Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Rwanda
The Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Rwanda are some of the common features in the Country that attract many travellers to flock Rwanda for Tourism. Some of these include National Parks, Physical Features, Towns and many more as described below:
1: NATIONAL PARKS
National Parks in Rwanda are some of the Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Rwanda since they are the most visited places in the country. Rwanda is one of the countries in East Africa that is blessed with a number of natural resource like the wildlife that can be seen in protected areas like game reserves, sanctuaries, forests among other areas. However some of the protected areas which can catch your eyes are the national parks where a variety of animal, bird and plant species can be seen not leaving behind the landforms like lakes, rivers, mountains among others which will make your experience memorable and because of this, the country’s national parks qualify to be part of the top 10 tourist attractions in Rwanda.
- Volcanoes National Park: Looking for an adventure-filled fun trip in Rwanda then you should not miss Volcanoes national park where the Rwanda gorilla tours are carried out in the country. While visiting volcanoes national park, you will have a chance to see different attractions in the park including the Rwanda gorilla families that are usually found on the different slopes of the Virunga Mountains that are found within the park. Apart from Rwanda Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, you can also opt for other activities like golden monkey trekking, birding, and Virunga Mountains hike among other activities.
- Akagera national park: Akagera national park is the only national park in Rwanda where the big five animals can be seen. The park is a home to all the big five that is the lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard and the elephant and a number of other animal species that can be seen during the game drive in the park where a number of animals can be seen grazing in the plains like the giraffe, zebras, leopards, hyenas, lions. It is home to several antelopes like bushbucks, Topis, Oribi, water-buck, roan antelope and duiker, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, impala, the Cape eland among other animals. Other activities you can participate in to make your trip in the country memorable include a boat cruise on Lake Ihema, sport fishing can be carried out in the park, and community walks among other activities to make your Rwanda tour worthy of repeated visits.
- Nyungwe national park: For your ultimate safari experience, Nyungwe national park should be among your to-do list while in Rwanda. The park is known for its numerous numbers of chimpanzees that can be seen jumping from the different tree branches. At the park, you can go to different trails that can lead you to different activities for instance the igishigishigi trail where you can find the canopy walkway, Muzimu trail where you can have a beautiful view of Lake Kivu, the Isumo waterfalls trail where you can do Isumo waterfalls hike and see the falls among other trails, birding in the park is another interesting activity that can be carried out with the presence of over 350 bird species. Other attractions in the park include other primates like a Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Owl-faced monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey among others making your tour to the park interesting.
2: GENOCIDE MEMORIAL SITES
The 1994 Rwanda genocide brought a lot of pain to the Rwandans and the world at large when brothers killed one another because of the need for one group of people having the need to be supreme over the others and also the need to wipe away the Tutsi group of people from the history of Rwanda. It should be noted that the 1994 Rwanda genocide started after the then president juvenile Habyarimana’s aeroplane was shot which led to his death and also the president of Burundi who was Hutus and the suspect were the Tutsis under the Rwanda patriotic front. And from that day the mass slaughter of the Tutsis, moderate Hutus and the twas started and it should be noted that over 800000-1000000 were killed which was a tuff moment for many Rwandans and after the victory of the Rwanda patriotic front and the end of the genocide, today as a way of remembering the lost souls in the genocide, a number of genocide memorial sites were established which can be visited while on your Rwanda genocide tour.
- Kigali genocide memorial site: Located in Kigali city, the Kigali genocide memorial museum will make you go through roller coasters emotions with the different displays of the victims that lost their lives. Display of the last words of the victims will break your heart once you visit the 3 exhibition area that is to say the large exhibition area which gives an insight of how Rwanda was before the genocide especially during and after colonisation, ho the tensions rose from the different tribal groups because of the need to go into power. After seeing the different displays, you will then move along to see how people were killed, and with the audio sound, you will have the opportunity to hear the voices in the background crying for help which is so heartbreaking. The children exhibition area is the most hurting one of the exhibition rooms; here you will see how young souls that had dreams were lost in the genocide in the period of months. The young ones had aspirations but they were unable to fulfil them because of the ruthless hearts of the Hutus, pictorials of the victims are seen on the displays and there last words, their dreams which is so heartening. And finally you will have a chance to see the third exhibition area the world genocide history exhibition area where different genocides from different area can be seen which shows that the world needs change and at the end of your trip, love will be spread because the museum focuses on spreading love among one another and to avoid segregation.
- Murambi genocide memorial site: Just like the Kigali genocide memorial site, Murambi genocide memorial site has a lot of significance in 1994, Rwanda genocide where over thousands of people were killed in the site, before the genocide, the site was a technical school which focused on equipping students with technical skills. It is quite absurd that when the Tutsis came to seek refuge in a nearby church, a bishop tricked them to go to Murambi technical school saying there was help from the Belgian government but once they reached there it broke their hearts that there was no one to help which was a trap they fell into many Tutsis were killed in the area and those that we’re able to escape were killed the following day. Interested in visiting different genocide memorial sites, to increase your knowledge about the Rwanda genocide, you should carry out the Rwanda genocide memorial tour and visit the different sites.
