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Discovering the Best of Rwanda: Top 10 Must-Do Activities and Attractions

Photo things to do in rwanda

Rwanda, located in East Africa, is a country that offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and incredible wildlife. From gorilla trekking to exploring the country’s history and sampling local cuisine, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country.

Experiencing Rwanda’s unique offerings is not only a treat for travelers but also an important way to support the country’s tourism industry and conservation efforts. By visiting Rwanda, travelers can contribute to the local economy and help preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage for future generations.

Key Takeaways

  • Gorilla trekking offers a unique and unforgettable experience in Rwanda’s lush forests.
  • Exploring Rwanda’s cultural heritage provides insight into the country’s rich history and traditions.
  • Hiking to the summit of Mount Bisoke offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Visiting the Genocide Memorial in Kigali is a sobering reminder of Rwanda’s tragic past.
  • Wildlife safaris in Akagera National Park allow for up-close encounters with a variety of animals.

Gorilla Trekking: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

One of the highlights of visiting Rwanda is the opportunity to go gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows visitors to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The trek involves hiking through dense forests, following expert guides who track the gorillas’ movements.

Gorilla trekking is not only an incredible adventure but also plays a crucial role in conservation efforts. The revenue generated from permits helps fund conservation projects and supports local communities living near the national park. It also raises awareness about the importance of protecting these endangered species.

To plan a gorilla trek, it is recommended to book permits well in advance, as they are limited and in high demand. It is also important to be physically fit and prepared for the challenging terrain. Hiring a porter is highly recommended, as they can assist with carrying equipment and provide valuable support during the trek.

Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Rwanda

Rwanda has a rich history and vibrant culture that is worth exploring during your visit. The country is known for its traditional dance and music performances, which showcase the diversity and beauty of Rwandan culture. These performances often take place at cultural centers or during community celebrations and provide a unique insight into the local way of life.

There are also several must-visit cultural sites in Rwanda, such as the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, which offers a glimpse into the country’s monarchy and traditional governance system. The National Museum of Rwanda in Huye is another important cultural institution that houses exhibits on Rwandan history, art, and culture.

Visiting these cultural sites and experiencing traditional performances is not only a way to appreciate Rwanda’s heritage but also a way to support local artisans and performers. Purchasing handmade crafts and souvenirs directly from local communities helps generate income and supports sustainable tourism.

Hiking to the Summit of Mount Bisoke

Metrics Details
Mountain Name Mount Bisoke
Location Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Height 3,711 meters (12,175 feet)
Difficulty Level Moderate to Difficult
Distance Approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) round trip
Duration 6-7 hours round trip
Best Time to Hike Dry season (June to September, December to February)
Permit Required Yes, from Rwanda Development Board
Wildlife Golden monkeys, gorillas, various bird species

For adventure enthusiasts, hiking to the summit of Mount Bisoke is a must-do activity in Rwanda. This dormant volcano is located in Volcanoes National Park and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The hike takes approximately six hours round trip and involves traversing through bamboo forests and steep terrain.

Reaching the summit of Mount Bisoke is a rewarding experience, as it provides panoramic views of the Virunga Mountains and the crater lake at the top. It is important to be prepared for the hike by wearing appropriate hiking gear, carrying enough water and snacks, and being physically fit.

Visiting the Genocide Memorial in Kigali

Understanding Rwanda’s history is an essential part of any visit to the country. The Genocide Memorial in Kigali provides a sobering reminder of the 1994 genocide that took place in Rwanda, where an estimated 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days. The memorial serves as a tribute to the victims and aims to educate visitors about the atrocities that occurred.

Visiting the Genocide Memorial can be an emotionally challenging experience, but it is an important step towards reconciliation and understanding. It allows visitors to learn about the causes and consequences of the genocide and to reflect on the importance of promoting peace and unity.

Wildlife Safaris in Akagera National Park

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to Akagera National Park is a must. This national park is home to a wide variety of animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and hippos. It offers a unique opportunity to go on game drives and spot these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

Safari options in Akagera National Park include guided game drives, boat safaris on Lake Ihema, and walking safaris. These experiences allow visitors to get up close to the wildlife and learn about the importance of conservation efforts in protecting these species.

