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For most visitors the capital of Rwanda Kigali will only be the arriving and departing stop. However give yourself a day here to explore the city, visit the Genocide Museum to learn about the countries past and mingle around the bustling markets and town center.
The city itself is quiet low key and with a population of around a Million not as hectic and chaotic as some other African capital cities.
Written Dec 11, 2011
Akagera National Park is situated in the East of Rwanda towards the border of Tanzania. Untypical to the rolling hills of Rwanda this part of the country is flat and Savannah like and home to the Big 5. The National Park is 1085 km2 and seeing buffalo, elephant, zebra, giraffe, hippo and various antelope one could imagine to being on safari in Tanzania and Kenya. Another major attraction is the bird life as Akagera boasts 550 species including some rarities that one cannot find elsewhere in Africa. And here one can still drive around for hours not seeing anyone else!!!
Written Dec 11, 2011
Nyungwe National Park in the South West of Rwanda is the largest Montane Forest on the continent of Africa, a spectacular rain forest that offers an incredible biodiversity. This forest stretches over high mountain peaks all the way to the border of Burundi and almost to the border of the DRC.
In the park one can find 1050 plant species, 200 orchids, 85 mammals, 278 bird species, 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 120 butterfly species and 13 primates including Chimpanzees.
Updated Dec 11, 2011
Perched along the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo are the Virunga Mountains and the Volcano National Park. The Volcanoes are extinct with the exception of the southern peak close to Gisenyi and offer unspoiled rain forest, incredible fertile forests and are home to around 400 mountain gorillas. The views from those mountains across the rolling hills of Rwanda are spectacular! The National Park offers hikes and walks and the tracking of the elusive gorillas
Written Dec 11, 2011
One of the most amazing attractions of Rwanda is tracking the Mountain Gorillas in the Volcano National Park. Not only does it offer a 99% guarantee to see those incredible animals but I also gives a possibility to come very close to them and their environment. Tracking can take between an hour or two and the walk is steep up the slopes of the volcanoes.
Be aware though that you "walk" through the dense rain forest along slippery slopes; good shoes are a must and you should be fit!
The experience is simply outstanding - and on both occasions I have come to within meters of the family, seen babies, the massive Silverback and marveled over their gracious appearance!
Written Dec 10, 2011
ATM’s are very sparse in Rwanda. In fact you will find 14 of the 16 are in Kigali; if you find them at all. The other 2 are in Butare and Ruhengeri. Every guidebook I can find on Rwanda says there are no ATM’s at all. Obviously times have moved on, but slowly. I only ever saw 2 in my travels across the country. My message is this: do not count on being able to access and ATM using a foreign debit card. Cash is pretty much the thing to bring along with a credit card (Visa). Travellers Cheques can be encashed, but will attract fees at banks. Thankfully there is not much crime in Rwanda.
The 2 ATM’s I did find are pictured. Photo 1 is the Ecobank ATM right as you come out of baggage claim in Kigali airport. That worked – no problem. The second is at Simba Supermarket in Kigali. Please see my ‘Shopping Tips’ on this page for Simba’s details. Unfortunately this seemed to be down more time than it operated.
The website link below is a page showing all the banks. Just click on the Ecobank link and you can search for all the ATM’s in Rwanda.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Would you like to see the Mountain Gorillas? Other wildlife? A general tour of all that Rwanda has to offer? Kennedy Nari is your man! Kennedy, member kennedyrw on Virtual Tourist, can organise tours of Rwanda for you at a good price. Kennedy is Congolese, but was born where DRC, Rwanda and Uganda meet. It is also the location of the rare Mountain Gorillas. He organised my day Gorilla Tracking in the DRC where photos 2-5 are taken. He organised everything via email before my arrival in Rwanda and met me personally in Gisenyi, Rwanda. He is able to organise any sort of tour you would like and match any budget you have. Throughout my stay in East Africa Kennedy was in touch with me and my guides at all times.
I found him to be very friendly, professional and organised. I would absolutely recommend his tour company to anyone visiting Rwanda. He also covers: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. Highlights are the mountain gorillas and active volcanoes. His company has a fantastic 12 day tour of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC including the gorillas if you want a super tour.
You can find Kennedy on Facebook as well.
Updated Jan 15, 2010
Phone: +250 08351880
They call them "enfants de mauvais souvenirs," children of bad memories. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, hundreds of thousands of Tutsi women were systematically raped and forced into sexual servitude by members of extremist Hutu militia groups.
