Huye - Rwanda’s first capital

Many people know it as the home to the oldest university in Rwanda, the National University of Rwanda. Some still know this town located in the Southern Province as ‘Butare’ but since the 2006 local administrative reforms, it’s now called Huye. Society travelled to the once known as ‘educational town of Rwanda’ to see what goes on down there.
Natuional Museum of Rwanda.
Natuional Museum of Rwanda.

Many people know it as the home to the oldest university in Rwanda, the National University of Rwanda. Some still know this town located in the Southern Province as ‘Butare’ but since the 2006 local administrative reforms, it’s now called Huye. Society travelled to the once known as ‘educational town of Rwanda’ to see what goes on down there.

If you wake up one day with the urge to travel, Huye should be first on your list. This is not because of the ‘educational town of Rwanda’ factor I mentioned earlier but rather because of the many attractive things the town has to offer.

The National University of Rwanda is the center to practically everything that is attractive in Huye. The over 10,000 students and their lecturers live in Huye giving it its enegy and vibrancy. The Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST), another academic institute, is also located just opposite the main campus.

When you visit a bar (especially on weekends), it is very hard not to find a group of students enjoying drinks after a day’s hard work. Though most professors prefer the swankier bars and hotels while hanging out on weekends, you might find a few in the lower brow nightspots.

On weekends, university students always have something going on especially Friday. The swimming pool at Indatwa (just below Groupe Scolaire) is home to pool parties especially when the weather is fine.

It is in your best interests to visit the university’s main branch before anything else. There are many beautiful structures to see. Enjoy the manicured trees and gardens around the campus.

Besides the campus, NUR has a small forest (locally know as the Arboretum) that will make you forget that you are in the second biggest town in the country. You will find a peaceful ambience, birds and butterflies and noisy troops of monkeys that one can easily spot while walking through the forest.

After the NUR, the National Museum is definitely the next attraction. With Rwanda’s rich culture, you will be surprised to find every thing you want to know or didn’t know about in the well-designed museum. It also harbors great art and craft pieces that symbolise Rwanda’s cultural heritage. Be sure to buy some as a souvenir!

Since Huye town is just a two hour drive south of Kigali, it’s possible to go visit then return home but you might want to spend a night or two in this amazing town. There are quite a number of accommodation options to consider ranging from luxury hotels, budget guest houses, holiday inns, resorts and safari lodges.

Another famous hang out spot apart from the famous hotels (Credo, Ibis and Facaun) is Space Place just behind Matar Supermarket which is the main shopping center for those who may want to buy stuff in the town. It also operates as a pub and plays all kinds of music for those who want to dance the night away.

There are very few things that one can describe as shocking about this town. If you expect some kind of cinema in Huye, expect no more and carry your own movies. Even the few video libraries in town don’t have movies with quality pictures.

On week days, the town is almost dead by 10pm; very few people hang out past that time. Students make the town happen and let’s not forget that they have to retire at a decent hour to be fresh for classes.

On a lighter note, travelling in and out of Huye town is very cheap and accessible. There are very many bus companies (Volcano, Sotra, Horizon etc) that travel every 30 minutes in and out of Huye. While there, you can get a moto at every parking spot.

 

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