Rwanda is more than just home of the iconic mountain gorillas. Therefore, after gorilla safaris in the southern province you will find incredible cultural and historical sites in cultural heritage corridor that showcases Rwanda’s rich history and unique culture. King Mutara III Rudahigwa’s 1931 Royal Palace museum in Nyanza stands today as it did when the king was in residence along with the ‘Inyambo’, traditional Rwandan cows known for their impressive long horns.
Alongside the King’s palace, Rwesero art museum, king Rudahigwa’s III modern palace, now displays contemporary Rwandan artworks and serves as the National Art Gallery. The Ethnographic museum in Huye houses one of Africa’s finest collections of pre and post-colonial ethnographic, artistic and archaeological displays.
In Rwanda, a written language was not introduced until the European arrived in the country at the end of the 19th century, so there is no great tradition of written literature. However, there a wealth of oral literature in the form of myths, folk stories, legends, poetry and proverbs.
Music is of great importance to all Rwandans with variations of style and subject among the three groups. Traditionally, the Tutsi songs praised excellence and valour; Hutu songs were lighter, sometimes humorous and linked to social occasions; Twa songs related more directly to aspects of their original occupation and hunting.
Dance is an instinctive as music in Rwanda and its roots stretch back through the centuries. As with music, there are variations of style and subject among the three groups. Best known today are the Intore dancers, who perform both nationally and internationally. At the time of the monarchy and centuries before colonisation, the Intore dancers at the royal court were selected young men who had received a privilege education and choreographic training in order to entertain their masters and to perform at special functions. The name Intore means ‘best’ signifying the only best of them were chosen for this honour.
Sports are a passion in Rwanda including volleyball, rugby, swimming, cricket, tennis, golf, football among others. A few years ago, the future of Rwandan football looked very exciting with the national side the Amavubi qualifying ahead of Uganda and Ghana for the African National Cup and APP reaching the semi-finals of the African Cup winners’ cup. Since then, unfortunately, Rwanda football has had limited cause for celebration.
Iby’wacu Cultural Village in Musanze is a living museum of Rwanda’s ancient ways supporting the local community; here you will see a traditional healer, grind sorghum, and shoot arrows after being greeted by traditional Intore dancers and drummers.
Rwanda is also rich with remarkable religious sites and attractions some of which are Sanctuaire Nore-Dame de Kibeho-a place of pilgrimage and apparitions and the only shrine in Africa officially approved in 2001, the Divine Mercy Statue of Jesus-a bronze statue 16ft tall and weighing 2 tons brought to Rwanda by the Marian Fathers in 2004, and Nyanza Christ the King Catholic Parish built in 1935 one of Rwanda’s oldest churches and where King Rudahigwa’s was baptised.