The Ethnographic Museum (Kinyarwanda: Inzu ndangamurage), formerly the National Museum of Rwanda, was built in the late 1980s and is a good source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region. It is also known as the site of the murder of Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda and several others during the Rwandan Genocide.
The National museum of Rwanda is located in the town of Butare approximately 135 km from the capital city of Kigali and occupies an area space of 2,500 square meters. The museum is considered to be one of the finest ethnographic museums and man-made wonders of Rwanda and East-Africa. The structure of the museum is artistically designed with expressions to symbolize the way of life in Rwanda. It reflects well the time spirit at the end of 19th Century when the East-African Kingdoms came in contact with the first Europeans.
The Murambi Technical School, now known as the Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre, is situated in the Murambi district in southern Rwanda. It was the site of a massacre during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. When the killings started, Tutsis in the region tried to hide at a local church. However, the bishop and mayor lured them into a trap by sending them to the technical school, claiming that French troops would protect them there.
On April 16, 1994, some 65,000 Tutsis ran to the school. After the victims were told to gather there, water was cut off and no food was available, so that the people were too weak to resist. After defending themselves for a few days using stones, the Tutsi were overrun on April 21. The French soldiers disappeared and the school was attacked by Hutu Interahamwe militiamen. Some 45,000 Tutsi were murdered at the school, and almost all of those who managed to escape were killed the next day when they tried to hide in a nearby church.
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. Lake Kivu is a fresh water lake and, along with Cameroonian Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun, is one of three that experience limnic eruptions.
The world’s tenth-largest inland island, Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, as does the tiny island of Tshegera, which also lies within the boundaries of Virunga National Park
Nayanza (also known as Nyabisindu) is a town located in Nayanza District in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The old Royal Palace of the Rwandan monarchy is located in the town of Nyanza. It is now the Rwesero Art Museum. Nyanza was the capital of the Kingdom of Rwanda from 1958 to 1962. During the Rwandan Genocide the town of Nyanza was the site of a large massacre of Tutsis and Moderate Hutus
Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. It is located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east. From the east side of the Nyungwe forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources.
The park contains 13 different primate species (25% of Africa’s total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed.
Akagera National Park covers 1,200 km² in eastern Rwanda, along the Tanzanian border. It was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three ecoregions: savannah, mountain and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
Much of the savannah area of the park was settled in the late 1990s by former refugees returning after the end of the Rwandan Civil War. Due to land shortages, in 1997 the western boundary was regazetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500 km² to its current size. Although much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park boundaries, what remains of Akagera is some of the most diverse and scenic landscape in Africa.
Situated on Kasubi hill, within Kampala, Uganda, the Kasubi Tombs site is an active religious place in the Buganda Kingdom. To the Baganda the Kabaka is the unquestioned symbol of spiritual, political and social state of the Buganda nation. As the burial ground for the previous four Kabaka’s, therefore the Kasubi Tombs is a place where the Kabaka and others in Buganda’s complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important centuries-old Ganda rituals.
Though the Kasubi Tombs are of all-organic construction and thus theoretically more vulnerable to the elements than inorganic buildings, their continued use as an active religious and World Heritage site has contributed to their good state of preservation. A high level of maintenance has been bestowed upon them by two different tribes charged with the architectural ensemble’s upkeep. The Ngeye (Colobus Monkey) clan, for example, are the only people allowed to work on the intricate thatching work on-site. Knowledge of this thatching process is passed down from generation to generation, and is of a distinct character. Nonetheless, as the buildings of the Kasubi Tombs are made of primarily wood and thatch
Lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The national park is known as a haven for the mountain gorilla. It is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo), which are covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.
The park was first gazetted in 1925, as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Visoke and Mikeno, intended to protect the gorillas from poachers. It was the very first National Park to be created in Africa. Subsequently, in 1929, the borders of the park were extended further into Rwanda and into the Belgian Congo, to form the Albert National Park, a huge area of 8090 km², run by the Belgian colonial authorities who were in charge of both colonies. In 1958, 700 hectares of the park were cleared for a human settlement
Vegetation varies considerably due to the large altitudinal range within the park. The park is best known for the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei).
Other mammals include: golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). There are also reported to be some elephants in the park, though these are now very rare. There are 178 recorded bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains.
Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda. The park is situated about 30 kilometers (19 mi), by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. This location is approximately 240 kilometers (150 mi), by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. The park has a variety of animals such as zebras, impala, buffaloes, and over three hundred (300) bird species.
At 260 square kilometers (100 sq mi), the park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.
Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
The park has camp grounds and permanent tent facilities for visitors.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a large primeval forest located in southwestern Uganda, in the Kanungu District on the edge of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, at altitudes spanning from 1,160 to 2,607 meters.
The name ‘Bwindi’ is derived from a word from the Runyakitara language, and itself actually means ‘impenetrable’. It earns this name from the extensive stands of bamboo interspersed amongst the larger forest hardwoods, and which, along with thick ground cover of ferns, vines and other plant growth, severely hinder direct access on foot. Also known as the ‘Place of Darkness’, the forest lies on the edge of the western arm of the Great Rift Valley, only a few kilometers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo border and about 25 kilometers north of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Floristically Bwindi is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.
The forest is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth, where half the world’s population of the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas live in its jungles. The forest has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site for its biological significance.