Majestic volcanoes, lush rain forests and beautiful beaches off Lake Kivu are just a few of the things that make Rwanda one of the continent’s most stunning, yet underrated travel destinations.
For many years the country’s tumultuous history kept tourists away and missing out on its unmatched beauty. That’s all beginning to change. Many travelers looker for experiences that run deeper than Instagram worthy photos have turned to Rwanda for once-in-a-lifetime moments they know they won’t find anywhere else. Even other Africans, like South African native Senzelwe Mthembu (@senz_m) have begun exploring the country’s wonders and found that in many ways, Rawanda feels like a home away from home.
Take a look at our exclusive guide to learn more about all there is to discover in Rwanda so you can plan your own African adventure of a lifetime.
Welcome to Rwanda
Known as Le Pays des Mille Collines or Land of a Thousand Hills, due to the country's diverse mountain landscapes, Rwanda is a destination that is still a mystery for many travelers. Bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country's history has not always been a pleasant one, but over the last decade, Rwanda has enjoyed a resurgence in tourism and economic stability. Your dollars will go far in Rwanda with 1 Rwandan Franc (RWF) equaling less than one U.S. dollar. Visit Rwanda from June to mid-September for the best weather.
The capital of Kigali isn't exactly Rwanda's main tourist hotspot, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have accommodations that will make you feel welcome. One of the best hotels in the city is The Retreat, an eco-friendly solar-powered resort that focuses on wellness and provides a much-needed escape from the urban jungle.
Photo Credit: The Retreat Hotel
Traditionally Rwandan cuisine relies on staples that include bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, beans, and cassava, with dishes like Agatogo, a plantain stew being a must. Instead of hitting the hottest restaurants, take a page out of Senzelwe's book and spend time in villages like Cyeza, where you can prepare a meal with locals while learning more about their history and culture.
Photo Credit: @senz_m
One of the reasons travelers flock to Rwanda is for the once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking experience at Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi. At the latest count, there are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild, with twelve gorilla families living in the national park. Only 96 permits are available to guest each day so it is highly recommended to book in advance, especially since permits cost $1500 per person, per day.