As home to the National University of Rwanda, the National Institute of Scientific Research and the excellent Ethnographic Museum, Butare has been Rwanda’s most significant intellectual centre since the colonial era, when it was the formal capital of the country. This southern town has a different vibe to it thanks to the throng of liberal-minded students who live in the town. The atmosphere is more academic than in commercially-oriented Kigali.
The Ethnographic Museum provides a good overview of different aspects of Rwandan life. The indoor and outdoor displays provide opportunities to learn about Rwanda’s history, its agriculture and food, social practices and customs. The museum is generally considered to be the best ethnographic museum in East Africa and provides a well-presented opportunity to understand more about the culture and daily life of the Rwandan people.
Size and accessibility:
Butare has a population of approximately 90,000 people and is the second largest population centre in the country.
From Kigali, Butare is approximately 3 hours drive. It’s around an hour and a half to Nyungwe Forest National Park.