Why Visit Rwanda For A Holiday

A simple reason you should visit Rwanda for a holiday is its incredible offer of a combination of nature, adventure, and culture. From trekking through the forest to meet endangered mountain gorillas to hanging out in the cultural melting city of Kigali, this African country offers impressive holiday attractions.

Rwanda is a destination hard to literally describe simply because it’s one of the remarkable African travel destinations where you feel emotionally attached to nature, the land, and its people. It is a country that truthfully regenerates your soul and redefines the spirit of travel.

Rwanda is not only for globetrotters who have a sense of unspoiled adventure but also wanderlust travelers. From historical museums that inspire to incredible culinary experiences high above Kigali’s flashing lights of the city below, Rwanda is full of holiday wonder.

Exploring this tiny East African destination will leave you emotional and enlightened. In that case, let’s explore why you should visit Rwanda for a holiday this year.

Wonderful Culture & Heritage

Rwanda is a holiday destination that gives tribute and high value to its culture. Rwanda attaches great importance to preserving and promoting its culture as a cornerstone for sustainable development.

Today Kigali is cosmopolitan enough to host two fashion festivals every year. For fashionistas and travelers on the cutting edge of contemporary style, Kigali offers an incredible opportunity to see the western and Rwandan styles fusion by the country’s finest designers. Experience style during the Kigali Fashion Week every July and hosts dozens of international, local, and upcoming young designers. Every September, the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Week showcases even more local and international talent.

Rwanda’s festivals and events celebration of Rwandan creativity and nature. Among events held each year are;

  • The Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony at the Volcanoes National Park. At the festival, new baby gorillas are named for conservation purposes.
  • The Kigali Up festival brings together music from across the world to Kigali.
  • The Rwanda Film Festival showcases films from Rwanda, Africa, and the world.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys testing bustling city cultures, food, and trade, the Kigali Cultural Village is a good reason to visit Rwanda for a holiday. The village is a traditional market space where local craftspeople and street food vendors exhibit and trade their cultural art. Occasionally, the Village hosts events, workshops, and music festivals.

Rwanda’s Museums and Art Galleries showcase historical artifacts and make for an interesting into the country’s civilization history. A fantastic reason for archeologists and historians to visit Rwanda for a holiday.

Museums and art galleries of interest to travelers include;

  • King’s Palace — a beautifully-crafted thatched palace shaped like a beehive
  • The Ethnographic Museum — also known as the National Museum, housing perhaps the best ethnographic collection in the region
  • Rwanda Art Museum — an exhibition of contemporary local and international artworks from Rwanda
  • Kigali Genocide Memorial — a burial ground for over 300,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide with an exhibition of the gruesome atrocities
  • Kandt House Museum — showcasing Rwanda’s colonial-era set in the first colonial governor’s house.
  • Museum of the Environment — an educational center for conservation

The Most Inviting People

Rwanda has had more to come back from after an implosion of violence that killed over 800,000 people in 100 days. How could any country ever overcome such hatred and horror? Some countries like Somalia and South Sudan have yet to pull it together.

But over the past two decades, the people of Rwanda have transformed Rwanda into what may be the most inviting city in Africa. Although many factors have led to the country’s fast development, one thing stands out as the organizing principle that should make you visit Rwanda for a holiday: the Umuganda.

Umuganda is a Kinyarwanda word that roughly translates to “community service” or “coming together in common purpose” On every last Saturday of the month, at least one person from every household aged 18-65 gets outside and cleans, fixes, or does maintenance work in public spaces.

And it’s not just the atmosphere of unity after not-so-old gruesome wounds that should make you visit Rwanda for a holiday. It is also the atmosphere of friendliness exhibited by locals to every foreigner that comes to their spaces. Rwandese are quick to share a story, meal, smile, or wave with foreigners without suspicion or judgment.

Robust Conservation Programs

With extensive animal conservation programs, sustainable lodging, and a ban on plastic bags, Rwanda has some of Africa’s most successful conservation programs. In fact, tourism is the country’s biggest foreign-exchange earner and hugely because of its ecotourism programs.

