Rwanda’s exceptional culture is one of the key features that make Rwanda safaris lifetime experiences. It’s undeniable that a safari to Rwanda without a taste of its distinct and indigenous culture is surely incomplete. Much as most travelers complement cultural tours to gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park, a visit to any one cultural site is an experience of its own kind. Rwanda’s culture comprise of traditional dances, songs, poems, interacting with local people, preparing local foods, brewing local beers and living a traditional life. In order to enhance cultural tourism in Rwanda, several tourism sites have been established in different parts of Rwanda. Interestingly, travelers are allowed to take part in some cultural events such as the traditional dances, dressing code, all which make travelers part of the society. Also, there are many artifacts, maps, books and videos at each site, which provide travelers with extensive knowledge. Besides culture and mountain gorillas, travelers can engage in golden monkey trekking, volcano climbing and Kigali city tour which together make a complete safari package to the land of a thousand hills. The must visit cultural sites in Rwanda include:
Genocide memorial sites
After the 1994 genocide in which over 100,000 people were killed, the government of Rwanda and Rwanda tourism board established several genocide sites in different parts of the country. These are places were bodies of genocide victims were buried in transparent graves for viewing by travelers. These sites include Kigali genocide memorial center, Murambi genocide site, Gisozi memorial site, Gisenyi memorial site, Nyamata memorial site, Bisesero memorial site, Ntarama memorial site, Nyarubuye memorial site and Nyanza memorial site. On reaching any site, travelers are given details about the genocide and how Rwanda has recovered from the past history. Also, there are videos that clearly show and tell how everything happened.
Bugesera reconciliation village
Located a few kilometers from Kigali city, Bugesera reconciliation village is a place you should visit. As its name says, Bugesera reconciliation village is a community for reconciled families. People who stay here are the victims of 1994 genocide, which left them homeless after losing everything they had. The village was setup by the government to bring these people together and enable them to start a second happy life. Those who had become enemies have been reconciled and are leaving together in harmony. A visit to Bugesera reconciliation village is an opportunity for travelers to listen to the touching stories of these people, which make them appreciate how far Rwanda has become in bringing its people together transforming the country into the most hospitable nation with loving and caring people to interact with.
Iby’iwacu cultural village
A safari to Rwanda without visiting ibyiwacu cultural village is surely incomplete. A visit to this village is a great way to learn and enjoy the traditional culture of Rwanda associated with dances, songs, dressing code, poems and fantastic drummers whose entertainment is life changing. Interestingly, travelers are allowed to take part in all activities like preparing local food and brewering local banana beer which make them part of the community an experience for a lifetime. Also, travelers get a chance of interacting with former poachers and medicine men that all provide you with extensive knowledge about Rwanda’s traditions and norms. Other activities that take place at this site include preparing traditional marriages and cow milking among others. Local people at iby’iwacu community village present their community structure, traditional medicine, dancing and archery which presentations expand traveler’s knowledge about Rwanda’s traditional village life. Also the village is surrounded by volcanoes national park and the Virunga volcanoes hence an added opportunity for the travelers to enjoy the spectacular views of the stunning, beautiful and green environment.
Endeavor to visit Nyamata church a scene where over 45,000 people were killed in the 1994 genocide. During this horrific time (genocide) most people sought refuge in the church praying for God’s mercy and believing that the murders could not attack the holy place of God. Unfortunately, these people ere attacked and killed in the church. A visit to Nyamata church is to pay respect to these innocent souls and pray for God’s mercy upon their spirits. Different items such as books, magazines and video are displayed to help you understand how everything happened.
The king’s palace
Do not leave Rwanda without stopping by the kings’ palace in Nyanza roughly 25 miles from the town of Butare. Here travelers are crowned as kings and queens for a moment and are allowed to take pics for remembrance. The domed style of the palace s simply gorgeous with interesting stories by the guide. Different activities take place at the palace, which include the cowboys calling over the royal cattle with singing that calms the cattle making the more docile and friendly. Also there are many objects of kingship, which include, the spears, and drums among others.
Ndaba rock is a place you should not miss out of your Rwanda safari. Interestingly, the rock is just 2 hours drive from Kigali international airport hence an enroute to as you connect to the airport for your return flight. The mystical past history of the rock is one of the reasons you should not miss out on your safari to the land of a thousand hills. In the past, the rock dripped with honey which local people especially the hunters would collect freely. These people would go together and one of them climbs to the top with the support of others who held ropes at the bottom of the rock. On one fateful day, one hunter diapered mysteriously when he was collecting honey as the friends waited at the bottom. The disappearing of this hunter was attributed to his greedy character where he would keep his friends waiting for long at the bottom of the rock while he ate honey from the top of the rock.
National arts museum Rwesero
Location in Nyanza, Rwesero art museum is the most prestigious art museum located in the palace of king Mutara 111 Rudahigwa. The museum comprise of different contemporary paintings and stylistic sculptures, which represent different facts about Rwanda such as unity, brotherhood and the genocide events. Travelers can buy these artifacts and traditional dresses to take home for remembrance after going back to their homes.
In conclusion, visit any of the cultural sites in Rwanda, be part of the traditional culture and enjoy a life changing experience on your Rwanda safari with Africa Adventure Safaris