Discover Rwanda – Week 3: History and Religion

Discover Rwanda – Week 3: History and Religion

Rwanda is quite a religious country with the majority of the country practicing Catholic. This country holds the only apparition site in all of Africa. Apparition sites are unexpected sightings of the Virgin Mary. With half of my team being Catholic, we decided to venture out to experience the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho. Nearby, is the King’s Palace. Although the country ceased its monarchy in 1962, this museum still holds unique artifacts from its monarchy years. 


1. Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho

The story of the Kibeho apparition takes place in the 1980s in which 3 schoolgirls were given a message foretelling the Rwanda genocide. The Virgin Mary appeared multiple times asking people to pray to prevent the civil war. One of the schoolgirls received visions of corpses and violence from 1981 to 1989. Of these 3 girls, 1 was killed in this 100-day genocide. Kibeho suffered two massive massacres: one at the church during the 1994 genocide and the second occurred a year later when soldiers shot 5000 refugees. The church still stands and there are memorial shrines located on the premises. The visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho is free. There is a small gift shop including books, one-of-a-kind seven sorrows rosaries, traditional rosaries, postcards, and more. 

Cost: Free | Time Spent: 2 hrs



2. King’s Palace

The King’s Palace is a wonderful place to stop by if you’re at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho. For 9,000 RwF, you can visit the King’s Palace with a personal guide. The tour takes about an hour.

The King’s Palace was where two ruling kings lived in the early to mid-20th century. The guide showed us two different types of housing, one where King Mutara lived and the other where his son lived. She also showed us the rooms where the king hired a virgin girl to make milk and a virgin boy to make beer. They used to live in huts and when the king died, the son inherited the land. The son built a house on the property, but it was robbed. There isn’t much furniture but lots of posters illustrating life during this time. No photos can be taken inside. Also, when going into the house/hut, shoes must be off.

Cost: 9,000 RwF  | Time Spent: 1 hr 



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Where to Eat:

Lunch: Stafford Family Business Cafe

→ Nyanza, Southern 250

After spending about 2 hrs at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho, I was hungry. There’s a cute café nearby that serves burgers and smoothies. Both were not too bad, but I noticed that if you ask the servers to omit anything in your food, everybody on the table will get the same thing. I had two people on my trip who liked their burgers basic. Only burger, cheese, and bun, no sauce, or toppings. I just asked for no onions. It was one dry burger. The smoothies were delicious, but they took longer to arrive than the food. One smoothie arrived at the end of our meal. 

Dinner: Repub Lounge

→ 16 KG 674 St, Kigali, Rwanda

Repub Lounge is where you go when you want to have decent food in a wonderful atmosphere. The menu has all the great fixings from meats, and seafood, to vegetarian meals. But my favorite thing to do here is to order their cocktails. I have been here multiple times and would return again.