Must-see places in Rwanda

What are the best things to see in Rwanda?

Nestled in the heart of East Africa, Rwanda is a small yet enchanting landlocked country often hailed as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

While the majestic gorillas of Volcanoes National Park steal much of the spotlight, Rwanda’s allure extends far beyond that.

With four national parks teeming with diverse wildlife and a rich cultural heritage, Rwanda is an incredible addition to your bucket list!

Here are the best places to see in Rwanda.

1. Musanze

Things to do in Rwanda

Musanze boasts a vibrant culture, which you’ll discover on your visit to the local communities, where warm smiles and traditional dances welcome you with open arms.

Explore bustling markets, where colourful textiles and handcrafted souvenirs tell stories of Rwanda’s rich heritage.

If you like the adrenaline, Musanze offers opportunities to engage in thrilling activities like volcano hiking, canopy walks, and even the chance to spot the endangered golden monkeys. After a day of exploration, unwind in luxury lodges perched on the slopes, offering panoramic views of Rwanda’s breathtaking landscapes.

2. Nyanza

Things to do in Rwanda

Nyanza located in the heart of Rwanda, offers a captivating journey through the country’s cultural heritage and rich history. Stepping into Nyanza feels like stepping back in time, as the town serves as a living museum of Rwanda’s royal past.

At the center of Nyanza, you’ll find the magnificent Rwesero Palace, once the residence of Rwandan kings. Here, you are transported to the past as you wander through regal chambers adorned with traditional artifacts and intricate carvings.

You’ll also learn about the kingdom’s fascinating customs and traditions on your visit to the palace.

Nyanza is also a vibrant hub of art and culture, where local artisans display their masterpieces in pottery, weaving, and traditional dance. Explore bustling markets overflowing with colorful textiles and handcrafted souvenirs, each telling a story of Rwanda’s cultural diversity and resilience.

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For history buffs, visit the nearby King’s Palace Museum for deep insights into Rwanda’s monarchic history, with exhibits showcasing royal regalia, ceremonial artifacts, and ancient rituals.

Whether strolling through royal grounds or engaging with local artisans, visiting Nyanza is an opportunity to uncover the soul of Rwanda’s past.

3. Volcanoes National Park 

Things to do in Rwanda

Perched on the Virunga Mountains, Volcanoes National Park demonstrates biodiversity and natural wonders with amazing wildlife to observe surrounded by awe-inspiring views.

It’s home to the endangered mountain gorillas and is renowned for gorilla trekking safaris, where you can enjoy up-close encounters with these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

If you’re seeking an immersive wilderness experience, Volcanoes National Park delivers a range of safari options, from guided treks to multi-day adventures. Embark some of the best most thrilling wildlife safaris in Rwanda, perfect for those looking to spend time in nature. 

Guided by experienced trackers who lead you to the hidden realms where gorilla families roam freely, a wildlife safari in Volcanoes National Park is a heart-pounding experience as you come face to face with the magnificent creatures, observing their playful antics and familial bonds with awe and reverence.

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The Volcanoes National Park is also a haven for biodiversity, home to other wildlife species, including golden monkeys, forest elephants, and a diverse array of birdlife. Explore the park’s lush trails, discovering hidden waterfalls, ancient lava flows, and panoramic vistas that offer glimpses into the park’s volcanic past.

4. Akagera National Park

Things to do in Rwanda

The Akagera National Park is another captivating place in Rwanda and a premier destination for exciting wildlife encounters. Spanning across sprawling savannahs, rolling hills, and shimmering lakes, Akagera offers a diverse safari experience.

Embark on thrilling game drives through the park’s vast plains, where sightings of iconic African wildlife await at every corner. From majestic elephants and graceful giraffes to stealthy predators like lions and leopards, Akagera is teeming with wildlife, providing endless opportunities for unforgettable safari adventures.

In addition, Akagera National Park has shimmering lakes and winding rivers offering sanctuary to various bird species and attracting birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Cruise along the tranquil waters of Lake Ihema, and keep your eyes peeled on flocks of colourful waterbirds and majestic African fish eagles.

For those seeking adventure, Akagera offers a range of activities, from boat safaris to guided nature walks and camping under the stars. Whether exploring the savannahs on a game drive, watching the sunset over Lake Shakani, or listening to the chorus of birdsong at dawn, Akagera National Park promises an unforgettable safari experience, making it a must-visit in Rwanda.

5. Lake Kivu

Things to do in Rwanda

Nestled in the heart of the Great Rift Valley amidst Rwanda’s breathtaking landscape, Lake Kivu is a shimmering jewel captivating visitors with its lush surroundings and tranquil waters. This vast freshwater lake, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is perfect for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and relaxation seekers.

The shores of Lake Kivu are home to charming lakeside towns and villages, each offering a unique glimpse into Rwandan life and culture. Immerse in the local culture with visits to bustling markets selling fresh produce and handmade crafts and stroll through traditional fishing villages where locals ply their trade, giving you glimpses into daily life.

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Lake Kivu is also a playground of fun adventures, including kayaking, swimming, and boat cruises that offer stunning views of the distant volcanoes and surrounding hills. Explore the lake’s hidden coves and secluded beaches, where pristine sands meet crystal-clear waters, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring.

Moreover, Lake Kivu is a source of geothermal energy and home to unique methane gas deposits. You can learn more about these fascinating geological phenomena through educational tours and visits to local power plants.

Final thoughts about a trip to Rwanda

After visiting Rwanda, you’d likely carry home a lots of vibrant images, deep emotions, and transformative experiences.

This land, once scarred by tragedy, today stands as an example of renewal and hope.

The journey through Rwanda’s rolling hills and misty forests is breathtaking. Each turn on the winding roads through the lush landscapes reveals panoramic views and brings you closer to understanding the nation’s deep respect for nature.

The encounter with mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park is an intimate glimpse into the raw beauty of wildlife and the efforts to preserve it.

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