Rwanda’s capital and largest city is Kigali, located in the centre of the country. Rwanda has unfortunately been remembered for its past, in particular the genocides which took place in 1994. Though this terrible period is now well behind the country it is not being forgotten and hence many of the things to see in Kigali, and in other cities, are memorials to what happened.
Kigali’s main attraction then is the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. The memorial is the site of where up to 250,000 people were buried in mass graves and there are exhibitions in the museum about what happened. Apart from this, Kigali hasn’t yet developed a really strong tourism market, though new international hotels are opening and tourism is on the up.
The third largest city of Rwanda, Butare, actually has a little more to see than the capital does. There is the National Museum of Rwanda, which tells of the country’s history, whilst just outside the city is another genocide memorial, called Gikongoro Genocide Memorial. Back in the city, Butare Market is a popular place to visit. This is where the locals do all of their shopping and is not tourist oriented, so hence no souvenirs on sale, but this makes the whole experience more authentic if you want to see how Rwandans live.
Volcanoes National Park
One of the top attractions in Rwanda is Volcanoes National Park. This park is where many Mountain Gorillas live, though it’s also known for its great scenery in the shape of volcanoes and rainforests. Gorilla visits are possible, though are limited in number each day, where tourists can get to spend an hour with the gorillas. Other things to do inside the park include climbing some of the five volcanoes situated here, camping, touring the lakes and caves, and visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey, whose life was portrayed in the film Gorillas in the Mist.
Other National Parks in Rwanda
Apart from Volcanoes, Rwanda has another two national parks, Akagera and Nyungwe. Nyungwe Forest National Park is particularly known for its wildlife and large areas of rainforest. There are 13 different primate species here, 85 mammal species and over 1000 plant species, making this a very diverse park.