7 places to visit in Rwanda 2021!
Some people are still traveling around the world despite the COVID-19 (C-19) global pandemic. I myself, recently came back from my most recent trip to Rwanda (East Africa). Continue reading this post to see some great photos!
Hey folks! If you haven’t already read my other two posts about traveling smart and safe during C-19. Please click these two links: download these apps to travel during COVID-19 and Which COVID-19 vacx should I take?
To be 100 with y’all traveling internationally right now will be a headache and a half!
Here’s why, many places have visa requirements, I’ve written about this in many of my past posts, you SHOULD always check your government’s travel requirements and research to see if the country you’re going to visit let’s say “Country B” requires you to have a tourist visa for entry.
I’ve unfortunately met several rookie travelers who ignorantly bought round trip plane tickets and they didn’t do their due diligence about entry requirements to so and so countries. So they lost all of their money on the plane tickets and they had to return to their home country because they did not have the visa to enter country B. Click here and avoid these devastating travel set backs.
Right now is a really challenging time to travel internationally. It doesn’t matter which country you are leaving or heading to. I left Beijing to go to Rwanda and from Rwanda to the USA.
The check in process to leave Rwanda for the USA wasn’t as hectic or stress inducing as it was leaving Beijing for Rwanda. It’s annoying to travel right now, since we are all still fighting to stay alive against the deadly contagious C-19 virus but all of the paperwork that is needed now to travel internationally adds multiple layers of difficulties and takes up so much time!!
Prior to purchasing my round-trip plane tickets I researched everything about Rwandan culture, politics, taboos, and their history. I read several books to understand their culture comprehensively. I learned a great deal but this post isn’t about that so let me stick straight to the flight process, on boarding and the Rwandan adventures! During the time that I was there, Kigali and many surrounding provinces were in lock-down and had a mandatory curfew which limited my movement and caused me to waste more money in transportation than I anticipated however, I still had fun and ate some tasty food!
Click here to check out some of the meals I’ve eaten around the world. *You WILL drool and may envy me a bit. :-p don’t be a h8r!
After I completed my initial research about visa entry, vaccine requirements and such. I purchased my round trip plane tickets two and a half months in advance.
Those two months were emotionally draining for several reasons but the bulk of the emotions came from uprooting my life from China, strategically timing when to resign from my job, and continuing to learn about the ever changing flight restrictions due to the soaring number of C-19 cases and now the most recent Delta variant.
Fast forward, I’ve settled everything. Money in the bank and in cash, I’ve gotten my C-19 test negative result (required by the Rwandan & Chinese Governments) , visa confirmation (required by the Rwandan Government ) and a confirmation for a Heath check upon arriving in Rwanda (required by the Rwandan Government). 😞😞
I’m now at the Beijing international airport with my rucksack and luggage’s. My luggage’s were all overweight but that is for another post!!
It’s now my turn and I provide my passport, showed the staff all of the documents the Rwandan government requires for entry. That entire ordeal was stress inducing despite me having all of the confirmation information or documents simply because my luggage’s had to keep getting checked because they were overweight and then I had to pay for them and then there was also the language barrier and human errors from the Chinese staffs– all of which wasted a great deal of my fucking time!
Imagine being one of the very first people in an airport and you’re one of the very last people to board the plane! Omg! I was super anxious and fearful that I might not board or that they might close the gate with me on the other side cus of al of that.
FAST FORWARD >>
I am finally onboard the airplane to the first of my scheduled 4 layovers before I land in Kigali, Rwanda.
I tried heavy breathing meditation techniques, I prayed and thanked God for protecting and looking over me.
FAST FORWARD >>
48+ hours later I arrive in Kigali. The government required a mandatory 24 hours quarantine at one of 5 hotels from their list… so I arranged for the hotel to pick me up…
The hotel – Corina K Hotel
I stayed for 24hrs, their price were affordable, the room seemed quaint. They had basic amnesties however, the staffs were remarkable. The food that the chefs whipped for me were delicious. I ate several popular local Rwandan dishes.
I do recommend y’all to check the hotel it’s nice and has a great view of Rwanda’s many hills.
Let’s change gears and go into the 7 places I’ve visited and know that you’d like to visit too:
I) Akagera Safari
If you are itching for a proper Rwandan safari, Akagera is the place for you! There you will see hundreds of animals, birds and insects in their natural habitats.
