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About Rwanda

Rwanda is small mountainous country on the highest African Plateau about the size of Wales.  Located in Central Africa, the land locked country in the heart of the continent covers only 26,338 sq km (10,169 sq miles).   The country is dominated by a central plateau made up of steep mountains and deep valleys and is therefore why it is referred to as the “Land of thousand hills”. The average elevation of the plateau is about 1.700 m.

The capital City of this small Country is Kigali, and is located in the centre of the country.  The country is separated from the Democratic Republic of Congo by Lake Kivu and the Rusizi River valley to the west; it is bounded on the north by Uganda, to the east by Tanzania, and to the south by Burundi.  The country is divided by great peaks of up to 3000m (9842ft), which run across the country from north to south. The Virunga volcanoes, rising steeply from Lake Kivu in the west, slope down first to a hilly central plateau and further eastwards to an area of marshy lakes around the upper reaches of the Akagera River, where the Akagera National Park is situated.
Rwanda is bisected by the Rift valley, and dominated by a mountain range that traverses the country from north to south, forming enclaves and good natural forest habitats for over 600 bird species and the famous mountain Gorilla National parks that houses the last surviving gorillas on earth. The four principal areas of interest are the Virunga Volcanoes National park in the northern part of the country bordering Uganda and Congo, the Akagera National Park set in the east, the Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southern part and the region around Lake Kivu. The capital city of Kigali is mainly a commercial and administrative center and has little in the way of tourist attractions.

Rwanda’s Climate

Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than is typical for equatorial countries due to the high altitude.Rubona, in the centre of the country, has a typical daily temperature range between 14 °C (57 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) with little variation through the year. There are some temperature variations across the country, with the mountainous west being generally cooler than the lower lying east. There are two rainy seasons in the year; the first runs from February to June and the second from September to December. These are separated by two dry seasons: the major one from June to September, during which there is often no rain at all, and a shorter and less reliable one from December to February.Rainfall also varies geographically, with twice as much average annual precipitation in the west as in the east.

Rwanda’s Tourism/Attractions

Visit Rwanda, such a beautiful country where on the bamboo-covered slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes the late Dian Fossey studied the behaviour of the endangered mountain Gorilla for 20 years, followed by the filmmakers who shot ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ an award winning movie, on the same location.  The undulating hills and mountains ever covered by mist every morning form good scenery – hence “the Gorillas in the mist”.

Tourism in Rwanda is rapidly increasing since the genocide that took place in 1994. Rwanda is located in central Africa and has much history and natural beauty. There are many interesting sights to see, with many guided tours to choose from. Each tour group is led by an experienced guide that specializes in teaching others about the landscape and wildlife of Rwanda. There are expeditions to places like volcanoes, waterfalls and rainforests which are home to many different African animals. Rwanda is home to a huge diverse population of animals including gorillas and the largest natural park for Hippos – some 20,000 are believed to be there. Although Rwanda is still a developing country it has quite a few hotels and its new international interest in tourism is giving it a comeback

Rwanda’s Culture & People

Rwanda has a rich history and culture. It was long time regarded as a mysterious kingdom with a legendary military force which was carefully by passed by Arab traders and the great Nile Explorers. Rwanda together with Burundi and Tanzania was part of the German East African colony. After the First World War, it became a Belgian protectorate. It’s at the National Museum of Butare, on your way to Nyungwe NP that you can find fascinating displays on the history and culture of one of the great pre-colonial kingdoms of East-Africa.

Rwanda is unfortunately remembered as the Land of the genocide which dominated world headlines in 1994. Nobody can deny this. The general public still remembers these atrocities and only time will heal. However, despite the hard times, today the country is once again on the road to a bright future.

The Rwandese traditional way of life is based on agriculture and cattle. The Rwandans settle in the fertile areas, but they do not form villages, each family being surrounded by its own fields. The majority of the population belongs to the Hutu tribe. There is a significant Tutsi minority (15 per cent) and a smaller minority of Twa, a mixed race of traditional potters and hunters and said to be the country’s first inhabitants. Normal social courtesies apply. Umuganda, the last Saturday of every month, is Public Cleaning Day when the whole country shuts down till 12 and everyone is meant to spend the morning cleaning and generally tidying up!

Rwanda Political structure

Rwanda is a presidential republic, based upon a multi-party system. The current constitution was adopted following a national referendum in 2003, replacing a transitional set of documents known as the Fundamental Law and providing a coalition government, which had been in place since the RPF military victory in 1994. The President of Rwanda is the head of state and has broad, unilateral powers to create policy, administer government agencies, exercise the prerogative of mercy, command the armed forces, negotiate and ratify treaties, sign presidential orders and declare war or a state of emergency. The president is selected by popular vote every seven years. The incumbent is Paul Kagame, who took office under the transitional government arrangements in 2000 and won elections in 2003 and 2010

Rwanda’s Currency

The franc became the currency of Rwanda in 1916, when Belgium occupied the previously German colony. There are plans to introduce a common currency, a new East African shilling, for the five member states of the East African Community by the end of 2008

In 1964, notes of the Rwanda and Burundi Bank of Emission were over stamped for use in Rwanda alone. Denominations were 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 francs. These were followed by regular issues for the same amounts. 20- and 50-franc notes were replaced by coins in 1977, with 5,000-franc notes introduced in 1978. The nation’s first-ever 2,000-franc note was introduced in mid-December 2007 and were legalized as legal tender in the region.

We at Primate World Safaris, we welcome you to join us for a Rwanda safari, and discover a country that is today embracing a bright new future, and offers one of the most memorable wildlife encounters on earth.  Feel the thrill and adventure of a close encounter with wild Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Monkeys, Buffalo and Leopard.  When you visit Rwanda a treasure revealing Africa’s hottest new eco-tourism destination for the adventurous & discerning traveler, you will discover that the physical beauty of the country is unique on the African continent.