Kibeho is the largest town in Nyaruguru District, Rwanda, located in the south. The town is famous in central Africa as the location where groups of young men and women had visions of the virgin Mary in the 1980s. One of the few Vatican-approved instances of a sighting of Mary, the town has become a very popular destination during the Assumption of Mary on August 15, when the normally small and tranquil village triples or quadruples in size as people come from neighboring countries (often on foot) to celebrate at the church.
Kibeho is also well known as the site of a brutal massacre in the days following the Rwandan Genocide. The Kibeho Massacre saw a camp for internally displaced people attacked by certain members of the recently victorious RPA, who contended that genocidaires were hiding out in the safe-haven.
There are several minibuses daily from Huye which can take you to Kibeho. The bus station is connected to Hotel Ibis, to the left of the terrace. Buses leave about every hour and a ticket costs 1000 RWF.
Kibeho has several motorcycle taxis, but the town could be walked from North to South in 20 minutes, and is generally quite small so they may not be necessary.
- The brand new church which has been recently constructed is the primary meeting point and celebration area for people celebrating the Assumption of Mary in Kibeho.
- In the valley below the new church there is a spring with fresh water that has been tested as being safe to drink, and is supposed to bring good luck to those who consume it. it is also a peaceful and shady place to relax for a few minutes.
- The shell of the former church of Kibeho is also still on the hill beside the new church. Some buildings are still in disrepair, while other bricks have been repaired in lavender (the color of the genocide) to show the effects.
- There is a weaving cooperative a hundred meters south of the main junction in Kibeho where bowls, mats, and the famous Rwandan peace baskets or agaseke can be purchased. It is on the left side of the road heading away from town center towards Huye.
The best restaurant in Kibeho is Bar Masiga. You can purchase brochettes, chips, rabbit, chicken or an omelet. There is a nice terrace outside where you can sit on nice days, as well as two indoor areas - one a restaurant and one a bar.
Masiga is also the primary place to do your drinking in Kibeho. There is another large bar across the plaza that is a little quieter and has a regular clientele. If you walk outside the city it is easy to find shebeens in which local people are drinking sorghum wine from plastic jerry cans. They would probably be happy to sell you some, although a cold beer might be a safer choice.
Regina Pacis is the primary place for lodging in the town. It is a convent and religious center, with several rooms to rent and a restaurant and bar inside. If you are planning on going during the Assumption be sure to book a room or there may not be any room.
There is a hotel under construction now that should be open in the near future.