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What To Do And See In Rwanda – Rwanda’s Top Tourist Attractions
Rwanda is a landlocked country located in east-central Africa. The country is mostly covered by rugged hills and deep valleys, with the highest point being Karisimbi ((14,187 ft; 4,324 m) in the Virunga Mountains. Although known for its horrific history of genocide, Rwanda is a country beautiful, with wonderful people, amazing lakes, mountains, a wonderful climate, good roads, a good standard of living with cheap things ranging from food to accommodation and many things. Rwanda is a small country and almost all its attractions of nice places are close to each other.Tourists are fond of the following places in Rwanda.
1. Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains
Gorillas in these mountains are shared with countries like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These three countries share the world’s few remaining gorillas. People frequent the Parc National Des Volcans to track down these humble giants that have endured civil and world wars. People come from all over the world to spend an hour with these great apes. Looking through the eyes of these humble giants (Gorillas), gives you a feeling that triggers a question in your mind that says “Why, why, why, don’t we protect” they are truly exciting. Gorillas are herbivores that live in groups and like humans there is always a dominant male, who is the silverback and is the head of the family. To track gorillas in Rwanda you need at least 2 days and tracking gorillas in Rwanda is not as difficult as it is in Uganda. A gorilla permit that allows you to track gorillas in Rwanda costs USD 750 and is usually limited to a certain date.
2. Genocide memorial
Rwanda has genocide memorials – one is the Ntarama church located about 5 km down a fork on the right branching off the Nyamata road approximately 20 km outside of Kigali. This church is left empty as it was after the bodies were removed with remnants of personal items such as clothes on the floor. Next to this church is a building where other people seeking safety were massacred. The other church is precisely in Nyamata, 30 km from Kigali, which was a site of a terrible massacre. The bodies were removed although bloodstains remain on the walls. A courtyard was opened outside the underground room and the skulls of many victims are being displayed there. While visiting this memorial, you will be asked to sign a visitor’s book from which you can recognize many names of people who are well known.
3. Kabgayi Church Museum
3 km from Gitarama along Butare road lies the massive cathedral of Kabgayi. This is the oldest in the country dating back to 1925. This was the first site of the Catholic bishop’s residence. With a large size and a quiet interior, the church is worth a visit and has a small museum besides it.
4. Akagera National Park
Named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern border, Akagera NP is warm and low-lying with rolling plains that support a dense broadleaf tree cover of acacia forests and grasslands.
The park is home to over 20 species of mammals. The eastern side is humid and is known to house almost the largest number of hippos is Africa. Other animals to be seen in the lakes on the eastern side are crocodiles, lions, leopards and black rhinos which are present in small numbers. You can go for boat trips in Ihema Lake to see some of these animals. For birders this is another paradise on earth, the bird life is exceptional: not only rarities that will have passionate bird watchers ecstatic, but also the most awe-inspiring concentration of large waterfowl in Africa. A visit to this park is truly rewarding
5. Nyungwe Forest
It is a mountain forest that is extremely rich in biodiversity with 75 species of mammals, 120 butterflies, 275 birds and over 100 species of orchids. The forest is renowned for its primates and chimpanzee tracking can be arranged at short notice and for a small fee. Other primates in this forest include several other L’Hoest monkeys. The roads into the forest are good and there are excellent rental houses and campsites to provide you with the necessary services while you are in the forest. A nature walk through this forest can be truly rewarding.
6. Cave of Musanze
Musanze is believed to have been built by a local king and to have been used as a refuge in several stories, while during the 1994 Massacre it was used as a killing ground and recently the site is still littered with human remains. Musanze, the present Bat colony is located in Ruhengeri 2 km from Gisenyi road. It has a grand entrance like a cathedral. The entrance is lined with black marked volcanic rubble and on the opposite side lies a natural bridge formed by a lava flow from one of the Virunga mountains.
7. Hotel des Milles colline;
A hotel in Kigali that is attracting people’s attention recently because of the movie “Hotel Rwanda” and its contribution to Rwanda. The hotel is known to have sheltered and sheltered over 1,268 people under the management of Paul Rusesabagina. Paul took over the management of this hotel a few days after the genocide began and it was as if the European managers had flown away. Paul and his wife bribed the Hutu Interahamwe militia with money and alcohol to keep them from killing the refugees.
8. Rusumo waterfall
The waterfall is located in the eastern part of Rwanda on the border with Tanzania. It is an amazing and spectacular waterfall that is part of the distant headwaters of the Nile River. It’s not worth missing when you cross the Rwandan border with Tanzania.
9. National Museum,
It is located in Butare town in Huye and is known as the biggest tourist attraction in Butare. The museum is known to have perhaps the best ethnographic collection in all of East Africa. It has spacious rooms that allow the exhibits to be appreciated and enjoyed. The exhibitions provide information not only on the pre-colonial history, but also on the development process of the country (Rwanda) up to its modernity today. At the museum you can arrange for Ntore dancers to entertain you in traditional Rwandan dances.
10. Lake Kivu
Located on the Albertine Rift and apart from the Great Rift Valley, Kivu is a large freshwater reservoir that marks the western border with DR Congo. This lake is a tourist center with fresh waters safe for swimming. There are beautiful beaches with wonderful scenery and the sunset is usually breathtaking. You can spend a weekend on one of the beaches.
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