The Republic of Rwanda; its mountains, savannahs, and lakes. Its drums and Intore dance. Its giraffes, gorillas, and elephants. All of these coalesce to make for a memorable visit. Rwanda is home to 11 million people and is visited by approximately half a million tourists each year.
A visit to Rwanda would be incomplete without these unique experiences:
1. Gorilla Trekking
Experiencing gorillas from an arm’s length away is one of Rwanda’s tourist “must-do”s. Dian Fossey and “Gorillas in the Mist” (both the book and the movie) gave the Rwandan gorillas their rise to fame.
In the Volcanoes National Park, visitors can hike to visit gorilla families, as well as golden monkeys.
2. Lake Kivu
One of the African Great Lakes, Lake Kivu is a freshwater lake with turquoise waters that sits on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Eat African Rift. It is clean, safe, relaxing, and impeccably beautiful.
When visiting Gisenyi, a town of 106,000 on the shores of Lake Kivu, make sure to try some fresh Sambaza, a local delicacy of fried sardines.
3. Kigali Memorial Centre
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda has shaped the nation and its people, and to truly understand its impact, tourists must visit this moving, thought-provoking tribute.
A lesson in forgiveness and an example of hope, the audio tour inside the building and the surrounding gardens are a fascinating perspective into heart wrenching pain from which a great new nation rose.
4. Inema Art Center
Founded to spur creativity for personal, social, and economic growth, this unique place is home to 10 artists-in-residence who produce paintings, sculptures, and mixed media expressions of contemporary African art. The Center works with orphans, offering them an opportunity to discover and use their artistic talent.
5. National Parks
In addition to Volcanoes National Park (for the gorillas and golden monkeys), visitors to Rwanda should make it a point to visit the following national parks:
- Virunga National Park, where visitors can see more gorillas, Lake Kivu, local villages and plantations
- Akagera National Park, where elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, zebras, baboons, waterbucks, impala, and more abound
- Nyungwe National Park, to explore the rainforest and see waterfalls, a canopy suspension bridge, birds, and primates
A visit to Rwanda is not just about the gorillas (though a third of the world’s mountain gorilla population is within Volcanoes National Park). Tourists to Rwanda can witness a plethora of wildlife, the ambitious rainforest canopy and national parks, world-class tea and coffee plantations, historical and art museums, and much more.
The gorillas may draw you in, but you will fall in love with Rwanda for its natural wonders, cultural diversity, and myriad adventures.
To learn more about Rwanda and the online and mobile payment services available there, check out the useful information that can be found here.