When the name Rwanda is mentioned it evokes the memories of the 1994 horrific genocide that brutalized the country. But today the country is known for its stability and steady growth. Tourism is now key contributor to the economy. The highlight of a tour to Rwanda is the mountain gorillas that one can track at the Volcanoes national park.
There are lots of other things that can make your visit to Rwanda have everlasting memories for you. Today we look at some of the best places you can visit while on safari in Rwanda.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
The people of Rwanda embrace peace and reconciliation. They are committed to fight against discrimination and build the nation together. The memorials found throughout the country are moving testimonies in memory of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Inaugurated on the 10th anniversary of the Genocide, the Kigali Genocide Memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims. The memorial serves to remember those who were killed and educate about the causes, reality and consequences of the Genocide. Through a series of exhibits, it also examines genocide in the 20th century. The Genocide Archive of Rwanda is also located at the memorial and is open to visitors. The museum takes you through a story that will impact on you and live to tell forever, some episodes are so heartbreaking that definitely you may cry.
Camp Kigali Belgian Monument
A small museum in Kigali City lies at the site of the massacre of 10 Belgian UN Blue Beret. At the onset of Genocide under the command of General Dallaire, they were deployed to guard the house of Prime Minister Agatha Uwilingimana. When the genocide began, Presidential Guard soldiers invaded the home, disarmed the Belgians and transported them to Camp Kigali where they killed them. The ten stone pillars memorialize the ten soldiers killed. Contact Any city guide or tour operator to help you locate this.
Akagera National Park
It is Rwanda’s largest national park. The park is home to lions, leopards, servals, hyenas, jackals and giraffes, large herds of buffaloes, impalas, zebras and several antelope species. Elephants often congregate around the lakes that are inhabited by more than 800 hippos as well as Nile crocodiles. Akagera is also home to around 482 bird species including the endangered shoebill that you may have chance to see on your lucky day and endemic red-faced barbet.
The Akagera River feeds a complex of a dozen of lakes including Lake Ihema, Lake Ihema is located in the south of the Akagera National Park in the savannah region of the Eastern province of Rwanda. The sights in this national park are overwhelming, Try out a safari to Rwanda yourself and live to tell God’s magic.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
It is Africa’s largest protected rainforest. Nyungwe has an impressive selection of activities on offer including the only canopy walk in East Africa, chimpanzee trekking, tea plantations, hiking and biking through the beautiful nature trails and bird watching. Bird watchers will rejoice as they encounter some of the 300 species dwelling within the confines of the forest like the Albertine rift endemics including the Rwenzori Turaco and the yellow eyed black flycatcher.
Volcanoes National Park
The misty air in the Volcanoes National Park creates the perfect setting to experience Rwanda’s distinct outdoor adventures, world renowned trek of the critically endangered mountain gorillas, the golden monkey trek and a thrilling hike up the volcanoes. It is home to a third of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas. The park’s name and majestic landscape is framed by the five volcanoes it houses: Bisoke, Muhabura, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo and Gahinga. An exhilarating trek through the terraced foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions.
Rubavu, hosts a waterfront access to the shores of the majestic Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s greatest bodies of water. Rubavu often referred to by the name of its top destination. At only an hour away from Volcanoes National Park, Gisenyi town in, offers both attractive mountain scenery and sandy beaches. From the serene countryside valleys of Karongi, the radiant charm of the Lake Kivu can be seen in the quaint town of Kibuye.
It has crystal clear water rocky beaches and many islands to discover. Kibuye’s lakeshore is a favorite attraction to many Rwandans as it offers water sports, boat rides to the small islands, and community based tours to the tea plantation.
The Cultural Heritage Corridor
Located in Rwanda’s southern province, the corridor showcases a number of Rwanda’s important cultural and historical sites. The Royal Palace located in Nyanza district is the former home of King Mutara III Rudahigwa dating in 1931. It was turned into a museum where guests can explore traditional royal living. Also in Nyanza, is the Rwesero Art Museum, an art gallery where contemporary Rwandan artwork is displayed. In the neighboring district of Huye, lies the Ethnographic Museum, an impressive exhibit of Africa’s finest collections of pre and post-colonial ethnographic, artistic and archaeological pieces.
King’s Palace Museum-Rukari
Based in Nyanza, 88 km south of Kigali City, this was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built. This Palace offers a detailed look into Rwandan traditional seat of their monarchy, it is an impressive museum, restored to its 19th century state and made entirely with traditional materials. Recently the Long horned Traditional cows, known in Kinyarwanda as “Inyambo” were also introduced because of the fact that cows form an integral part of Rwandan Culture . On the neighboring hill of Mwima, one can also visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.
Another historical landmark in Rwanda is the former Presidential Palace, located near the Kigali International Airport. It is the former state house of late President Habyarimana turned into a museum where the wreckage of the presidential jet shot down on April 6th, 1994 can be seen.
These are some of the many attractions that you can explore on your safari to Rwanda. Be sure to enjoy you stay in this heart of Africa country and see you soon.