Things To Do In Rwanda:
If you ever dreamed of tracking gorillas through misty slopes, once walked by Diane Fossey, Visit Rwanda. However, don’t forget that there is much else to see & do than gorillas.
Tour the colorful Kimironko Market in Kigali City
One of Kigali’s markets with many cloth vendors. It is good for an incredible afternoon of sightseeing. Check out Stalls filled with fruits, vegetables, and traditional arts and crafts, a unique souvenir for travelers. You can try bespoke clothing, from a selection of so many Kitenge African fabrics. In about an hour, you'll have a custom, made-to-measure shirt to wear and/or a one-of-a-kind souvenir to take home!). Make sure you try them on before leaving the market, just in case you need adjustments.
Visit Innema arts Centre In Kigali City
You may like to see traditional African crafts, portraits, paintings,s and media works depicting scenes of African life, and some of the best artwork in Rwanda. This gallery space is for different resident artists. Kigali is easier to locate, you could decide to follow the street address: KG 563 Street, Kacyiru Kigali. This is good for an afternoon visit. Time permitting, You could also explore the Niyo art gallery for cultural items and the Ivuka art center for more options.
Rwanda’s dark past but bright future tour - Listen to heartbreaking genocide stories at Nyamata Church
While Kigali City is one of the leading beautiful, clean African cities, 28 years back it was home to one of the most brutal genocides in the history of mankind. Some locals believe the world turned its back on Rwanda during its darkest days, learn more about this tragic chapter of its history by visiting the Nyamata & Ntarama genocide memorial churches. Nyamata Church is about 40 km off Kigali City.
Your guide will explain how this memorial marks the spot where 5000 people were tragically killed during the Genocide at Ntarama Church. Look out for clothes and even bones as evidence of lives lost remain in the church. Continue to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, a former church where 50,000 people were murdered. Your guide will discuss how the Tutsis sought refuge in churches, only for them to turn into death traps. You may need a day for this tour.
Visit Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi
This is Kigali’s Must visit for any new visitor to Rwanda. In the heart of the city, visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi. Learn how an estimated one million Rwandans were killed in nearly 100 days of genocide. At the memorial museum is where the remains of 250, 000 victims of the 1994 Genocide are buried. It has a cemetery, genocide exhibition section, a library & Cafe. A visit to this memorial center is not only an educational experience that will offer you a thorough insight into the country's painful past but also provides a truly moving experience – the tour takes two to four hours - It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide in 1994. After you could taste Rwanda’s coffee at the Museum cafe.
Have Lunch at Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali city
Pass by the Hotel des Mille Collines (where the 2004 movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ was filmed based on events relating to families that took shelter in this 5-star hotel during the genocide) in Kigali. Learn about the story of a hotel Manager - Paul Rusesabagina, who helped care for over 1200 refugees in this hotel during the 1994 genocide.
Experience a piece of this unique place at the hotel's weekly Culture Night, held every Friday. Just in case you get time, check out beautiful views of Kigali at Le panorama restaurant – on the top floor of this hotel.
Rwanda is a small beautiful country, if you’re looking for different scenery and escaping city life, head out of Kigali to the northwestern part of the country to lake Kivu in (Rubavu) a three-hour drive away on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Visit Lake Kivu for beer relaxation. Along the way, you’ll view the iconic Virunga volcanoes. You can do this in 2-day/ 1-night stays probably on a weekend.
Want to go safari, Akagera National Park is the only Savannah park in Rwanda and is home to several mammal species including Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Kobs, Zebras, Bushbucks, and Waterbucks. There are chances of spotting Lions, and Black Rhinos which have recently been introduced from South Africa. It’s possible to do a day trip or 2 days/1-night.
Active travelers, Nature lovers visit Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Every local you meet will tell you to go Gorilla trekking in Rwanda - however, this requires a gorilla permit of $1500 per person on top of transport and night accommodation, compared to Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National park) which is currently US$700 and Congo’s $400. You could do this in a 3day trip. While there have been special offers on gorilla permits in Rwanda, it requires some verifications including a condition that your visit must be booked to combine gorilla trekking with a safari in Akagera national park.
Learn about the history of Gorilla Conservation at Karisoke Research Centre & Ellen Des Generals Dian Fossey Fund center
Visit this research station and learn about the early works of celebrated Primatologist – Diane Fossey's wwork since early 1967. Dian Fossey carried out the scientific studies that were later recorded in her groundbreaking book, called "Gorillas in the Mist." Unfortunately, Diane Fossey’s life was cut short by unknown poachers who murdered her in 1985. She was buried at Karisoke alongside her beloved gorillas, including her famous favorite gorilla called a digit.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is Rwanda’s rich tropical forest home to chimpanzees and other endemic primates like Black and white colobus monkeys. Chimpanzee tracking and canopy walk are the main highlights. If you choose to go there, you would have a short stopover at the ethnographic museum of Rwanda, in Butare to learn more about the culture and history of the Rwandan people. In event that you choose to do gorilla trekking in Uganda, it’s considerably cheaper to combine chimpanzee tracking In Kibale forest with Gorillas in Bwindi and wildlife safari on a 5-day trip for example.
Meet Royal Long-Horned-Cows at Kings Palace Museum
Rwanda’s king’s palace museum is situated in Nyanza, Rwanda’s former royal capital. The king’s palace museum is a reconstruction of the traditional royal home, showcasing an excellent example of the grass-thatched, beehive-shaped dwellings that were once seen across the Nyanza region in the old days. Visitors can choose to meet the long-horned Inyambo cattle that are believed to be the direct descendants of all the king’s original herd.