With of the most preferred tourist attractions, Rwanda is a small landlocked country located in east Africa and known to the many as the land of a thousand hills. Rwanda is one of the African countries that have had one of the deadly civil war leading to the destruction of the country’s image, property and loss of lives. This tragedy affected Rwanda back in 1993 when the Rwandan Genocide that broke out in April became a nightmare to the people of Rwanda. A number of innocent people were killed, national parks became battlefields leading to loss of wildlife and greatly destroying tourism industry of the country.
The good news is that despite the painful past, Rwanda incorporated the past and has been working a lot to boost her tourism industry.
The major genocide centers have been turned into dark tourism destinations featuring mass graves, some names of people who were killed during the genocide, some of the dead body remaining’s (skeletons) plus some of the murder weapons that were used to kill people. Visiting one of the genocide memorials is very touching because you cannot surely want to imagine what happened back in the day. Entrance to the genocide memorials is free of charge however one is expected to at least give a donation after the tour. The money collected is used to help some of the people who were greatly affected by the genocide especially the orphans.
The Rwanda’s dark tourism spots are not places for the faint hearted but are some of the places a tourist should visit to get to more about Rwanda. Apart from dark tourism, Rwanda has various forms of tourism that mainly include;
Mountain Gorilla Tourism
Listed among the most endangered primate species, mountain gorillas are truly endangered and among the most rare animals on the planet but Rwanda are blessed to have them in volcanoes national park, which is part of the Virunga area located in the northwestern part of the country. The remaining mountain gorillas on earth live in the Virunga area and the forested mountains of Bwindi however volcanoes national park has half of the mountain gorillas in the Virunga volcanoes with 10 habituated mountain gorilla families each being visited by one tourist a day.
Mountain gorillas are magical wild animals whose encounters offer unforgettable wildlife experiences and this explains why every day tourists head to the national park ready to head to the forested mountains for mountain gorilla safaris.
Though mountain gorilla tourism had been greatly devastated by the genocide when volcanoes national park had become a fighting ground, its no longer the case today and the national park is now very safe for tourists but most importantly the mountain gorilla population is also increasing steadily.
The Chimpanzee Tracking Experiences
These are enjoyed in the dense Nyungwe forest located in southwestern Rwanda. Laying the Albertine rift, Nyungwe forest is among the largest and oldest forests in east and central Africa but most importantly sheltering one of human’s relatives the chimpanzees. Tracking chimpanzees in this vast forest is very adventurous as one comes across many other wildlife attractions like the birds, other primates like monkeys plus a number of insects and butterflies.
The Cultural Tourism Experiences
Africa is known for having unique cultures and Rwandan cultures are not only unique but also incredible. Rwandan cultural experiences can be experiences in various places in the country including the Iby’Iwacu cultural village located in Kinigi near volcanoes national park. A tour to this cultural village enables one to discover more about the Rwandese culture and also get entertainment from the Rwandese Intore dancers. Culture has been one of the avenues the government of Rwanda has used to boost tourism and it’s an experience one should not miss while in Rwanda.
Rwanda has greatly developed its hotel industry by allowing a number of investors in the industry. Today, there are a number of hotels and lodges that offer standard hospitality services and therefore one should not worry about where to stay.
The road network in Rwanda is also very developed and it’s therefore very easy to connect from Kigali to the major tourist attractions. While in Rwanda today, you cannot believe that it was at one point affected by a deadly genocide.