Rwanda's history could fill a thousand books, perhaps one for each of the green rolls in the country's self-proclaimed nickname, The Land of 1,000 Hills. Most of the narrative remains undocumented as so much of the 1994 genocide went unseen. But this isn't a country fixated on the past, rather, one that shares an optimistic future. Land in Kigali and you will immediately encounter its modernity and fresh thinking. Plastic bags are illegal, boulevards draw comparisons with Paris, and there's an unexpected affluence that cascades across the city. Your hotel is the centerpiece of this prosperity, a historical residence that remains the luxurious heart of the country.
The transition has been remarkable, and a half-day tour of the city tour helps you to unravel not only the past but also the optimism and enthusiasm that has steered the country since 1994. A guide will lead you to the National Genocide Memorial Centre, which will provide an excellent background to how such atrocities developed as you look back some 30 years before the genocide. Personal testimonies and photos are incredibly powerful while hundreds of thousands are buried in mass graves at the memorial. Thought-provoking and sometimes haunting, the memorial can be an intensely moving and emotional place. At the end of a half-day city tour, it is also imbued with inspiration. You will see the city and then see what the country had to recover from which will enhance your respect for everything you see in Rwanda.