Rwanda, though small, is absolutely bursting with attractions, activities, and sights. Whether it’s kayaking on the idyllic Lake Kivu or bar-hopping in bustling Kigali, the country has something to offer every traveler. Read on to check out where you should go in Rwanda based on your personality.
In the last five years, Kigali has become an East African capital on the rise. Offering a multitude of diverse and international restaurants, lively bars, and coffee-obsessed cafés, any coffee lover and foodie would be happy in Kigali. Check out Kimironko Market for fresh produce, visit Repub Lounge (one of Kigali’s top Rwandan restaurants), and make your way to Question Coffee and Inzora Rooftop Café for some of the region’s best coffee.
Repub Lounge, KG 674, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 788303030
Question Coffee, KG 8, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 781968027
Inzora Rooftop Cafe, KG 5, Kigali, Rwanda, +250 789539764
Akagera National Park is home to Africa’s big five, and is known for its gorgeous views and exciting wildlife. Rhinos, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more can all be spotted on a game drive. A trip to Akagera can be undertaken in just a day or over a long weekend, and the park’s focus on animal, environmental, and community conservation is impressive. Stay at the upmarket Ruzizi Lodge or camp under the stars for a memorable evening.
Located on Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s largest lake, Gisenyi sits right on the border with Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A long public beach stretches through the town, with bars, restaurants, and a couple of private beaches dotting the area as well. Spend your days lazing on the beach, taking a boat ride, or kayaking on the lake’s calm waters.
Nyungwe National Park is easily one of the most remote locations in Rwanda. It takes approximately five hours to reach the park gates from Kigali, but misty tea fields, thick jungle canopies, chimpanzees, and hundreds of bird species await the committed traveler. Hiking trails, canopy walks, and chimpanzee treks can all be found in Nyungwe Forest, and it’s really the perfect place to come, relax, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country.
Nestled in Rwanda’s southwest lies one of the holiest towns in the country. Known for apparitions and pilgrimage, many Christian Rwandans and tourists alike journey to Kibeho for spiritual, religious, and faith-based activities. At the height of the alleged appearances of the Virgin Mary in the 1980s, as many as 10,000 people were said to have attended public gatherings and services here.
Nyamirambo, one of Kigali’s most colorful and exciting neighborhoods, is the best place to go in the country for a good party. Bars, clubs, and restaurants line the main street in the neighborhood, and are generally bumping all nights of the week. Grab a friend, enjoy a couple of cold Skol beers, and get ready for a wild evening.
A trip to Rwanda would not be complete without a visit to Volcanoes National Park. Home to a portion of the Virunga mountain range and Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population, tourists are able to hike volcanoes, stay in luxurious mountain lodges, and go gorilla trekking in the park. Though there is truly nothing quite like coming face to face with a silverback gorilla on the face of an extinct volcano, prices for accommodation and gorilla permits have become quite steep. Fortunately, for the midrange and budget travelers, there are plenty of cheap hotel options in the town of Musanze, and alternative activities nearby. Venture to the gorgeous twin lakes, hike Mount Bisoke, or arrange a park trek to spot some golden monkeys.