The Best in Butare!

Located just 100 kilometers outside of Kigali, Butare is one of the best places to for your next weekend or day trip. As the second largest city and influential cultural center, everyone in your family will find something they love. Check out how we spend a day in Butare.

Breakfast at Nehemiah’s Best Coffee!

An early morning calls for some hot coffee and delicious food as well. Nehemiah’s Best serves up omelettes, fresh smoothies, pastries, and fresh coffee straight from Huye Mountain Coffee. It’s the perfect way to support local business and get energized for the day.

A Visit to the Our Lady of Wisdom, Catholic Cathedral

 Photo from Trip Advisor

Photo from Trip Advisor

Next, right down the road from Nehemiah’s Best is Our Lady of Wisdom Cathedral. This cathedral was built in the 1930s and is a stunning and simple example of colonial style architecture. If you aren’t awed the architecture, the size is sure to wow you. This cathedral is the largest in Rwanda, and one of the larget in all of central Africa. Take 30 minutes to explore its beautiful grounds and spend some time reflecting in its sanctuary.

Huye Mountain Coffee

Time to use up some of that energy from breakfast! The Huye Mountain Coffee tour takes you on a beautiful hike up Mount Huye while teaching you about the different steps in the coffee roasting process. The tour starts with a freshly brewed sample at the Huye Mountain Coffee plantation, just a 5 minute moto ride from the city center. Then, follow your guide who is affectionately called Mr. Coffee up Mount Huye as he tells you stories of Rwandan history and coffee facts. At times, the hike is a little steep so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes! And at the top, you’ll be rewarded by a beautiful 360 degree view and opportunity to roast your own coffee in the traditional way.

The tour takes about 3-5 hours and costs 5,000 RWF for Rwanda citizens, and 21,000-26,000 RWF for travelers. Don’t have time to do the full tour? You can opt to do a shorter and cheaper 1 hour tour! Check out these photos from their website!

Time for a little something sweet at Inzozi Nziza

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! After hiking up Mount Huye, it is definitely time to treat yourself! Inzozi Nziza is often called the best ice cream by anyone who has tried its sweet soft serve that is often topped with fresh fruit. Not only is it delicious, but also it is completely run by local women who are passionate about empowering their community! A true sweet treat!

Photo from the Akilah Institute and Trip Advisor

Arboretum de Rwanda

Finish out the day with a walk around the Arboretum, surrounding the University of Rwanda. The Arboretum features 178 species of trees and countless opportunities to catch sight of gazelles, monkeys, birds, and insects! As a part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, it has become one of the main centers of conservation and research in Rwanda.

Photos from queenwealthcanopy.org and rwandahc.org

Dinner Time

Finish out your day in Butare with a delicious family dinner! Here are a couple of our favorite places to relax with the family.

  • Hotel Ibis- a vintage hotel on the main street of Butare that has been turned into a wonderful restaurant! Many people rave about their croque monsieur or chicken with peanut sauce!

  • Amafu Ye Huye- Got lots of hungry kids? Take them to the buffet at Amafu Ye Huye! With a wide variety of options, it is sure to satisfy their stomachs without breaking your wallet.

  • The Chinese Restaurant- Looking for something a little different? Grab some Chinese food at this casual family restaurant!

Family Visit to the King's Palace in Nyzana Rwanda!

In Rwanda’s southern province, Nyanza was once at the centre of Rwanda’s monarchy. Situated just a 2 hour drive from Kigali, a visit to the King’s Palace in Nyanza is the perfect day trip for families looking to escape the city. If you’re making the longer journey to Nyungwe National Park, a trip to Nyanza also makes for an interesting and easy stopping off point along your drive.

The King’s Palace

Once meant to be the home of Rwanda’s King MUTARA III Rudahigwa, the Rwandan Ancient History Museum offers Rwandans and visitors a beautiful insight into the life of Rwanda’s former kings and the colonial era in Rwanda. Here you’ll also find a replica of the King’s Royal hut from the reign of King Musinga. It is a perfect entertaining and educational trip for your family! 

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 8.03.30 PM.png

The Royal Cattle

Photo posted by the Rwandan Government. 

