SEEKING ADVENTURE, NATURE AND CULTURE? VISIT THE LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS IN AFRICA
If gorilla trekking is the first thought that sprang to mind, think again because there’s an abundance of adventures that await you in Rwanda. It’s a charming country tucked between Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi, echoing with its vibrant culture, rich history, lush fauna paired with a stunning landscape.
The country’s elevated geography is characterised by mountains in the west, savannah in the east, and a fine setting of numerous lakes, garnering it the moniker of ‘land of a thousand hills.’ Housing some of the diverse set of spices as the likes of chimpanzees, gorillas, hippopotamus and over 600 types of birds, Rwanda is also the world’s premier ecotourism destination, with a wealth of fascinating excursions for nature enthusiasts of all ages.
Rwandan vacations are as much about the people as they are about the scenic landscapes. Because of the natives’ warm and hospitable nature, the people and communities, customs and culture are all part of the magical experience that you will treasure forever once you visit this beautiful country. You’ll be sure to exchange conversation and learn more about the locals’ traditions and livelihoods.
The warm-hearted country on the African continent gives you a one-of-a-kind travel experience, delivering the finest degree of security and breaking the cast of Rwanda’s tragic 30-year-old past, where back in early ‘90s, the events of the genocide that unfolded in Rwanda were so devastating, with well over a million casualties, many where not documented. Fortunately, times have changed, and the outcome has given its people strength to move forward towards a positive future, enabling tourism to flourish due to its beautiful lands, food, safaris, and travel adventures on offer.
Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Rwanda…
1. Home To Abundant Terrestrial And Aquatic Life
Do you have a soft spot for animals? As one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of primates and birds, the country has many national parks that are home to everything from apes, antelopes, buffalos, hares, towers of giraffes, dazzle of zebras, and more than half of Africa’s bird species.
Rwanda is home to 151 different animal species, including 15 primates and mountain gorillas, which are one of our closest genetic relations. Rwanda is also home to approximately 1,000 plant species, 670 bird species, and several reptiles and amphibians. Animal enthusiasts will not want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and be surrounded by the world’s most unusual and intimate animal circle.
2. Experience The Best-Of-Best African Safaris
We don’t get to go on safaris very often, so when we do, it needs to be not just exciting and adventurous, but also one-of-a-kind. Rwanda offers amazing safaris in the savannah, woodlands, and wetlands. Undoubtedly, Rwanda is well renowned for safaris and gorilla trekking. The Virunga Mountains, located on Rwanda’s northern border, are regarded to have the greatest gorilla trekking experiences. This mountain range, which is home to eight major volcanoes, is also known as the best place to see gorillas since it is their natural habitat. Home to one-third of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas and one of only two places on the planet where these endangered primates can be safely observed, you will definitely not be disappointed!
Correspondingly, woods, marshes, low mountains, and savannah define Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda. The diversified topography is home to zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, and hundreds of bird species, including the unique shoebill stork — as well as a variety of safari packages. You have the option of choosing between premium and standard packages, which range in terms of the number of days, and services offered.
3. A Hiking Haven
Rwanda’s breath-taking and beautiful terrain, along with its moderate climate and abundant animals, will entice you to explore the region on foot – and if you enjoy trekking, making it another incentive for you to visit. The greatest hiking may be found in the western half of the nation, from Volcanoes National Park in the north to Lake Kivu in the west and Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south.
While Nyungwe Forest’s canopy walk is the most well-known, there are other mountain ranges to visit. Namely, Mount Bisoke is the country’s shortest and most climbed mountain (approximately three hours); Mount Karisimbi can take up to two days to hike; Mount Kigali is best suited for day hikes; and Mount Sabinyo is unique as that the summit is shared by Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it world’s most difficult hikes of all times.
4. Witness The Culturally Defined Dance Form
Rwandan music and dance have long been a significant part of their culture, and they consider it to be an ideal depiction of their culture: beautiful and exquisite. Ikinimba, Ibihozo, Intore, and Umushayayo are some of the most well-known traditional dances. Intore, also known as the ‘Dance of Heroes,’ performed by males, is the most well-known because of its wonderfully synchronised movements and upbeat music.
Witnessing one of these performances will undoubtedly have you on your toes, making for an exciting experience. Finally, Rwandans have long treasured their traditional dance, which is why it is usually performed at most of the country’s major events – before you know it, you’ll be up and dancing with them.