Many of these women became pregnant. Since abortion is illegal in Rwanda, some resorted to back-alley procedures or traveled to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo to terminate their pregnancies. Others gave birth and abandoned the babies or gave them away to orphanages. Still others kept their children and are now struggling to raise them alone in post-genocide Rwanda.
Give Hope 2 Children will help you found some of this Children and their mothers
Written Jan 10, 2010
You are looking at the final burial place of 250,000 people in just 4 photos. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre is set in gardens about the full dimensions of an American football ground or European soccer pitch. Most of these people were killed in a few days when the Rwandan Genocide occurred in 1994. Today the Centre is much more than a mass grave. It is a working centre of learning as well as a heart-breaking museum to educate future generations of the nightmare that occurred. It is also working hard to help ensure that genocide, anywhere in the world, does not happen again. Sadly it has happened in so many places across the world.
The Centre is completely free and you will be offered an audio guide or sometimes even a human guide to take you through the exhibits and grounds. Starting downstairs are exhibits detailing the history of Belgian colonial rule and how they divided Rwanda into ‘Hutus’ and ‘Tutsis’. Originally it was to differentiate economic class. Tutsis has more wealth. Many were of a taller, thinner background (Kenyan, Ethiopian) than Hutus, but not always so. By the early 1990’s competing armed groups of the 2 classes were often at war. The Hutu government of 1994 prepared the genocide through training, distribution of weapons and radio transmissions starting the mass killings. Often the weapons were machetes and most were killed by hand. No age, sex or religion was spared and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers meant the slaughter continued until over 1 million corpses littered the countryside. The photo boards and videos document the full horrible story.
Further exhibits downstairs include a central room of photos of victims donated by survivors. Many of the donors fled abroad and all too often the photos are of whole families and children. Every face in this filled room is frozen in 1994 when they were murdered. The last room displays skulls with the method of their death often very obvious.
Upstairs is a gallery showing the individual life story of more than a dozen children. It documents what they like to do, what kind of personality they had, their favourite toy and the method of their murder. Sometimes it even explains who killed them. Often a neighbour or family friend. The last gallery documents genocides across the world in the modern age. Not just the Jewish Holocaust in World War II, but colonial excesses in Africa, Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s, Cambodia and Darfur today.
There are also stories of hope here. There are stories of resistance and survival. There are classrooms here so children today can learn to live together. In fact the terms ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’ are banned in modern Rwanda. Their excellent website also has many stories of the survivors. Research is also done here to help document the dead and hunt down un-prosecuted genociders.
The gardens outside are beautiful and look upwards to the hills of Rwanda and the growing city of Kigali. There are 11 mass graves here with coffins stacked 3 meters deep in concrete crypts. Some coffins contain the remains of as many as 50 people. Whole families wiped out at a time and no one was left alive to ever identify thousands of the dead.
The newest project on site is to fully build a ‘Wall of Names’ with as many victims as possible memorialised. You can help with this, the upkeep of the Centre, grounds, education classes and research with your donations. They can be made here at the centre or via their website.
Unfortunately the Genocide of 1994 will forever be the major event in Rwandan history. Please do visit the memorial if you do travel to Kigali. There are other Genocide Memorial sites across Rwanda and other Mass graves. Please see their website linked below or other locations.
Please note: No photography is allowed inside.
Updated Jan 5, 2010
Phone: +250 08 30 76 66
I first discovered the FREE Eye Magazine in Uganda. Absolutely fantastic. Great descriptions of restaurants and reviews, current music or art events, even shopping tips. Well Rwanda has the EYE, but it does not cover all that it could. It does have some good maps of Kigali and a few other major cities, some good stories, useful Kigali Airport information and lots of business listings. It even has information about the national parks. Sadly it lacks informative restaurant and hotel descriptions and impactful reviews of restaurants.
It is still free, and it is still developing. Given time I am sure it will be more useful than it already is. There is lots of helpful information – especially if you are going to be here for a while.
It is available in all the better hotels in Kigali like the Hotel des Milles Collines.
Written Dec 3, 2009
Phone: +2502525510 3487
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge Ruhengeri
1 Review and 115 Opinions The hotel has beautiful views of the park, and is close to the start point for the mountain gorilla...
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