While the museum and palace make for a great history lesson, the striking scenery and the King’s Inyambo cattle are really the star of the visit. These royal cattle are an impressive breed of horned cattle which have been trained to walk in a very elegant parade. From tip to tip, their horns can be 2.5 meters long!

Family photos with the Royal Cattle from our trip to the King's Palace! 

Tips for Your Family's Visit! 

  • Restrooms are available!

  • Families usually spend around 2 hours here!

  • Open 8am to 6pm!

  • Prices are RWF 6000 per adult and RWF 3000 per child

  • If you keep your ticket, you get 30% discount to National Arts Gallery -Rwesero which is just down the road! 

 The National Art Gallery. Photo by Trip Advisor.

The National Art Gallery. Photo by Trip Advisor.

  • You can’t wear shoes into the homes, so you should plan on wearing sandals that you can easily slip off.

  • There is a gift shop and restaurant on the museum property. Both are well priced. The restaurant serves a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and other full meals.

  • Local restaurants in Nzyanza include Haji Enterprise located just off of route RN1 about an 8 min drive from the museum. It good to get food on the road for your trip back! Dayenu Hotel, Nyzana Heritage Hotel and Quality Inn Motel also both serve good food in Nzyanza are only a few minutes away from the museum!

 The restaurant at Nyanza Heritage Hotel! A great spot for the entire family. Photo by Trip Advisor.

The restaurant at Nyanza Heritage Hotel! A great spot for the entire family. Photo by Trip Advisor.

We hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did! Share your trip photos with us on Instagram and Facebook (@kigalimomsanddads)! 

One-Day Excursions from Kigali

Rwanda is so small it's possible to get reasonably far out of Kigali for a day trip with your family. Here are three great day trips that can be tailored to immerse your children in nature and/or history. 


Huye

Huye (previously Butare) is only a two-hour drive from Kigali along good tarred roads. Whilst the town itself is interesting to explore, the most prominent tourist attract is the national Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda. The museum lies on the northern outskirts of the town alongside Kigali Road, and houses collections of exhibits on Rwandan history and culture. 

The surrounding area of Huye also offers interesting cultural sites, including the huge Roman Catholic cathedral built in memory of Belgium's Princess Astrid, the Old Customs House in town, the University shop, the Centre Universitaire des Arts and, of course, the University of Rwanda that forms Huye's most important institution. 

 Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor


Karongi

If you leave early you can reach the little lakeside town of Karongi (formerly Kibuye) as a round trip from Kigali. Hailed as one of the most relaxing and romantic places in Rwanda, it has beaches, water sport facilities and local boat tours. You can visit Napoleon's island, home to a colony of bats, or visit the Bisesero Genocide Memorial with breathtaking views of the lake. 

 Photo credit: Rwandapedia

Photo credit: Rwandapedia


Bugesera District 

This once hard to reach area is now super accessible due to the construction of an excellent surfaced road from Kigali to the Burundi border. The two main sites of interest, Nyabarongo Bridge and the Nyamata and Ntarama genocide memorials are easy to visit as a day trip from Kigali. The drive takes about 30 minutes in a self-driven car, or slightly longer in a mini-bus taxi. 

Nyabarongo Bridge is a new bridge offering superb views over the Nyabarongo River, Rwanda's longest river and a tributary of the Akagera. It is an excellent place to spot birds including the pink-backed pelican, common moorhen, African jacana, three types of weaver, march flycatcher and black-headed gonolek. 

The Catholic Church of Nyamata, the scene of a horrific massacre during the genocide, now displays the clothing and personal belongings of the 10,000 people murdered on the site and underground crypts hold their bodies as well as those who died elsewhere in Nyamata. Another genocide memorial at Ntarama, 1km away from Nyamata, is also the scene of a similar massacre. 

