Rwanda, also popularly known as the land of a thousand hills, is blessed with a number of tourist attractions, thus explaining why Rwanda is today a number one leading tourism destination in east Africa.
Rwanda has favorable climatic conditions as well as hospitable people that are very welcoming and freely interact with all tourists.
For any one planning a trip to Rwanda, below are the major tourist activities one can engage in while on a trip to Rwanda.
Rwanda has these unique endangered species in Volcanoes National Park located 2-3 hours drive from Kigali International Airport. The park has half of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga area with 10-habituated gorilla families each headed by a dominant silverback. These live in the dense forested gentle slopes of Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains and are only tracked by 8 tourists a day. A popular attraction are the gorilla safaris in Rwanda- standing out as the country's highest foregin exchange earner.
Wildlife Safaris In Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park is not only blessed with the rare mountain gorillas but also other unique wildlife species like primates- monkeys, birds, butterflies, enabling a tourist to engage in various tourist activities like golden monkey trekking, birding, nature walks, a visit to the Dian Fossey research center and her grave, community walks or hikes to any of the two volcanic mountains in the park- Karisimbi and Bisoke.
A Visit To Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe forest national park has one of the largest and oldest equatorial rain forests in east and central Africa with a number of wildlife species that include over 1000 plant species, about 2500 bird species, many reptiles, amphibians and a number of primates that include the l’hoest monkey, colobus monkeys, owl faced monkeys and chimpanzees.
Nyungwe forest is most famous for chimpanzee trekking and has well developed trails that enable tourists to fully discover all the wildlife species the forest has to offer. Nyungwe forest also has a well-developed canopy walkway that gives clear views of the forest’s top layers.
Tourists to Nyungwe forest can engage in various activities that include chimpanzee tracking, forest and canopy walks.
Akagera National Park Expeditions
Akagera national park is located in the eastern part of Rwanda and it stretches towards the Rwandan border with Tanzania. The park is a typical example of true African wilderness with various vegetation types, especially savanna grasslands, animals like zebras, lions, buffaloes, hippos, unique bird species like the grey crowned crane, giraffes, leopards, waterbucks and many others co-exist.
Tourists to Akagera can engage in various tourist activities like game drives, water trips along the Akagera river to view water dwellers like hippos, birding, nature walks, sport fishing and community visits to discover more about the people in this beautiful land.
Swimming In Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is located in the western part of Rwanda, it’s the largest water body in Rwanda and it is hippo, crocodile and bilharzia free, making it the best lake for swimming.
The lake has beautiful sand beaches along the shoreline where one can relax while sunbathing after a swim. Lake Kivu has a number of islands but the most visited are Amahoro and Napoleon Island that have some of the best scenic views of the terraced gently sloping highlands. No wonder Rwanda is called the land of a thousand hills. Tourist activities around lake Kivu include swimming, sun bathing, water trips, coffee plantation visits especially to the Amahoro Island, sport fishing, beach rides and many others.
Visiting Dark Tourism Sites- Rwanda Genocide Memorial
Rwanda has some of the darkest tourism sites on the continent due to the Rwandese genocide that happened in the country about 2 decades ago. The genocide reached its climax in 1994 when thousands of Rwandese were killed mercilessly. The massacres took place in different parts of Rwanda and most people irrespective of their age were killed.
Many were killed in churches where they had taken refuge, others in schools while others were killed randomly and buried in mass graves. Rwanda development board in conjunction with other non-governmental organizations set up a number of genocide memorials where millions were killed as a way of commemorating them. The touching genocide memorials include Murambi genocide memorial, Nyamata and Ntarama church genocide memorials with pilings of human skeletons, displays of dead bodies, blood stained clothes pilings and some of the personal belongings of some of the people who were killed.
Overall, Rwanda is a very impressive and rewarding tourist destination, where one can enjoy a lot from having lifetime experiences like gorilla tracking to interacting with people and learning more about the unique wildlife species the country has to offer.