Rwanda Genocide tour is one of the emotional, educative and hopeful tours anyone can decide to embark on while in Rwanda. The genocide took place in Rwanda a country which is one of the most peaceful countries with a stable political government system that is not in favour of any tribal group from the others today. The genocide took place in 1994. Located in East Africa, Rwanda is considered to be the hub of tourism in East Africa by its people because of a number of tourism attractions like the wildlife like the Rwanda Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, the Rwanda Chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park, the big five animals that is the elephant lion, buffalo, leopard and the rhino in Akagera National Park which all attract different types of tourists into Rwanda in order to carry out the Rwanda Genocide tour.
Rwanda genocide tour will be emotional for tourists but in the end it offers hope in a way that, where there was darkness, tears, massacres, separation of the families and no hope turned out to be a place of peace. Hope was restored with the victory of the Rwanda Patriotic Front which ensured that there were no more mass killings, separation of families and bloodshed. Different memorial museums were established in order to commemorate the genocide that led to the perishing of over 1,000,000 people in the country. While on the Rwanda tour particularly carrying out the Rwanda genocide tour, tourists will visit museums like the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum, Nyamata genocide museum, Nyanza memorial site, Gisenyi memorial site, Bisensero memorial site and many more.
The Background of the Rwanda Genocide
Tourists on the Rwanda genocide tour will be able to find out the different events that led to the dreadful events in the history of Rwanda which will never be forgotten even in the years to come because of the different impacts that it brought to the people.
The Rwanda genocide is believed to have been planned many years before it actually happened because of the level of organisation and skills that the killers possessed. The Rwanda genocide was spearheaded by the Hutu extremists that were interested in wiping out the Tutsis who were becoming political rivals to them. During the period before the Rwandan genocide, the then president Juvenal Habyarimana and his government felt threatened by the uprising opposition group the Rwanda patriotic front that was against their rule.
There was a political rivalry between the Tutsi and the Hutu which can be seen with the events that led to the Rwanda revolution from 1959-1961 which involved the transfer of power from the Belgian government to the Tutsi then to the Hutus that dominated the Republic of Rwanda. Events like when the Hutu chief was attacked by the Tutsi and he was not killed but rumours spread that he was killed which led to the killing of the Tutsi which led them to flee the country.
In 1973, Juvenal Habyarimana betrayed the then-president/ friend Gregoire Kayibanda for his selfish desires to also rule the country who favoured the Hutu over the Tutsis and the Twas. He focused on the dominance of the Hutus over the Tutsis and Twas. When Juvenal took over power of the country, it is believed his dictatorial practices started which worried the Tutsis who were the lesser tribal group.
During the 1980’s the some of the Tutsi that fled Rwanda to Uganda joined National Resistance Army (NRA) where they supported Museveni and helped him to overthrow Milton Obote the then president of Uganda. The refugees who later became soldiers after joining the NRA planned an attack over the government under the Rwanda patriotic front headed by Fred Rwigyema who was killed in battle and his deputy commander and the now President of Rwanda Paul Kagame took over as commander in chief he organised the group and started surprise attacks where they took over some villages but the attacks were not significant because they were taken over again by the government which made them retreat to the forests and with the surprise attacks that led to the formation of Hutu groups that started carrying out violent acts against the Tutsi that were in the country
The Rwanda patriotic front grabbed land which led to the negotiations for peace among the Tutsi and Hutu where the Tutsi were given a base with in the parliament building this brought about peace for some time. However much there was peace and harmony among the people, Hutu extremists also known as the hardliners still occupied the top positions and they had other plans in mind of wiping out the Tutsis and this led to the formation of the Hutu power which established the Kangura magazine the one that focused on instilling hatred in the Hutu over the Tutsi
The Hutu extremists urged the Hutus to carry out mass killings of Tutsis and this annoyed the stirred the rivalry between the Hutus and the Tutsis who were unjustly treated which led to the stirring of hatred which would later lead to the genocide.
The Rwanda genocide
The hardliners recruited Hutu youths into the army, equipped them with machetes, firearms and trained them but on top of that, they instilled hatred into them referring to the Tutsi as traitors who were not fit to be in their country. Following trainings, the Tutsis were being slaughtered which led to them being furious and decided to fight against the unjust rule. On April 6th 1994, when the then president of Rwanda Habyarimana and the president of Burundi were assassinated after an unknown person shot down the plane where no one on board survived, it is believed that is when the genocide started.
Organised killing started happening, the Hutu youths that were trained and equipped with firearms and more killing equipment and they were on a mission to wipe out the Tutsi tribe in the country because rumour had it that the Rwanda patriotic front of the Tutsis was blamed for killing the Hutu presidents because of their estranged rivalry. This sparked up the tensions between the two tribes. During the mass killings, the Tutsis were identified by their appearance, by use of national identification and those that were publicly known were killed.
It was not only the Tutsis that were killed but also the Hutus that felt pity for the Tutsis, gave them refugee by hiding them in their houses because o them it was treason. The Batwa were also killed because the Hutu only wanted the Hutu race/ tribe as the only tribe in Rwanda and hence the mass slaughters. It is estimated that over one million people were killed in the genocide leaving children orphaned, mothers were raped, families were separated which was such a trying moment in the country.