I went on my first Safari ever in Akagera, Rwanda. I found a reliable local tour company and paid my fee ($300) to go on a full day tour of the massive Akagera safari in North Eastern Rwanda. The safari was proper, we rode in a jeep, we were told the rules…, then drove throughout the safari. Akagera is one of very few Safari in the world that still have the top 5 animals (lions, tigers, elephants, buffalo, rhinos)?. I saw many animals like gorillas, giraffes, zebras, rhinoceros, gazelle, wild hogs, amongst other animals which made me feel grateful. Heads up, you will get bitten by the super ugly and annoying tsetse flies. Being stung by the fly sucked but hey, I didn’t die and I’ve felt worst pain before.
II) Rwanda Art Museum
The Rwanda Art Museum (RAM) has 3 floors of local Rwandan art pieces ranging from fine painting, sculpting, wooden crafts, fabrics and multimedia. It also used to have an outside part that showed you the crash site of Rwanda’s late President Juvénal Habyarimana.
I am a huge fan of art museums, so no doubt the RAM was a MUST SEE on my itinerary. Entry to the museum was free however donations are preferred. You are advised to not wear your shoes inside of the museum out of respect to Rwandan culture and to keep the museum as tidy as possible. Being inside RAM stimulated me creatively because I had never seen Rwandan art specifically, I’ve seen other African art. I discovered the brilliant works of Rwandan artist’s like Bernard Birasa. For more details check here (https://museum.gov.rw/index.php?id=74).
III) Kings palace (Nyanza)
If you want to learn more about pre-colonial Rwandan history you must visit King’s Palace. You’ll see replicas of the original Kings’ (and Queens) palace and the new King’s Palace which was built decades ago and is still in great condition. To gain entry you can pay about $9 to get a tour of the palaces with a guide.
For more information on Kings palace (Nyanza) visit here (https://www.visitrwanda.com/interests/kings-palace/)
IV) Kigali Genocide Memorial
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is another place I had on my MUST SEE places to visit during this trip. You will learn vital information about the pre-colonial, colonial, Genocide, and post the Rwandan 1994 Genocide eras throughout this museum. You’ll also see videos of survivors accounts of the brutal genocide, you will see plenty of artifacts such as original photographs, bones, fabrics and personal items of many of the victims who died during the brutal genocide. I felt saddened, surprised, and shocked by many of the graphic details I learned throughout my private personal tour of the memorial.
Prior to visiting the Memorial I had read several books on the history of Rwanda as a means to understand Rwanda and Rwandan culture(s) comprehensively; I also watched dozens of documentaries from Rwandans and foreigners specifically on the horrible Genocide of Tutsi prior to my visit so I was already well aware of the calamity and the ramifications of their genocide.
The memorial in a way was the icing of all of that prior research, to be in the place where the genocide actually happened. I was a bit emotional, however, I would’ve liked to see more artifacts, photographs and learn more during my visit. I do know that the Genocide happened and also believe that people of all ethnicity lost their lives during those 100 days of slaughter. May they rest in peace and for Rwanda and the world to NEVER AGAIN experience a lost of so many beautiful humans.
V) Ntarama Church
Visiting the Ntarama Church was a very humbling and sobering experience. I got a tour of one of the most notable torture, shooting and burning site of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan’s during the genocide. I’ve read about the Ntarama church from the books on Rwanda’s genocide and have also seen gory photos of corps of children, women and some males who were murdered there. The church has recently been rehabilitated and no longer house the bodies of the corps inside of it however, the corps were buried within the compound. You can visit the Ntarama Church for free but donations are preferred.
VI) Nyanza memorial Genocide
The Nyanza Kicukiro memorial was equally sobering and eye opening. The memorial houses hundreds of thousands of victims of the Genocide. You can walk around the memorial and the massive beautiful memorial garden that is adjacent to the memorial. I also got a private tour of the memorial and was given exclusive details about the significance of the colors of the flowers in the memorial garden. Loosely as it was detailed to me “the red flowers represents Hutu (prior to the Genocide), the purple/blue colored flowers represents the Tutsi and the white flowers represents those who were hypocrites — they ultimately were the ones who contributed to the calamity of 1994 by planting divisionist beliefs doubt and fears into Rwandan society.
VII) Ethnographic Museum
The Ethnographic museum was a fascinating place to visit to learn and see lots of artifacts on Rwanda’s history. This place is also family friendly and a must see for history buffs! I forgot the price of entry however private and group tours are also available. The museum has a cool architecture design which is well represented in the interior.
And there you have it folks! Those are 7 exciting places you can visit right now in Rwanda!