Biggest bridge in Rwanda #Nyabarongo River #Kibuye-Gitarama Photo by Vincent @Rwandaguide @remarkablerwanda

A post shared by Vincent Mitsindo Mwambari (@vincent_mitsindo) on


The Kings Palace, Nyanza

Only two and a half hours outside of Kigali, The Kings Palace is the very well preserved palace of past Kings of Rwanda. The house of the King from 1931-1959 is still intact and inside holds objects and stories of Rwanda's history. You can also find a museum and national art gallery in the local vicinity. Visiting the area is a great way to learn more about Rwandan history and culture, as well as taking in the surrounding views.                       

 The King's Palace

The King's Palace


Nyungwe Forest - An Adult Family Adventure

If you are looking for a weekend getaway in Rwanda with your older teens and 20 somethings, Nyungwe Forest is the trip for you. Today, we bring you the itinerary of a Kigali family who recently gave the adventure a go. Thank you to Dan, and his parents John and Pam, for sharing their trip with us.  


If you enjoy exploring beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife on foot with your family, Nyungwe is an enticing part of Rwanda that shouldn't be missed.

Nyungwe is located in southwestern Rwanda at the border with Burundi. The Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers roughly 970 km squared of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs. It is hailed as one of the best preserved montane rainforests in Central Africa. To reach it, we drove via Kibuye and along Lake Kivu. The road is tarmacked and smooth, offering great views across the lake. 

Once there, we spent out first afternoon exploring the local tea plantations. Nyungwe Forest is surrounded by tea plantations, as the temperate climate and fertile volcanic soil here are good for tea plant growth. Tea is one of Rwanda's largest exports, so it was great to look around the fields and see the farmers. The scenery is also great, with luscious green tea plants covering the rolling mountains into the horizon. 

  Photos © Dan Land

Photos © Dan Land

On our second day, we went chimpanzee trekking in the forest. Chimpanzee trekking here is $80, but there is no time limit like the one-hour given to tourists who go mountain gorilla trekking. In Nyungwe forest, you can spend as much time with the chimpanzees as long as you can keep up with them. We started our trek at 7am, spending roughly 6 hours in the forest. 

While tracking chimpanzees, other primates can also be spotted. You may have the chance to spot the Colobus monkey, the Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Vervet monkey, Grey-tailed mangabey and the Olive baboon. There are also 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species in the forest, so stay on the look out. 

  Photos © Dan Land

Photos © Dan Land

On our third and last day, we did the Nyungwe canopy walk. This is a tree top walk 50 metres above the forest floor. We could see monkeys move at the top of the trees below and the birds flying above whilst also taking in the amazing view across the forest. The canopy walk is 90m long, but we also got a chance to see other species whilst on the forest trail to the canopy.  

 Photo Credit:   journeyinstyle.co.za

Photo Credit: journeyinstyle.co.za

On the way back to Kigali, it's worth going via Huye to stop by the Ethnographic Museum there. It is one of the six museums that make up the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and houses one of Africa's finest ethnographic collections. The collections on display include historical, ethnographic, artistic and archaeological artefacts. 

  Photos © Dan Land

Photos © Dan Land

 

 

Rhino in Akagera - A Big Five Safari Park

A few months ago, we brought you Akagera's ambitious plans to become a big five safari park. Sarah Hall, Akagera's tourism and marketing manager, told us that re-introducing lions to the park was just the first stage in the attempt to make Akagera a sustainable Big Five safari park. Re-introducing black Rhino to the park is the next stage. 

In the 1970s, there were roughly fifty black Rhino present in Akagera. However, the park’s last black rhino was spotted in 2007, nearly 10 years ago. While Hall can’t unequivocally pin their extinction in the park on poaching, she acknowledges that it’s a potential culprit. 

It’s really hard to say,” she says. “But poaching was rife at that time, and there was no boundary fence, and law enforcement wasn’t up to the standard they are today.
— Sarah Hall

Excitingly, Sarah's hopes of re-introducing Rhino to Akagera has been successful. In May, 10 black Rhino were brought to Akagera on an extraordinary journey from South Africa. Akagera is now a Big Five safari park, with lions, elephants, leopards, buffalos and rhino all sharing their home here. 

What does this mean for your family? Whilst Rhino will require you to take extra precautions in the park, this is definitely an exciting time to visit Akagera. Alongside the big five, Akagera is also home to giraffes, hippos, topi, waterbuck, antelope, elope and zebra, along with smaller herbivores such as duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. 

Photos © Alexandra Sanderson

Akagera is now the perfect chance to educate your family on local fauna and flora, as well as the importance of conservation. If you are thinking of visiting the park, make sure to take along binoculars, a camera and plenty of snacks. You can stay overnight in the campsites or, for something more luxury, at Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Karenge Bush Camp or Akagera Game Lodge. To find out more, visit the African Parks section on Akagera. 

Fees for day visitors are: 

  • Rwandan nationals: US$6 
  • Rwandan residents: US$30 
  • International visitors: US$40

Vehicle fees:

  • Rwandan registered vehicle: 7,500 RWF
  • Rwandan registered bus: 15,000 RWF 
  • Other fees apply for non-EAC registered vehicles 

5 Family Friendly African Holiday Destinations

Rwanda has many family holidays to offer. But if you are considering taking your family further afield this summer, here are 5 family friendly holiday destinations in Africa. 


1. Madagascar

Madagascar is often ignored as a great family holiday destination in Africa. This is such a shame, because Madagascar offers a completely unique holiday experience that can be found nowhere else in Africa. The eclectic mix of cultures, unique wildlife and stunning scenery that includes both highlands and white sandy beaches makes Madagascar the perfect place for you and your family this summer. 


2. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

If you don’t fancy flying, Queen Elizabeth National Park is just a short drive North of Rwanda. The park offers a large selection of wildlife, including Cape buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, leopards, Congo lions and chimpanzees. There is also a variety of scenery on offer, including the Maramagambo Forest, the Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves along with famous volcanic features such as volcanic cones, craters and their lakes. Queen Elizabeth National Park is an enticing adventure for you and your family.  


3. Namibia

If you enjoy unspoiled nature, want to see African animals in the wild on one of the most affordable safaris in Africa and to take a glimpse in the traditional tribal life, then Namibia is the destination for you! Beautiful landscapes and rich wildlife are available to enjoy, but the real treasure of this country are its people. They simply give your visit a very special touch. It is one of the best places to visit with your kids.

To find out more, check out our travel guide for Namibia.


4. Accra, Ghana

Accra is one of this years TOP holiday destinations worldwide. Accra is a metropolis with a backdrop of the birth of African Independence. Recently, it's also a growing arts hub and quickly becoming one of Africa’s cultural hotspots. It's got an easy going vibe, with friendly locals and established international communities. If your children are still young, Accra also offers you white sandy beaches to relax and play with your children. 


5. Tanzania

Close to home, this huge country fits in both safari holidays, city breaks and beach holidays. For beach holiday goers, Zanzibar and Mafia Islands are top destinations. For animal lovers, there is Serengeti National Park in the North, with 70 large mammal and 500 bird species. For active families, Mount Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro Crater should not be missed. Tanzania offers excellent ways for you to relax with your family whilst also keeping your kids active and engaged with their surroundings. 

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

Planning summer travels with your family? Make your trip as smooth and as fun as possible for parents and children alike with these 10 travel tips.

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There's nothing worse than rushing, except maybe, rushing with toddlers in tow. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, pack the car, or leave the house. Kids usually don't react well to time pressure during travel so everyone is more likely to stay calm and cool if you leave time for things like bathroom breaks, naps and tantrums.

2. Do your research

What visas do you need? Are your passports still valid? Are there any vaccinations required or recommended for your destination? Avoid last minute travel fiascos by planning ahead and doing plenty of research on your destination. Even if you're not leaving the country, you'll want to research stops for a long car ride and pack appropriately for the weather.

3. Plan family friendly activities, but don't go overboard

While you're doing your pre-trip research, you'll want to plan activities that the whole family will love. It's important to keep your children entertained, but don't go overboard with planning every single minute of your trip. You'll want to be prepared, but flexible and keep in mind that often time, activities and travel take longer than expected when you're traveling with children. 

In addition to a list of activities at your destination, you'll want to plan a few games or activities that can keep kids entertained in case of delays at the airport or train station or a long traffic jam on the road.

