar to the European. Driving is organized well.

  • Roads are in good condition.
  • The government is seriously engaged in the safety on roads.
  • Local drivers are careful, cautious, and friendly, as well all the locals.
По Руанде только на прокатной машине

However, according to some reviews, it’s better to rent a car with a driver because the local police pay special attention to foreign drivers.

Our next trip was to the Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of the country. It’s located at an altitude of 1,500 metres. The small size of the country again allowed us to see the transition from the hilly terrain to the mountainous area. You can see the chain of peaks on the horizon. Mountain gorillas and very rare golden monkeys live on the slopes of the Muhavura and Karisimbi, which are included in the Virunga mountain range. This mountainous part of Rwanda (volcanic peaks reach 4,5km) is a colourful landscape. It’s especially beautiful when the thick plants on the of slopes are covered with snow. The colour range constantly changes depending on the time of day and weather.

The Bisoke Mount is the most unusual volcano in the Virunga volcano chain. There is a lake in the crater 0,5km in diameter.

Moving to the south of the volcanic park, we reached the Nyungve national park. The moist evergreen equatorial forests, where the powerful trees are entangled with vines, are protected by the government. It’s a paradise for monkeys. Many rare species of primates live under the cool crowns. Moreover, heavy tree canopies give shelter to different tropical birds.

По Руанде только на прокатной машине

The park captures one of the great African lakes, The Kivu Lake. Through the Ruzizi River, it’s connected to The Tanganyika Lake. The Kivu Lake is located in the zone of the African Rift. Its coast is covered with forests and volcanic mountains. Because of the volcanic eruption of the Kiturami in 1948, water in the lake was warmed up so high that all the fish died. The slow recovery of the inhabitants of the lake is still happening these days. However, many scientists warn that its natural features create the danger of a grand explosion.

After passing through the national parks of Rwanda, we saw how diverse nature can be even in a small country. Car rental is inexpensive for such travel.

The southern and eastern parts of the country are covered with numerous lakes. The Gakamirenda Lake is particularly interesting because no river flows from it. Stagnant water provides the ideal conditions for hippos, crocodiles and turtles. Moreover, these lakes are rich in fish, so the local tribes come here to fish. Traveling by car allows us to see this patriarchal life where the relationship with nature plays a crucial role.

Returning to the capital and dropping off the car, we got to know how much car rental costs for a journey like this.

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