The revival of gorilla tourism demonstrates that Rwanda has a big heart. This post-conflict country can successfully focus on high-end tourism while maintaining conservation and contributing to poverty reduction through the involvement of communities.

If the focus on sustainable tourism that inspires affection and pride among most Rwandans is not a decisive reason to visit Rwanda for a holiday by now, then you better read on.

One of the hugest conservation festivals that showcase how Rwandese are committed to conservation is the annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony that happens on 24th September. The idea of naming newborn gorillas and lions creates a sense of ownership and entitlement among Rwandans to protect endangered species. Moreover, the naming of wildlife has become vital to Rwanda’s conservation success, aiding game rangers and park management to monitor these species in their habitat and ensure their survival.

The most successful conservation story that will most likely attract you to visit Rwanda for a holiday is tracking the endangered mountain gorillas and other primates in Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest.

Exceptional Primate Adventures

Volcanoes National Park, protecting the steep slopes of the Virungas, in the northwest corner of Rwanda, is one of the last three forest sanctuaries to not only the mountain gorillas but to the golden monkey endemic to volcanic mountains. The area is also home to many communities whose livelihoods depend on gorilla tourism.

On Rwanda’s southern frontier is Nyungwe National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, rich in biodiversity and spectacularly stunning. The mountainous forest is teaming with wildlife, including a small chimpanzee population and 15 other primate species.

Attractions in the two national parks are why most adventure travelers visit Rwanda for a holiday.

You can join the daily gorilla trekking adventures in Volcanoes National Park all year through. A ticket costs USD 1500 per person and includes a local guide, armed rangers, and park fees. The trek begins at 0800 with a briefing at the visitor center, and trekkers are divided into small groups of eight people before heading into the forest.

You can trek for a few minutes to a couple of hours before you locate the mountain gorillas. But when you do, you’re allowed to spend not more than an hour watching the gentle giants at their natural relaxing time for foraging and socializing.

The golden monkey trekking in the same park and chimpanzee trekking adventure in Nyungwe National Park are more or less similar to the gorilla trekking experience. However, the chimps and golden monkeys are more hyperactive than the mountain gorillas and require visitors to stay on their feed during the experience.

Besides being some of the most endearing travel experiences, Rwanda’s primate adventures offer visitors a rare opportunity to travel sustainably and ethically. A big chunk of primate tourism revenue is reinvested into continuous primate conservation, highlighting the country’s commitment to ecotourism.

In addition to exclusive primate adventures, Rwanda also provides Big Game viewing adventures. The ability to view savannah wildlife and primates in the same descent African destination is scarce, making Rwanda a preferred safari destination to visit on a holiday.

Big Game Viewing

Until recently, it wouldn’t be possible to see big game in Rwanda. However, the country’s commitment to conservation and wildlife tourism in Akagera National Park makes it possible to see the incredible savannah big game in Rwanda.

This park was hit hard by poaching and farming until 1997. Lions, leopards, and many other animals were hit heavily by communities grazing their livestock in the park.

A partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks Network has changed things. Today, Akagera National Park hosts the Big Five, lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo roam the park’s wetlands, woodlands, and savannah dotted with a dozen lakes.

It’s also a stunningly striking landscape that has become a bird watcher’s paradise with 490 species identified. Also, giraffe, zebra, and topi roam the Kilala plain’s open field grassland basin.

And to top it all, the ease of logistics of planning a safari combining Rwanda’s cultural encounters with gorilla trekking and wildlife game drives in Akagera is a perfect reason to visit Rwanda for a holiday this year.

Simple Travel Logistics

While being an exceptionally accessible destination to visit for a holiday, putting together a trip in Rwanda is as easy as creating your shopping list. Not forgetting to mention that Rwanda is so tiny, you can cross the country within three hours.

In one trip, a Rwanda holiday itinerary can fit in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, a visit to Rwanda’s cultural and colorful capital of Kigali, cycling on the incredible Nile Trail, plenty of culinary experience, and unforgettable nights at one of the country’s luxury forest resorts.

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