The 10 best places to visit in Rwanda

 

South of the capital, Kigali, is the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, one of six sites commemorating the Rwandan genocide of 1994 where nearly one million Rwandans were killed within a 100 day period. The Nyamata site is based around a former church where people locked themselves in believing it to be safe, instead it is now remembered as the site of one of the countries single worst massacres.

10. Nyamata Genocide Memorial

 

In the north of the country within Volcanoes National Park is a 2 kilometre long network of ancient lava tubes running beneath the lush green jungle known as the Musanze Caves. Tourist friendly and only accessible with the help of a local guide the highlight of the cave system is witnessing the thousands of bats that call it home.

9. Musanze Caves

 

In the south of the country just north of the city of Butare is the National Museum of Rwanda, with it's most notable attraction the King's Palace. As well as the rebuilt King's Palace and the Royal Huts, the site is also home to the Long Horned Inyambo, a very striking animal with enormous horns that became revered by the local people.

8. King's Palace

 

In the centre of the country is the capital city, Kigali, the largest and most populated city in Rwanda. Described as boring by most guidebooks the city of Kigali is not a place many tourists venture, meaning those that do have an even better experience of a real place not catering for tourist frivolities. With no single attractions worth seeking out, Kigali is a place to meet real people that welcome the few newcomers with a genuine warmth that is becoming harder and harder to find in our busy world.

7. Kigali

 

In the west of the country bordering Lake Kivu is the city of Kibuye. Set among the rolling hills that line the edge of the lake, this small city offers visitors bustling market places as well empty beaches in what is one of Rwanda's most built up natural beauty spots.

6. Kibuye

 

In the extreme south west of the country bordering Burundi, covering an area of some 970 square kilometres (374 square miles) of protected land is the Nyungwe Forest National Park, considered the best preserved mountain rainforest in central Africa. This area of rainforest, grassland, swamps, bogs and mountain ranges holds a quarter of the primate species on the continent, the most famed of which are the colonies of Chimpanzees.

5. Nyungwe Forest National Park

 

In the east of the country bordering Tanzania is a 1,200 square kilometre (463 square mile) area of protected land known as Akagera National Park, named after the river that runs along it's eastern border. Made up of savannah, mountains and enormous swamp lands, the park is the largest area of protected wetlands in eastern-central Africa. Designed for the primary purpose of protecting the local wildlife, the park is today home to Africa's big five, rhino's, lions, elephant, leopard's and buffalo. 

4. Akagera National Park

 

In the west of the country in the East African Albertine Rift is Lake Kivu, one of Africa's great lakes. Surrounded by rolling hills for almost it's entire length, it's pretty much just a huge hole filled with water.

3. Lake Kivu

 

The endangered Mountain Gorilla can only be seen in the wild in Uganda, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic Of The Congo.

In Rwanda's Volcanoes Mountain National Park in the north of the country there is the opportunity to see these most incredible animals. With only a handful of visitor permits made available each day, at a cost of $1,500 each, visitor places are limited and sought after. Though I'm not a fan of dopey tourists queuing up to gawk at helpless animals for their own amusement, the money raised does at least go back into conserving these wonderful creatures and their habitat.

2. Mountain Gorillas

 

In the north west of the country covering an area of some 160 square kilometres (61 square miles) is the most incredible landscape within Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park. Covered in rainforest, the park is home to five of the eight volcanoes within the Virunga Mountains, and also home to the incredible and endangered Mountain Gorilla, as well as the even more endangered Golden Monkey, making not only a truly visually spectacular landscape, but a naturally significant one too.

1. Volcanoes National Park

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