Top 11 things to do in Rwanda

Okay, when you think of fun countries, Rwanda may not be on top of your list. But you will be surprised. Whether you seek dangerous adventures or a simple walk on the beach, Rwanda has it all.

 

After a recent trip to Rwanda, I compiled a list of fun, adventurous and enjoyable activities to do in Rwanda. And here is the list.

1. BOAT RIDE ON LAKE KIVU

Lake Kivu, Western province

This is one of the most recommended activities in Rwanda. Lake Kivu is located in the Western province and is one of the most picturesque spots in Rwanda.

 

A boat ride on the lake costs between 16,000-30,000 Rwf and is an experience like no other. Explore the memorable islands such as the Napoleon island, Amahoro Island, Inyenyeri Island and the Ladies' island.

2. HIKING AND NATURE WALKS

Albretum forest

Rwanda is referred to as the Land of a Thousand hills for a good reason. If you are used to flat terrain in your home country, prepare to be wowed by the numerous hills all around the country.

 

To foreigners, almost every single road is a potential hiking ground. So, pack a pair of sports shoes and enjoy the never-ending hills.

 

A nature walk is perfect both at the countryside and in the city. However, in Kigali city, at night, the sparkling lights displayed over the hills are a view like no other.

3. MUSANZE CAVES

Inside the Musanze caves

Musanze town is known to attract many tourists running from the hustle and bustle of Kigali city.

 

Located in the Northern province, the Musanze caves are a thrilling sight that have caught tourists' eyes since they were opened to the public in 2013. They are reportedly 65 million years old but have been properly maintained to ensure maximum safety.

 

A walk/run through the caves leaves one refreshed and electrified.  All you need is 20 minutes below the ground to appreciate mother nature's creation. A trained tour guide will take you through the dark interior and show you where the magic happens. (In other words, where the butterflies and the bats hide lol.)

 

The walk through the caves was one of the highlights of my Rwanda trip. They were so dark but so alive (you may need a torch.)

4. KIGALI CONVENTION CENTER

The Kigali Convention Center

Known as one of Africa's most expensive buildings, the Kigali Convention Center is a structure to be reckoned with.

 

The auditorium accommodates over 2000 people and is one of the newest landmarks in Rwanda. After its launch in July 2016, the building was valued at USD 300 million. 

 

It also comprises of a five-star hotel called Radisson Blu Hotel that controls the center's activities. You cannot miss out on a trip to this remarkable construction that has changed the Kigali skyline.

5. INTERACT WITH THE LOCALS

With a tour guide at Ndaba Rock

Because they know where all the cool places, without an online presence are. Just approach them in a friendly manner.

 

In my popular article, 9 mistakes to avoid as a tourist in Rwanda, I break down the deal breakers for most locals in Rwanda.  It is important to know what to avoid to stay on the good side of people. Especially as a foreigner.

6. GAME DRIVE IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

Can you see the big fat elephant?

Although Akagera National Park isn't as famous as Nyungwe National Park (home to mountain gorillas), I recommend a visit to this recently refurbished park.

 

Akagera National Park is home to the Big 5 of Africa i e African lions, rhinoceros, leopards, the Cape buffalo, the African elephants and several other animals worth seeing. Plus, it is cheaper to get into.

 

Among the locals, it is the most visited park. But you can also visit the Nyungwe National Park (famous for chimpanzees) and the Volcano National park (famous for mountain gorillas), that are more sought after by tourists.

 

On my recent trip to Akagera, I had such a marvelous time, except when I almost got a bus of 30 people killed. You see, there is this thing with elephants. They do not like camera flashes. But how was I supposed to know? So, as I tried to get the above image (your welcome), I alerted the elephant. Boy, was he mad! 

7. HITCHHIKING 

For the adventurous travelers who have always dreamed of getting into a random car just for the sake of it, you can do that in Rwanda. I recommend hitchhiking in Rwanda for the obvious reason...Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa.

 

I tried hitchhiking one rainy day after my friends and I got stranded on the way home from a forest. We couldn't get a place to wait out the rain, so we said, Why not ask for a ride? And let me tell you, it is extremely difficult to hold onto an umbrella at the back of a pick up as the rain drenches you. 

 

But at least, I can check that off my bucket list. 

8. ROAD TRIPS

Kibuye, Western Province

In Rwanda, a simple activity like a road trip can quickly turn adventurous due to the nature of the roads. Most of them are constructed on hills (since most of the country is hilly anyway) hence, they are meandering, slanting, raised and plain fun to drive on.

 

I wrote an entire article dedicated to these roads. I know what you are thinking. 'Why would anyone write an article about a plain road? But there is nothing plain about these roads as you will find in my article, Rwanda: Through the eyes of a wanderer.  A drive on Rwandan roads can easily be compared to a roller coaster ride, especially at the countryside.

9. MUSEUM TOURS

Ethnographic museum, Huye District

From the ethnographic museum in Huye district, the National Arts museum in Nyanza-Rwesero to the Presidential museum in Kigali, Rwanda offers some of the best equipped museums in Africa.

 

With artifacts that date back to pre-colonial times, these museums provide a concrete and insightful depiction of the African traditional society. A visit to any of these museums is no boring affair.

10. PERFORMANCE OF THE INTORE DANCE

Intore dance performed by Ndere troupe in Uganda

The traditional Rwandan dance known as Intore is comprised of 3 aspect; the ballet which is performed by women,  the dance of heroes which is performed by men, and the drums.

 

Traditionally, the dance is performed to celebrate the beauty of Rwanda. The women portray grace and the men portray strength. You should not miss out on one of these performances. You can catch performances at cultural attractions like museums.

11. DISCOVER HIDDEN TREASURES

At the 'mysterious' Ruganzu cave, Huye District

Told you this article is for thrill seekers! There are several spots known only to the locals that you just have to see to believe. You will not find these places on the internet (okay, maybe here) but they will make your trip worthwhile.

 

A walk through the mysterious cave named after King Ruganzu is one of these spots (you may have to cross a river to get to it. ) Located in Huye District, the Ruganzu cave is as mystical as they come.

 

At the cave's entrance, you will find prayer requests from the locals requesting the King for guidance. Yes, for guidance. The cave is surrounded by endless hills. To get to it, you will walk past curious farmers who eagerly cheer you on. The 2-hours walk from the main road to the cave is so worth it.

  

Did I leave out any fun activities that you think everybody ought to do in Rwanda? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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