3: CULTURAL SITES
- Ibyi’wacu cultural village: Rwanda has a number of attractions that can be seen while on a Rwanda tour but among the attractions, one should not miss out visiting the ibyi’wacu cultural village because you will have a chance to experience the life of an authentic Rwandan without any duplications which makes the experience memorable. The cultural village will perform different songs, dances for you and also give you the opportunity to participate in the different activities like basket weaving, making of local handmade ghee this experience has won many hands of travellers and be sure for your heart to be won with the different authentic activities to participate in.
- King’s palace: A replica of the traditional king’s palace was constructed to give a feel of the olden times when there were kingdoms in Rwanda. A tour to the king’s palace will give you the opportunity to see how the people of long ago used to live. At the palace, there are many features that can be seen including a woman guide dressed in the umushanana a traditional silk dress for the people that is worn by women in Rwanda that will direct you to the grass thatched house. But the highlight of the trip is the long-horned cattle that can be seen decorated with beads and interesting about the cattle is the keeper who seems to understand them very well because they can be seen listening to them as they follow him as he sings to them which is quite fascinating.
- Ethnographic museum: The ethnographic museum in Rwanda is one of the tourist attractions that cannot be missed out on a Rwanda tour because of the nice displays that can be seen while you visit it. The museum is one of Africa’s ethnographic museums which was a gift from the king of Belgium in the 1980’s. In the museum you will have a chance to understand the Rwanda culture in one place where you can see a number of displays like items that were used to hunt, cook, to carry out agriculture, traditional clothing, you can also see the history, culture, cosmology of the Rwandans from the different display rooms. You can choose to visit the ethnographic museum and later on the king’s palace to see the evolution between the Rwanda culture before and after colonisation.
- Presidential palace: The presidential palace which is another museum in the country should not be missed on your to-do list while on the Rwanda tour, the presidential palace was the home to the late Juvenal Habyarimana the then president of Rwanda whose death led to the outbreak of the Rwanda genocide, the presidential palace tour will give you the chance to have an insight of the life of the president who had a worship palace where he carried out his witchcraft from, he had a secret gun cabinet and interesting about the palace, you will have the chance to see part of the plane which was shot down that led to his death.
Rwanda is a vibrant country with a number of activities that can be carried out while on the Rwanda tour, among which will make your trip to the country worth telling to a friend. Among the engaging attractions and activities that can be participated in include the festivals on your trip while in Rwanda and these include the following.
- Kwita Izina: While on your Rwanda gorilla tours, you should book your tours in order to participate in the interesting Kwita izina festival of conservation of the gorillas in the country. On the festival different high profile people like international musicians, models are invited to be part of the celebrations which all rotate around the naming of new gorillas born in volcanoes national park where gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be carried out. The park is a home to the different Rwanda gorilla families, golden monkeys, and bird species among others. Other festivals that can be participated in include; Kigali up, the Rwanda mini film festival, Centre X Festival etc
6: RELIGIOUS SITES
Faith-based tourists in Rwanda will have a chance to see a number of religious sites in Rwanda while on their Rwanda tour Our lady of Kibeho, which is also connected to the Rwanda genocide memorial sites because of the three girls in the secondary school who received visions that are believed to have been the warnings of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. It is believed that the girls received the visions for a period of a year before the genocide happened to make it one of the sacred places to visit while on a Rwanda tour. Other religious sites include; Nyamata Church Kigali, Cathedral of St. Michael Kigali, Butare catholic Cathedral Butare, Byumba Cathedral Byumba Nyabugogo Mosque Kigali and so on.
7: RECREATION AREAS
In Rwanda you should not forget to visit the different recreation areas where you can participate in different out day and indoor activities, for instance, the beaches like Gisenyi public beach, lake kivu beach among other beaches, visiting different restaurants where different cuisines like Akabenz (cooked pork), meat skewers with chips, Ibirayi a mixture of goat’s meat and potatoes which will give you an amazing experience while in the country.
- Sorwathe tea plantation and Pfandu teas estate: Located between Kigali and Musanze, you will have the chance to visit the different tea plantations where a number of activities will be carried out like harvesting tea, drying tea, tea tasting among other activities. At the plantations, lunch will be served to ensure that you have an amazing experience at the plantations.
- Huye mountain coffee: Coffee lovers on a Rwanda tour will have the chance to participate in the coffee-making process where they can go coffee harvesting, roasting and grinding till when they make the final product ready to be tasted. At the plantation, you will tour the plantation which is quite relaxing as you move along the different paths in the plantation.
Rwanda is blessed with a number of landforms like mountains including the Virunga Mountains that can be found in Volcanoes national park, mountain Kigali that is found in Kigali city, lakes like Lake Muhazi, Lake Kivu where a number of activities can be carried out like boat cruises, sport fishing, canoeing among others. On the lakes, a number of attractions like water birds, crocodiles can be seen to improve your experience in the park.
10: MAJOR TOWNS
While in Rwanda, you can visit the different towns/ cities in the country which offer different attractions and activities that are quite engaging and interesting. Among the cities and towns that can be visited in the country include; Kigali city where you can go on a Kigali city tour where you can see a number of attractions like mountain Kigali, Nyamirambo Muslim quarters, Kigali genocide memorial museums among other attractions. Gisenyi town can also be visited where you can visit, Gisenyi public beach, an African art gallery where different art pieces can be seen, you can also be taught art by participating in the art classes for a day that are provided at the gallery and so many others activities.