This beautiful country is nestled between hills and valleys with most of the land used for agriculture. The East African country is also full of natural heritage sites which are declared by UNESCO. Rwanda is enriched with many natural resources including awe-inspiring mountains, mountain gorillas that attract Rwanda Gorilla Tours
and pristine lakes. The country is also shrouded in a painful past with several memorials giving testament to the massacre, and attracting many visitors.
We highlight seven (of the many) places to explore in this naturally beautiful country, and why you should visit Rwanda:
1. Explore Rwanda’s cool capital, Kigali
Far from being haunted by its unrestrained past, Kigali is quietly getting on with it. Rwanda’s capital is alive with trendy new bars, restaurants and hotels. Clean and composed, Kigali is very safe city and its rising skyline reflects the country’s lofty ambitions. You can also visit Akagera National Park.
Akagera National Park is located in Kigali and is a safari park along the eastern boarder of Rwanda. It offers a traditional East African safari, although not the largest of the parks in east Africa. It contains most of the mammals of Africa, including elephant, buffalo, hippos and giraffe. A small number of lions and leopards are seen at the park. In addition, visitors can enjoy the 530 spicies of birds, including red-faced barbets and shoebills.
2. Visit Rwanda: Chill out in Kibuye
Located on the limpid shores of Lake Kivu, this idyllic resort is a perfect place to unwind. It’s also constantly beautiful: steep, forested slopes rise from crystalline waters, which are dotted with canoes and fishing boats. The town itself is full of character, with a lively market, a mushrooming range of hotels and restaurants right on the shore. It’s a great place for swimming, kayaking or just kicking back.
Lake Kivu is considered as one of the best natural views of Rwanda. It runs for about 100 kilometres along the western border of Rwanda and Congo. Lake Kivu is the highest lake in Africa and flows about 1460 metres high from the ground.
3. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s biggest tourist attraction – and tops many a nature lover’s bucket list. It is one of the best Rwanda Adventures you can ever be part of. Those lucky enough to obtain permits are assigned guides and armed guards (to protect them from marauding buffalo) and get to spend an unbelievable hour observing one of the habituated gorilla families. You can also opt for gorilla tracking in Uganda
if the experience of Rwanda is boring.
Volcanoes National Park is a forest surrounded park in the Virunga Mountains. This mountain acts as a border between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and the Uganda. Tourists can see about 75 mammals including elephants and buffaloes here.
4. Pass by Nyanza
While on the western circuit, stop at Nyanza – the historical capital houses the palace of the former King of Rwanda. The area has a collection of three ‘palaces’ – the first is the traditional grass thatched palace, the second is the blockhouse where the King lived and the third was constructed after the King visited Belgium. Regrettably, he never lived in it as he was exiled after the abolition of the monarchy in favour of central government.
5. Be an intellectual of African culture
The intellectual capital of the country, Butare is home to Rwanda’s national university. The most prominent tourist attraction here is the superb National Museum, which houses perhaps the finest ethnographic collection in East Africa. This museum contains so many symbols of African culture and life.
6. Walk in the clouds in Nyungwe Forest
Opened in 2010, this lofty canopy walk is the first of its kind in the region. Flying a hair-raising 50 metres above the forest floor, this swaying walkway is not for the faint-hearted, but it does offer superb views across the rainforest canopy and, if you are lucky, you might come face to face with rare birds. Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the largest remaining high-altitude rainforests in Africa and is home to the world’s largest troop of colobus monkeys, which have a distinctive black and white colouring. A trek to spot them could have you surrounded by hundreds of the pretty primates, as well as chimpanzees, which are often suspended high up in ficus trees.
7. Pay your respects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
In 1994 about one million Tutsis and scores of Hutus – the two main groups in Rwanda – were murdered during the horrifying Rwandan Genocide. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre pays tribute to these victims (many of who are buried in a mass grave outside), and chronicles the events that led to the slaughter. It’s heart breaking, of course, but there are uplifting tales amongst the austerity.
All great reasons to plan your next trip to east Africa, and visit Rwanda or Uganda for a Uganda safari
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro
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