Discovering Animals of Rwanda on an Exhilarating Wildlife Safari

Rwanda has carefully preserved various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to provide a safe haven for numerous unique animals. These protected areas offer a unique opportunity to witness different facets of the country's wildlife.

These Are The Animals of Rwanda You Can Spot on Wildlife Safari

Rwanda has carefully preserved various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to provide a safe haven for numerous unique animals. These protected areas offer a unique opportunity to witness different facets of the country’s wildlife. Rwanda’s wilderness offers adventure safari experiences that are both thrilling and unforgettable, from the mystical mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park to the Big Five in Akagera National Park. 

Visitors can marvel at the diverse wildlife populations and picturesque landscapes of Rwanda’s national parks and sanctuaries. For instance, Volcanoes National Park is home to a large population of endangered mountain gorillas, a top tourist attraction for most visitors. Meanwhile, Akagera National Park is home to the Big Five, including lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceroses, as well as many other species of game animals. As one visitor put it, “Rwanda’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are truly one of a kind. From trekking with mountain gorillas to spotting the Big Five on a game drive, these experiences are not to be missed.” 

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or just looking for a memorable adventure, the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries offer an unparalleled chance to connect with rare animals and breathtaking landscapes and witness some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife. Let’s explore some of the most popular animals in Rwanda you can encounter on safari.

Mountain Gorillas, animals of rwanda

Mountain Gorillas

One of the most captivating and sought-after animals to encounter in Rwanda is the endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). These gentle giants, dwelling in the Virunga Massif, a volcanic mountain range shared with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are a true emblem of Rwanda’s Wildlife.

Trekking with gorillas through the dense forests of Volcanoes National Park, travelers have the chance to witness these magnificent primates in their natural habitat. Expert guides lead small groups of tourists on daily treks into the woods early in the morning to spend an hour observing gorilla families. With only around a thousand mountain gorillas left in the world, the opportunity to watch them up close is a rare and extraordinary experience you should not miss.

Recommended: Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Tour Guide

Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest, rwanda animals


Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are some of the most remarkable animals to encounter in Rwanda. Nyungwe National Park, a vast rainforest in the southwestern part of the country, is home to a significant population of these intelligent and playful creatures. Rwanda offers daily chimpanzee treks in Nyungwe Forest to find a habituated troop and spend a limited time watching their antics and social lives.

Trekking through the verdant forest, visitors can watch wild chimpanzees swinging through the trees, displaying their agile and acrobatic behaviors. The chimp tracking experience is a thrilling adventure, offering insights into their social interactions and habitats while contributing to conservation efforts.

See Golden Monkeys in the virunga mountains in Rwanda

Golden Monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti)

Volcanoes National Park is home to both mountain gorillas and golden monkeys who share the bamboo forests. The golden monkeys are known for their vibrant golden-orange fur and distinctive blue “cheek patches.” If you’re looking for a unique adventure, you can go on a golden monkey trekking experience, which can complement your gorilla trekking experience or be a standalone adventure.

Watching these agile monkeys leap through the bamboo canopy is a sight to behold. These highly social animals live in large groups, which presents a unique opportunity for photographers to capture their playful antics and charming expressions.

colobus monkey - Primates in rwanda

Lesser known primates in Rwanda

Rwanda, often celebrated for its mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and golden monkeys, is also home to a remarkable list of lesser-known primate species. With a total of 13 primate species, including the well-known trio, Rwanda offers a unique safari experience for wildlife enthusiasts. Travelers can watch the grace of colobus monkeys and blue monkeys in Nyungwe National Park, observe the social dynamics of olive baboons and vervet monkeys in Akagera National Park, and catch a glimpse of the elusive red-tailed monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys in various forested regions. These primates, each with their unique traits and habitats, add depth and wonder to the captivating wildlife encounters in Rwanda.

For those seeking to discover Rwanda’s rich primate kingdom, venturing into the country’s national parks, especially Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park, is key. Guided forest walks, game drives, and even night safaris provide ample opportunities to watch these fascinating primates in their natural habitats. From the vibrant red-tailed monkeys to the enchanting bushbabies, Rwanda’s primate population invites travelers to delve deeper into the heart of African biodiversity, making for an enriching and unforgettable safari adventure.

Recommended reading: Primates in Rwanda and Where You Can Spot Them

The Big Five in Rwanda - African elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros

The Big Five

You can now visit Rwanda to spot the famous African safari Big Five: African elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros. These celebrity animals are some of the continent’s most iconic and elusive wildlife. Often celebrated for its lush landscapes and mountain gorillas, Rwanda offers a unique opportunity to encounter the “Big Five” in a stunning natural setting.

In Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, you can set out on thrilling game drives and guided hikes to spot these incredible animals in their natural habitats. Marvel at the sheer size and grace of African elephants, experience the power and majesty of lions, and catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard as it prowls through the thickets. Witness the massive herds of buffalo and the sturdy rhinoceros, which is making a comeback thanks to dedicated conservation efforts. A safari in Rwanda not only offers a chance to see the “Big Five” but also allows you to contribute to conserving these remarkable species in their native environment. 

Common eland, Antelope Species in Rwanda

Antelope Species

Rwanda is home to a diverse range of antelope species, each with its unique characteristics and behaviors that make them fascinating to observe. For instance, the common eland, also known as Taurotragus oryx, is the largest antelope species in Rwanda and can be easily distinguished by its impressive size and spiral-horned appearance.

If you’re planning a safari trip to Rwanda, you can witness the beauty of these majestic creatures firsthand by visiting Akagera National Park. Located in eastern Rwanda, the park is home to various antelope species, including the common eland, impalas, topis, and oribis. During a game drive in the park, you can watch these animals grazing peacefully in their natural habitat. In addition, you can learn about the park’s conservation efforts, which aim to safeguard this beautiful region’s unique flora and fauna.

zebras of rwanda

The Zebra

Akagera National Park, in the east of Rwanda, is home to many fascinating animals, including the iconic African plains zebra, also known as Equus zebra. These distinctive animals are a sight to behold, with their striking black-and-white stripes that make them stand out against the backdrop of Rwanda’s scenic landscapes. Witnessing a herd of zebras grazing and roaming freely in their natural habitat is a memorable experience that encapsulates the essence of an African safari. 

Their graceful movements as they interact with their surroundings create an intriguing spectacle that is mesmerizing to watch. These herbivores play an important role in the park’s ecosystem by contributing to the food chain and maintaining the grasslands. 

Rwenzori Turaco birds of rwanda


Rwanda is a haven for bird enthusiasts with over 700 species, including the African grey parrot, crowned crane, shoebill, and Ruwenzori turaco. Explore national parks and wetlands for an immersive birdwatching experience. Conservation efforts protect endangered birds, making Rwanda an excellent eco-tourism destination. Reputable tour companies offer expert guides, or you can explore independently. 

Birdwatchers can explore Rwanda’s famous national parks and wetlands, such as Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park, to witness an impressive array of avian life. The vibrant plumage and melodious songs of Rwanda’s birds add a delightful dimension to any safari experience.

Reptiles and Amphibians in Rwanda

Reptiles and Amphibians

Rwanda is also home to fascinating kinds of reptiles and amphibians. In the lush forests and wetlands, travelers may encounter the iconic African rock python, a massive snake known for its impressive length and camouflage abilities. Another notable reptile is the Nile crocodile, often found near rivers and lakes. These powerful predators can grow to significant sizes and are a captivating sight for those exploring Rwanda’s waterways.

On the amphibian front, Rwanda hosts various species, including the African common toad and the African bullfrog. The African common toad, recognized by its warty skin and distinctive hopping motion, is familiar around wetlands and grassy areas. The African bullfrog, on the other hand, is a large and robust amphibian often seen during the rainy season. Its resonant calls resonate through the night, adding a harmonious touch to Rwanda’s wildlife experience. For nature enthusiasts and adventurers, encountering these reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitat is a captivating part of exploring Rwanda’s biodiversity.

Conservation and Responsible Tourism

Promoting sustainable and responsible tourism practices is a crucial step towards preserving Rwanda’s wildlife and natural habitats. The country relies on revenue generated from eco-tourism, including immersive safari experiences, to fund conservation initiatives that ensure the long-term protection of its precious flora and fauna.

We highly recommend that travelers choose ethical and responsible tour operators who prioritize animal welfare, respect local communities, and emphasize conservation efforts. By participating in eco-friendly safaris and supporting conservation initiatives, visitors can make a meaningful contribution towards preserving the incredible wildlife of Rwanda.


Rwanda is a country blessed with abundant animals and wildlife that offers an exceptional safari experience for adventurers seeking to explore the heart of Africa. From the spectacular mountain gorillas to the elegant antelopes and the vibrant birdlife, Rwanda’s wildlife is a testament to the country’s unwavering dedication to wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism.

Going on a safari in Rwanda is not only an opportunity to witness the beauty of the animal kingdom but also a chance to contribute to the conservation efforts aimed at safeguarding these precious creatures and their habitats. By exploring Rwanda’s wildlife, you get to connect with nature and make a positive impact on the environment for future generations to come.

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Discovering Animals of Rwanda on an Exhilarating Wildlife Safari
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