Main Attractions in Rwanda

Rwanda attractions

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Rwanda is a landlocked country located in east-central Africa. The country is covered most by steep hills and deep valleys with its highest point being Karisimbi (14,187 ft; 4,324 m) in the Virunga mountains. Although well know for the horrible history of the genocide, Rwanda is a nice country, with magnificent people, amazing lakes, mountains, a great climate, good roads, a nice standard of living with cheap things ranging from food to accommodation and lots of things. Rwanda is a small country and almost all its attractions of nice places are next to each other. Tourists top attractions are found of the following places in Rwanda.

1. The Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains


The gorillas in these mountains are shared with countries like the Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo. These three countries share the few remaining gorillas in the world. People frequent Parc National Des Volcans to track these humble giants that have endured civil and world wars. People come from allover the world to spend one hour with these great apes. Looking through the eyes of these humble giants (Gorilla), gives you a feeling that triggers a question in your mind that goes "Why, why, why, not protect" they are really exhilarating. More information about the gorillas

2. Genocide memorials


Rwanda has 1 genocide memorial in the capital city Kigali known as Gisozi Genocide memorial and 2 main genocide memorials outside Kigali. One is Ntarama church that is about 5 km down a right-hand fork that branches off the Nyamata road roughly 20 km outside Kigali. This church has been left empty just as it was after removing the bodies with scraps of personal items like clothes on the floor. Next to this church is a building where other people seeking safety where massacred. The other church is just is at Nyamata 30 km from Kigali which was a site of horrible massacre. The bodies where also removed although blood stains remain on the walls. A courtyard was dug outside the underground chamber and that's where the skulls of many victims are being displayed. While visiting this memorial you will be told to sign a visitor's book from which you might spot lots of people's names that are familiar.

3. Kabgayi Church museum


3 km from Gitarama along Butare road lays the massive cathedral of Kabgayi. This is the oldest in the country dating back in 1925. This was the first settlement area of the Catholic Bishop. With a huge size and peaceful interior the church is worth a visit and there is a small museum besides it.

4. Akagera National Park


Named after the Akagera River running along its eastern boundary, Akagera NP is warm and low-lying with undulating plains supporting a cover of dense broad leafed trees with acacia woodlands and grasslands.
The park harbours over 20 mammal species. The eastern side is wet and it is known to harbour almost the largest number of hippos is Africa. Other animals to view on the lakes on the eastern side are crocodiles, Lions, leopards and black rhinos which are present in small numbers. You can go for boat trips on Lake Ihema to view some of these animals. For birders this is another paradise on earth, the birdlife is extraordinary: not only the rarities that will have passionate birdwatchers in ecstasy but also Africa's most inspiring concentration of big waterbirds. A visit in this park is truly rewarding.

5. Nyungwe forest


It is a montane forest that is remarkably rich in biodiversity with 75 mammal species, 120 butterflies, 275 birds and over 100 varieties of orchids. The forest is well known for its primates and chimpanzee tracking can be arranged at a short notice and at small fee. Other primates in this forest include several other monkeys L'Hoest monkeys. The roads to the forest are good and with excellent rent houses and campsite to provide the necessary services to you while in the forest. A nature walk through this forest can be truelly rewarding.

6. Musanze cave


Musanze is believed to have been constructed by a local king and that it has been used a refugee on several histories whereas during the 1994 Massacre it was used as a killing site and recently the place is still littered with human remains. Musanze the now Bat colony is located in Ruhengeri 2 Km from the Gisenyi road. It has an entrance a large as a cathedral. The entrance is littered with marked black volcanic rubble and at the opposite end there lies a natural bridge formed from the lava flow from one of the Virunga Mountains.

7. Hotel des Milles colline


A hotel in Kigali that is attracting people's attention of recent due to the "Hotel Rwanda" movie and its contribution to Rwanda. The Hotel is known to have housed and protected over 1,268 people under the management of Paul Rusesabagina. Paul took over management of this hotel a few days after the start of the genocide and this was as after the European managers had been flown out. Paul and his wife used to bribe the Hutu Interahamwe Militia with money and alcohol to keep them from killing the refugees.

8. Rusumo Falls


The falls is located at the Eastern part of Rwanda at the boarder with Tanzania. Its is an amazing and spectacular falls that is a part of the distant headwaters of the river Nile. It's not worth missing while crossing the border of Rwanda with Tanzania.

 9. National Museum


This is located in Butare city in Huye and it is known to be the most tourists' attraction in Butare. The museum is known to have probably the finest ethnographic collection in the whole of East Africa. It has spacious rooms that allow the exhibitions to be appreciated and enjoyed. Exhibitions provide information not only on pre-colonial history but also on the process of development of the country (Rwanda) to her modernity today. AT the museum you can organise for the Ntore dancers to entertain you in the traditional dances of Rwanda.

10. Lake Kivu

Located in the Albertine rift and apart of the Great Rift Valley, Kivu  is a large fresh water deposit that marks the western border with DR Congo. This lake is a tourist's centre with fresh waters safe to swim. It has nice beaches with splendid landscapes and the sunset is usually astounding. You can spend a weekend on one of the beaches.

11. The source of River Nile


Over the years, many countries and locations have laid claim to having the 'source of the Nile'! In 2005 - 2006 a team called 'Ascend The Nile' set off from Egypt to trace the entire length of the Nile and eventually they found their goal at the head of the Rukarara River in Rwanda, which is a tributary of the Akagera which flows into Lake Victoria.
It is now possible to walk to the Source of the Nile, which is actually located in the northern section of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Treks can be booked from Gisovu Tea Factory in advance and a guide will take you there. The trail takes around 45-60 minutes in each direction and is an easy walk.
Although it is located in Nyungwe, it's about a 3-4 drive from Gisakura, so if you would like to access this trek, it is better to go there from Kibuye, where there are a couple of lodges to stay overnight. It is about a one hour drive from Kibuye on the Cyangugu road then turn off to the Tea Factory and hike from there.

12. Nyange High School


3 years after the genocite in Rwanda, groups of rebels kept infiltrating into Rwanda from Congo to destabilize the new government, and carried out massacres, mostly against Tutsis. On the night of 18th March 1997 they raided Nyange Secondary school in the North West of the country. The rebels surrounded the school dining hall and classes when all students were doing their night studies. Students in class 6 were made to lie down and asked to separate themselves into two groups: Hutu and Tutsi. They refused. This is the story of those students - whose refusal to separate cost many of them their lives, among them, a girl named Marie Chantal who was the first to say those magic words, have later honoured as national heroes.


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