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Huye is the third city of Rwanda, located in the south. It was formerly known as Butare and many maps and official documents still refer to Butare. Huye is the capital of Huye district, which was again Butare district prior to its dissolution in 2006. It is said to have about 80,000 inhabitants. It is famous for hosting the National University, the National Museum (unique in Africa) and being near to Nyanza, where the palace of the former king (the so-called mwami) is.

Get in[edit]

There are several minibus companies that make their way from Kigali to Huye. One of them recommended is Volcano. It easy to find in the Kigali domestic bus station. The fee is 2500 RFr one way.

Get around[edit]

Huye has plenty of taxis, motorcycle taxis, and bicycle taxis, all of which will be eager to serve you. Also, you can walk from the northernmost part of Huye (the bus station) to the southernmost (the University of Rwanda) in about 20 minutes. (The taxis exist mainly to take Rwandans to their homes farther outside the city).

See[edit][add listing]

  • National Museum of Rwanda: The National Museum is a surprisingly comprehensive and interesting museum. Even travellers knowledgeable about recent Rwandan history will learn much about Rwanda's colonial and post-colonial governments, as well as the Tutsi monarchy which pre-dated both of these. Many of Rwanda's idiosyncratic cultural attributes will make more sense after a visit to the national museum.
  • Gikongoro Genocide memorial: Just outside Huye is one of the most compelling genocide memorials in Rwanda. The memorial is located in Gikongoro, which is about 15 minutes east of Huye along the road to Cyangugu; taxis will take you there from Huye for about $15. In 1994, Gikongoro was the site of a large massacre at a vocational school where several hundred Tutsis were hiding. Local guides (some of whom have firsthand knowledge of the events that transpired there) will tell you the story of what happened there.
  • Huye Market: Huye has a bustling market that is open every day except Saturday. Although there will be no souvenirs on sale, this market is an excellent way to learn how Rwandans shop for their everyday needs. Be prepared to barter.
  • National University of Rwanda: Although a stroll through the university does not take long, it is a worthwhile trip to see an active African university. Students here are almost all on full scholarship, selected by test performance; they sleep in bunk beds that are often cot style in dorms located on campus. The largest dorm is named Guantanamo Bay. Since is has been discovered that the name has notoriety as a prison for terrorists in Cuba, there are discussions about changing the name. They are building more hostel style accommodations.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

The most reliable restaurant in Huye is the restaurant at the Hotel Ibis on the main street. However, much of the Ibis's fare is Belgian instead of Rwandan. For Rwandan fare, try the Restaurant Macrobiotique, which is located on the same side of the main road as the Hotel Ibis, but closer to the university. It is popular with students.

For lunch, try the nameless lunch restaurant located across the street from the Ibis and a little to the right (as you face away from Ibis). It is to the right of the craft store. For lunch they offer classic Rwandan comfort food: brochettes (goat kabobs), plantains, sweet potatoes, boiled cassava, beans, and rice. It is excellent.

An excellent place for dinner is the Chinese restaurant located across the street from the market, behind the gas station. Chinese workers built most of the paved roads in Rwanda, and a few Chinese restaurants survived their departure. This one serves a variety of chicken, pork, vegetarian, and beef dishes.

NZOZI NZIZA The first and probably the best place to get ice cream in Rwanda. It is run by a local women's cooperative and offers fresh omlettes, sandwiches and milkshakes apart from their frozen specialties. Located on the mainstreet near the university, it is a favorite spot for local families and students as well as expats.

Amafu Opposite Hotel Ibis, you have to pass left to enter stairs which lead you to this 1st floor restaurant. The buffet is one of the best in town and the place on the balcony outstanding.

Shekina Again on the right side of the main street coming from Kigali. Inside it looks quite shabby, it is dark and nobody could call it cozy. But it is always stuffed with locals, most of them students or moto-drivers which come here to have lunch. The buffet is cheap and good, the chapati are amazing!

Drink[edit][add listing]

Hotel Foucon has its own nightclub, opend Fridays and Saturdays.

There is a nameless dance club in Huye that is open on Friday and Saturday nights. It is located on the right side of the road which leads to the market from the main road (a quick inquiry at the Hotel Ibis can yield more specific directions). The club serves beer and liquor.

CxC Cafe ConneXion On the main street towards the university, opposite the Anglican Church. Delicious, freshly roasted, organic local coffee. Despite it's misleading name - no, there is no internet available, this is the right place to get truly delicious espresso and buy roasted coffee beans to take home.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

By far the best hotel in Huye is the Hotel Ibis, which has been a Huye (Butare) landmark since the 1940s. Run by a Belgian family for several decades, the Ibis is the only hotel in Huye that has a reliable restaurant open every day of the week, as well as hot water and electricity virtually 24/7. A large patio with outdoor seating is ideal for consumption of Mutzig or Primus (popular beers in Rwanda) or the occasional sorghum beer.

Of course, one popular strategy is to stay at another (cheaper) hotel and eat at the Ibis restaurant, which is open to everyone.

  • Shalom House, (Near the university old rectory), +250 05125041 (+250 55109819, ). 8 en-suite rooms. spotlessly clean. lounge for guests. dining room for simple meals. TV in all rooms  edit
  • Motel Du Mont Huye, B.P. 14 Butare (Walk down the main street, pass Ibis and the MTN store on your left. Turn down the next left street and Motel Du Mont Huye is the third building on your left. If you are driving, continue down the dirt road, and turn left again for the vehicle entrance which will be on your left.), +250530765 or +250788504302. Simple, clean and safe accommodation with hot showers and free basic breakfast (bread, jam and tea/coffee). Staff are very friendly and the restaurant serves local Rwandan meals as well as more generic types of meals. Between 14 - 45 USD per night depending on size of room.  edit


The concierge at the Hotel Ibis is usually an excellent source of information.

Get out[edit]

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