Rwanda is an African republic with a population that predominantly speaks Kinyarwanda although a growing number of its people are also conversant in French and English. In any case, having an expert and multilingual tour guide can smooth any communication barrier you may encounter during your travels. Rwanda is the place to be if you want to explore the most spectacular hidden treasures, both natural and manmade, of Africa. For those visiting the country, make sure your tour includes stopovers at the places listed below.
The National Museum of Rwanda
When African tourism is mentioned, most people tend to think about wildlife and safaris. Be that as it may, natural wonders are not the only thing to see in this expansive continent. In Rwanda, in particular, visitors are sure to enjoy dropping by at the National Museum of Rwanda, which was completed in the 1980’s. The museum enables both locals and tourists to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultural and political evolution that the county had undergone. Interestingly enough – in a morbid kind of way – the museum also serves as the tragic site of the Rwandan Genocide, which involves the slaying of Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda among others.
The Akagera Park
As long as you don’t visit the park during rainy season, then there’s much to explore and love in this place. The Akagera Park is nature at its rawest and finest, with a savannah sprawling across 2,500 square kilometres of land. It offers a labyrinth of acacias, an isolated and idyllic Akagera River – the most remotely located source of the majestic Nile River – and lots and lots of wild animals that you normally see roaming behind zoo bars. If you stay long enough, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of hyenas, leopards, elephants, and lions.
Up next is Kigali, which is Rwanda’s capital and busiest city. It’s a place where urban luxuries and natural splendor meet, allowing locals and tourists to feel like they’re living amidst paradise set in modern times. Beautiful low rise buildings pierce the sky while verdant hills roll gently in the background. The city’s Muslim quarter is serene and picturesque while downtown, the night comes alive with the streets lined with souvenir stalls, craft booths, and other stores.
Lastly, there’s Butare, which used to be the busiest and most prominent city in the country until Kigali replaced it in the mid 1960’s. Butare is the country’s academic hub, serving as home to numerous schools as well as Rwanda’s largest university. Besides the aforementioned National Museum, the city also offers the Royal Palace of Nyabisindu (Nyanza), which used to be the official seat of the country’s feudal monarchy.