10 Unique Things to Do in Rwanda

Lake Burera | Courtesy of Leah Feiger
Lake Burera | Courtesy of Leah Feiger
Photo of Leah Feiger
4 September 2017

With its varied ecosystems and abundance of wildlife and national parks, Rwanda offers many activities unique to the country and region such as tracking gorillas, camping near a beautiful lake, and trying the local cuisine. Here are 10 unique things tourists can see and do while visiting Rwanda.

Hike volcanoes

There aren’t too many places in the world where volcano hiking can be accomplished over a weekend. The dormant volcanic peaks of Bisoke, Sabinyo, Gahinga, Muhabura, and Karisimbi all create a stunning natural skyline in the Musanze Region. Day hikes are easy to organize, as are multiple-day hikes that involve camping outside overnight before continuing on to the top the next morning. For a moderate morning trek, check out Mount Bisoke, an extinct volcano with a crater lake at the top that straddles Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mount Bisoke

Volcanoes National Park hiking guides

Volcanoes National Park hiking guides | © Maciej/Flickr

Gorilla tracking

It’s been said before, but it always bears repeating: gorilla tracking in Rwanda is magnificent. With fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world, over half of them reside in the Virunga Mountain Range. This range is shared between Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though gorilla tracking is expensive, it also contributes to the conservation of these endangered beauties and will be a great experience.

Virunga Mountain Range

Mountain gorilla tracking

Mountain gorilla tracking

Coffee washing stations

Rwanda has recently developed a tourist industry surrounding its coffee and tea production. Visit the Kinunu Coffee Washing Station near the lakeside town of Gisenyi, and sample some of Rwanda’s best coffee while learning all about the process from the bean to the cup.

Gisenyi, Western Province, Rwanda

Coffee plant

Coffee plant | © CIAT/Flickr

Bird’s-eye view of the Land of a Thousand Hills

Rwanda, while beautiful by road, is even more beautiful from air. Indulge in a helicopter ride to see some of Rwanda’s stunning sites from above. Akagera Aviation offers both tours and transfers.

Rwanda from above | © Francisco Anzola / Flickr

Eat big fish

Giant grilled fish stuffed with onions and spices can be found all over the Nyamirambo neighborhood of Kigali. Nyamirambo, traditionally the city’s Muslim quarter, is one of Kigali’s most vibrant areas. Eating big fish with your hands is a rite of passage, and is one of the most delicious ways to dine in Rwanda. Check out Green Corner for the best fish.

Green Corner, KN 20 Avenue, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 788 752 721

Big fish in Rwanda | © Steve Andersen/Flickr

Camp on Lake Burera

Nestled in the foothills of the Muhabura Volcano, the twin lakes are one of Rwanda’s hidden gems. Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera’s light blue waters and surrounding hills make a stunning backdrop to any weekend trip. One of the most relaxing spots in the country, Lake Burera camping is an absolute pleasure.

Lake Burera, Burera, Northern Province, Rwanda

Camping on Lake Burera

Camping on Lake Burera | Courtesy of Leah Feiger

Bike or hike the Congo Nile Trail

Stretching the majority of Rwanda’s Lake Kivu coastline, the Congo Nile Trail goes from Rubavu in the north to the Rusizi District in the south. The trail covers 141 miles (about 227 km) of some of Rwanda’s most spectacular landscapes. Hike or bike through the trail, stopping at tea plantations, coffee washing stations, lookout points, and cute guesthouses along the way.

Home St. Jean Guesthouse in Kibuye, a stop along the Congo Nile Trail | © Leah Feiger

Kayak the shores of Lake Kivu

There is absolutely nothing like a sunset or sunrise in the middle of Lake Kivu. The water is still, the colors are breathtaking, and the fishermen have just begun to sing. While the lake is beautiful from land, experiencing it from water is unforgettable. Kingfisher Journeys offers kayaking trips all along the Kivu coast, ranging from afternoon excursions to multi-day adventures.

Lake Kivu

Kayaking Lake Kivu

Kayaking Lake Kivu | © Leah Feiger

Watch Intore dancers

Present at most weddings and at the base of gorilla tracking, Intore—meaning dance of the heroes—is a beautiful and exciting artistic tradition unique to Rwanda. Intore dancers are skilled professionals, and the chance to watch their complex choreography and grace is a special experience.

Intore dancer | © Nagarjun Kandukuru / Flickr

Spend time in Kigali

Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is quickly transforming into a vibrant and exciting city. Providing an eclectic mix of tradition and modernity, Kigali has a lot to offer. With markets, art galleries, hikes, and more, Kigali is a city on the move. Check out Go Kigali and join one of its fascinating tours around the city.

Go Kigali tours | © Leigh Woods / Courtesy of Go Kigali


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