Beautiful and attractive! This is what first comes to one’s mind when they first set foot in the land of a thousand hills.
The colorful culture of Rwanda speaks volumes of what lies underneath its beautiful landscape which is endowed with a culture of great diversity.
Rwanda is a country filled with beautiful hills, springs, cultural sites, wildlife and many others. Sunday Times’ Donah Mbabazi looks at some of the places that not only preserve the beauty of Rwanda, but also hold and tenderly conserve her bitter past.
National Museum of Rwanda
The richness of a country’s heritage is very vital as it contains aspects that identify people in any nation. Rwanda as it is has a rich history that dates back to the Kingdoms, colonial and post-colonial times ; this is well displayed in the various museums. They include : The Natural History Museum-Kigali, the Ethnographic Museum in Huye, Presidential Palace – Kanombe in Kigali, King’s Palace Museum – Rukari in Nyanza, Environmental Museum in Karongi and the National Art Gallery – Rwesero in Nyanza.
Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre
Speaking of places that best preserve Rwanda’s history including its bitter past, Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre is one of the places to visit. It’s an impressive yet very sad place that graphically talks a lot of Rwanda’s bitter past.
One may have read all stories and maybe watched documentaries about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which over one million people were massacred, but it is a entirely different story when one confronts the reality of the genocide when you visit the Genocide memorial site.
Through the beautiful and extensive gardens, to the quiet memorial building with walls covered with hundreds of thousands of names of people whose remains were laid to rest at the site, indeed Gisozi is a place that deserves an essential visit for better understanding of the history of Rwanda and to appreciate how far the country has come.
The Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo
These are places that have a similar past because they all happened as a result of the volcanoes that are located in the northern part of Rwanda. The Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo are located in the districts of Burera and Musanze.
When you reach those lakes you get to see the volcanoes of Muhabura, Bisoke and Gahinga . And on the side of Burera, one can get to see some mountains in Uganda for example in the areas of Kisoro.
Jesus’s House of Mercy in Ruhango (Murugo rwa Yezu Nyirimpuhwe)
It’s a holy place full of wonders and miracles where thousands of people converge every first Sunday of the month. There has been a record of many miraculous events from this holy place and for this reason, Ruhango became a holy and miraculous place for the Holy Sacrament and attracts different kinds of people from around the world.
Natural Hot Springs
Locally known as Amashyuza, they are located in Kivu, Rubavu District. The waters come out of the ground naturally hot and sometimes even boiling.
These waters are one of the prides of the district ; the hot springs are also considered as having healing powers by local residents who believe they heal various diseases.
Those who get a chance to visit do have fun by boiling and eating certain foods such as Irish and sweet potatoes plus bananas.
In the Eastern province, about 10 kilometers beyond Kayonza lies one of Rwanda’s most beautiful sights, Lake Muhazi. Its biggest attraction is the one and only Jambo Beach which is also very popular with tourists.
The place has relaxing scenery to enjoy a quiet and serene afternoon. One can also term it as an escape site from the noise and traffic of Kigali.
The Hill of Makwaza
Makwaza is a small hill located in Gisagara district. During the reign of King Ndahiro II Cyamatare, many cultural events were held there.
It holds a lot of history and value and that’s why residents who live around are reported to have requested the government to help in renovating the place to be more of an attractive so that tourists continue to visit.
Akagera National Park
The park is located in the north east of Rwanda and it is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary.
It is known for its richness with a variety of wild species such as antelopes, elephants zebras, giraffes, hippopotamus and so much more in the park. And with the lions that were recently reintroduced, Akagera is one place that demands for a visit.
Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains
This is one of the most beautiful places one can ever go to and also get a chance to interact with nature. It is indeed the best place in Rwanda to tour, especially for people who love trekking.
These mountains have been talked about a lot but actually visiting and experiencing this incredible and mystifying place can be so much more than one can ever dream of.
Virunga National Park, home to the few remaining mountain gorillas, is situated there.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of Rwanda’s most beautiful parks with a variety of attractions. With a variety of birds and primate species spreading over 1000 square kilometers, the park is one of the most acclaimed biodiversity rain forests in Africa.
When you visit the park, from its location you are also able to see tea plantations, one of the things that exhibit the beauty of Rwanda.