4. Beat Jet Lag

Traveling out of the country and into a new time zone? Parents and kids are susceptible to the woes of jet lag but there are a few ways you can help beat it and get some much needed rest. Stay active during your trip and step out into the sunlight. Resist the urge to spend your entire trip sleeping and try to adjust your mealtimes and sleep schedules to the new time zone. When your kids do sleep, try to do the same. Otherwise you may be up all day and all night when your kids give you a 2AM wake up call.

5. Pack Medicine

While you should be able to find most medical essentials while traveling, it's much easier to carry around a small first aid kit with things like bandages, antihistamines, painkillers, or other medicines your family might need on your trip. This will save you time and stress knowing you have all your familiar medicines on hand just in case. Be sure to also pack any required medicines like prescriptions or antimalarials.

6. Document the journey

Take lots of photographs and if your kids are old enough, encourage them to do the same! You can also give them a small travel journal to draw or write about things they see during your trip. It's also the perfect place to tuck mementos like ticket stubs or postcards.

7. Stay safe

Make sure you have the numbers for emergency services on hand in case something should happen during your trip. Depending on your nationality, you may also want to register your overseas travel with the local embassy or consulate of the country you are traveling to. Another big safety reminder is to always travel with children in the proper car seats or booster seats. This may mean packing your own or renting one at your destination, but remember that dangerous car accidents can happen even at slow speeds and the perks of carrying less baggage are never worth the risks of a baby traveling without a car seat.

8. Let the kids help pack

You'll want to do the majority of the packing for your trip to make sure nothing important gets left behind and that everyone is dressed appropriately. However, involving kids in the packing stage can ensure they have a few items they'd like to keep themselves entertained during the trip and also helps get them excited about upcoming travels.

9. Pack snacks

Avoid hungry, grumpy kids. Pack your own snacks. This will save you stress during delays and in case your child is completely unwilling to try something new at meal time.

10. Have fun!

You want to make sure that your kids have a great time, but don't forget about yourself! Stay calm, flexible, and remember that the journey is part of your adventure. 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Namibia with Kids

Looking for a new adventure in Africa with the family? Today Ana Corel from Family Corel Adventures shares one of her favorite destinations to help you plan your trip to Namibia.


If you enjoy unspoiled nature, want to see African animals in the wild on one of the most affordable safaris in Africa and to take a glimpse in the traditional tribal life, then Namibia is the destination for you! Beautiful landscapes and rich wildlife are available to enjoy, but the real treasure of this country are its people. They simply give your visit a very special touch.

 

Is Namibia safe to travel with young kids? Definitely. As for every other family trip in a foreign country you need to do some preparation.

In my quick travel guide to Namibia you can find some useful information, advice and travel tips to help you organize a trip to this amazing country. You can also check my Namibia itinerary to have an idea how much time we spent on a specific place.  

These are the best places to visit in Namibia with kids. If you are traveling solo, in a group or as a couple.

 

1. SOSSUVLEI

Sossusvlei might be the most photographed place in Namibia. It’s definitely the most photographed desert in the world. This landscape is just so special - the red sand dunes are one of the tallest dunes in the world. When you pass Sossusvlei and the road turns into sandy path, there is a bizarre and very beautiful place, Deadvlei. From the end of sand path it takes half an hour walk to get to these salt pans between dunes with hundreds of years old tree skeletons, It’ so photogenic you should add it to your bucket list now!

We stayed 2 days in the Sesriem Rest Camp. It's a great place to stay if you want to see the famous dunes of Sossusvlei at sunrise and not spend a fortune. The campsite is basic but well maintained. At night you can get visits of oryx and springboks during the day.

Sossusvlei - Deadvlei.jpg

 

2. ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Etosha is the largest game reserve in Namibia and the best thing about it is that you can see it from your own vehicle. You get a map of the park with the water holes where animals gather to drink and then you can explore the park by yourself. You can find all kind of African wildlife species, including some of the rarest ones like the endangered black rhino, the largest elephants in Africa and leopards.

