20 Unmissable Attractions in Rwanda

Lake Burera
Lake Burera | © Rachel Strohm / Flickr
Leah Feiger

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.

Volcanoes National Park

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.

Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Lake Kivu

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.

Kibuye on Lake Kivu

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.

Canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park

Twin Lakes

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.

Lake Burera

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.

Zebras in Akagera National Park

Sorwathe Tea Plantation

Halfway between Kigali and Musanze, the Sorwathe Tea Plantation offers lunch, tea tastings, fantastic views, and a tea production tour.

Sorwathe tea fields

Lake Muhazi

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.

Views of the lake

1. Ethnographic Museum

Museum

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.

2. Inema Arts Center

Art Gallery

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.

3. Kigali Genocide Memorial

Museum

Photographs at the Kigali Genocide Memorial
© Trocaire / Flickr
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.

4. Kimironko Market

Market

Kimironko market
Courtesy of Annette Swale
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.

5. Repub Lounge

Restaurant, African, Vegetarian

Repub Lounge
© Courtesy of Illume Creative Studio

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.

6. Inzora Rooftop Cafe

Cafe, Vegetarian, Coffee

Drinks on the Inzora rooftop
Courtesy of Kigali Eats
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.

7. Presidential Palace Museum

Museum, Art Gallery

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.

8. Hôtel des Mille Collines

Hotel

Pool at Hotel des Mille Collines
© Innocent Kaneza / Flickr

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.

9. Kigali Heights

Shopping Mall

This new mall, located minutes from the Convention Centre, is home to several restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.

10. Baso Patissier

Cafe, Patisserie, Dessert, Vegetarian

Baso Patissier
Courtesy of Kigali Eats

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.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

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