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Cities in Rwanda you must explore during your trip to Rwanda

by Visagov | July 22, 2019
Green fields in Rwanda main cities rwanda

What are the major cities in Rwanda right now? Rwanda is a country in East Africa. It borders other countries such as Uganda, Congo, Tanzania and Burundi. 

Before learning what to see in the major cities in Rwanda, you must know that you will need a Rwanda visa to enter the country. With Visagov, you can easily get this travel authorization in your Email.


The capital of the country is also the most populated city, with more than 700,000 inhabitants. It’s one of the cities in Rwanda that is "new", since it was established in 1907 under the German rule of Rwanda. It’s been the capital of the country since 1962, when it gained independence from Germany, although at that time it was Belgium that administered the country. The colonial power was in another city, but Kigali was chosen as the capital because of its strategic position in the centre of the country.

This has led to a significant increase in the population, which is linked to the main economic activity in the area: mining. It witnessed the so-called Genocide of Rwanda in 1994, when a civil war caused the death of almost 800,000 people. Today you can visit a memorial in memory of the victims.

There are also places to appreciate local art, such as the Inema Arts Centre and the Caplaki Craft Village.

Another interesting point in Kigali is the Nyamirambo neighbourhood, where the Women's Centre stands out. Back in the day it was a place where women came to learn, read and write. Now, they organise visits to the neighbourhood and its popular market, with food included. You will notice the contrast between Kigali and other African cities, as Kigali has the honour of being one of the cleanest cities in all of Africa.

Kigali is one of Rwanda cities with an airport and a wide range of hotels (some of which are luxury ones), as well as restaurants where you can try local and international food. At its Artisan Market, you will see how they make typical utensils from the area with your own eyes.

Rwanda cities: Kigali

Butare (Huye)

The ancient capital of Rwanda is also known today by the name of Huye. It is not one of the most populated cities in Rwanda, with just 100,000 inhabitants, but it’s the educational centre of the country since it brings together most of the universities in Rwanda. Sometimes, it is even called the "intellectual capital" of Rwanda. It's home to the National University of Rwanda and the ethnographic museum, which is one of the country's best museums.

In addition, the city is home to a Catholic diocese—a fact that comes from the past—since Butare was the place where the first Catholic mission of the country was based in the year 1900. 


Gitarama is one of Rwanda largest cities and, in fact, it is the third most populated city in Rwanda is not far from its capital, Kigali. In 1994, it was the city where the political centre of the country was located during the events of the Rwandan Genocide. Today it hosts several administrations of its district.


Musanze, formerly known as Ruhengeri, is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, where you can go gorilla trekking and visit endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It is one of the cities in Rwanda to explore Volcanoes and trek.


Nyamata is known for its historical significance related to the Rwandan genocide. It is one of Rwanda major cities, where you can learn about the Rwandan genocide. You can visit the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Church to learn about the tragic events that took place during that period.

cities in Rwanda and baby gorilla on a tree in Rwanda


Located in the north of the country, it is one of the cities in Rwanda that attracts more tourists, as it is close to one of Rwanda's biggest natural attractions: Volcanoes National Park. Established in 1929 and with more than 100 square kilometres, it is a refuge for mountain gorillas.

In addition, it is one of Rwanda major cities because of its spectacular orography houses five volcanoes out of a total of eight that exist in the Virunga Mountains. It is the first national park that was created in all of Africa and it borders two other important parks on the continent: the Virunga National Park in the Congo and the Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

Also, the proximity of the city to the Burera and Ruhondo lakes make it a perfect place to discover the area’s nature trails.