More than 20 years have passed and Rwanda, a small country of only 27 000 km2 in the heart of Africa, is healing and trying to rejoin the rest of the world as a destination location. Though not a destination one would think of right away, Rwanda is now a warm and friendly place to visit.
Surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC), Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, Rwanda’s African roots are evident as soon as you arrive. The country is a strikingly beautiful place, and has a marked cleanliness that will impress the fussiest visitor. Imagine: plastic bags have been banished from the country since 2008!
Present day Rwanda offers tourists a secure and well organized country to visit. The capital, Kigali, is a modern and dynamic city offering everything a traveller could ask for.
Numerous restaurants allow visitors to savor the local flavors and specialties, coffee shops where you can appreciate home-grown Rwandan coffee and teas that are now recognized internationally, visit art galleries and take advantage of the booming night life.
Luckily, the strife faced by this lovely country managed to exclude the main tourist attraction, the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. These creatures are treasures and quite celebrated, including an annual ceremony, Kwita Izina, which is organized to give names to baby gorillas born during the year. But these animals are not the only attraction!
This country, known as the land of a thousand hills, also offers Akagera National Park and allows you to see numerous animals such as giraffes, zebras, elephants and quite recently lions were reintroduced. In Nyungwe National park, it is possible to observe birds, to visit with chimpanzees and hike through tea fields and a majestic forest.
The Congo Nile Trail is 227 km long and follows the shoreline of Lake Kivu between the cities of Rubavu, Karongi and Rusizi. Most adventurers can travel it in 5 days by bike or in 10 days by hiking.
For those who are interested in history, six national museums situated in the cities of Kigali, Huye, Nyanza and Karongi as well as the memorial sites of Gisozi, Nyamata and Ntarama, explain the origins of the nation, the colonial period, independence, the terrible 100 days of the genocide and the return of peace to this small country which has big aspirations for the future. Rwanda is a treasure hidden in the heart of Africa and its beauty will stay with you always!