A visit to the National Museum of Rwanda offers a deep understanding of life in Rwanda prior to its colonization in late 19th century, a time when both its political and cultural leadership was under a King. It is in Nyanza, a region found two hours south of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. National Museum of Rwanda features four houses, three of which are traditional.
One of the most prominent is a colonial styled palace that was built by the Belgium Government in 1931 and awarded to King Mutara III Rudahigwa as gift. There is also replica of his dome shaped traditional palace. It is built of mostly eco-friendly materials like reeds and grass. If looks are anything to go by, you would think it is weak. Don’t be deceived. It can last up to 10 years thanks the good attention to detail that was dedicated to its construction.
On the inside, National Museum of Rwanda is artistically lit to show off its handcrafted beauty that dates back to over three centuries ago. The beauty of the Rwandan traditional culture is well exhibited here using royal regalia that have been passed on for generations. Even better, they do not have set times for visits. You can come in anytime of the day and wonder around as you get to know the rich stories about the different antiquities.
What’s more, the local guides are such good story tellers. They know how to paint a picture with just words. This enriches the experience and makes you feel like you are witnessing everything as it happened in the ancient times. Your tour will be crowned with a visit to Inyambo, a traditionally breed of royal cattle with long horns.
They are elegant and well fed- a perfect representation of how Rwandese love cattle keeping. Historically, they are pastoralists. Cattle were very important to them as it was a source of livelihood and bride wealth used to grace marriages. You can’t leave this palace without posing for a picture with them.