Rwanda

Discover Rwanda with Ntaba African Safaris

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green, mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills.”
Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Bordering Congo and Uganda, the park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes.
Kigali, the nation’s sprawling capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

Highlights of Rwanda:

“The land of a Thousand Hills”

  • Rwanda is a green undulating landscape of hills, gardens and tea plantations. It offers tourists a one of a kind journey.
  • Home to one third of the world remaining Mountain Gorillas, one third of Africa’s birds species, several species of primates, volcanoes, game reserve, resorts and islands on the expansive lake Kivu, graceful dancers, artistic crafts and friendly people.
  • Rwanda is a thriving, safe country with one of the lowest crime rates in Africa. All major attractions are located within 1-5 hour drive from the capital, Kigali.
  • In a short vacation, a tourist can reach volcanoes, rain forests, savanna, lakes and the beautiful city of Kigali.

Basic Facts

  • Population: 10,515,973 people according to the 4th General Census (2012).
  • Land Area: 26,338 square Kilometres.
  • The population is predominantly female; 5,451,105 are women corresponding to 51.8% of the total population.
  • Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda. Kigali City population is 1,135,428 people (2012 General Census)
  • Rwanda has 3 official languages, Kinyarwanda, English and French.
  • Rwanda’s political system: Republic; presidential, multiparty system.
  • Rwanda’s National anthem is “Rwanda Nziza” (Rwanda, Our Beautiful)
  • Rwanda’s currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF).
  • In Rwanda, cars drive on the right hand side of the road.
  • Rainfall: Rainy seasons: March – May and October – November (Average of 110-200 mm. per month).
  • Average Temperature: 24.6 – 27.6ºc.
  • Hottest months: August, September.
  • Altitude: Ranges from 1000-4500m above sea level.
  • Main water bodies: Lake Kivu, Lake Muhazi, Lake Ihema, Lake Burera, Lake Ruhondo, and Lake Mugesera.
  • Vegetation: ranges from dense equatorial forest in the northwest of the country to tropical savanna in the east.
  • Rwanda is home to 40 per cent of the African continent’s mammals with 402 different species.
  • Rwanda has a diversity of birds totaling 1,061 species.
  • Rwanda has 293 species of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Rwanda has 5,793 higher plant species.
  • The highest point in Rwanda is Karisimbi (a volcano) which stands at 4,519 m and its lowest point is the Rusizi River at 950 m.
  • There are roughly 700 mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, and nearly half live in the forests of the Virunga mountains in central Africa. These gorillas live on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—areas that have seen much human violence from which the gorillas have not escaped unscathed. Many conservation initiatives are meant to aid mountain gorillas, and it is believed that their numbers may be steady or slowly increasing. Still they continue to face major threats from habitat loss and poaching.
  • Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas.
  • Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur.
    Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring. The leader organizes troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s 0.75-to-16-square-mile (2-to-40-square-kilometer) home range.
    In the thick forests of central and west Africa, troops find plentiful food for their vegetarian diet. They eat roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp.
  • Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny—weighing four pounds (two kilograms)—and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur. These infants ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives.

Geography

  • Rwanda is a landlocked country situated in central Africa.
  • Rwanda has five volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of the River Nile.
  • The country lies 75 miles south of the equator in the Tropic of Capricorn, 880 miles ’as the crow flies’ west of the Indian Ocean and 1,250 miles east of the Atlantic Ocean – literally in the heart of Africa.
  • Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.
  • Anyone visiting ’The Land of a Thousand Hills’ is in for a multitude of surprises. The loveliness and variety of the landscapes in this ’green country’ is dominated to the north by volcanoes and bordered by Lake Kivu to the west.
  • In Rwanda the great animals of the wild are protected from poachers and roam free in the vast national parks. The Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga volcanic mountains with its high altitude forests is world famous for mountain gorillas – timid and passive family oriented giants. The Park is teeming with wildlife both large and small, while Lake Kivu to the west offers beautiful beaches, jutting peninsulas and an archipelago of islands.

Brief History of Rwanda

  • For centuries, Rwanda existed as a centralized monarchy under a succession of Tutsi kings from one clan, who ruled through cattle chiefs, land chiefs and military chiefs. The king was supreme but the rest of the population, Bahutu, Batutsi and Batwa, lived in symbiotic harmony.
  • 1899, Rwanda became a German colony and, in 1919, the system of indirect rule continued with Rwanda as a mandate territory of the League of Nations, under Belgium.
  • From 1959, Batutsi were targeted, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and sending almost two million of them into exile. The First Republic, under President Gregoire Kayibanda, and the second, under President Juvenal Habyarimana, institutionalized discrimination against Batutsi and subjected them to period massacres.
  • 1979 – The Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU) was formed by Rwandan refugees in exile, to mobilize against divisive politics and genocide ideology, repeated massacres, statelessness and the lack of peaceful political exchange. 1987, RANU became the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). On 1 October 1990, the RPF launched an armed liberation struggle that ultimately ousted the dictatorship in 1994 and ended the genocide which cost more than one million lives – Batutsi and moderate Bahutu who opposed the genocidal regime.
  • After Kigali fell to RPA (RPF’s armed wing) on 4 July 1994, RPF formed a Government of National Unity headed by President Pasteur Bizimungu, bringing parties that did not participate in the genocide together.
  • 2000 – Parliament voted out President Pasteur Bizimungu and RPF appointed then Vice-President and Minister of Defence, Major General Paul Kagame as the President of the Republic to lead the coalition government.
  • 2003 – President Paul Kagame was elected with landslide majority to serve a term of seven years. During those seven years, the country made unprecedented socio-economic and political progress and consolidated peace, stability as well as social cohesion among Rwandans. In 2010, President Paul Kagame was re-elected to serve a second term and on a platform of rapid development for the transformation of the lives of all Rwandans.

Safaris including this destination

Tanzania and Rwanda

Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Northern Serengeti, Volcanoes National Park, Kigali and Dongwe - 14 Nights

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park and Kigali - 3 Nights