CAPTURE RWANDA’S HISTORY
Whilst Rwanda is still a growing tourism destination, travelers and audiences are more aware of its wildlife (Gorillas). There is more of hers in form of History. From the capital Kigali to the south in Nyungwe you capture Rwanda’s history and culture. The route between Kigali and Nyungwe hosts several informative cultural and historical sites. It is the cultural corridor of Rwanda.
Some of the sites include:
Two decades and 6 years ago, Rwanda experienced one of the most brutal genocides in the history of mankind. To remember the victims and to educate the population on this atrocity, and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, the Kigali Genocide Memorial was built. At the site, are several graves, and a building with pictures and skulls of those that fell victims to the cruel acts. A tour at the site is an insightful one but on the other hand quite an upsetting experience. Be prepared to get emotional. There are other sites around the country but this is the main one and it is just minutes from the city center.
Kings Palace Museum
The museum is 88km south of Kigali city and is home to the Queen Mother. It contains a host of the king’s possessions including furniture and ornaments. The first buildings make up the colonial style palaces built for King Mutara III Rudahigwa in 1932 and was his residence until he died in 1959. The walls of the palace chart the history of Rwanda and its Kings through the centuries.
Alongside the colonial palace is a reconstructed traditional palace in the style of that Rwandan king used until the 20th century. The beautifully crafted construction offers a detailed insight into the daily life of Rwanda’s monarchy and is made of entirely traditional and local materials. Two further huts have been built to show how two important rituals of the royal mile- Milk and Beer were prepared, stored, and shared.
In the paddock at the rear is a herd of traditional long-horned cattle known as “Inyambo”. This royal breed of cows formed an integral part of Rwandan culture and are treated as sacred. Today these cows are still sung to and groomed but never milked or eaten.
Rwesero Palace art museum
Opposite the colonial type palace, is a second palace set on a hillside designed more in line with the wishes of the King. The palace was constructed in 1957-1959. It hosts an array of traditional and contemporary Rwandan paintings and structures, with many being post-genocide. Sadly, the king never took up residence here as he died shortly before it was completed.
The Rwanda national museum is in Huye south of Kigali about an hour’s drive. The hugely informative and entertaining museum has several rooms showing exhibits from Rwandan history and culture, representing the country and its people through ancient times.
A full-scale replica of traditional huts, original tools, decorations, implements, and modes of transport are displayed in the museum. There are also costumes and equipment used by the famous “intore” dancers. The museum’s reception has a lounge with traditional handcraft where you can grab a souvenir.
You can now experience more than Wildlife, by including culture and history on your itinerary to Rwanda. Visit the Art galleries, markets, fashion shops, eat at the local restaurants, and mingle with the locals.