Rwanda Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Rwanda Things to Do

  • Gisakura reception office for chimp...

    There are a couple of starting points for chimp trekking in Nyungwe, depending on which habituated group you're hoping to encounter.We started from the Gisakura reception office, which is located a couple of hundred metres off the main road. The office is located adjacent to the basic but comfortable Gisakura Guest House - the only budget...

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  • GORILLAS AND OTHER TOURS IN DRC

    Want to see the Gorillas on the DRC (cheaper) side?Emmanuel Munganga Rufubya is an excellent and economic local guide. I first met him across the border in Rwanda, Hi literally walked me across the border and helped me avoid being strip searched and/or having all my examined item by item by the DRC authorities. Other people were not that lucky....

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  • Surprisingly interesting royal palaces...

    In all honesty, I didn't arrive the Royal Palace at Rukali with great expectations - maybe because we'd just fallen off a red eye flight from Burundi, possibly because it was tipping rain and probably because the museum in Butare was the standout item in our day's itinerary - which is probably why I had such an unexpectedly good time.Nyanza was...

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  • Spotting the sunbirds

    Sunbirds in Africa occupy the same ecological niche as hummingbirds in the New World, and are every bit as exquisite and hyperactive.By far the best place we found to observe them in Rwanda was in the garden of the Gisakura Guest House in Nyungwe. I'm not sure whether it was just the time of year - as many of the bushes were in flower during our...

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  • Glorious view from the Ndaba Falls

    The view out from the Ndaba Falls is possibly one of the most spectacular in a country where stunning vistas are ten a penny.Especially if you visit in the rainy season when visibility is at its best, you have a sense of being able to see forever.

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  • The beautiful Ndaba Falls

    Our visit to the lovely Ndaba Falls (Chute de Ndaba) was a fortunate piece of happenstance because they hadn't featured on our radar when we were planning our trip, but which we came across mention of once we were on the road.If you're driving from eastwards from Kibuye towards Gitarama (which is counterintuitively the easiest way to get to...

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  • Beware of Akagera's baboon battalions

    There are very few animals in God's creation that I dislike - but in the case of mosquitoes and baboons, I'll make notable exceptions. Mozzies for obvious reasons, and baboons because they are fierce and opportunistic scavengers that become so habituated to humans that they pose a menace.Having declare my bias, baboons do display fascinating group...

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  • Each viewpoint more spectacular than the...

    I'l be honest: I can't even tell you where this is, except that it's somewhere on the road between Kibuye and Ruhengeri. However, that's exactly the point that I'm trying to make: Rwanda is such a spectacularly scenic country that it's no surprise that it's known as 'The Switzerland of Africa'. Actually, as we discovered, that's not the only...

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  • Surprisingly good gamespotting in...

    It was a miracle (and a curse) that we actually got to Akagera, since it had featured on our original itinerary, only to be culled when we realised that we'd bitten off more than we could chew - and then got reinstated due to a stuff up with our return flights.Having been faced with an unscheduled 17 hour delay in our return flights, rather than...

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  • The genocide memorial in Ruhengeri

    The genocide memorial in Ruhengeri is a low key affair, located a couple of blocks off the main road. In fact, it's so low key, that it's possible to walk straight past unless you're specifically looking for it.The memorial is set in a small fenced garden with a gate and - in true Rwandan fashion - is kept in a neatly manicured state.Regardless of...

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  • How fit must you be to go chimp...

    How fit do you need to be in order to go chimp trekking?Well, the slightly flippant anwer is, "Not as fit as you're going to have to be to trek gorillas" (as we discovered to our dismay a few days later), but what does that mean in practicality?We did chimp trekking in a forest remnant in Nyungwe National Park, and I am happy to report that the...

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  • Extraordinary harmony in Rwanda's...

    Due to time pressures, we didn't get to spend very much time in churches during our time in Rwanda. This was a great pity, as some of the most important incidents of the genocide unfolded when terrified Tutsis sought refuge in churches - only to find that the maurauding Hutu hoards had no respect for either human life or the ancient tradition of...

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  • The Uwinka Reception Centre in Nyungwe

    When you start to research a trip to Rwanda, you'll find that information on the Volcanoes National Park is readily available, whereas Nyungwe is usually mentioned as an afterthought. I'll admit that before we visited, I was a little nervous about what the state of the facilities in Nyungwe might be, but happily I shouldn't have been concerned. A...

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  • The amazing aerial walkway - just don't...

    Canopy walkways are a ruinously expensive and high tech component of ecotourism, and not something that you'd expect to encounter in a country that's only just emerging from the trauma of a genocide ... but in this, as in so many other aspects, Rwanda continues to surprise and (positively) challenge tourists adventurous enough to explore this part...

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  • A topographic challenge to feeding a...

