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Lake Burera

20 Unmissable Attractions in Rwanda

Picture of Leah Feiger
Leah Feiger
Updated: 1 September 2017

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

Volcanoes National Park | © John Cooke/Flickr

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

Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park | © Carine06/Flickr

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

Kibuye on Lake Kivu | © Francois Terrier/Flickr

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

Canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park | © Justin Raycraft/Flickr

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.

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

Zebras in Akagera National Park | © Courtesy of Leah Feiger

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

Sorwathe tea fields | © Nick Fraser/Flickr

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

Views of the lake | © Francisco Anzola/Flickr

Ethnographic Museum

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.

Ethnographic Museum, RN 1, Butare, Rwanda, +250 788 472 096

National Museum of Rwanda

National Museum of Rwanda | © Dave Proffer/Flickr

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.

Ubumwe Grande Hotel, 1306 KN 67, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 783 744 755

View from the Ubumwe Grande Hotel

View from the Ubumwe Grande Hotel | © Courtesy of Joli Tropisme

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.

Inema Arts Center, KG 563, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 783 187 646

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.

Kigali Genocide Memorial, KG 14, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 788 303 098

Photos at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Photos at the Kigali Genocide Memorial | © Trocaire/Flickr

Kimironko Market

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.

Kimironko Market, KG 11, Kigali, Rwanda

Kimironko market

Kimironko market | © Courtesy of Annette Swale

Repub Lounge

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.

Repub Lounge, KG 674, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 788 303 030

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.

Kigali Convention Centre, KN 5, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 786 738 663

Kigali Convention Center

Kigali Convention Center | © GovernmentZA/Flickr

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.

Inzora Rooftop Cafe, KG 5, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 789 539 764

Drinks on the Inzora rooftop

Drinks on the Inzora rooftop | © Courtesy of Kigali Eats

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.

Presidential Palace Museum, KK 106, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 784 737 094

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.

Hôtel des Mille Collines, KN 6, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 788 192 016

Pool at Hotel des Mille Collines

Pool at Hotel des Mille Collines | © Innocent Kaneza/Flickr

Kigali Heights

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

Kigali Heights, KG 7, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 783 498 363

Baso Patissier

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.

Baso Patissier, KN 47, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 733 281 613