Rwanda, popularly referred to as the land of a thousand hills, is a naturally revered country blessed with unique wildlife, fascinating attractions, and other tourism delights that make the country a paradise on earth.
Though landlocked, Rwanda has beautiful, diverse and fascinating cultures with a unique history as well as wonderful National Parks and other attractive adventure sights, which have made its tourism sector a major foreign earner and one of the most enchanting countries in East Africa.
With tourism in Rwanda going through a lot of transformation, the country has been able to turn around the story of its turbulent past to that of hope and renewal for a brighter future.
Over the last few years, tourism has been ranked as Rwanda’s first foreign currency earner and is expected to generate up to $360 million in revenue in 2022.
As tourism continues to put Rwanda on the global map, let’s get to know some of the most fascinating tourist sites in Rwanda that every visitor to the country needs to see to make their visit worthwhile.
The Volcanoes National Park
Rwanda has four national parks, one of which is the Volcanoes National park which has helped the country live up to its name as the land of the thousand hills as the park is blessed with mountains.
The Volcanoes National Park has the second highest population of mountain gorillas after Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest making it a delightful fun spot for lovers of Gorilla trekking.
It also houses golden monkeys and other mammals like hyenas, buffaloes, forest elephants and about 178 species of birds.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
Rwanda has come a long way from the historical massacre, which left many people dead, and as history cannot be erased, a museum in respect of that has been put in place for tourists to learn about the unfortunate event of the Rwandan genocide.
The Museum, which serves as a tourist attraction, relates the events of the 1994 genocide through artefacts, photographs, graphics and information.
The Museum puts the Rwanda genocide in context with exhibits of genocide from around the world and efforts by the international communities to end it.
The Memorial Museum, among other things, also highlights the plight of the youngest victims of the genocide by keeping their memories alive through oversized portraits of the children, some of whom were just infants when they were killed, and personal details about the victims, like their nicknames and favourite books.
While a visit to the genocide memorial might be emotionally tasking for most tourists due to the horrific tales behind it, a visit to the Museum is a form of identifying with the Rwandan people and their story as well as an avenue for getting the facts about the genocide which shaped the history of Rwanda.
For any tourist in Rwanda, Lake Kivu offers a good relaxation spot with its lively waterfront, sandy beach and amazing resorts, which definitely will make anyone’s stay funfilled.
Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest in Africa and also comes as one of the 20 largest lakes in the world.
Its plush shores and picturesque tropical vegetation boost its reputation as one of the most beautiful sites in Rwanda and a must-visit for any Tourist in the country.
And for lovers of water-related activities like swimming, canoeing, water skiing, windsurfing and others, Lake Kivu is a perfect choice.
The Iby’iwacu Cultural Village
The Cultural Village, also known as the Gorilla Guardian Village, is one of the cultural attractions that make Rwanda an amazing country to visit because, despite civilisation and the advent of technology, the Village was created to retain the cultures, traditions and heritages of the Rwandan people.
The Village combines all of Rwanda’s known cultural traditions, people and history into one place for display and a personal experience, allowing Tourists and visitors to see what life was like in a typical African village setting.
At the Village, Tourists get the chance to learn ancient skills like hunting and basket weaving among others, while also being presented with opportunities to purchase arts and crafts as souvenirs.
The Ethnographic Museum
This Museum comes with a lot of history and also presents beautiful collections of Rwandan history and culture.
The Museum was a gift from Belgium’s King Badouin in the late 1980s and now houses some of Africa’s finest ethnographic collections.
It was where Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda, wife to King Mutara III of Rwanda, was murdered alongside several others during the Rwandan genocide.
Formerly known as the National Museum of Rwanda, the Ethnographic museum is referred to as the Butare museum due to its location in Butare town, about 1km from the Kigali city centre, and it is the largest Museum in Rwanda.
It is an ideal place for tourists such as students, scientists and historians engaging in educative research and serves cultural entertainment purposes for other tourists.
This list is not exhaustive, as Rwanda still boasts several other exciting tourist sites which display the richness and importance of the country’s landscape.
The beauty of it all is that a visit to Rwanda presents Tourists with a memorable experience that brings to the fore the potential and richness of the African state.