Rwanda’s Top Tourist Attractions include mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park and Chimps in Nyungwe Fores. Rwanda, the land of 1000 Hills as popularly known is a tourist destination for mainly gorilla lovers, vacation and holiday makers. The tiny country is East Africa region is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.
In terms of tourism, Rwanda is a key player in attracting thousands of visitors every year from all across the world. The country has got several tourist attractions to be proud of. The major on the list are the endangered Mountain gorillas found at the Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla trekking is the major activity done at this park and fetched millions of dollars every year for the country.
Besides gorillas, Volcanoes National Park boasts of other attractions including golden monkeys, Dian Fossey Gravesite at Karisoke Research Centre found Mount Karisimbi and Visoke and Ibywachu Ex-poachers Village. Dian Fossey who was murdered in 1985 in Rwanda was a gorilla rights’ activist who fought hard to ensure that these endangered primates were conserved against extinction.
Other major attractions include Nyungwe Forest National Park found in the south of the country and this hosts primates like chimpanzees, several species of monkeys, birds and amazing tree species among others. At Nyungwe, nature activities like Canopy walk, forest walk and birding are conveniently done.
Nyungwe Forest has Common chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes, Colobus angolensis ruwenzori (Adolf Friedrich’s Angola colobus), Hamlyn’s monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Silver monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti), L’Hoest’s monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), Golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti), Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), Grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena), Red-tailed monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius), Olive baboon (Papio anubis) and the Dent’s mona monkey (Cercopithecus denti)
In the east of the country near the border with Tanzania, Rwanda has Akagera National Park which has several animal and bird species. This is the only park in Rwanda where morning and afternoon game viewing safaris take place. Akagera is characterized with beautiful plains where animals like Impala, oribi, topi, eland, Defassa water buck, Masai giraffe, bush buck, reed buck, sable and roan antelope are visible. Boat cruises along the shorelines of Lake Ihema, the second largest lake in Rwanda offer an amazing aquatic bird sightings, fishing on Lake Shakani is also possible.
Moving away from the only three national parks (Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera National Park), tourists in Rwanda are attracted by Lake Kivu, a water body characterized by beautiful beaches, calm waters and boat cruises to various islands. A visit to the Magnificent Lake is regarded as time well-spent.
On a sad not, Rwanda has several genocide memorial centers in Kigali and across the country. These came up as a result of the 1994 Holocaust that engulfed the country at the height of many years of political turbulence. The genocide claimed almost close to a million lives, mainly Tusti ethnicity and moderate Hutus. The genocide memorial centres are places to visit by tourists just to see and reflect on where the country has come from in terms of political civilization. The major massacre memorial is the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre where close to 250,000 lives are buried. It is the biggest and most visited in the whole of Rwanda.
Other tour attractions in Rwanda also include volcanic caves at Musanze in Ruhengeri, The National Museum at Butare (Ethnographic Museum), Nyanza Royal Palace (King’s Palace) at Nyabisindu, The Presidential Palace in Kigali, Kandt House Museum of Natural History also in Kigali and the Rwesero Art Museum at Nyanza. These are also attract a sizable number of visitors who come.