Located at Rwanda’s geographical heart, the rapidly growing and clean city of Kigali is not only the national capital, but also the country’s most important business centre and main point of entry. Serviced by an efficient international airport and connected to neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi by surfaced roads, Kigali City boasts a range of hotels catering to all tastes and budgets, and an assortment of fine restaurants whose menus reflect a variety of both traditional and international cuisines.
Huye (former Butare) was the largest and most important city in Rwanda prior to 1965 when the more centrally located Kigali 135km to its north, became the capital of independent Rwanda. Today as the site of the country’s largest university, the National University of Rwanda, home of the National Museum of Rwanda, and a main stopover point en route to the nearby Nyanza Royal Palace, Huye is regarded as the intellectual and cultural pulse of Rwanda. It is also an attractively compact and sedate town with shady avenues emanating from a main street lined with comfortable small hotels and breezy terrace restaurants.
Three resort towns Rubavu, Karongi and Rusizi sit along the littoral of Lake Kivu at the western edge of the country. Gisenyi is the most developed of the three and lays less than an hour’s drive from Volcanoes National Park.
It is set on a sandy beach lined with swaying palms, modern and colonial-era hotels that exude an atmosphere of tropical languor. Tourists enjoy leisurely strolls along the main beach ; local cuisine overlooking the water and delicious freshly caught fish and evening bonfires at the Paradise Malahide hotel ; and volleyball games and water sports, or for those in need of relaxation, a private massage all on the beach of the Lake Kivu Serena. Munezero, a luxury tourist boat can be boarded in Gisenyi to guide tourists along Lake Kivu’s shores.
One of the largest cities in Rwanda, Musanze is a bustling city hosting almost all tourists visiting the world famous mountain gorillas. Musanze has long been the base point for gorilla visits and is cradled against a stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes.