Flights to Gitarama
Gitarama is one of the larger cities in Rwanda and located in the central part of the country no far from Kigali. It is not a major tourist destination but it makes a good “base camp” from which you can see several great nature areas in this part of Rwanda.
The closest airport to Gitarama is the Kigali International Airport (airport code: KGL) which is just outside the capital and 45km from Gitarama. Flights to Gitarama from South Africa are available with Ethiopian Airlines, and they will make one connection in Addis Ababa, while Kenya Airways takes their route through Nairobi. You have yet another option with South African Airways and their single stop-over in Entebbe. Most flights to Gitarama are between 11 and 17 hours, though a 2-stop flight with Air Botswana will take almost 30.
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The Tourist Attractions of Gitarama:
Gishwati Forest Reserve
North-west of Gitarama is the Gishwati Forest Reserve, which has lost a lot of its forest cover due to farming. But reforestation has helped to grow the reserve and efforts are continuing. Even so, there is still a wonderful area of rich forest to see and there is a small population of chimpanzees living in the park.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
To the south-west, the Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the largest in Rwanda and you will have to drive through Butare to get there as there are no direct roads coming from Gitarama. This is a deeply forested park and home to many primate species including more chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, as well as hundreds of species of birds. There are maintained trails through the park, and you can see some mountainous areas with waterfalls.
If you wish to see a larger city than Gitarama while in Rwanda, the capital of Kigali is just a short drive away to the east. The Nyabugogo Marche Market is the main marketplace for the city, and you should see that while in Kigali. More western-style shopping centres can be found if you want to do your shopping in a less hectic manner. The Kigali Memorial Centre was established in the memory of the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and it is an important place to visit if you are in Kigali.
Akagera National Park
It will take you across Rwanda to get there, but if you are already heading east to see Kigali you can go a little further for this large national park. It is on the border with Tanzania. The area has several ecosystems to it, including open grasslands, mountains and wetlands. Depending on what part of the park you are in, you can see elephants, buffalo, lions, zebra and hyena.
When Should You Visit?:
It is very warm in Gitarama but the weather seldom gets to any extreme levels. On average it will reach a high of 25C (77F) during the day for most of the year. July through September can be 2 or 3 degrees hotter, and May and June may be a degree cooler. Otherwise, it is very consistent. If you do visit Gitarama in July, it will be very dry with no rain at all. The rains will peak in February and April though they are not going to be that heavy even then.