The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda is currently involved in promoting cultural tourism in the country with a pilot project in Nyanza District, Southern province of Rwanda. The cultural trails, dubbed “Nyanza Cultural Trails” are unique in Rwanda as they are circular in nature and connect a variety of historical (heritage sites, museums) & natural landmarks (wetlands, hills) in the ancient capital of the Kingdom in Rwanda.
The project aims at diversifying tourism in Rwanda and adding more touristic value to Nyanza as a Destination Managed Area (DMA) and not just a transit hub as it has been before. These are premium certified routes with good security & in good condition.
THE ROYAL TRAIL
The ‘Royal Trail’ is a cultural route at the European premium level with maximum variety. The trail is a unique, outstanding 10 km route which offers hikers experience in a compact manner, combining history, culture and Rwandan rural life. 10% of the paths in the urban areas of Nyanza are on asphalt, 30% of the route is path and 60% of the route is on pleasant dirt roads.
The Royal Trail connects Nyanza with the sites of the historic Rwandan royalty in the surrounding area.
Cultural history: The former Royal Palace-now the “Home-Grown Solutions Museum” built in 1959 by King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Kings’ Palace Museum built in 1932 are some of the outstanding landmarks along the trail. The replicas of the ancient historical royal palace, the traditional royal cows “Inyambo”, the Mausoleum of the Kings of Rwanda, Christ-Church built by Belgium missionaries in 1935, all offer a unique taste to hikers.
Cultural landscape:Visitorsexperience the authentic Rwandan town, village and country life with different houses, agriculture and livestock. They also see the centre of Nyanza with a market and the African Art Gallery.
Cultural ambience: Some houses are painted with traditional ornaments. This cultural beautification of the facades is great attraction for tourists.
Nature:There are two lakes, wetlands numerous stunning viewpoints.
THE BIG-VIEW TRAIL
The ‘Big View’ trail is an 8km long trail that leads to Remera hill from Nyanza District. It extends the experience of the premium trails in Nyanza with impressive views from the hill over the surrounding countryside.
The trail leads around the top of the hill and hikers can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view over more than 50 km. For the first kilometre, the route runs parallel to the Royal Trail, however, at the beautiful Nyamagana Lake, the Big View Trail branches off to the right and leads to the mountain community path between houses and agricultural land. The ascent of about 100m leads hikers through a small forest.
Both the two trails (Royal & Big-view) were launched and certified as premium trails by the president of German Hiking Institute 4th/12/2019. The project is directed towards community empowerment in social-economic welfare. Local communities and investors are mobilized and trained to tap fully into tourism related products that attracts the tourists/hikers. The economic impact to this benefits directly the local people in the District, especially the service providers.