Top 10 Reasons Why Rwanda Should Be In Your Travel Bucket List For 2019
Rwanda is a small African country with breathtaking natural landscapes, a rich culture and deep-rooted culture, stunningly diverse fauna and a recent past marked by violence and death. It’s small size turns it into jewel that is waiting to be discovered. If you’re still working on your travel plans for this brand new year, Bonzah seduces you with 10 convincing reasons to visit Rwanda before December.
It’s Safe, Clean and Friendly
Safety is always a priority for travelers so you’ll be relieved to know that Rwanda is not only one of the safest country in Africa but also one of the safest in the world. Violent crime is near nonexistent and it can be explored with reasonable confidence.
The war and genocide in Rwanda that took place in 1994 is now well in the past. Tourists can learn about the painful genocide that made it to the news back in time in the various genocide memorial sites that provide a first-hand valuable insight. With touching and informative displays, the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center offers an orientation into the events and there’s an indoor museum that offers displays dedicated to Rwandan children that were killed and displays that depict other genocides and similar tragedies around the world.
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital is safe even during the nighttime, even probably safer than in your hometown. Kigali is also one of the cleanest cities in the world. With its spotless streets, it’s really a pleasure to walk around. One day every month Rwandans participate in Umuganda, a day when all shops are closed and everyone performs community service.
Rwandans are friendly too. Don’t hesitate to ask them if you need directions or need a recommendation. It is very likely that the person will politely show you the way and even walk with you to make sure you arrive safely to your desired destination!
Walk The Steps of Primatologist Dian Fossey
No trip to Rwanda is complete without visiting the former research home site of Dian Fossey, who studied gorillas as a primatologist and advocated efforts to protect them. She started to develop a strong connection to the primate species and to many of the individual gorillas she spent her time with. Digit, a silverback gorilla was her favorite one! The Dian Fossey Grave Shrine Tour in Volcanoes National Park allows you to visit the place where her remains are buried, learn more about her work and about the endangered mountain gorillas.
See the Fascinating Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are fascinating and Rwanda gives you the chance to see them in the wild. You can tour their natural habitat in Volcanoes Park. Since the number of visitors who are allowed to visit the gorillas is limited, you can feel privileged if you earn a premium spot for a mountain gorilla trek. According to estimates, half of the mountain gorillas in the world live in the Virunga Mountains, which are part of the Volcanoes National Park. This means that your primate trek through the montane forests will be rewarded with an hour of watching the gorillas engage in in natural behaviors.
Rwanda Is A Great Safari Destination
Rwanda’s stunning fauna is much more than mountain gorillas! It’s a great destination for a classic wildlife safari as well. Akagera National Park is one of the four national parks in the country and it gives visitors access to expansive beauty and wildlife. There are over 12 thousand mammals within the boundaries of Akagera National Park, including lions, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes and leopards as well as more than 500 species of birds, what makes it a privileged spot for birdwatching.
Enjoy an Unforgettable Beach Escape
Lake Kivu, surrounded by Rwanda’s luscious rainforests and mountains is a rejuvenating beach spot. Lake Kivu offers endless possibilities for beach days filled with fun and enjoyment. Sunbathing, swimming, sailing, fishing and practising various watersports are some of the varied activities that you can enjoy there.
Besides, the scenery is splendid and invites you to relax. If you take a charter boat, you can spend some time in one of the many lakeside towns. Gisenyi is the most developed, with a post-colonial architecture, swaying palm trees and sandy beaches.
Preeminent Destination for Hiking and Trekking
Rwanda is a fascinating destination for travelers that seek active vacations with plenty of outdoor activities. Volcanoes Park and Nyungwe Forest offer superb networks of trails that take you into some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet.
Some treks, such as the snow-capped summit of Mount Karisimbi in Volcanoes National Park can be more challenging while others are more friendly. Nyungwe National Park offers a network of trails from leisurely one-hour nature walks to seven-hour and multi-day outings for experienced hikers.
If you’re interested in enjoying the rainforest from a totally different point of view, you can walk through the forests’ leafy canopies on a 200-metre long, 5-metre high walkway that will bring you face to face with blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys at Nyungwe National Park. It’s definitely an experience of a lifetime.
Rwanda Is a Surprising Shopping Destination
Travelers to Rwanda can find more than incredible natural scenery and plenty of primates! Kigali, its capital, is also a surprising shopping destination. From rich coffee beans to handmade baskets, colorful fabric to creative jewelry options and blooming local fashion designers, gives travelers interesting options to purchase a souvenir from such a fantastic trip.
Kigali Is An Intriguing and Modern Capital
Spending a couple of days in Kigali is a great idea to alternate with so many days surrounded by so much nature. It’s a young city blended with history and culture and it clearly represents the future of a country that is still rebirthing from the past. It’s a well planned city with distinctive districts, one reserved for government and administrative buildings and other dedicated to shops and markets.
Kigali is a culturally rich city. You can learn about Rwanda’s flora and fauna at the Kandt House and surprise yourself with its section dedicated to geology and the country’s volcanoes. Art lovers can’t miss Inema Art Center to discover Rwanda’s evolving artists or Ivuka Arts Center or Niyo Art Gallery. Take a look at the Parliament Building and the Presidential Palace and go to Capalki Handicrafts Cooperative to admire and purchase traditional crafts.
And make sure you visit the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda while you’re there.
Don’t Miss Its Cosmopolitan Food Scene
Rwandan cuisine is slowly gaining a well-earned space in the food scene. Dishes are available in restaurants and luxury hotels. Visitors are enticed to try traditional Rwandan dishes such as sambaza (small fish) and urwagwa (a fermented banana beer). Rwandan coffee is definitely a must try!
The Cultural People of Rwanda
Tutsi, Hutu and Twa are the main ethnic peoples in Rwanda. Even though they once fought against each other over their socio-economic differences, they are now committed to the betterment of the Rwandan people. It is highly advisable for travelers to spend some time meeting some of the people from these tribes to appreciate how much they value their cultures and how proud they are of their homeland.
There are many cultural tours offered that allow tourists to participate in authentic cultural engagements with Rwandan people while ensuring the privacy of the villagers. You can learn about their culture, beliefs, arts and much more!