Between April and July 1994, countless Rwandans were murdered by Hutu extremists, who terrorized the country in an attempt to wipe out the Tutsi population. More than 250,000 victims are buried at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which aims to provide a context for the slaughter and educate visitors about prevention of future genocide.
Explore the site’s cemetery, children’s memorial, and educational exhibitions for a deeper understanding of the tragedy. Guided tours, often delivered by survivors, provide first-hand insight into the scale of violence, while audio tours offer colonial causes of the divide as context for the genocide. Widen your perspective by combining your visit with other cultural landmarks, such as the Kandt House Museum, or benefit from a multi-day program to contrast the tragic history with the Rwanda that’s struggling to recover today.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Be aware that while there is no specific age limit at the memorial, the exhibitions include weapons, uncensored images, and human remains.
- Keep in mind that the memorial is a place of mourning for many Rwandans.
- Access to the memorial is free, though the informative tours are worth the extra cost.
- The site is not yet adapted for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Most full- or multi-day tours include round-trip transfer to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The site is located a little outside the city center and is best reached by taxi or moto (motorbike taxi).
When to Get There
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is open every day of the year, except December 25 and January 1. Opening hours are reduced on the last Saturday of every month, to allow for Umuganda (community work day). Between April 6 and July 4, commemorative events are scheduled across the country in recognition of the anniversary of the genocide.
A Global Problem and a Global Solution
Take time to explore the memorial’s international exhibit to learn more about genocides that have happened, and continue to happen, around the world. The display explores both legally recognized and commonly recognized acts of genocide, some of which are ongoing. Though harrowing, it is hoped that more widespread understanding of genocide and its features will lead to the prevention of future atrocities.