11 Things to do In Butare

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  1. 1. The National Museum of Rwanda at Butare is well worth a visit of a few hours. It is just 1.5km from the centre of town. There is an excellent collection of exhibits here about Rwanda's history and culture. There is also a good shop with a selection of local handicrafts and books.
  2. 2. Rukali Palace Museum near Nyanza is well worth a visit. This is located about 3km from the original site. Nyanza was the seat of the monarchy of Rwanda and here you can learn about the background to the traditions, power struggles and battles of the royal family. The traditional ancient palace of Mwami has been reconstructed here and a guide takes you through the kings room, showing you how he received visitors and into the smaller rooms in the compound. Next door is the modern, western style palace which was built in 1932 for Mwami Rudahigwa Mutara III. This traditional palace is carefully maintained and contains several items of the original furniture and fittings.
  3. 3. Across the hills from the back of the new palace building is the palace on Rwesero Hill which the king had built for himself and his family, but unfortunately died before they took up residence. This building, 1km from Rukali, is now the Rwesero Palace Art Museum and houses a fascinating collection of local arts (paintings and sculptures). Impressive views can be enjoyed from the upstairs terrace.
  4. 4. Visit the National University of Rwanda and University library known as Librarie Universitaire, NUR is the best university in the country, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in the capital city coming second. It is a beautiful campus.
  5. 5. Visit the Ruhande Arboretum trees, it's a collection of indigenous and imported species and was set up in 1934, to visit Arboretum trees you need to contact the university. When it was created the objective was to study the behaviour of imported species vis avis to indigenous ones so it could be established how to boost trees productivity.
  6. 6. For the strong of stomach and those who want to fully understand the atrocities that Butare suffered, visit Murambi Memorial, the most graphic and devastating of the genocide memorials, about 30 km from Butare on a good road. Here, the victims are preserved in lime. It is a very emotional experience.
  7. 7. Arrange for Traditional Dance known as Intore (roughly translated as the chosen ones) at the national museum.
  8. 8. En route to the museum there is Ikivuguto national Diary.  It started during the Belgian colonisation times but it still doing strong. In theory you just turn up and request a free tour but it advised to ask about the tour on your way out to the place and have a tour on your way back.
  9. 9. Visit the Butare Roman Cathoric cathedral, built in the memory of Belgian Princess Arstid in 1930. It is the lagest church in the country and has fairly plan and tranquil interior and its size is impressive.
  10. 10. A few kilometres out of town, visit and buy souvenirs at the Viaki Crafts village. The 'village', created by a number of wood carvers, is made up of a workshop, a store and snack-bar. Often, visitors watch as the woodcarvers work their timber into works of art.
  11. 11.Have a Dinner at Hotel Ibis in town centre and dance the whole night at Melotwist nightclub (in the faucon hotel) This night club was opened in 2007 and is familiar with students of the National University as it offers students considerable discounts and promotions all year long.