Rwanda has quite a number of interesting things to offer but in this article I am going to be discussing the Top 5 Places you must visit in Rwanda 2019. Rwanda is a small country locate at the south west of Uganda after Tanzania. It is a member of the East African community and it covers an area of 26,338 square kilometers.
Rwanda has gone through a period due to the 1994 genocide (known as 100 days of slaughter) whose wounds are still fresh in the hearts of the people of Rwanda. It is a “land of a thousand hills” and known as the Switzerland of Africa (due to the hills). Much as the country is small, she is beautiful and endowed with fascinating attractions, which makes the country a “paradise on earth”. Tourists visit most of the attractions within a short distance without going far because most of the interesting things are close to each other.
Do not wait for someone to tell you about the beauty of this country. Visit this country and exploit one of the top interesting places in the country. The must visit places in Rwanda that you should not miss to add to your bucket list include the following;
A very unique city in the heart of Rwanda, Kigali is a gorgeous city with great weather. You can get a taste of history here by visiting the genocide memorials and learn about the turbulent past of the country.
Kigali city itself is one of the top 5 places tourists should not miss to visit when in Rwanda. The city is the gateway to most attractions (mountain gorillas, chimpanzees among others in National Parks). Kigali was declared Africa’s most beautiful city by the United Nations. It is one of the cleanest and safest places in Africa. The great weather of the city makes a relaxing place for tourists too. Kigali city tour offers an in-depth concept of Kigali and the history of Rwanda as a whole. While at Kigali city, you can visit Kandt House museum (oldest building), you will also visit the first modern building on which the city was first founded, Inema Arts center, Ivuka Arts center, Museum of National History, the Presidential Museum (where the death of the former Rwandan President sparkled the 1994 Rwandan Genocide), the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, State house museum and the Miyo Art Gallery. For movie lovers, you can go for 5-D movies in Kigali multiplex cinema.
- Volcanoes National Park:
Volcanoes national park is a stop center for all Rwanda gorilla safaris sheltering the highest number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Conservation area. The strategic location of the Park roughly 2 hours’ drive from Kigali international airport make it the most accessible gorilla national park in the world. Besides gorillas, Volcanoes National park is a home for golden monkeys, a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects among other creatures which together make a complete Rwanda safari package.
Spanning on a 160 square kilometer area in the northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is part of the great Virunga volcano conservation region spanning to cover Virunga national park Congo and Mgahinga national park Uganda. It was initially a small area around Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes which was gazetted to protect the Mountain gorillas which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching.
This Park is a haven of the famous and unique critically endangered mountain gorillas. A visit to the Land of a thousand Hills offers you fantastic Rwanda gorilla safaris in the Volcanoes national park, home to 10 habituated gorilla families existing in different locations of the park. Besides the mountain gorilla, other attractions include over 75 species of mammals like Elephants, Buffaloes, and Giant forest Hogs, Bushbucks and spotted hyenas among others. The park is also a home of over 180 species of birds whereby 26 species are endemic to Virunga and Rwenzori mountains. Besides the wildlife species, other attractions include Dian Fossey grave, Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. This park should definitely be on the top 5 list of places to visit in the land of 1000 hills
- Nyungwe forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in South-western edge of Rwanda, bordered by Burundi in the South and Congo in the West and covers a total area of 1020 square kilometers. It was established in 2004 to diversify Rwanda’s tourism from over relying on gorilla tourism. The Park is about 4 -5 hours’ drive from Kigali town. 75 species of mammals are inhabited in this park including 13 primate species for example the Chimpanzees (over 400 in this Park), Black and white colobus monkeys, and the park is a home of over 300 species of birds out of which 16 species are Albertine Rift endemics. Tourists who visit this park will be accustomed to activities like the fascinating canopy walk. Several hiking trails in Nyungwe forest include the Ngabwe trail, Bigugu trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, and Isumo waterfall trail, Source of the River Nile trail, Karamba birding trail, Imbaraga trail, Rukuzi trail and irebero trail among others. Primate safaris and bird watching are also conducted in this park.
- National Museum of Rwanda (Ethnographic museum)
The museum that was built in 1987 and inaugurated in 1989 is situated in Huye/Butare, about 130 km South of Kigali town. It is one of the 6 fascinating Museums that form the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and it being the first to be opened in Rwanda, it has continuously been referred to as the best museum in East Africa. The Museum has 7 galleries with objects grouped according to the themes that showcase ethnographic, historical (how Rwanda was like before colonization), artistic and Archeological artifacts. The museum is meant to tell a story on the social and the cultural aspects of Rwanda, artifacts and symbols of Rwanda’s culture and heritage which include “Kagondo hut”, “Isinde” among others.
- Akagera National Park
This National Park is located in the Northeastern part of Rwanda at the border with Tanzania. It covers an area of about 1,122 square kilometers. It is located around 135 km from Kigali town (2 hours 30 minutes away). The fascinating attractions that are worth visiting in this park include a network of lakes including Lake Ihema. This savanna park is widely known for game viewing because of the variety of wildlife species which include Savanna elephants, buffaloes, antelope species for example waterbucks, topi, Oribis, roan antelope, elands among others. The zebras, giraffes, leopards and spotted hyenas are also spotted in this marvelous National Park. Also, more than 525 species of birds have been recorded in this Park and they include the shoebill stork, over 44 species of raptor, Albertine Rift endemic species like Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco among others. For your enjoyable and life refreshing game drives, visit the Akagera National Park and unleash your excitement.
- Akagera National Park
Rwandan Lakes (Lake Kivu, twin lakes or Burera and Ruhondo, Lake Muhazi. Lake Ihema and Lake Mugesera):
Several lakes exist in Rwanda and tourists can enjoy the scenic and serene views of these marvelous Lakes. They include Lake Kivu (largest fresh water lake in Rwanda). Its outstanding Inland body of water together with the beach offers the best relaxation time for tourists. Water sports including canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing take place while at this Lake. The twin lakes of Rwanda (Lake Ruhondo and Burera) are also worth visiting when in Rwanda. Activities like canoeing, birding, boating and fishing are conducted in these twin lakes. Lake Muhazi (one-and-a-half-hour drive from Kigali) offers another favorable option of lakes in Rwanda. There are Jambo and Rwesero beaches at this Lake. With more than 30 species of birds recorded in this Lake, it offers an interesting bird watching time to tourists. Other activities include Boating, fishing and camping.
In conclusion, Rwanda is a country that is blessed with fascinating attractions ranging from the natural attractions (mountain gorillas, chimpanzees) to the man-made attractions (museums) which create the interest for tourists to visit the country. Friendly Gorillas Safaris is dedicated to providing you with the best destination information so that you can plan well for your tour.