Also known as Huye, Butare usually visited by travellers on Rwanda safaris and tours is Rwanda’s intellectual city has population estimate of 77,000 people as of August 2002 statistics and located in the Huye district Southern Province of Rwanda.
It is one on the traditional cities and also colonial capital of the former Province of Butare, Rwanda, that was separated in January of year, 2006.
Butare is a town in Rwanda where North Gate University of Rwanda is located and also holds the prestigious Nyakibanda Seminary which is Rwandan National Institute of Scientific Research.
Therefore tourists, researchers interested in finding or doing researcher in Rwanda can visit Butare and due to its strategically location for universities, its often regarded as university city in Rwanda.
Butare is also a place on interest to visitors because it’s where Ruhande Arboretum and a cathedral is located and hence tourists interested in religious tourism as part of their Rwanda safari package can visit the place to experience the holy blessing from the cathedral and it’s also home to the Butare Stadium (stade Huye).
In this stadium one can enter to relax and enjoy the local foot ball matches as well as watching some music performances which are always organized in the stadium.
The city of Butare mainly considered as the intellectual capital of the country does not hold political powers unlike its counterpart city Kigali which holds most of political powers. Historically Belgian colonial rulers named the place to astride city and this was done in respect and remembrance of Belgium Queen Astrid.
The most interesting thing in this place is the National Museum of Rwanda which was built in the early years of 1990s and the museum houses almost the best ethnographic collections in whole of East Africa.
Absorbing displays of traditional artifacts are illuminated by a selection of turn-of-the-century which shows photographs, providing insight of the current developments of Rwanda’s modern developing country in Africa. Butare also boasts craft shops as well as a botanical garden.
Hence Butare is a good place for tourists interested on the cultural history of the country and the region at large and thus can offer memorable experience to travellers on safaris in Rwanda.
Things To Do in Butare (Huye)
The National Museum of Rwanda at Butare
It is well worth a visit of a few hours. It is just 1.5km from the centre of town. There is an excellent collection of exhibits here about Rwanda's history and culture. There is also a good shop with a selection of local handicrafts and books.
Rukali Palace Museum
This is near Nyanza is well worth a visit. This is located about 3km from the original site. Nyanza was the seat of the monarchy of Rwanda and here you can learn about the background to the traditions, power struggles and battles of the royal family.
The traditional ancient palace of Mwami has been reconstructed here and a guide takes you through the kings room, showing you how he received visitors and into the smaller rooms in the compound.
Next door is the modern, western style palace which was built in 1932 for Mwami Rudahigwa Mutara III. This traditional palace is carefully maintained and contains several items of the original furniture and fittings.
New Palace Building
Across the hills from the back of the new palace building is the palace on Rwesero Hill which the king had built for himself and his family, but unfortunately died before they took up residence.
This building, 1km from Rukali, is now the Rwesero Palace Art Museum and houses a fascinating collection of local arts (paintings and sculptures). Impressive views can be enjoyed from the upstairs terrace.
Visit the National University of Rwanda and University library
The library is also known as Librarie Universitaire, NUR is the best university in the country, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in the capital city coming second. It is a beautiful campus.
Visit the Ruhande Arboretum trees
it's a collection of indigenous and imported species and was set up in 1934, to visit Arboretum trees you need to contact the university. When it was created the objective was to study the behaviour of imported species vis a vis to indigenous ones so it could be established how to boost trees productivity.
For the strong of stomach and those who want to fully understand the atrocities that Butare suffered, visit Murambi Memorial, the most graphic and devastating of the genocide memorials, about 30 km from Butare on a good road. Here, the victims are preserved in lime. It is a very emotional experience.
Arrange for Traditional Dance known as Intore (roughly translated as the chosen ones) at the national museum.
En route to the museum there is Ikivuguto national Diary. It started during the Belgian colonization times but it still doing strong. In theory you just turn up and request a free tour but it advised to ask about the tour on your way out to the place and have a tour on your way back.
Butare Roman Catholic Cathedral
Visit the Butare Roman Catholic cathedral, built in the memory of Belgian Princess Arstid in 1930. It is the lagest church in the country and has fairly plan and tranquil interior and its size is impressive.
Viaki Crafts village
A few kilometres out of town, visit and buy souvenirs at the Viaki Crafts village. The 'village', created by a number of wood carvers, is made up of a workshop, a store and snack-bar. Often, visitors watch as the woodcarvers work their timber into works of art.
Dinner and Hotel Ibis
Have a Dinner at Hotel Ibis in town centre and dance the whole night at Melotwist nightclub (in the faucon hotel) This night club was opened in 2007 and is familiar with students of the National University as it offers students considerable discounts and promotions all year long.
|Languages spoken||French, Kinyarwanda|
|Currency used||Rwanda Franc (RWF)|