Best places to visit in RWANDA

Planning a trip to Rwanda and wondering what are the best places to visit in Rwanda?

Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa. Often called the Land of a Thousand Hills, the country is known for its breathtaking scenery, mountainous terrain and gorilla tracking tours.

Compared to other African countries, Rwanda is tiny. It is one of the smallest (and safest!) countries in Africa. Thanks to its size, it’s easy and safe to travel around Rwanda. Despite the size, Rwanda has a diverse landscape. That’s why it is one of the best countries in Africa for first-time visitors.

Do you want to come and explore Rwanda?

Check out our article about the best things to do in Rwanda for some travel inspiration.

7 best places to visit in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park is a protected area in northwestern Rwanda. 

It comprises rainforest and five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. The national park is home to the endangered mountain gorilla and the golden monkey.

What you can do in Volcanoes National Park? The most popular thing to do in the national park is gorilla tracking. But be warned — it is an expensive tourist attraction (at least USD 1500 per day). Despite this fact, it is one of the best things to do in Rwanda. There are one-day and multi-day gorilla tracking tours, at various price categories. Choose the one that suits you the best.

What are the other things you can do in Volcanoes National Park if you don’t have the budget for a gorilla safari? More affordable is Golden Monkey tracking tours which are still costly (100 USD per person) but nowhere near as expensive as Gorilla tracking tours.

What else? Visit the mountains and volcanoes in the national park. Hike Mount Bisoke/Visoke. It is 3711 meters high and has a beautiful crater lake on the top (largest in the mountain range). Unfortunately, you can’t do it for free. Park fees (including the guide) are 75 USD per person.

There are several other guided and unguided hikes in the national park you can choose from.

Volcanoes National Park is definitely one of the best places to visit in Rwanda, so you shouldn’t miss it!


Kigali rwanda

Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is a great place to start your trip. 

The most notable landmark in Kigali is the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Most tourists travelling to Rwanda are already familiar with the terrible events that took place in 1994. The Genocide Memorial commemorates the 1994 Rwandan genocide and offers a visitor centre where people can learn more about the genocide and the events that led to it.

If you love walking and would love to see sweeping views of the city, hike Mount Kigali. It’s not a mountain, as the name suggests, but it’s more of a hill. The hike is not difficult or demanding, but you still will be rewarded with beautiful views when you reach the top.

Definitely visit Kimironko Market — a large and busy covered market. It’s a place where you can get a feel for local life, try local street food and buy fresh produce.

If you want to shop for souvenirs, head to Nyamirambo Women’s Center. It is an organisation founded by women to provide education and training to those women who do not have the money to get an education. The organisation also addresses gender inequality, violence and discrimination.

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park rwanda

Akagera is a sprawling national park in eastern Rwanda close to the border with Tanzania.

Founded in 1934, the national park is known for its biodiversity. It is home to numerous species of animals such as elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, lions and more than 400 bird species, including the rare shoebill stork.

Akagera National Park is not only home to majestic animals, it also boasts diverse landscapes and varied terrains, such as savannah, swamps and montane ecosystems.

Going on a safari in Akagera National Park is one of the best things to do in Rwanda. There are one day and multi-day wildlife tours (safari). 

Nyungwe Forest National Park 

Nyungwe Forest National Park rwanda

Lying in southwest Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is a large area of mountain rainforest.

Nyungwe is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. Established in 2004, the national park is home to unique-looking colobus monkeys, endemic L’Hoest’s monkey and many species of chimpanzees. In fact, chimpanzees are what the park is the most famous for. Tracking chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the best things to do in Rwanda.

The national park is also known for its Canopy Walkway — a high suspension bridge with wonderful views of the valley and surrounding forests. Hiking is a popular activity in the national park. The park offers 15 guided walks, and its trails are well maintained.

Besides hiking trails and primates, Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts a rich flora.

King’s Palace Museum

King’s Palace Museum

King’s Palace Museum is one of the most popular museums in Rwanda.

The museum is well-maintained and features a traditional thatched royal residence shaped like a beehive. The museum showcases household items (utensils, weapons, drums and other things) that belonged to king Mutara III Rudahingwa. 

It is known for the long-horned royal cows, inyambo, that are kept there. 

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes.

With a surface of about 2700 km2, Lake Kivu is Africa’s eighth largest lake. The world’s tenth-largest island on a lake, Idjwi, is located in Lake Kivu.

Besides all these facts, Lake Kivu is a unique lake. It is one of three lakes in the world (all of them located in Africa) that undergoes limnic eruptions. It is a rare natural disaster in which a large CO2 cloud forms above the lake and suffocates humans and animals. Fortunately, this rare natural disaster happened only twice in recent history, and not in Lake Kivu.

There are a number of activities you can do in Lake Kivu. Birdwatching, kayaking, hiking, biking, fishing, boat cruises and island hopping. So many activities to choose from!

As Lake Kivu has several settlements along its coast, we would recommend staying at the Lake Kivu area at least for a few days to explore the different towns of the lake.

If you love hiking/biking, there’s a long-distance hiking/biking route you may be interested in! Congo Nile Trek is a 10-day, 220-km hike that follows the eastern shore of Lake Kivu. If you don’t have much time, you can do a small part of it.


Butare rwanda

Butare, also known as Huye, is a city in southern Rwanda.

The city is often considered the educational centre of Rwanda. The most popular tourist attraction in Butare is the Ethnographic Museum. It’s a great place for learning more about the culture, history, people and traditions of Rwanda and the region. It is one of the most important museums in the country, and one of the best places to visit in Rwanda as well.

Best places to visit in RWANDA

Rwanda travel tips

  1. You need a visa to travel to Rwanda. You can obtain it on arrival. It costs 30-50 USD.
  2. Do not bring plastic bags to Rwanda. They are banned in the country, and you may be fined if you have plastic bags in your luggage.
  3. Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa. But still, you should be cautious — pickpocketing can happen in crowded places and hire cars can be broken into. 
  4. Buses and minibuses are a reliable way to travel around Rwanda.
  5. It is possible to rent a car in Rwanda and travel independently.
  6. The best time to visit Rwanda is between June and September.