KING’S PALACE MUSEUM, RWANDA-Capture Rwanda’s History


In the Southern province of Nyanza, Rwanda is one of the star attractions on the circuit to Nyungwe national park. The circuit is famous for culture with different museums and site of cultural heritage. Of these is the King’s Palace Museum. It sits on a hill, 2km from Nyanza town crowning the hill as the former residence for King Mutara Rudahigwa III. Nyanza was the traditional seat of the Kingdom in Rwanda.

The palace was built in 1931 for the King by Belgium. It had a touch of west and African architecture and it served as a royal palace until the death of the King in 1959. In 1961 the kingdom/monarchy was abolished and after the referendum, Rwanda became a republic. It got independence in 1962 July. The King’s palace/museum has a less ancient history but more about the royal residence. It has been reconstructed to display a replica of the palace before. It was built using traditional materials and methods.

A guided tour at the King’s palace museum as you are led by either a French or English speaking guide, explains the architecture of the royal compound, the royal brewery hut, the Kings hut, and the royal cattle. It gives an in-depth understanding of the evolution of building and farming through the centuries, why the woman who took care of the King’s milk couldn’t marry, and the long-horned cattle known as Inyambo. The cows are beautiful, always decorated, and have a stately elegancy you can’t expect from cows. The cows are part of the royal heritage and are used in many important ceremonies. The keepers of the cows tend and sing to them and this has kept alive the unique tradition.

The carefully reconstructed traditional palace contains the King’s bed and various utensils that were used in the place before. The interior design of the palace huts is striking blending with Rwandan patterns and European-style furnishing (some of which were owned by the King).

The museum is about 88km (21/2 hours) from Kigali City and 2 hours from Nyungwe Forest.

Visiting times and Availability 

The King’s palace museum can be visited at any time for as long as you want but 2 hours here are always enough. It always closes on 7th April for the Genocide Memorial Day and opens for limited hours the following week of mourning.

Also on the last Saturday of each month, which is a national day of community service (Umuganda). Onn these days it opens at mid-day.

African Rock Safaris books this for clients as part of a full tour through Rwanda, not as a single activity.

Rwanda Gorilla trekking