This post was most recently updated on April 3rd, 2018
Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa, and well known for the massacres of the 90s. However, four years later when the new President took over the leadership of Rwanda, good things started to happen and the nation slowly become a favorite tourist destination in Africa. The head of state began with cleaning the streets, urged people to embrace peace, and revived various economic sectors including the tourism industry, leading the growth and enhancement of many Rwanda tourist attractions.
Today, the nation is regarded as the best sustainable tourism country by the Tourism Competitive Index and the World Economic Forum. In light of this, the number of people visiting Rwanda every year has increased significantly.
Most of the natural attractions in Rwanda are UNESCO approved. The nation is packed with many tourists attractions that attract people from all over the planet to experience the real Africa escapade.
Rwanda Tourist Attractions
Volcanoes National Park
Situated in the northwestern part of Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit destination. Statistics show that there are just about 780 mountain gorillas today, and Rwanda is one of them. The park is accessible by road and is around two-hour drive from the capital- Kigali and a 90-minute drive from Kigali International Airport.
The famous rare mountain gorillas are found here. You will come face-to-face with these extraordinary endangered Giant Apes if you visit this place. It’s believed that there are at least 400 gorillas in this park.
Gorillas aren’t the only animals housed here; you will also find buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, forest hogs, hyenas and many more. Other attractions include Dian Fossey grave, Bisoke, and Karisimbi Mountains.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
This is another tourist destination that offers you an incredible opportunity to experience the biodiversity of Rwanda. The forest is situated in the southwestern edge of the country and is boarded by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the West and Burundi in the South and covers an estimated area of 1000 square kilometers.
The park was founded in 2004 to help diversify the nation’s tourism from depending on mountain gorillas. The park is accessible by road and is about four to five hours from the city of Kigali. 75 mammal species, 275 birds, 120 butterflies and more than 100 varieties of orchids live here. Also, White and black colobus monkeys are found here. Other primate species include the blue monkey, the grey-cheeked mangabey, and the red-tailed monkey.
People who visit this place can enjoy other activities like canopy walk, hiking, and chimpanzee trekking. Chimpanzee trekking is preferred by many because it gives you a chance to come face-to-face with them. You will also experience how they groom and feed their young ones and take breathtaking photos of memories.
The City of Kigali
Kigali is an exceptional city with the remarkable weather. There are various historical sites that you can visit here, including the Genocide Memorial Center. The memorial site was built to honor the lives lost during the 90s genocide. The war lasted for 100 days, and over million Hutu and Tutsi died during this period. If you want to know what happened or what led to the killings of all these people, you must visit this memorial center.
While in Kigali, you should also find time to visit the Ntarama church. This church is another symbol of what happened in Rwanda in the 90s. Ntarama church is declared as a memorial in solidarity with thousands of people that lost their lives during the genocide. The clothes, bones, and other personal items of the victims of this horrific incident are displayed in the church.
The Nyamata church is also a memorial for the Rwanda genocide. The church is the same as it was during the massacre, meaning nothing has been removed here. The bloodstained clothes are still here. If you want to face the truth about what happened in Rwanda, you should also visit this church in Kigali.
Other attractions in Kigali include the Kandt house museum, Inema art center, the museum of national history, Ivuka arts center, the Presidential Museum, the Miyo art gallery and state house museum. Also, movie lovers can go to the Kigali multiplex cinema for 5-D movies.
Akagera National Park
The park was named after the Akagera River running along its boundary on the eastern side. Akagera Park was established to conserve and protect the breathtaking vegetation and wildlife found here, including the savannah grasslands and the acacia woodlands.
The park I home to over 8,000 wild animals including elephants, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, hippos and many different kinds of antelopes. For bird lovers, this is another great place with more than 480 different species of birds, including prevalent species like the red-faced barbet. For you to see some of these animals clearly, boat trips are available on Lake Ihema.
Lake Kivu is another great tourist attraction in Rwanda. Situated along the western border of Congo and Rwanda, it’s probably one of the highest lakes in Africa. Some of the activities that you can enjoy here are swimming and a boat cruising on the safe, fresh waters lake of the great East African Rift Valley.
It has remarkable beaches with amazing landscapes, and the sunset is often astonishing. Tourists can sit back, relax and enjoy the lake’s scenic view.
National Museum of Rwanda
The museum was launched in 1989 but built in 1987. It’s located in Butare, approximately 130 kilometers on the southern part of Kigali city. It’s one of the most outstanding museums in East Africa and one of the six mesmerizing museums that make Rwanda’s Institute of National Museums.
The Museum is made up of seven galleries and items are arranged according to themes that outline ethnographic, artistic, archeological artifacts and the nation’s history before colonization. The museum was built to tell a story about Rwanda’s social and cultural aspects.
If you visit this museum in Butare, you will have an opportunity to enjoy the local dishes, where different restaurants offer a variety of both local and international meals. Other tourist sites here include the Institute Scientific Research and the National University.
The bottom line is, Rwanda is a nation that’s loaded with fascinating tourist attractions sites ranging from mountain gorillas and trekking chimpanzees to breathtaking museums which create many reasons for you to visit the country.