5. Abundance Of Heritage And An Emerging Art-Scene
While many of us want to add a dash of history to your travels, Rwanda can accommodate that need as well, with several museums to visit. From the Kigali Genocide Memorial to the King’s Palace Museum to the Ethnographic Museum, these institutions provide in-depth insight into Rwanda’s history.
Rwanda, on the other hand, is experiencing a burgeoning art scene, with more young people participating in and absorbing art as a vocation and resulting in numerous rising art galleries. Ivuka Arts, Rwanda’s first art gallery, opened in Kigali in 2007 to provide a forum for young people to come together and exhibit their work. Since then, travellers have loved devoting one day to hopping around the city and seeing some of the best art scenes. It doesn’t stop with emerging artists; contemporary artists such as Collin Sekajugo and Bruce Niyonkuru, to name a few, are flourishing and influencing the global art scene.
6. Shop Your Heart Away At Kimironko Market
Rwanda is noted for its brilliant, colourful, and quirky markets, as does the rest of East Africa. The city’s busiest market, Kimironko Market, is in Kigali’s Kimironko neighbourhood. The market is open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., making it one of Kigali’s liveliest spots – and Saturdays and Mondays are most likely to be the busiest days of the week. Furthermore, getting to the area isn’t a hassle because public transportation is the most accessible owing to the enormous volume of customers entering and exiting the market.
While the market has a wide variety of things to choose from, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, souvenirs, and traditional clothing from the nation, the complete experience will leave you with a lasting impression on the lives of the locals.
7. Taste The Finest Delicacies
A good meal will always satisfy you, and when you are exploring a new country, you will undoubtedly want to eat some of the best local cuisines to make your trip more authentic. Though Rwandan cuisine is simple, with flavours drawn from indigenous products such as sweet potatoes, beans, bananas, corn, and millet, to name a few, locals like blending strong flavours to broaden their palate.
Ugali (an East African classic), Isombe (mashed cassava and dried fish stew), and Brochettes (grilled chicken skewers) are among the country’s most popular dishes. When it comes to beverages, people drink fresh juices, wines, and beer. Turambe Shoppe, Zaaffran, Monmartse Korean Restaurant, and CasaKesa are some of the popular restaurants that do serve some fine Indian, Italian, and Chinese cuisine – found in some of the most metropolitan districts of Kigali.
8. Charismatic City of Kigali
Kigali is Rwanda’s capital and one of the most developed cities in the country, whether it is the safest and most inviting city or a city rich in culture, legacy, and art. We are confident that your time in the city will be jam-packed with activities, from visiting art galleries like Ivuka Arts and Yego Arts to experiencing the local passion for cricket at Rwanda Cricket Stadium and tasting local food at a range of restaurants across the city.
Furthermore, the city’s architecture is quite diverse, ranging from historic monuments such as the Kandt House Museum, which features magnificent masonry to more contemporary structures seen around the city. If you want to spend your time in nature, the city also provides you with the opportunity to unwind by wandering among the national parks and gardens. Lastly, Kigali may be used as a base for outdoor adventure expeditions.
9. The Tranquil Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu, the largest of the numerous astonishing lakes distributed across Rwanda but one of the smaller of the Great Lakes of Africa in terms of size, is in western Rwanda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is bordered by gorgeous beaches, hills, and fishing towns, all of which contribute to the attractive, and fascinating landscape.
Lake Kivu tourists will be delighted by a variety of activities and cultural experiences – including Kayaking, cruises, fishing, bird watching and lastly, star gazing on the Caribbean front. As for stay, there are multiple accommodation possibilities since Lake Kivu attracts thousands of tourists and locals for vacationing.
10. Coffee Tours
Rwanda, which is known for producing some of the world’s best coffee, provides a range of destinations for coffee excursions around the country. The taste of coffee plants varies according to the soil, but in general, they have a moderate flavour with hints of orange, lemon, or caramel. The Rwandan coffee plantation tour is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the path of a coffee bean from farm to cup.
Visitors and tourists who are interested in learning more about the coffee-producing process can join a tour during the harvesting season. Educational tours, on the other hand, are available all year at Rwandan cooperatives and washing stations. During the Rwanda Coffee Plantation Tour, which lasts around 8-10 hours and is offered in English and French, you will be able to participate in the coffee production process. You may also anticipate receiving a handful of actual ground coffee as a gift at the end of the trip.
By Vibha Mehta