Rwanda is a small landlocked country in Central Africa just south of the equator. It has a hilly terrain, giving it the name of ‘the land of a thousand hills’. . Rwanda’s neighbours are Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Rwanda is the most densely populated non-island country in Africa and has population of approximately eleven million. Rwanda’s capital city is Kigali, and sits in the centre of the country.
Rwanda has steady and temperate climate and two rainy seasons annually. In Kigali the temperatures generally range from 16-27°C. In the mountains, such as during gorilla trekking, temperatures can be lower.
Rwandan Landscape and Wildlife
Rwanda’s landscape comprises mainly cultivated hills and declining from volcanoes in the west towards the eastern plains. The country is famous for its mountain gorillas, which can be found in Volcanoes National Park. Other primates and wildlife are also in this high-country park, bordering DRC and Uganda, as are five volcanoes that can be hiked. Nyungwe Forest National Park is a stunning and ancient rainforest in the south, also rich in forest wildlife. Akagera National Park borders Tanzania and has the savannah animals such as hippopotamuses, elephants, gazelle, and zebra. Soon lions and rhinoceroses will be reintegrated into the park, rounding out the Big Five.
Rwanda’s People and Language’s
In Rwanda Kinyarwanda, English and French are the officially recognised languages. English and French are widely spoken, especially in Kigali, and Kiswahili is also used. Intra-Rwandan ethnic divisions are not recognised and it is impolite to discuss this. In fact, after the Genocide in Rwanda and the preceding violence, this division is not allowed in Rwanda.
Other Facts from Rwanda
Rwanda has a huge rural population that engages primarily in subsistence farming. The main sources of foreign exchange in the country are coffee and tea. Tourism is a large part of the economy also, and the government is moving to diversify to a service-based economy, capitalizing on a large and increasingly well-educated population. Food production and nutrition are major policy and aid focuses; climate change is proving problematic with predicting rainfall. Following the conflict in the 90’s the country has embarked on unique social cohesion efforts, such as the community courts (Gacaca) and monthly neighbourhood works morning (Umuganda). In a region with significant challenges, Rwanda is proving able to achieve enviable social, health, economic and security aims.