Founded during the colonial era, as still evident in some architecture of the city centre, Huye changed names from Astrida to Butare until it became the seat of Huye District. Its one of the six secondary cities located on the main highway to the Rwanda’s border with Burundi.
The city is also home to one of the main campuses of the University of Rwanda, as well as various training schools and colleges, to be regarded as a centre of academia.
A popular destination from the early days, Huye is commonly known as the cultural hub of the country. Its rich history and strategic location mean Huye has some intriguing places and destinations that attract many to flock the city.
Thanks to the World Bank-funded Rwanda Urban Development Projects (RUDP), the new infrastructure have not only changed the image of the city in terms of new, clean and planned settlements with green beauty and security for citizens, but also in terms of value for land
National Ethnographic Museum
The excellent Ethnographic Museum, also known as the National Museum, houses the finest ethnographic collection in Africa. Its modern exterior is elegant and attractive, displaying traditional artifacts and antique monochrome photographs that provide an insight in the pre-colonial era as well as Rwanda’s transition into a modern state.
This popular tourist attraction as you enter Huye City has an excellent collection with historical and cultural significance that help add greater weight to the architectural achievements of the city.
Huye main Catholic Cathedral
The red brick Catholic Cathedral constructed in the 1930s is an imposing presence in its surroundings.
An oversize cross right above the entranceway of the cathedral can’t be missed and while it may not be the most traditionally spectacular structure, it is still impressive and well worth paying a visit as well as attending mass.
University of Rwanda, Huye Campus
Founded right after independence and initially National University of Rwanda (NUR) since 1963, the University of Rwanda – Huye Campus sits on the hill of Ruhande. It has since changed the name to University of Rwanda (UR). Due to the large number of university students and student-centered activities in the city, Huye is often regarded as a university city. This, with other famous higher institutions of learning like Nyakibanda Seminary and research institute established long ago made Huye to be regarded as the intellectual capital of the country.
Arboretum of Ruhande
Strolling through UR campus in Huye is a pleasant diversion, but finding yourself at the Arboretum de Ruhande that surrounds the campus is quite thrilling. Started by the Belgians on Ruhande Hill in 1933, this attractive and peaceful arboretum is a great place to learn about African flora while indulging in a bit of leafy shade.
Planted with a mixture of exotic and indigenous species, the 200-hectare forest was recently dedicated to the Commonwealth Canopy project, chosen because it is a research forest and a ‘gene bank’ of the forests found in Rwanda, which hold a tremendous importance to the country’s conservation. It has deciduous species, conifers, encompassing a mixture of exotic and indigenous species. It is also home to a number of animal species including monkeys, gazelles, birds, bats, and lots of insects.
Kwa Nyagakecuru Mubisi bya Huye
According to Legend, an old woman known as Nyagakecuru lived and ruled in ancient Rwanda at the top of Mt. Huye and was feared by many kings. On top of this mountain where she lived is one of the topographies that make Ibisi bya Huye, a chain of hills standing at 2,400 meters of altitude with spectacular scenery that lie astride Huye, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru district.
Huye Stadium is the second biggest in Rwanda. The 10 000-seat facility which has been under renovation most recently is used mostly for local and international football matches and is the home ground of Mukura Victory Sports FC.
Huye District is popularly known for speciality coffee having had the first international brand in the country as ‘Maraba coffee’ originating in the district. The development of coffee brand has continued, where there are places like Maraba and Huye mountain coffee that have established agro-tourism, where enthusiasts can track and follow the agricultural and value chain processes.
The central and strategic location of Huye has boosted the district to be a gateway for other attractions in the region. Some of these include the nearby King’s Palace in Nyanza that brings the old ways to life, Nyungwe National Park Butare extending for 1,000 Square kms across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda and Our Lady of Kibeho Shrine in Nyaruguru to mention but a few, shows the district to be a hospitality treasure.