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Destinations | Rwanda

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same.”

~Brian Jackman ~


Lake Kivu


Rwanda is a landlocked country located in East Africa, just South of the Equator.


Rwanda is part of the African Great Lakes Region and often called "the heart of Africa", because of its central location on the African continent. It is also known as "the land of a thousand hills", in reference to its hilly landscape. It is a beautiful and fascinating country with a rich history and culture.


Rwanda borders with four countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.


"The land of a thousand hills"


Interesting facts about Rwanda:


1. Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa with a population of 13,9 million.


2. The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali with a population of 1,25 million. Kigali is also the largest city and is known as the cleanest city in Africa, as the Government of Rwanda implemented the ban for the use of plastic bags/sachet for environmental protection.


3. Currency in Rwanda is Rwandan Francs (RWF) and US Dollars (USD).


4. The national language of Rwanda is Kinyarwanda. Other official languages include French, English.


5. The best time to visit Rwanda is generally during the long dry season, from June to mid-September or during the short dry season from December to early February. The temperature stays consistent all year. The short rains run from mid-September through to December and the long rains come in March, April and May.


6. The Country experiences temperate climate with 25 - 30 C during the day and 15 C at night, throughout the year.


7. Main Airport is Kigali International Airport.


8. Rwanda has world’s record of highest representation of women in parliament, as over 60% of parliament members are women.


9. Rwanda is one of the top five most developed countries since 2000. According to World Bank’s doing business rapport of 2016, Rwanda is 2nd Africa’s country to do business in, behind Mauritius which is 1st in Africa, 49th globally. Business registration in Rwanda is done in 48hours.


Convention centre in Kigali


10. The country is considered as one of the best country with high internet connectivity in Africa as Rwandan Government is spreading the internet facilities like construction of fiber optic in all parts of country.


Attractions & landmarks:


11. Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes and is situated on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Lake Kivu is the largest local source of fish in Rwanda, providing more than 20,000 tons of fish per year.


Lake Kivu


12. Rwanda has three National Parks, including the largest Akagera national park, well known for Big five animals and game drive, Nyungwe the greenest national park with natural forest, well known for chimpanzee species and many endemic bird species, and Volcanoes national park, which is known as home of Mountain Gorillas.




Game drive in Akagera National Park


Nyungwe National Park


Canopy walk on the top of tropical rainforest


Volcanoes National Park


Mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park


Geography:


13. Two major African rivers, the Nile and the Congo, flow through Rwanda. Nyabarongo is the longest river in Rwanda and one of the main feeds for the great Nile.


14. Rwanda has five volcanoes, inlcuding Karisimbi, Muhabura, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga. Karisimbi is the highest volcano among the others with 4507 m above sea level. The country has 23 lakes and numerous rivers.


Mt Sabyinyo, Volcano National Park


15. Known as the “land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda’s landscape is mostly hilly and mountainous. The Virunga Mountains, located in the northwest part of Rwanda, contain the country’s highest peak, Karisimbi.


The Virunga Mountains


People & Language & Culture:


16. Rwanda was populated around the 8th century BC by the Batwa or Twa, a population of pygmies, that lived and hunted in the dense forest. The pygmies’ ancestors had come from the West and spoke a Bantu language. A few centuries later, an agricultural people, the Hutu came to the area. They were joined by the pastoralists Tutsi people, that arrived sometime between the 1000 and 1500 AD. These three communities of different origins assimilated over time and eventually shared the same Bantu language, Kinyarwanda (or Kirundi), the same religion, and in the end the same social lives.



17. There is no linguistic minority in Rwanda, because almost the entire population, 98% speak the national language, Kinyarwanda, the language of the Bantu family. Following the First World War, Rwanda was handed over to the Belgians, who introduced French as an official language. With the return of 850,000 Tutsi refugees after the genocide of 1994, the government adopted plans to make English the official language and gradually replace the domination of French. In 2003, English became the official language alongside French and Kinyarwanda, and since 2010, it is the only language used in schools.



18. Music and dance are a big part of Rwandan culture in cities and rural areas. Rwanda’s most famous dance is made up of three parts: the intore, meaning dance of heroes, performed by men; the umushagiriro, or cow dance, performed by women; and the ingoma, performed on drums.


Rwandan men tribal ritual dancing celebration


Traditional dishes:


19. Traditional Rwandan dishes include bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, and beans. Fish dishes, especially ones with tilapia, are popular with Rwandans living near lakes. Most Rwandans eat meat only a few times a month.



Nature & Wildlife:


20. Home to tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, and volcanoes, Rwanda is one of the most ecologically diverse places in Africa.


21. Travelers come to Rwanda to spot one of the 12 species of primates that inhabit the country’s national parks. Chimpanzees and several types of monkeys live in Nyungwe and Gishwati Mukura National Parks. Volcanoes National Park is home to about one third of the world’s mountain gorilla population as well as five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, a mountain range that stretches across East Africa. The country’s remaining national park, Akagera National Park, is home to black rhinos, hippos, elephants, giraffes.


Hippo in Akagera National Park


Economy:


22. Rwanda’s economy is mostly agricultural. Bananas, coffee, tea, and tobacco are all major cash crops. One of the fastest growing sectors in the country is tourism, driven mainly by visitors coming to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.


Bananas (plantains) are one of the staples food in Rwanda, which are used in various Rwandan dishes.


Raw coffee beans


23. Tourism has been the fastest growing sector in Rwanda due to the fact that Rwanda is considered the safest and most stable in this part of Africa. The roads are paved, the landscapes are beautiful, and the people are friendly.




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