Rwanda has come a long way since the devastation it faced during the genocide, which spanned around 100 days in 1994. 

The country rebuilt itself and has now become a bustling metropolis compared to what it was. It has become known as the cleanest city in Africa due to massive efforts by the government and a blanket ban on plastic bags in 2008. 

The Rwanda travel requirements also make it attractive to international travelers due to its straightforward visa application process, in which you can apply for a visa on arrival.

Visit Volcanoes National Park to see the gorillas

Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park is the tourist attraction that Rwanda is best known for, and it is a must-visit for both solo travelers and those in a group. The national park shares a border with both the DRC and Uganda. 

It is home to one of the largest populations of mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species. The number has drastically increased since the early 1980s, from about 250 to just over 600 individuals. 

To visit these majestic animals, you must purchase a daily trekking permit, which costs $1500. While this is not cheap, it is unquestionably worthwhile because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The trek can last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, so pack lightly.

Go on a game drive in Akagera National Park

In Africa, it is imperative to go on a game drive wherever you are, as that is what the continent is known for. Akagera National Park has recovered amazingly from the decimation since the Rwandan Genocide. 

It is home to all five Big Five animals (the elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and African buffalo), as well as a variety of other small game and birds. 

The landscape is just as impressive as the local wildlife, changing swiftly from the dry savannah to vast wetlands and lakes. 

A recommendation would be to hire one of the local guides from the visitor centre to help guide you around the park to ensure the best experience.

Explore the capital city of Kigali

As previously mentioned, Kigali has been rated the cleanest city in Africa, so it is no surprise that it is a wonder to behold. It is full of vibrant culture and tasty food for you to try. 

While here, take a trip to the Kimironko Market to take in all the beautifully designed fabrics and local trinkets on sale. 

Spending a few days here visiting Rwanda is recommended to understand what the city offers.

Visit Lake Kivu

Being Rwanda’s largest body of water, Lake Kivu is the perfect place to relax. Mysterious and beautiful mountains surround you, often covered in mist. 

Rubavu, the resort town on the northern tip of the lake, is home to a beautiful waterfront, resorts, and stunning beaches. 

Enjoy a sunset kayak ride and soak in the natural beauty around you, or if you are brave enough, you can embark on a kayak adventure spanning multiple days.

Volunteer during Umuganda

One of the reasons Rwanda is such a clean city, besides the ban on plastic bags, is the monthly community service day, Umuganda, that occurs on the last Saturday of every month.

Participation in this day is compulsory for non-disabled individuals and was introduced to help rebuild the country and the unity of the people after the devastation of the genocide. 

After the work is finished, communities gather to discuss issues affecting them. Getting involved as a tourist is encouraged and is an excellent way to experience something the locals do every month.

Reshma Narasing

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