• Also known as “the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda has Volcanoes, twenty-three lakes, and numerous rivers. The country lies 75miles south of the equator in the Tropic of Capricon 880 miles. Rwanda has a land size of 26,338 square kilometers. Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the North, Tanzania to the East, Burundi to the south and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Rwanda lies just south of the Equator, in the heart of Africa. In the space of a week, it’s possible to experience an extraordinary range of wildlife, landscapes and later relax in the beautiful resorts at the shores of Lake Kivu in Rubavu. Rwanda has a population of 13.8 million. The languages spoken are Kinyarwanda, French, English and Swahili. The beautiful city of Kigali is the capital of Rwanda. Apart from Kigali, Rwanda has Musanze as Rwanda’s second biggest city hosting almost all tourists visiting the world famous gorillas. Musanze has long been the base point for gorilla visits and is cradled against a stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo and Muhabura volcanoes. The city has some rich cultural tourism opportunities, caving, bird watching and fishing. Kigali being the capital has a population of 1,200,00 and is a clean highly organized city that few international visitors expect to find in the centre of the African continent. Kigali International Airport is the aviation hub for gorilla tracking in Rwanda and Uganda.

    Intact mid-elevation forests like Nyungwe are rare in Africa, but they are important habitat for many species. Nyungwe is one of the last places in Africa to maintain this type of crucial forest. At over 1000 square kilometers, Nyungwe is Africa’s largest protected mountain forest. It is the source of many rivers such as the river Congo. The magnificent Virunga Mountains are situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda, on the border of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. These mountains consist of six volcanoes, 125 square kilometers of mountain forest and are home to the famous gorilla families. The Volcanoes National Park was first gazette in 1925, as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes, intended to protect the gorillas from poaching. There are many activities to be enjoyed in this area apart from Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park. This area is home to numerous caves, a number of cultural and community Tourism initiatives as well as being an excellent location for bird watching. For the sport enthusiast there are a number of hiking trails in the majestic Virunga Mountains, or you can enjoy cycling the area, boating on the Twin lakes, or even try your hand at fishing.

    The culture of Rwanda is varied. Unlike many other countries in Africa, Rwanda has been a unified state since precolonial times, populated by the Banyarwanda people who share a single language and cultural heritage. Eleven regular national holidays are observed throughout the year, with others occasionally inserted by the government.

    The week following Genocide Memorial Day on 7 April is designated an official week of mourning. The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the. Rwandan Civil War. During this period of around 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa, were killed by armed Hutu militias. The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 500,000 to 662,000 Tutsi deaths. A visit to the genocide memorial in Kigali and other locations around the country can be organized. The last Saturday of each month is umuganda, a national day of community service, during which most normal services close down.

    Dian Fossey
    On September 24, 1967, Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Centre, a remote rainforest camp nestled in Ruhengeri province in the saddle of two volcanoes. The mountain Gorillas survive thanks to Dian Fossey, a researcher that spent 20 years in Rwanda, where she supported conservation efforts, strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats, and made more people acknowledge the sapience of gorillas. Following the killing of a gorilla and subsequent tensions, she was murdered in her cabin at a remote camp in Rwanda in December 1985.Her research and conservation work helped reduce the downward population trend in mountain gorillas.

    Kwita Izina
    The timeless Rwandan ceremony kwita izina (to give a name) is part of the celebrations of birth of a new child in a family. For decades this same ceremony has been performed for Rwanda’s newly born mountain gorillas by the rangers, researchers and those charged with safe keeping of these unique animals. In 2007 the ceremony was officially named Kwita Izina and has become an exciting part of Rwanda’s tourism and conservation calender, happening in June every year.

    wanda has a number of community and cultural based tourism activities such as ethno botany tour with traditional healers, Kinigi- Iby’iwacu cultural village, banana and sorghum beer production experience, markets and brick making tours.

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