Although Rwanda has struggled with the horrors of genocide in the not-so-distant past, the country has taken incredible strides to correct its image. You’ll find most of the population tolerant and forgiving, and eager to take back the tourism industry. Here you can track rare mountain gorillas, or explore ancient volcanoes. Tanzania’s landscape is as unique as its people and is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills.
Places to Visit in Rwanda
- Parc National des Volcans
- Akagera National Park
- Nyungwe Forest
- Lake Kivu
- Butare (the capital city)
- Genocide Memorial Center
- Gisenyi market town
Unique Things to See and Do in Rwanda
- Track the rare mountain gorillas with an experienced guide
- Drink Rwanda’s famous coffee
- See the world’s biggest (and oldest) crocodile
- Embark on a wildlife-viewing safari
- Climb the Virunga Volcanoes
- Watch a performance of the Rwanda National Ballet
- Visit the Muslim town of Kigali
- Relax at a lakeside resort in Kibuye
- Learn about colonial history in Kampala
Rwanda, like other countries in Africa, has some long-lasting traditions involving music and dance. Celebration dances include a great deal of drums – sometimes even nine of them! It works like an orchestra: a small drum is a soprano, there’s a tenor, two baritones, etc. Even young school children get involved, singing while carrying woven peace baskets meant to signify the peace established between warring ethnic groups after the 1994 genocide. In addition to traditional church and gospel hymns, Rwandans also love their folk songs.
When it comes to dance, you’ve got to see the Intore Dance Troupe – one of the oldest in the country. Intore means “the Chosen Ones”, referring to those performers who appeared at the court of the Rwandan king. You can see them perform at the National Museum in Butare.
The language spoken in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda, but English, French, and Swahili are also widely spoken. Many migrants returned home after the violence ended in 1994, so you’ll find many Rwandans speak English or French fluently. However, Rwandans get excited when you attempt to use their mother tongue, so try out a “muraho” (good day) on your visit!
Most Rwandans are Christian Catholics, but many still also hold to their traditional beliefs focusing on a supreme being known as the Imana. Even Christians will often ask for Imana’s blessings.
Meals in Rwanda often include bean, veggie, or meat stews served with a type of porridge. Goat kebabs and grilled tilapia fish are also must-try local dishes.
Getting Around Rwanda
One of the best ways to begin your journey in Rwanda is to land at the Entebbe Airport to see the source of the Nile. Otherwise, most urban centres are tightly compact, so you can get around on foot or by hiring a moto-taxi.
Did you know…?
Rwanda has a large number of mountain gorillas — now an endangered species.
Did you ALSO know…?
Uganda is the source of the mighty Nile River!
Best Time of Year to Travel to Rwanda
Compared to its neighbouring countries, Rwanda is relatively cool throughout the year. The average daily temperature in Kigali, for example, is 21 degrees Celsius. You may want to avoid the long rainy season, which lasts from about March to May. There’s little reprieve from the rain during this time! June to September is a good time to visit, as this is considered the dry season.
Ready to plan your visit to Rwanda? Check out these popular guides and trips.