    Rwanda is probably one of the hilliest countries that I've ever visited, and flat land is at an absolute premium. With a population density of 430.64 per square kilometre in 2010, Rwanda is the 29th most densely populated sovereign states in the world: bearing in mind that most of the more densely populated nations are city states such as...

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  • The terrific National Museum in Butare

    As a general rule of thumb, museums aren't Africa's strong point, and more often than not, the ones you'll encounter will be dusty relics from the colonial era with dated presentation and yellowing labels.Even without this context of low expectation, the National Museum in Butare is an utter revelation. Like so much in Rwanda, it must have been...

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  • Chimp trekking is a rewarding pain in...

    Let's start with the basics: chimp trekking is a literal pain in the neck, but worth it for the outcome!Your neck will hurt because, unlike gorillas, chimps are (relatively) light and nimble, so they nest in trees, rather than on the ground. And, again compared to their more peaceable primate cousins, they are excitable and mobile, neither of which...

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  • Chimps aren't the only primates you may...

    The gorillas and the chimps are such well established megastars of Rwandan wildlife, that it's easy to overlook the fact that the rainforests of the Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Parks are home to many more species of primate.Nyungwe has an impressive eleven species of resident primate, which is a tally that you'll struggle to better in any other...

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  • Tea as far as the eye can see ...

    I love tea. When there's tea on offer, my Irish heritage comes unapologetically to the fore, and I can happily consume mugs of the stuff all day long until it's beer o'clock.The area around Nyungwe is prime tea growing country, and the Gisakura Reception Office and Guest House abut the tea estate of the same name. Tea thrives in the same...

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  • Cattle so spoiled that they're...

    I never thought that I'd get particularly excited by a herd of cattle in a paddock, but that was before I met the Ankole cattle at the Royal Palace in Rukali.Crude puns aside, these animals have the biggest horns I've ever seen in my life. Both males and females have horns, and once you realise the ceremonial significance of these beasts to the...

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  • Beautiful views from the exclusive...

    Why am I reviewing the Virunga Lodge under the 'Things to Do' rather than the 'Accommodation' category? Simply because the rates for this exclusive hotel are such that we couldn't dream of staying here - but happily that did not preclude us from enjoying its charms for a couple of hours.The Virunga Lodge is less than half an hour's drive from...

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  • Hiking the watershed between Nile and...

    The stunning Nyungwe National Park has many claims to fame, one of which is that it straddles the watershed between the Congo and Nile Basins.I freely admit to having staged this photo: Small Son had announced that he needed a wee stop, and so I asked him to hold on for a kilometre or two until we reached the catchment divide. He then elected to...

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  • Farming fish for a protein-deprived...

    I've mentioned elsewhere that Rwanda has a phenomenally high population density, which, when combined with an acute shortage of flat flat enough for cultivation, makes it a challenge to grow enough food to feed its people.If it's difficult enough to grow crops to feed the nation, addressing the dire protein shortage in Rwanda is an even greater...

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  • Engorged rivers that were once choked...

    Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of Rwanda's greenly serene and peaceful landscape is that it gives no hint of the horror that played out there less than two decades ago. An article I've randomly selected from the New York Times on 21 May 1994 says it all:"As many as 10,000 bodies from Rwanda's massacres have washed down the Kagera River into Lake...

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  • Refugee camps still remain from the...

    Given that the Rwandan genocide took place in 1994, you could be forgiven for thinking that refugees would be a thing of the past.Unfortunately this is not so, and there are still camps in place which accommodate people displaced as a result of the conflict. This one is just south of Nyungwe in the south west of the country, and rather than being a...

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  • The dinky royal palace the Belgians...

    In the 1930s, the Belgians agreed to build the Rwandan King a 'modern' palace befitting a modern African monarch.It's hard to imagine a less impressive royal palace, and the fact that it was apparently deemed acceptable suggests that the King was either easily pleased or had no conception of the splendour and scale of other royal residences in...

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  • Should we do the chimps or the gorillas?

    Frankly, I never thought that I'd find myself trekking chimps.I was raised on the children's show, Daktari, including Clarence the cross-eyed lion and Judy the chimp (arguably the most natural actor in the entire hammy ensemble), but primates have never been a big deal for either myself nor my husband. But if you find yourself in the Great Lakes...

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  • The Kamiranzovu Marsh: the land that...

    Of all the extraordinary places that we were lucky enough to visit on our trip to Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, this is the one that touched me most.The Kamiranzovu Marsh is a rare high altitude wetland that is located just to the west of Nyungwe's Uwinka Reception Centre. It's visible on the northern side of the road, although at the time of our...

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  • A bird's eye view of the rainforest...

    Canopy walkways are splendid things. They are marvels of engineering. They give you a bird's eye view of the rainforest canopy. They maximise your chances of viewing both birds and primates. They give you a unique perspective on the ecosystem. They offer great photographic oportunities. They challenge your boundaries.And they scare the living...

