Known as a front–row seat to the jungle, Rwanda is a landlocked country located in East Africa neighboring countries of Uganda, Tanzania, democratic republic of Congo and Burundi. It is called the land of thousand hills due to the gentle sloping hills over the area and is the smallest compared to other east African countries. The country consists of three tribes of people who are the Hutu, Tusi and the Batwa. The Batwa who were forest dwellers who used to live in the forests of the Virungas.
The country is a beautiful country blessed with natural and man-made resources. Its top attractions include the mountain gorillas that live in the volcanoes national park. Other attractions include forests, national parks, wildlife, historical and cultural sites. Genocide memorial sites have also become part of Rwanda’s tourism and several sites are spread out in the country.
Rwanda has developed most of its infrastructure in a bid to promote tourism. There are excellent accommodation and lodging facilities including major brands like Serena, Marriot, Kempsiki and more that make tourism fascinating in the country. The country is also establishing itself as the best destination for meetings, conferences and conventions in East Africa.
Rwanda experienced a tragedy that will never just fade away from the minds of the people, the genocide that broke up in April 1994 where most people lost their lives. However at present, the country has stabilized in the reign of Gen. Paul Kagame as the president and tourism is fairly developed with facilities and amenities that enable a comfortable tourist stay. Today Rwanda is the best place to enjoy a gorilla safari and Volcanoes National Park is the best park for gorilla tracking om the African continent.
Top things to Do in Rwanda
There are 10 mountain gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park and only allowing 8 people to visit a gorilla family for one hour, a permit in Rwanda is sold at 750$ and the park is only 2 hour drive from the airport in Kigali. These gorillas are in families and each family is different from the other in their behaviors and characters. The mountain gorillas are so close to human beings sharing 95% of human genes and are interesting mammals one should not miss out.
Each gorilla family is headed by the silver back (male gorilla) that protects the family from intrusion and external attacks, the mothers in a family take good care of the young ones showing an aspect of oneness and mutual understanding making the one hour that you spend with them the memorable experience that a tourist will ever have.
A large population of chimpanzees can be found in Nyungwe forest located in southwestern Rwanda and there are trails in the forest that tourists follow led by the guide to discover more about these chimpanzees and they can be tracked at any time of the year.
They have 955% of human DNA making them almost like human beings. Chimpanzees mainly feed on fruits, leaves, shoots and other edibles that the forests provide and live in groups but are very mobile as they usually move from one place to another in search for food. This tracking experience is the most memorable time a tourist will ever have in his or her travel experiences.
The Akagera National Park:
Akagera National Park comes as an exciting surprise for those looking for Rwanda safaris that involve game viewing. This park is located with the steep cultivated hills and it is the only savanna national park in Rwanda. Akagera enjoys breezy climate that characterize the test of the country. It is set at a relatively low altitude along the Tanzanian border; this beautiful game reserve protects an archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia and brachystegia bush, interspersed with patches of open grassland and a dozen swamp-fringed lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River. The park is also a habitat for various wild life species including 500 different bird species, the park also has a lion family with ten members having three cubs that have been just born. Tourists should not leave Rwanda minus visiting this famous national park.
Genocide Memorial sites
These genocide memorial sites consist of the remaining of the people in form of skeletons; preserved dead body displays as well as mass graves where people were buried, the major genocide memorials in Rwanda include the Gisozi genocide memorial, the Murambi genocide memorial, the Nyamata genocide memorial, the Ntarama genocide memorial and many others.
The country was in 1993 devastated by a deadly genocide where most people lost their lives and lots of property destroyed, many innocent people irrespective of their age were brutally murdered using killer weapons like machetes, hand grenades and many others in a period of about three months. Today, genocide memorials sites have been developed in the major areas where people were killed and are actual sites that tourists should not miss.
Visit to the Nyungwe forest national park:
This tropical rain forest is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda with trees that stand several meters above the ground. Nyungwe forest has a number of primate species and birds that attract a number of tourists every year and was gazetted in 2004, The forest consist of tall and old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns that form a canopy with orchid and epiphytes clinging on to the branches, there are a variety of bird species, butterflies and primates that a tourist encounters in the forest. All these features in the forest give a tourist a fascinating and memorable experience.
Golden monkeys trekking
This takes place in the high altitude of bamboo vegetation towards the base of the volcanoes national park and is best done at 7:00am the same way as gorillas. Golden monkeys are among the endangered species and two families are habituated in the volcanoes national park. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to track one golden gorilla family, troops are also available for visiting by the tourists in the park. Golden monkeys are creative creatures and jump over from one tree to another as they hide from attackers and play among themselves. This tracking is the most memorable experience a tourist will ever have.
The cuisine of Rwanda
This is based on local staple foods produced by the traditional subsistence-level agriculture and varies between different ethnic groups, the staples include bananas, plantains, pulses, sweet potatoes, beans, and cassava. Tourists in the country are welcome to participate in preparing and consuming such local food which make them feel as part of local people and always remember such experience even after going back to their original home areas. Tourists can also visit the Lebanese, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, German, French restaurants among others. Fast food restaurants include Chicken Tonight that serves international dishes.
Visit the beaches
Rwanda is known for the bets beaches with clean grounds, treated water that are good for swimming, the clear ground and sand for beach games among others. These beaches include the Rwanda Gisenyi beach, and the Yvke beach among others. These are resting and relaxation places that tourists should visit to free from fatigues and stressful activities.
Car Free Zone:
Mostly done along the KN4 avenue, tourists break off from driving and boarding public cars and opt to move and walk around the towns in Rwanda footing, the car free zone is completely for those not using cars. It is a good experience as tourists come in contact with other local people walking and experience the real time out of the car it reduces traffic jam especially along the KN4 avenue.
Conclusively, tourists visiting Rwanda have got many opportunities enhanced by both natural and man made resource and fascinating activities which very tourist will live to remember.