Welcome to Rwanda! Home to vibrant city life, mountain gorillas, and breathtaking vistas, there are many places to explore and activities to do. Here are 20 unmissable attractions for your trip to the land of a thousand hills.
Volcanoes National Park
Located in northwest Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is home to the Virunga Mountain range, mountain gorillas, beautiful volcanoes, golden monkeys, and excellent views.
Karisoke Research Center
Funded by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the Karisoke Research Center works to track and study Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, fund anti-poaching initiatives, and teach visitors and locals about conservation.
Rwanda’s largest lake, located in the west of the country, is stunning. Gisenyi and Kibuye, two of the largest towns on the lake, have plentiful guesthouses, restaurants, and activities.
Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park is one of the most remote locations in Rwanda. A fairly untouched rainforest, the park holds chimpanzees, hundreds of bird species, colobus monkeys, and many hiking trails. Endless tea fields are located right outside the park gates.
Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo, known as the Twin Lakes, sit just a few kilometers outside the town of Musanze. Known for their volcanic views and ideal for weekend trips, the twin lakes are undoubtedly one of Rwanda’s most beautiful attractions.
Akagera National Park
Home to Africa’s Big Five (the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros), Akagera National Park’s sweeping views, plentiful wildlife, and easy access render this spot one of the best parks in the area.
Sorwathe Tea Plantation
Halfway between Kigali and Musanze, the Sorwathe Tea Plantation offers lunch, tea tastings, fantastic views, and a tea production tour.
Lake Muhazi, located less than 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Kigali, is one of the city’s best options for a day trip. Small restaurants and cafés line the calm shores, and sunsets over Muhazi are unforgettable.
National Museum of Rwanda
Rwanda’s National Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, is located in the university town of Butare. Here, Rwanda’s history and culture are explained in detail.
City views at the Ubumwe Grande Hotel
One of Kigali’s best views can be found at the top of the Ubumwe Grande Hotel. Open all day, visitors and residents alike flock to the hotel’s bar for a spectacular snapshot of Kigali from above.
Inema Arts Center
Inema Arts Center, founded by Emmanuel Nkuranga and Innocent Nkurunziza, provide insight into contemporary Rwandan art today. Their galleries, happy hours, and yoga classes provide some of the city’s best activities and inspiration.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
Noted as a place for ‘remembrance and learning,’ the Kigali Genocide Memorial remembers the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. In addition to the memorial, the space also has an incredibly informative museum that leads visitors through the events and historical implications of the genocide.
One of Kigali’s most bustling markets, the colours, the smells, and the noise at Kimironko is almost overwhelming. Selling everything from kitenge fabric and avocados to baskets and secondhand shoes, this market requires several hours of exploration.
Sample traditional Rwandan food in an upmarket setting with fantastic views. Located in the Kimihurura neighbourhood, Repub Lounge is known as one of Kigali’s best restaurants.
Kigali Convention Centre
One of Kigali’s most iconic buildings, and an architectural feat, the Convention Centre was completed in 2016. Check it out at night when it displays the colours of Rwanda’s flag.
Inzora Rooftop Cafe
Inzora is one of Kigali’s leading cafés. Located inside the city’s main bookstore with an excellent view of the city centre, Inzora serves baked goods, grilled cheese, and some of Rwanda’s best coffee.
Presidential Palace Museum
The Presidential Palace, once home to President Habyarimana, is located on the edge of Kigali. The remains of the presidential jet, the crash of which ignited the Rwandan genocide, are still visible.
Hôtel des Mille Collines
Hôtel des Mille Collines, featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda, is still in its original location in the Kiyovu neighbourhood. Nowadays people visit to hang by the pool, watch live music, and enjoy brunch.
This new mall, located minutes from the Convention Centre, is home to several restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.
Kigali’s newest bakery, Baso Patissier, has the best eclairs in town. Though their vanilla eclair reigns supreme, don’t hesitate to check out their other dessert offerings.