Relaxing on Lake Kivu’s Beaches

Lake Kivu, located in western Rwanda, is the perfect destination for those looking to relax and unwind. The lake is surrounded by beautiful beaches that offer stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking on the shores of Lake Kivu.

Some of the best beaches to visit include Gisenyi Beach, which is known for its golden sand and clear waters, and Rubavu Beach, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and nearby volcanoes. Water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and boat tours are also available for those seeking a more adventurous experience.

Discovering Rwanda’s Coffee Plantations

Rwanda is known for its high-quality coffee, and visiting coffee plantations is a great way to learn about the country’s coffee industry and sample different types of coffee. The lush hills of Rwanda provide the perfect conditions for growing coffee beans, and many farmers have embraced sustainable farming practices.

During a visit to a coffee plantation, visitors can learn about the coffee production process from bean to cup. They can participate in activities such as picking coffee cherries, processing the beans, and roasting them. It is also an opportunity to support local farmers by purchasing coffee directly from them.

Canopy Walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a biodiverse paradise located in southwestern Rwanda. One of the highlights of visiting this national park is the canopy walk, which is the only one of its kind in East Africa. The walkway is suspended between giant trees and offers a unique perspective of the forest canopy.

In addition to the canopy walk, Nyungwe Forest National Park offers a range of other activities, such as guided hikes to see chimpanzees and other primates, birdwatching, and nature walks. The park is home to over 300 bird species and 13 primate species, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Cycling Tours Through Rural Rwanda

Cycling tours are a popular way to explore rural Rwanda and experience the country’s natural beauty and culture up close. There are several routes and destinations to choose from, ranging from leisurely rides through tea plantations to more challenging mountain biking adventures.

Cycling tours often include stops at local villages, where visitors can interact with the community and learn about traditional farming practices. It is an opportunity to experience rural life and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs of living in rural Rwanda.

Sampling Local Cuisine and Craft Beer

No visit to Rwanda is complete without sampling the local cuisine and craft beer. Rwandan cuisine is known for its simplicity and use of fresh ingredients. Must-try dishes include brochettes (grilled meat skewers), ugali (a staple made from maize flour), and ibitoke (plantains). Rwandan craft beer has also gained popularity in recent years, with several breweries producing unique and flavorful beers.

Some of the best places to sample local cuisine and craft beer include restaurants in Kigali, such as Heaven Restaurant and Pili Pili. These establishments not only offer delicious food and drinks but also support local farmers and artisans by sourcing their ingredients locally.

Rwanda is a country that offers a wealth of unique experiences for travelers. From gorilla trekking to exploring the country’s cultural heritage, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country. By visiting Rwanda, travelers not only have the opportunity to create lifelong memories but also support the local economy and contribute to conservation efforts.

Whether it’s hiking to the summit of Mount Bisoke, visiting the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, or relaxing on the beaches of Lake Kivu, Rwanda has something to offer every type of traveler. The country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture make it a destination that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty and warmth of Rwanda.


What is Rwanda?

Rwanda is a small country located in East Africa, bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What are some popular tourist attractions in Rwanda?

Some popular tourist attractions in Rwanda include the Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Kigali Genocide Memorial, and Akagera National Park.

What is the best time to visit Rwanda?

The best time to visit Rwanda is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During this time, the weather is mild and there is less rainfall, making it easier to explore the country.

What is the currency used in Rwanda?

The currency used in Rwanda is the Rwandan franc (RWF).

What languages are spoken in Rwanda?

The official languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French, and English.

What is the culture of Rwanda like?

Rwanda has a rich cultural heritage, with traditional dance, music, and art playing an important role in daily life. The country is also known for its unique cuisine, which includes dishes like ugali (a type of cornmeal porridge) and brochettes (grilled meat skewers).

Is Rwanda safe for tourists?

Rwanda is generally considered a safe country for tourists, with a low crime rate and a stable political environment. However, visitors should still exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings, especially when traveling alone or at night.