Genocide Memorial Museum In Rwanda
In the year 1994, Rwanda population of about seven million as made up of 3 ethnic groups namely; The Hutu (Majority making 85%), Tutsi making 14%, and Twa making 1%. The genocide was against the Tutsi and about 1 million people were killed during the genocide. After the genocide, many places were gazetted into genocide memorial museums. These attract visitors from different parts of the world to come and witness the genocide. Some survivors of the genocide were employed at the museums and once you go there, you will get first-hand information about what happened before, during, and after the genocide.
Murambi memorial site
Murambi was a Technical where between 270.000 and 40.000 people were massacred. This was one of the unforgettable horrors of the Rwanda Genocide. Many refugees flocked to Murambi Technical School after they had been assured the safety of their life, yet it was a mere ploy and on 21 April 1994, the Army and Interahamwe moved in and had many people Killed.
Found in the Murambi region, a school that has been left vacated since the genocide in 1994. The school classrooms where over eight hundred corpses have been preserved have been left untouched. After the genocide, as mass graves were being discovered around the city, it was decided that a single monument/ burial place should be created, where the victims could be laid to rest with dignity.
Gisozi Memorial centre
Found in Gasabo District, in the city of Kigali. It is where the victims of the Tutsi Genocide are buried from the year 2000. It contains a cemetery, a house of the exhibition on the Genocide section; a library and it has a plan of teaching the history of genocide. There are about 300,000 victims buried there. It is the only memorial site in the heart of Kigali city, few minute drive from Kigali International Airport. From Kigali, visitors can transfer to tour Nyamata and Ntarama genocide memorial sites – 35 kilometers from Kigali.
Gisenyi Memorial museum
You can use public means of transport to the grave of Madame Carr, an American who ran an orphanage for genocide orphans called Imbabazi. The road that leads to the orphanage is near the UNHCR Nkamira refugee camp (on the left, if driving away from Gisenyi; on the right, if driving toward Gisenyi).
Nyamata memorial center
Nyamata is situated 35 km away from Kigali city – this is where a thousand people were killed in the church and nearby areas. People from all around congregated in the church and locked the iron door with a padlock to protect themselves from the marauding killers. This church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place at this site during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
Bisesero Memorial center
Situated in Karongi District, Western Province of Rwanda. More than 27,000 victims of genocide are buried here. They were killed after a brave and long resistance and self-defense until they were betrayed by French soldiers. This memorial is composed of nine small buildings that represent the nine communes that formerly made up the province of Kibuye – on the way to Nyungwe forest national park. One should remember that this site, where the memorial has been built, is now called “Hill of Resistance” because of the heroic resistance mounted by the people of Bisesero against their assassins.
Ntarama genocide memorial Site
The Genocide Memorial site is located about 30 kilometers south of the capital city of Kigali. Located in the Bugasera region, this church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place at this site during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Ntarama Church is where most brutal killings of the 1994 Rwandan genocide took place. The floor of the Church at Ntarama has not been completely cleaned since the massacre. There are more bones, intermingled with bits of clothing, shoes, pots, wallets, Identity cards, and the kinds of things. The low pew-benches are used to avoid stepping on the bones and detritus. One can easily identify parts of skeletons: vertebrae, mandibles, fibulas, and ribs.
Other tourist attractions in Rwanda
In addition to the genocide memorials above, Rwanda has other tourist attractions and the most popular are the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, located 2 hours drive from Kigali International Airport in the North of Rwanda. Many gorilla trekking tours are combined with a visit to Genocide memorials especially Gisozi Museum in Kigali, Bissesero, Nyamata, and Ntarama Churches among others. Furthermore, gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park can be combined with more adventure tour activities such as tracking the rare golden monkeys, Dian Fossey Tombs tour, Musanze Caves Exploration, Local community tours, and Nature walk among others.
From Volcanoes National park, we have Nyungwe Forest, located in southwestern part of Rwanda, about an 5-6hours drive from Kigali Rwanda Capital. Along this route, we have some genocide memorials and historical museums such as the Murambi Genocide memorial and well as Nyanza King’s palace.
Nyungwe National Park is home to 13 primate species which include Chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys, golden monkeys, Baboons, Vervets, and Red-tailed monkeys among others. The popular tourist activities include Chimpanzee tracking, Black and white colobus monkeys tracking, canopy walk, bird watching, forest walk through different trails, and tea harvesting among others.
We end with Akagera National Park located in the Eastern part of Rwanda on the Tanzania border. It is just 3 hours drive from Kigali, famous for game drive, a boat ride along Lake Ihema, and bird watching among others.
Getting to Rwanda
Rwanda is a small landlocked country, famously known as a country of a thousand hills. It is bordered by Uganda in the north, Burundi in the south, Tanzania in the East, and Democratic Republic of Congo in the West. Rwanda can be accessed land from neighboring countries, or by Air through Kigali International Airport, used by mostly international travelers to start their tours in Rwanda.
If you need a visa to Rwanda (varies depending on your country of residence), you must apply before going to Rwanda. Rwanda Visa can be obtained from the Rwandan consulate in your home country, or apply online. For tourists expecting to go beyond Rwanda and need multiple entries, you can apply for an East African Tourist Visa that allows you multiple entries in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya and valid for 90 days.