We stayed 2 days and camped in three main campsites in Etosha – Halali, Namutoni and Okaukuejo, depend of what part of the park we were visiting. Each camp has tourist facilities such as a restaurant, a shop, a motor garage for fuel and basic repairs.

Etosha2.jpg

 

3. SPITZKOPPE

Spitzkoppe is a dramatic place with its granite peaks that rise from the dry flat plains, amazing views over the stunning landscape and caves with petroglyphs made by ancient San people (Bushmen) that lived in them. You can discover arches, natural pools and wander among the rock formations by day, and by night, there will be a million stars sky that you can observe above you.

We stayed 2 days at Spitzkoppe campsites, very basic, but with stunning atmosphere and views and very easy to reach attractions.

Spitzkoppe.jpg

 

4. KOLMANSKOP – A PLACE FROZEN IN TIME

Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the heart of Namib desert. It was abandoned by its German inhabitants 60 years ago, when the diamond mine nearby ran out of diamonds. After that, nature did it’s job properly - broke the windows and the door frames and let the sand go inside. These incredible, once rich houses are now sunken into sand, and available for visitors to explore.

We took a couple of hours to visit Kolmanskop and stayed in Luderitz at The Shark Island Rest Camp. The Camp has a great location, on the peninsula just by the ocean - we could watch dolphins playing around from our tent!

Kolmanskop.jpg

 

5. RANCHES OF SOUTHERN NAMIBIA

Many visitors of Namibia just skip the southern part - we are not sure why, because it’s very interesting.

There are huge private ranches that are typical for this part of the country. The vast, incredibly dry landscape and unbelievable views are all around. The roads that lead to the ranches are dusty, with mountains on both sides. You can spot oryx or ostriches running along the road. But once you reach the ranch, there is a green oasis waiting for you, with all kind of animals everywhere.

We stayed 2 days at the lovely Ranch Koiimasis, a picturesque place placed among granite rocks on the edge of Namib desert. There were bunch of horses, guinea fowls, ostriches, geese and ducks between reception and our campsite.

namibia1.jpg

 

6. SEA LIONS AT CAPE CROSS

Cape Cross is home to one of the largest colony of seals in the world. It’s a protected area with over 100.00 seals, which makes a spectacular view. You can get very close to them and watch them hanging on the beach, swimming, barking, crawling into the sea, puppies playing.

We spent a couple of hours here.

seals.jpg

7. GET CLOSE TO ENDANGERED CHEETAH

On some ranches in Namibia visitors have the opportunity to interact with tamed animals that have their homes on ranches and farms. The scheduled cheetah feedings or game drives to view wild cheetah are the highlights of visiting.

We spent 1 day at Quivertree Forest Rest Camp, a working farm just outside Keetmashoop. Near the camp are the Quivertree Forest and Giants Playground that are well worth a visit as well.

namibia1.jpg

 

8. EPUPA FALLS IN KAOKOLAND

Epupa Falls are situated on the border of Angola and Namibia, where Kunene river falls 35 m deep. The setting is spectacular. There is a viewpoint nearby at the Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite where you can view the beauty of the falls and baobabs on the edge of the cliffs. Even if some people say that bathing in the natural pools of the river is OK, we were told that on this part of the river crocodiles kill around 30 people per year. 

We stayed 2 days at Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite that has a great location among the tall palm trees on the banks of Kunene river and beautiful views over the falls from the restaurant.

namibia2.jpg

 

9. THE OKAVANGO RIVER

The upper reaches of the Okavango Delta are totally different than any other part of Namibia. There is a lot of water and vegetation everywhere. You can spot crocs and hippos and if you take a boat you can get a little bit close to them. In the dry season you can see also other big animals on the river banks.


We stayed 2 days at Ngepi Camp, situated on the banks of Okavango river. It has amazing and award winning camping spots and fascinating outdoor toilets and showers. There is a crock pool too - a floating swimming pool in the river and the world’s first “croc and hippo cage dive”.

Okavango river.jpg

 

10. TRIBES OF NAMIBIA

There are many tribes in Namibia, each different than the other. Depending of the environment they live in, they have different ways of life, ways of dressing and hairstyles. We loved having authentic interaction with local people and tribal people of Namibia. They were great to talk to and it was great to see their everyday life. We visited villages of the San, Himba and Hakaone people. Those were the moments and experiences that we will never forget.


