Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with green sceneries, rolling hills and fabulous, verdant savannah, wonderful people, culture, and wildlife. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rainforest that’s a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. The capital city is Kigali. The Kigali Genocide Memorial documents the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda, associated with the country’s civil war and full of cultural places to visit.
The suitable destination for perfect holiday we offer to you is Rwanda, a country with impressive natural, and cultural/historical features for a memorable holiday in the east-central tropical region of Africa. This is a country of rolling hills with impressive scenic view.
Small as it is, Rwanda is a tourist destination where sites – especially those with natural, cultural, and historical features — give unforgettable experience. This is a country privileged to be part of Virunga Massif, a home to Mountain Gorillas; rare species only found in this part of the world.
Viewing – for instance – several wildlife in their natural environment in different parts of Rwanda, is itself a fascinating experience you should not miss. A number of Protected Areas, in this country, serve as the major homes for different types of wildlife; ranging from aquatic to terrestrial fauna and flora.
Watching cultural/historical features in Rwanda is another experience you should not miss. Regardless of single dialect – internationally described as Kinyarwanda – spoken and valued by all natives, the country has more for cultural tourists. These include representations of the ancient lifestyle of Rwandese society. In addition, contemporary lifestyle of Rwandese, and their traditional art of work provide holiday experience hardly to forget.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
In the span of 100 days, an estimated one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were systematically butchered by the Interahamwe army. This memorial honours the estimated 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and also has an excellent exhibition that tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the 1994 genocide unfolded. This is an intensely powerful and moving memorial for which you should dedicate at least half a day.
The informative audio tour (US$15) includes background on the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda. As the visit progresses, the exhibits become steadily more powerful, as you are confronted with the crimes that took place here and moving video testimony from survivors. If you have remained dispassionate until this point, you’ll find that it will all catch up with you at the section that remembers the children who fell victim to the killers’ machetes. Life-sized photos are accompanied by intimate details about their favourite toys, their last words and the manner in which they were killed.
Sit down and speak to the locals
When I first arrived in Kigali I had the unjust impression that Rwandans were withdrawn. Although there is an air of seriousness in a country that is still in healing, my feeling changed quickly after being exposed to the gentle hearts and thoughtfulness of people.
Only when you begin to engage and consciously listen can you learn about the values and knowledge of a culture. My hostess told me a story about the intashya bird that weaves its nest under the roof of her patio. “If a guest or visitor destroys the nests they will return to rebuild it no matter how many times it is destroyed, without fail,” she said. “But if the owner of the house destroys it, they will never come back.”
It is with the people that my most vivid memories of Rwanda remain. I have never seen so many smiling children in one place, their eyes beaming with purity. I will never forget the time I went for a walk and got caught in a heavy downpour and a man ran out of his home with a big yellow umbrella. Although the umbrella didn’t survive the rain, we sat under the tin shelter of the golf course and spoke to each other in soft smiles, waiting for the rain to pass.
Go salsa dancing
The Pasadena Bar in the Gikondo region of Kigali is the place to be on a Thursday night. Each week the Afro-Caribbean inspired hall draws together a hodgepodge of age and culture, from seasoned shakers to left-footed beginners for a marathon of uninterrupted salsa dancing. Dancers align behind the master of rhythm Jimmy Rudahunga, on the same dance floor where he learned to salsa over six years ago. Patrons follow him as he builds onto the basic left-foot-forward, right-foot-back movements with smooth sidestepping and spinning tricks.
The atmosphere is joyous, the energy is contagious, and by the end of the night you probably will have swapped partners with most people in the room. The more shy-footed can swig Skol and enjoy some good conversation while admiring the music and movement. The night gets into full swing at about 10pm, and I recommend stopping by Papyrus in Kimihurura for a rooftop drink and unfolding views of Kigali.
Visit Kimironko Market
Kigali’s Kimironko Market is a sensory rush of bright colours and strong smells.
The market houses plantations of fresh food, fruit and vegetables are laid out on tables and stacked to the ceiling. Patrons pick and choose what they need. Don’t forget to try the tamarillo (tree tomato), a fruit with a slightly bitter and explosive taste; it’s also great for making jam.
In the second half of the market you will find a variety of traditional and second hand clothes. My favourite part was walking in between the exquisite fabrics draped from stall to stall where vivid colours collide with geometric shapes and animals. With so many beautifully crafted textiles, I found it difficult to choose which one to take home with me. I finally opted for a wax print fabric known as kitenge, made by the process of imprinting a pattern of melted wax onto fabric before it is dyed.
