Rwanda Tourist Destinations You Absolutely Must Visit

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  1. KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL

The genocide memorial is the resting place of over 25,000 remains of the people during the genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda in 1994. The site was inaugurated in 2004 and there is a student centre and space for those in need to know the events leading up to the genocide in 1994. The genocide in Gisozi Kigali has been established to tell the history of the Rwanda and the Rwandan citizens in 1994. On your visit to the genocide site you will really be touched how the Rwandans were treated during the course, you will also see the burial graves and stories of forgiveness and restoration. This is not a place to miss while visiting Kigali Rwanda.

  1. VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Volcanoes National Park is the only national park which harbors the rare Mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys in Rwanda. The park is located in the north western Rwanda covering an area 160 km² rainforest. It is one of the national parks in the virunga region including the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in DRC Congo. The three national parks contain over 604 rare mountain Gorillas out of the 1,063 Gorillas in the world (over 459 rare Mountain Gorillas are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). Volcanoes National Park encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo.

Given the fact that the park hosts the rare Mountain Gorillas and Golden monkey, Gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking are the main tourism activities in this national park. To add on, there is also volcanic mountain hiking on Bisoke and Karasimbi, Iby Iwacu cultural experience and community visits

Volcanoes national park has over 10 gorilla groups which can be visited by the clients and they include Susa, Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda and Muhoza.

  1. NYNUGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the south western Rwanda hugging the Burundian border. It is characterized by the mountain forest and it is known for its Chimpanzees. The park hosts 85 mammals species where 13 species are primates including the chimpanzees, Blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Owl-faced monkey, Golden monkey, Red-tailed monkey, crowned monkey, Dentis Mona Monkey, Velvet monkey, Olive baboon, Grey checked mangabey and Angolan colobus money. There are also over 275 species of birds, and 1068 plant species.

With about 400 chimpanzee individuals, Nyungwe Forest National Park is known for Chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda and also there is Canopy walk on  raised bridge which 70m high on the trees and 160m long bridge. Do not miss the water fall hike and visiting the tea plantations in the neighboring communities.

  1. AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

Akagera National Park is the only savannah national park in Rwanda and one of the nearest national parks from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The park covers 1,122km² and this is where you can spot the BIG 5 (Lions, Leopard, elephants, buffaloes and Rhino) and many other animals’ species including antelope, impala, hippos, crocodiles and over 500 bird species. The park is located in the eastern parts of the country hugging the Tanzanian border.  It’s characterized by woodland, swamps, low mountains, savannah and Lake Ihema is home to hippos and crocodiles.

You can do the half or full day game drives in search of the BIG 5 while visiting Akagera national park, Boat cruise on Lake Ihema, nature walks and community visits are also outstanding.

  1. LAKE KIVU

This is one of the Africa’s great and fresh water lakes located on the border of DRC Congo and Rwanda in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It is about 200km from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda costing about 4 hours drive.  It is also known for its neighboring towns of Gisenyi and Kibuye located on its shores. Lake Kivu was formed as result of volcanic activity about 1-5 million years ago. It empties its water to River Ruziz which flows southwards to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.

The Lake has Water volume of 500 km3 (120 cu mi), 480 m (1,575 ft)‎ deep, average depth stands at 240 m (787 ft) and it has a Surface area of 2,700 km2 (1‎,040 sq mi)‎.

The common tourism activities at Lake Kivu include Kayaking and Water Sports, Boat Cruises, sport Fishing, Island Hopping and Coffee tour, Mountain Biking and Hiking, and Birding or bird watching.

  1. DIAN FOSSEY TOMB

Dian fossey is still remembered for her tireless effort to conserve the rare Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The Dian Fossey tomb is located on north western Rwanda in the district of Burera, Musanze, Rubavu and Nyabihu. So it is in between Mountain Bisoke and Karasimbi in Rwanda. Dian fossey dedicated her time to study and discover the Mountain Gorillas and there were only 250 Mountain Gorillas in around 1985 and that is why she is widely known researcher on the rare Mountain Gorillas.

The last writing found on the book in her cabin read “when you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future.”

When time went on, her skull was found split into two by the machetes and it said this was one of the tools used by the poachers she had fought with for years to protect the rare Mountain Gorillas. So the poachers killed her so that they can easily find ways of poaching in Volcanoes National Park.

She had many Gorilla friends and today she was buried next to her dead gorilla friends which were killed by the very poachers who killed her. After her death, memorial services were held in Washington D.C, New York, and California. The cabins in which she and her staff lived do not exist anymore except for a few bare foundations, overgrown with weeds.