Comeback Destinations for Experienced Travelers
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Rwanda's tourism has recovered since the 1994 genocides, thanks to Volcanoes National Park's well-deserved reputation as the most accessible refuge of the endangered mountain gorilla, plus new destinations for wildlife trekking. These include Nyungwe Forest National Park, in the southwest, and Akagera National Park, in the northeast, home to elephant, buffalo, leopard, zebra, hippo, and crocodile. The drive along a new network of modern roads takes you past forest-backed lakes, timeless farming hamlets, and workers laying Africa's largest network of fiber-optic cableevidence of Rwanda's ambition to become the continent's future Silicon Valley.
Know the backstory:
In 1990, the majority Hutus and minority Tutsistwo peoples that had been polarized during the Belgian colonial erabroke into civil war. Between April and July 1994, Hutu extremists launched a civilian-led genocide campaign, which slaughtered over 800,000 ethnic Tutsi, moderate Hutus, and citizens of mixed heritage. To reconcile genocide victims and their perpetrators, some 400,000 genocide suspects have been tried over 15 years in community courts.
Where to stay:
The capital, Kigali, where the film Hotel Rwanda was set and the nation's moving genocide memorial is located, will have its first five-star hotel, a Chinese-built Marriott, in 2012. In the meantime, the elegant, 24-room Nyungwe Forest Lodge, opened in 2010 at the edge of a closed-canopy rain forest, offers treks to see 13 primate species, and the eight chalets of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge are a good base for mountain climbing, biking, gorilla sighting, and bird watching in Volcanoes National Park.