Rwanda’s Art Renaissance at the Ivuka Arts Centre
The surge of public art that has cropped up over the last year is incredible and in part attributed to organisations like Ivuka Arts and its collaboration with local emerging artists and other community-based projects. Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga means to Create to See, to Learn, and is an expression-based public arts initiative urging people to address the current discourse of Aids through creativity and the deconstruction of stigma.
It was only about a year ago that the first large-scale mural was approved for painting on a ten-story hospital building on the streets of Kigali. The mural served as a catalyst for the public art scene in the city, with many more being curated by local artists and the emergence of a new voice, one a part from the usual government slogans and advertising boards.
Ivuka Arts invites local artists to do a residency where they hone their craft, experiment with media, and form a community of support and learning with other artists. The atmosphere is beautiful, with open studio spaces looking over lush green hills, and there is constant life with the Rwandan Dance Troop singing and drumming. The walls are draped with magnificent art and sculptures made from up-cycled materials. The centre is always open for visitors to stop by and browse the gallery or watch the community practice their dance and drumming performances.
Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park doesn’t come cheaply, but it’s good to know that the US$750 you fork out for this adventure is going towards the preservation of these magnificent creatures.
With only about 5 metres between you, you are able to observe the complex social behavior of the animals, picking up on each one’s distinct personality. Interestingly, a lot of the rangers were former poaches who have been educated on the significance of the animals and now depend on them for their livelihoods, acting as their passionate guardians.
The biggest threat to mountain gorillas in Rwanda is the destruction of their natural habitat by a growing and largely agricultural population. I learned about the naming ceremony called Kwita Izina where the President comes to the area each year to name each newborn baby.
The surrounding town of Masanze is very charming, scattered with great restaurants and every building is decorated with beautiful hand-painted signage. You can also visit the hotel where Diane Fossey lived during her pivotal research on mountain gorillas. Her room remains largely intact.
One of the spectacular features which gives holiday travelers ‘feel at home’ experience is accommodation in Rwanda facility. The accommodation facilities we offer are mainly located in the major tourist sites which enable several tourists to turn such sites into their second homes. Most of our tourist accommodations are situated around and inside the natural protected areas. This is where the only sound to hear, in these areas, is from birds and blowing fresh air that pass-by your ears. Some of these accommodations are built with local materials that enable them to match with the natural environment where they are located.
We frequently travel to find the hotels, lodges, guesthouses, and tented camps that best suit the different tastes of our clients. The number of such accommodations we have visited, and inspected runs into hundreds. We particularly look for those in better locations or with good standards to suit the style of a hotel, lodge, guesthouse, or a tented camp.
The ones we like best are often run by wonderful owners with a real passion. However, we do not list on this website those accommodations we offer, but we are ready to give enough examples that you can see broadly; what choices are available to suit different tastes. About charges for services they provide, we use the following to indicate their relative charges:
- Lower-range; a good standard option which we think is comfortable and pleasant but without additions, at a price to suit the typical soft adventure traveler. Guest bedrooms all have private bathrooms of course.
- Mid- range; superior which we consider is comfortable and pleasant with nice décor and furnishings, above average food or a desirable location, with a price to match.
- Upper- range; the upper end of what is available located in a special place where to stay, but at a top of the market price-wise. High prices always mean luxury facilities, and reflect the uniqueness of their services and location.
The Garden Place Hotel
Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, The Garden Place Hotel offers accommodation in Ruhengeri. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is available on site.
Each room includes a flat-screen TV. Certain rooms have a seating area where you can relax. Some rooms include views of the mountains or garden. The rooms come with a private bathroom with bath or shower, with slippers and free toiletries provided.
There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. The area is popular for hiking.
This property also has one of the best-rated locations in Ruhengeri! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area.
Couples particularly like the location, they rated it 8.9 for a two-person trip.
This property is also rated for the best value in Ruhengeri! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
Situated in the hilly suburbs of Kigali, Step Town offers accommodation with panoramic views overlooking the city. The hotel features free WiFi throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.
Each room at Step Town is equipped with a fan, telephone and a TV with satellite channels. The private bathrooms are equipped with a bath or shower, and each room features a terrace or patio.