We suggest to stay 2 days at a tribal village. It’s so different than spending only an hour - you get closerto the villagers. We visited the Himba tribes near Purros and near Epupa Falls. The Hakaone tribe we visited on our way from Epupa Falls to Opuvo. The San people we visited near Tsumkwe.

Hakaone village2.jpg

5 Reasons Why Families Should Visit Rubavu

Rwanda may be commonly known for gorilla treks when it comes to tourism, but the country has a lot more to offer. Rubavu District is a prime example. As the locale for Rwanda’s best beaches and lakeside resorts, the district’s reputation is growing among local families and foreign visitors alike.

A New Times journalist recently visited Rubavu as part of a media tour to promote domestic tourism and ticked off some of his favorite attractions. “What’s so great about them?” you ask. We dug around to find out.

 PHOTO:  STEFAN KRASOWSKI .

1. The Congo-Nile Trail

This diverse and beautiful nature trail stretches along Lake Kivu and runs from Rubavu through Rutsiro, Karongi, and Nyamasheke to Rusizi District. You can hike, bike, or drive the 227-kilometer trail. Hiking the full stretch takes 10 days. The Rwanda Development Board provides a free trail map with information such as hiking conditions, local attractions, and camping sites.

What visitors are saying: 

“We kept thinking as we were walking…why aren’t we seeing more tourists here? This is incredible! … Go walk this trail NOW before too many tourists discover it!” – Michelle B., TripAdvisor

“A great 4×4 adventure which can be tackled in a hire car and gets you out of the tourist traps and into the beautiful country of Rwanda.” -David B., TripAdvisor

2. Pfunda Tea Estate

This is the perfect spot for tea lovers as visitors get a guided tour of the plantation. They also learn the manufacturing process that transforms green tea leaves into a product that’s ready for packaging and shipping throughout East Africa and abroad.

What visitors are saying: 

“We ended our trip at the Pfunda Tea Company factory. Two thousand people work on the Pfunda Tea Estate, and the company also runs a cooperative for area tea farmers. All the tea is raised without pesticides, and, in February 2011, Pfunda Tea Company became the first company in Rwanda to obtain Rainforest Alliance certification.” -Cynthia Goodson, enclos*ure

3. Gishwati-Mukura National Park

This is the newest national park in Rwanda, and park officials are creating more hiking trails for visitors to see a wide variety of primates, including chimpanzees, the black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys (also known as mountain monkeys), blue monkeys, and golden monkeys.

No visitor reviews yet, but you can bet they’ll be flooding in soon. 

4. Mountain Hiking

Rubavu offers a variety of mountain hiking activities that appeal not only to the fittest hikers, but also the casual walkers. On Mount Rubavu, you can participate in a brief hike that will reward you with a stunning view of Gisenyi, the capital of Rubavu District. For a more challenging hike, make your way up Mount Muhungwe, the highest non-volcanic peak in Rubavu. The seven-hour journey winds through mountain villages and provides panoramic views. If that sounds too easy, then consider a two-day hike up Mount Karisimbi, the highest peak in the Virunga Mountains.

What visitors are saying:

“Karisimbi Volcano Climb – Had a fantastic experience climbing Rwanda’s highest volcano. You need to be in good shape with the right kit and you camp at 3700m overnight before the final summit push.” -Makalu8000, TripAdvisor 

5. Kayaking on Lake Kivu

Apart from hiking and biking, adventure seekers can also participate in water sports on Lake Kivu. Kayaking and swimming are among the most popular as the water is calm and crocodile free. Or you can simply sit on the shore and watch the fishing boats come in at sunset.

What visitors are saying:

“Lake Kivu is probably the safest lake in Africa. With crystal clear, deep blue waters and no hippos or crocs, you can swim and explore, discover and now you can also journey in modern sea kayaks along its verdant shores. And sea kayaking has to be the best way to see Lake Kivu!” -Steve V., TripAdvisor

This article originally appeared on MindSky