The land of a thousand hills, with its endless expansive lush mountains and diverse natural beauty, lies within the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, and boasts a moderate climate. Mountains dominate the centre and west of the country, while the east consists of savanna, plains, and swamps.
Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Despite being landlocked and one of Africa’s smallest countries (26,338km2), Rwanda has an incredible treasure trove of biodiversity that requires protection. The Albertine Rift Eco-zone (ARE), a region that stretches across six countries with Rwanda as its epicenter, is of particular importance as it has an exceptional level of species endemism. Scientists regard it as having the highest levels of biodiversity on the continent.
The nature love will be impressed by the variety and the parity of what can be observed visiting Rwanda, but there’s more to Rwanda than protected mountain gorillas and Albertine endemics. The shores of Lake Kivu boast some of the best inland beaches in Africa and offer an opportunity to explore the many small islands of Lake Kivu.
Kigali, the capital and conference hub of East Africa, forms a central stepping stone to various destinations within the country and Central and East Africa. The city is green, vibrant, safe, and brews superb homegrown tea and coffee.
Although Rwanda is all too often associated with the 1994 Genocide that resulted in the mass murder of as much as 20% of the country’s total population, the country is taking giant strides towards cultural recovery and investment in the future.
Basic Facts about Rwanda:
Capital City: Kigali
Population: 12.6 million (As of 08 March 2019)
Official languages: Kinyarwanda, French and English
Land Area: 26,338 km2
Location: Central and Eastern Africa (1º57 S, 30º03 E)
Borders: Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west
Land boundaries: 893km
Climate: Temperate; two rainy seasons
March - May and October – December (Average of 110-200 mm. per month).
Terrain: Mostly grassy uplands and hills; mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
Average Temperature: 22 ºc. (Hottest months: August, September)
Altitude: Ranges from 950 - 4507 m above sea level, with the lowest point being the Rusizi River (950m) and highest point Karisimbi Volcanoe (4507 m)
Main water bodies: Lake Kivu, Lake Muhazi, Lake Ihema, Lake Bulera, Lake Ruhondo, Lake Mugesera, Nyabarongo River and Akanyaru River, Akagera River.
Vegetation: Ranges from dense equatorial forest in the north-west and south-west of the country to tropical savannah in the east.
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours behind Tokyo)
Political system: Republic; presidential, multiparty system
Currency: Rwandan franc (RWF), 1 USD=953 RWF (As of March, 2020)