However, although there were the mass slaughters hope was restored by the efforts of the Rwanda patriotic front which fought tooth and nail in order to ensure that the mass slaughters were stopped and this led to the end of the genocide by 15th July 1994.
Visiting the Rwanda Genocide Memorial Sites
Tourists on a Rwanda tour interested in the Rwanda genocide will have a tour of the different genocide memorial sites as a means of understanding the Rwanda genocide very well which can be as a source of research, information for personal use and educational purpose.
Murambi Genocide Memorial Site: Located in the southern part of Rwanda in Murambi town, the Murambi genocide memorial site during the time of the genocide thousands of people were killed at the site. Before the genocide, the site was a technical school that offered technical knowledge to different Rwandans but during the genocide, it turned out to be one of the sites where people were killed in large numbers.
What will break the tourist’s heart on the Rwanda genocide tour while visiting the site is the fact that when the Tutsis went to the church to seek refuge, the bishop of a local church sent them to Murambi technical school saying there would be the French army protecting them, food and water this was not the case.
This led the people to be weak and once the Hutu extremists got to know that they were in the area, they were able to attack and it should be noted that over 45000 among the 65000 that fled to the school protection were killed and the ones that survived were killed the following day. At the site, some of the people that were killed are displayed in the exhibiting area and others were buried under pits where a volleyball court was constructed over it.
Tourists on a Rwanda genocide tour while at Murambi genocide site will have a chance to have a look at mummified bodies and corpses of infants, children and skulls of different people are displayed which can be a touching period for the tourists but in the long run they are able to learn something from the guides at the site that are able to give information about the history of the genocide at the site that being loving one another, avoiding racism all which can stir to violence.
Kigali genocide memorial museum: The museum is located in Gisenyi town which is just minutes away from Kigali the Capital city. The museum is easily accessible and open to the public at any day of the week and for tourists on a Rwanda tour, they will have the perfect picture of how the Rwanda genocide went down once they carry out the Rwanda genocide tour at the museum.
Constructed with the help of Aegis trust in the United Kingdom which is an anti-genocide body that prevents the occurrences of genocides in countries, the agency was able to construct a high class museum with a variety of equipment like the sound systems that are able to guide the tourists while on their Rwanda genocide tour, the audio system are in three languages, the Kinyarwanda, English and French which help to cater to different groups tourists.
At the Museum a total number of 100000 people’s remains were collected from the streets, around the river banks and in different areas were collected and brought to the museums for the mass burials some of the bodies were for the entire families, children’s bodies, women that were first raped then killed and so many more.
The level of technology that was used during the establishment will also attract the tourists as they learn the different pictorials of people that were killed are displayed, their last words are written on the displayed pictorials, how they were killed, the remains like the skulls can also be seen and the equipment that was used like the machetes and so on which is quite unique from other genocide museums that only have skulls to show. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum goes an extra mile by offering recordings to the tourists of the victims who survived before the tourists embark on their tour through the museum which gives a picture of what is to be seen in the museum the trip is heart throbbing but educative at the same time.
Nyamata Genocide Memorial site: The genocide centre is located in Nyamata in the southern part of Kigali. The centre was a church were the Tutsis that went to seek refuge from the mass slaughters that were increasing daily. This led the Tutsis to think that churches would be safe places which was not the case because during the genocide over 10,000 people were killed.
Tourists on a Rwanda genocide tour will get first-hand information with the different displays of the remains of the people that were killed, blood-stained clothes from the bullets that were shot to the Tutsis also to note are the holes that were made in the walls in order for the killers to throw grenades into the people. Bullet holes can also be seen while which must have been a very dark time for the people and their families.
Gisozi Rwanda genocide memorial site: The site is located in Gasabo district which is 30 minutes from Kigali town is one of the notable Rwanda genocide memorial sites because of the high numbers of people that were killed there. The site has over 300,000 Tutsi, Batwa and Hutu victims that were buried at there. Tourists on their Rwanda tour will have a chance to go to the site’s library where they will find different books that have lots of information about the events that led to the genocide, the different techniques, the equipment that was used to kill the people.
The site has also got the display centre where a tourist on a Rwanda tour will have a chance to see the different remains of the people that were killed that is the skulls and bones which enables tourists to get authentic information while on their Rwanda Genocide tour.
Gisenyi Rwanda Genocide Memorial Site: Just like other genocide memorial sites, the Gisenyi memorial site is a source of information to the tourists interested in understanding the Rwanda genocide which resulted to over 1000000 people being killed. The site has displays of the different victim’s remains of the brutality of the Hutu Extremists. It is noted that over 12000 people and there remains are buried at the site.