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  • Kivu: the beautiful belching lake

    Lake Kivu lies on the far western edge of Rwanda, and forms over half of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Chances are that if you're looking at a map of Rwanda (which is how we always start our travel planning), this large expanse of blue will be the first feature that catches your eye, and it was a place that I immediately...

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  • The most beautiful lake of the Albertine...

    Lake Kivu is exquisitely beautiful, and exceeded even the impossibly high expectations that I had based on the photos I'd seen whilst researching our trip. For me, it is by far the most gorgeous of the chain of lakes in the Albertine Rift, which is quite something, as they are all very impressive.What sets Lake Kivu apart from the others is that -...

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  • A view to die for in glorious Kibuye

    Kibuye is a beautifully located town, about half way up the eastern shore of Lake Kivu. It's a straightforward and scenic 2.5 hour drive from Kigali, and, as a result, is a popular weekend destination.Kibuye has a laid back vibe, and a number of hotels situated along the lake shore, including Hotel Golfe Eden Rock, from whose terrace this photo was...

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  • Lovely views from Akagera over into...

    The landscape of Rwanda's east is much gentler than the rest of the country, and is a precursor to the great East Africa plains of Tanzania and Kenya that lie beyond. It's pretty - rather than beautiful - but after a couple of weeks of unrelenting hills, I concede was almost a relief to see a bit of flat(tish) land!This photo is taken from the pool...

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  • Close encounters with crocs and hippos

    There's a lot of water in Akagera, and if you have the time (which sadly we didn't), the boat trips are highly recommended. These can be organised via the ORTPN (National Parks Board) desk at the entry gate, or via the Akagera Safari Lodge if you're staying there.Akagera is famed for its enormous pods of hippo, and supersized crocodiles, and the...

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  • The last resting place of 250,000 people

    250,000 people. That's a quarter of a million people. Let's put this into context: that's the entire population of a town the size of Hull (England), Lexington (Kentucky, USA) or Aachen (Germany) buried on a single site.Mass graves and isolated bodies from the genocide are continually being found across Kigali, and the remains are taken for...

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  • The inscription says it all ...

    What I have to say is superfluous ... read what Eric (13) has to say, because he was there.Whenever I think about it, I cry too ...

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  • The Genocide Memorial: powerful in its...

    Having raised procrastination to an artform, I have again left writing the hardest tip until last. And even after a few months of contemplation, I don't really know what to tell you about the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.The Genocide Memorial at Gisozi is the number one tourist attraction in Rwanda, and - in my opinion - should be compulsory for...

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  • Ginseyi

    Ginseyi is a peaceful and verdant town on the beautiful lake Kivu. The old town where most locals live is located in the upper part of the city. The lake shore road is occupied by expensive hotels and beautiful private houses. The beach is clean and quite good and all the locals come down for a chance to swim or just a long relaxing walk on the...

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  • Kibuye

    Kibuye is beautifully spread on verdant hilly tongues jetting into the sea. The views are fantastic! I stayed more than I had planned because the view from the hotel room was amazing and the walks in the green and romantic environment were most pleasant and relaxing. There are a couple of banks but they have no ATMs for foreigners, maybe they will...

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  • Butare

    Butare is a relaxing town. The streets are wide and clean and the city is calm and pleasant. The impressive National Museum, the National Institute of Scientific Research and the University give the town a more “sophisticated” air and the title of an “intellectual capital” of Rwanda.

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  • National Museum – Butare

    The National Museum in Butare is said to be the best in Africa. Not only is it huge but it is also a fine building architecturally. The inside is also fine as the displays are well organized and attractive. There are sections for art, history , ecology, ethnology depicting beautifully the local daily life and culture.

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  • Visa - Money change

    The visa to Rwanda is 30$ . Make sure you have US dollars with you, if you plan to cross the borders, because they don't accept any other currency. This is the case in all African countries I have visited and it was really frustrating to find dollarbills sometimes. There are numerous Forex bureaux (exchange offices) in Kigali with better rates than...

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  • Kigali

    The capital of Rwanda is a clean, airy and fast progressing city. It is spread over several hills and is not built over an overloaded city center. There is always a refreshing breeze blowing and nice views over the surrounding hills. At night the lights of the houses on the hills give you the impression of millions of shining stars. It is very...

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  • The Genocide

    The country is miraculously recovering and progressing after the genocide. They have set aside their tribal differences and consider themselves as Rwandans only. They are clean, gentle and optimistic. Giving a great emphasis on education, they are due to become a healthy nation in a short time.The Genocide happened in 1994 after long disputes and...

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  • Highlights of Rwanda

    Parc Nacional de Volcans - Gorillas .Whoever has visited the Gorillas insist they were fascinated by the sight. When I was there the permit was 500 US$ for foreigners and 250 US$ for foreigners who live in the country. As it was low season I was offered the tour for as low as 300$ for the whole thing.. The trek is more difficult in the rain but the...

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