Rwanda has over the years grown to be a top tourist destination in East Africa and Africa at large. This East African country has been voted as one of the safest countries to visit in Africa, more specifically 6th safest, which gives tourists more assurance when visiting the country.
Rwanda has a lot of beauty to offer to the world; beautiful scenery, incredible monuments, rich history and culture plus natural diversity comprised of unique wildlife species, towering volcanoes, fascinating savanna, deep valleys and rolling hills, not forgetting Rwanda being one of the only three countries in Africa harboring the endangered mountain gorillas in the popular Volcanoes national park. Below are some of the top tourist destinations in Rwanda;
BEST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN RWANDA.
Volcanoes National Park
Probably the number one tourist destination in Rwanda. This national park, located in the volcanoes of the Virunga mountains is a habitat to the critically endangered mountain gorillas which are found in national parks of only three African countries i.e., Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is home to over 200 gorillas and has over 10 habituated gorilla families which provides opportunity for up-close gorilla encounters; gorilla trekking and habituation experience for tourists which makes it the most visited national park in Rwanda. It is also home for the endemic and endangered golden monkeys giving an opportunity for golden monkey trekking in the park. This forest is also home to fforest elephants, bush pigs, spotted hyenas, many primate species and buffaloes. While in the park, one could also take part in mountain hiking and visit the lakes within the park.
Kigali Genocide Memorial site.
Located in Kigali, this genocide memorial site is a burial ground for the remains of over 250,000 people who lost their lives in the 1994 genocide. It is one of the 6 major centers that were setup to commemorate the Rwanda genocide which saw many natives lose their lives as well as remind the people of the events in an effort to prevent future atrocities. It contains documentation of firsthand accounts of the genocide against the Tutsi as well as mass graves containing remains of the victims and thus people often visit this site to remember and grieve their loved ones who perished. There is a Student Centre where those who would like to learn more about the events of the genocide can learn and a children’s room dedicated to young victims of the genocide. This thought-provoking site is a must visit while in Rwanda.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
This park is home to Africa’s largest montane rainforest and one of the oldest and remaining high altitude tropical rainforests. This bio diversified rainforest is one of the most spectacular rainforests in Africa with diverse flora and fauna and influences Rwanda’s climate greatly. It harbors many bird species and a large concentration of primates with rare species like the colobus monkey.
This park is famous for chimpanzee trekking safaris. Many other activities include canopy walks which are not found elsewhere in East Africa and still uncommon in Africa. It involves viewing forest canopies aerially from a suspended bridge. One would also visit the tropical waterfalls in the park, go sightseeing and bird watching for an incredible experience.
King's Palace Museum in Nyanza.
Located in Nyanza, this is one of the historic museums in Rwanda and is now the country’s national art gallery. This colonial style home was the headquarter of Rwanda’s only monarchy and a rural residence of king Mutara III in mid-twentieth century and still contains King Mutara’s utensils, drums, bows, bed etc. It is built in Africa traditional architecture and this site is full of the Rwandan culture in many aspects.
People visiting this museum get to learn about Rwanda’s rich history and traditions. Tourists also get to see the Inyambo cows which are Rwanda’s long horned cattle and these are key instruments of Rwanda’s culture. It is a blend of Rwandan style patterns and European architecture creating a spectacular site for a rejuvenating visitor experience.
This is the national museum of Rwanda and contains cultural and historical artefacts of Rwanda. Traditional attire made from woven grass and animal hides, baskets, drums and spears from many years ago can be viewed here. Arte facts are accompanied by visual aides, thus tourists get to experience the beauty of the Rwandan culture. Rwandan traditional customs and beliefs, history, culture, poetry and oral tradition are also exhibited here.
Gorilla Guardians Village.
Also known as Ibyiwacu cultural village, loosely translated as “Treasures of our home and heritage”, this site found adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park and one of the best cultural attractions in Rwanda. All Rwanda’s known cultural traditions are showcased here.
Tourists get to experience an African village setting lifestyle including; unique architecture, traditional dances, dress code, cuisine, herbs and get to see the setting of ancient kingdoms. Tourists also get to take part in activities like hunting, basket and mat weaving, carpentry etc. Kigali.
This is the capital city of Rwanda. This city is certainly one of the cleanest in Africa. It is rich in attractions ranging from monuments to museums, luxury hotels, captivating landscapes and majestic architecture. Kigali literally mirrors all the beauty that is within Rwanda and thus should be explored by every tourist that comes to Rwanda. While here, one can get to hike Mt. Kigali, explore various cultural sites, taste the delicious cuisine, motorbike tour through the city and take part in the vibrant night life. One can also get to see the presidential aircraft that crashed in 1994 at the heat of genocide that eventually ushered in the new government.
Also referred to as “the hidden treasure of Volcanoes national park, these caves serve as a tourism educational and geological Centre in northwestern Rwanda. It also serves as a historical centre as they were used as hiding places during a cultural war in the past.
The Musanze caves are a home to various species of bats and the verdant surroundings of caves provide an avenue for beautiful photographic experience.