At the site, the grave of Madame Rosamond Carr who was a great friend to Dr Dian Fossey who is also important in the Rwanda Gorilla Conservation can also be visited by tourists on their Rwanda Genocide tour Rosamond was an American humanitarian who fell in love in Rwanda after her trip to Rwanda with her then British explorer husband Kenneth Carr that was based in Rwanda. After their divorce, Rosamond remained in Rwanda where she established the pyrethrum plantation but because of the insecurity of the country which was because of the Rwanda Genocide, Madame Rosamond was told to leave the country and come back when it was politically stable.
When she came back after the genocide, she was heartbroken because of the toll it hard on the Rwandans since many of them lost their lives, families were separated and what almost broke her were the orphaned children whom she later tried to find ways on how to protect them and care for them by establishing the Imababazi orphanage which provides for orphaned children of the genocide which was a beautiful gesture portrayed by a non Rwandan.
Bisesero genocide memorial site: The site is found in western Rwanda in Kibuye town, and just like other memorial sites, an estimated number of over 40,000 people died at the site. Unlike the people from different towns that were killed, the Tutsis from the area tried to resist the massacres by fighting back and even sought assistance from the French soldiers who didn’t intervene.
The Tutsis of Bisesero were praised for being brave and resistant which led to the hill where the site was constructed to be known as the hill of resistance which can be seen by the tourists on the Rwanda genocide tour.
Nyanza Genocide memorial centre: Nyanza genocide memorial centre is located 98 kilometres away from Kigali which takes about 2 hours for one to travel from Kigali to Nyanza. Where the site is located was a school known as ETO that was governed by UN Officials which the United Nations deployed United Nations officials to provide security to the Rwandans even before the genocide because there were cases of instability where the Hutu were killing the Tutsi.
When the genocide happened, there were mass killings which led the officials to flee the school which was later used by the Tutsi and Hutu that were against the killings to use it as a hiding spot but the school was raided and a big number of people were killed. Here there are displays of blood-stained clothes, skulls that will e seen by the Rwanda genocide tour tourists.
Ntarama genocide memorial site: The site is just 20 minutes away from Kigali city, it was a church during the genocide which was used a place of refuge for the Tutsis most of the victims went to churches thinking they would be protected and by the church leaders which was not the case because the killers were merciless and didn’t care whether it was a place of worship or not their main goal was to wipe out the Tutsis from the history of Rwanda. It is noted that over 5000 people were killed and buried in the area. Tourists will have a chance to look around the area which will enable them to see the different remains of the victims that were killed while at the site.
Nyarubuye genocide memorial site: Located in Nyarubuye Memorial site is one of the other sites that was once a church but later was used as a place where Tutsis and moderate Hutus would seek refuge visiting the Nyarubuye memorial site by the tourists on a Rwanda tour interested in Rwanda genocide, they will have a chance to see the different remains like the bones, belonging of the victims blood that was splashed on the walls during the increased shootings. Important about the site is the fact that after the genocide, none of the items that belonged to the victims was removed, even after the massacres, the church that later turned into the site was kept as it was after the genocide, broken church glasses can be seen holes that were dug into the walls in order to throw in grenades that would kill them can also be seen which are satisfying to a tourist on a Rwanda Genocide Tour.
While on the Rwanda Genocide Tour, as a part of their Rwanda tour, tourists will have a chance to see the different authentic details of the events that came about as a result of the Rwanda Genocide with authentic information that is offered by the guides, to the various displays of the remains like the skulls, bones, and various recordings of the survivors that didn’t perish in the genocide which is quite unmatched by other museums, memorial sites that were established in other countries that is to say visits to the different memorial sites will enable one to have a memorable and educative experience while at the different sites.
Accommodation while on the Rwanda Genocide Tour: Tourists on a Rwanda tour interested in the Rwanda Genocide Tour of either visiting all the Genocide memorial sites since different sites have different information that it offers to its tourists or the tourists will be interested in visiting some of the sites will have a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from budget, mid-range to luxury. The services that are offered to the tourists include dining, ample parking space, swimming pool, conference rooms, well-ventilated rooms and many more and all the facilities are within the proximity of the Rwanda genocide memorial sites these include the following;
- Home saint jean hotel
- Moriah hill resort with a great vie
- Macheo Ecolodge-camping
- Hotel des Mille Collines
- Five to Five Hotel
- The manor hotel
- Kigali Marriott hotel
All the above accommodation facilities and more are focused to achieve visitor satisfaction to make their Rwanda Genocide Tour Memorable.
Tourists on a Rwanda genocide tour after their tour can also engage in different tours like the Rwanda chimpanzee tour in Nyungwe National Park, the Rwanda gorilla tour in Volcanoes national park, Rwanda Cultural tours which once embarked on can make their Rwanda tour a thrilling one.
Although the Rwanda Genocide Tour is considered as dark tourism, it has brought peace and joy in the hearts of natives and the tourists that visit the different genocide sites because even after the killings of the different groups of people the genocide came to an end there has been harmonious living among the different groups of people. Regardless of the tribe differences, acts of racism, rivalry among different tribal groups are highly prohibited and today the Rwandans refer themselves to as one people. Hope was restored in the country for the Tutsis having a Tutsi president and the Hutus agreeing to it is a win situation for the people of Rwanda.