Vacations to Rusumo Falls, Rwanda

Rwanda's largest waterfall, Rusumo Falls is situated between the Rwandan and Tanzanian borders, on the Kagera River. Driving or walking to the bridge between the two posts offers truly breathtaking views, particularly in Rwanda's wet season.

The waterfall has seen many important historical events over the years. It was the scene of the first arrival of Europeans to the country in 1894, when count Gustav Adolf von Gotzen came across from Tanzania. And when the Belgians took over the country during World War One in 1916, they also entered via Rusumo Falls.

The most tragic event to happen in the area was the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people in 1994, when thousands of dead bodies flowed beneath the Rusumo Bridge as refugees fled the Hutus via the bridge into Tanzania. It's a three and a half hour drive from the waterfall, but Kigali Genocide Memorial Center is a fitting tribute to the many victims. The remains of over 250,000 people are interred there. The center offers the chance to pay your respects and the visitor centre is a great way to learn more about the situation leading up to the terrible events of 1994.

Thankfully the future is bright for Rusumo Falls. In 2013, it was announced that Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station was to be built on the site, with the power generated to be shared between Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Work is hoped to be complete in late 2018.

Although Akagera National Park, two hours from Rusumo, was affected prior to the genocide when many of its animals were either slaughtered or driven over the border, these days it's back on the up. Outside investment has seen the numbers of wildlife roaming the savannah, forest and swamps of the park increasing, with zebras, impalas, topis, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, lions and rhinos all found here.

Although the past has left its mark, the natural beauty of Rusumo Falls outshines all. It's a beautiful, yet sobering stop on your Rwandan adventures.

Highlights

  • Admire the view from Rwanda's largest waterfall

  • Learn about the genocide at Kigali Genocide Museum

  • Explore swamps and savannah at Akagera National Park

Jamie
Senior Travel Designer
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I grew up near the picturesque fishing village of Rye, in East Sussex. However, my heart has always been in Africa since I was a young girl. Having a South African father meant my love for the history and colour of this fantastic continent has been a prominent part of my life, and so getting to travel to seven different countries over the last few years has been a dream come true. One of my highlights was flying in the famous yellow bi-plane across Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.

Map of Rusumo Falls

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