Step Town has a restaurant on site, or guests can enjoy a drink on the terrace overlooking Kigali. Special diet menus and room service can also be arranged.
Other facilities at the hotel include a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage, and airport shuttles are available at a surcharge.
Step Town is within 3 km of the Kigali Genocide Memorial and Kigali International Airport is 10.5 km away from the property.
Couples particularly like the location — they rated it 8.9 for a two-person trip.
This property is also rated for the best value in Kigali! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
Yambi News Hotel
Featuring free WiFi, a restaurant and a children’s playground, Yambi Guesthouse offers pet-friendly accommodation in Kigali. The bed and breakfast has a sun terrace and views of the mountains, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant.
Some rooms include a seating area where you can relax. Some units have views of the garden or city. Free private parking is available on site.
You will find a shared kitchen at the property and can engage in various activities, such as cycling and hiking. The bed and breakfast also offers bike hire and car hire.
Inema Art Center is 5 km from Yambi Guesthouse, while Ivuka Arts Studio is 5 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kigali International Airport, 7 km from Yambi Guesthouse.
This place has received a high rating for cost compared to Kigali Rewards! Guests receive more for their money compared to other accommodations in this city.
Peponi offers accommodation in Kigali. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
Certain rooms feature a seating area to relax in after a busy day. The property offers a flat screen TV in all living rooms.
There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
Kigali International Community School is 1.9 km from Peponi, while Big Local food Market is 2.4 km away. The nearest airport is Kigali International Airport, 8 km from Peponi.
This property is also rated for the best value in Kigali! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
Known as the highest hotel in Kigali, 2000 Hotel features mountain and city views and a rooftop terrace. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. There is also a fitness centre.
Each room has a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain rooms feature a seating area to relax in after a busy day. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while looking out at the mountains or garden. Rooms include a private bathroom fitted with a bath. Extras include bath robes, slippers and free toiletries.
Bamboo Restaurant offers Chinese and Western cuisine. Guests can choose from a large selection of wines in the bamboo bar.
An on-site fitness center is featured at the 2000 Hotel Kigali and massage facilities are available. A business center is provided for guest convenience. Speaking English, French and Chinese, the 24-hour reception is there to help guests with all their queries.
A shopping mall and supermarket is located on the ground floor. The Central Business District and Kigali City Tower are within a 2-minute walk of this hotel. The Tourist Information Center is a 5-minute walk away.
2000 Hotel Downtown Kigali is situated 11 km from Kigali International Airport. The property offers airport shuttle services.
Getting to Rwanda is not that challenging because there are many ways one can use to be able to get to Rwanda, One can choose to either take a flight using Rwanda air or use road transport.
We recommend you to make a direct air travel reservation with the airlines. There are number of scheduled airline flights to and from Kigali International Airport in Rwanda; from the Europe’s Amsterdam in Netherlands operated by KLM Dutch Royal, besides flights from Brussels in Belgium operated by SN Brussels. There are also flights from Heathrow in UK operated by British Airways to Entebbe Airport in Uganda with a connection to Kigali operated by Rwand air. Other available flights to Kigali are operated by Qatar Airways from the Asia’s Doha in Qatar, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul in Turkey as well as flights by Rwandair from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
There are other airline flights operated from the Africa’s Nairobi in Kenya by Kenya Airways, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania by Rwandair, Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia by Ethiopian Airlines, Brazzaville in Congo, Libreville in Gabon, and Lagos in Nigeria by Rwand air; as well as Jonesburg in South Africa by South African Airways. Most of these flights available five times a week, make Rwanda an easily accessible tourist destination in the heart of Africa.
Helicopter flight service is one of the kind of transfer service at destination available for tourists traveling to different upcountry parts of Rwanda where we offer soft adventure and cultural/historical activities. In addition, this transport service is over and over again comfortable and quick and is recommended for high-end tourist travel. It is offered or arranged for you based on your interest or request and choice; and only available for connections within Rwanda.
Using our company vehicles is helpful especially if you will be staying at accommodation we arrange for your in different parts of Rwanda and in the southwestern Uganda. If you plan to have a soft adventure holiday with us, it is better to inform us and we help you make a choice of a vehicle to be arranged for your holiday trip. Prior and careful planning is necessary and you will have to be confident to travel around Rwanda and beyond. We always arrange the 4-wheel drive vehicles considered essential to cope up even with the rough roads in the national parks or some other places you choose to visit.