Rwanda is a very small nation set in central-eastern Africa. It has no outlet to the Ocean and is mainly a mountain territory – the highest range is the Virunga (2700 mt asl). The big lake Victoria is 300 km away from the nation’s border, on the east, and is not part of its territory. But the western part of Rwanda includes another lake, Kivu. Many rivers run across this Country and some of them are tributaries of river Congo.
A “nation of water”, so, Rwanda has a balanced climate though it is set in the hottest region of Africa, along the Equator Line. It is nice to explore this land, in the cool temperatures typical of mountain places. Rains are heavy in March, April and May and in autumn, but there are no real sultry seasons. Safaris here will show you mainly mountains, forests, rivers and incredible natural parks that protect animals and age-old rocks.
Nature in Rwanda
Many protected reserves attract tourists from all over the world, in Rwanda. The most important ones are, for sure: Akagera National Park, in the north-east of the nation on the border with Tanzania, and Volcanoes National Park in the west. Akagera stretches over 900 sq km on a territory of rain forests, savannahs, mountains and many small lakes. This is the best place for safari, because you will admire elephants, buffalos, topi, impalas, antelopes, black rhinoceros, hippopotami and crocodiles. Here also live lions, leopards, giraffes and hyenas. In the Rwandese sky fly over 500 species of birds.
Volcanoes National Park is a very small one (130 sq km), but full of wonders! It includes high mountains and forests on the Virunga Range. And of course volcanoes. There are five volcanoes, two of which are “dormant”(Mount Karisimbi and Mount Gahinga), while the others are extinct (mounts Bisoke, Muhabura, Sabyinyo). They all are very scenic, though, and interesting to explore. Here live buffalos, birds, hyenas but especially the beautiful and famous mountain gorillas.
Life in Rwanda
Rwanda is mainly a rural nation, most part of the population lives in the country, on the mountains, in small towns and villages. The big cities are the capitals of the Provinces and the largest is the national capital Kigali – 1,132,000 inhabitants. Other “large” cities are also Butare, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, no one of which exceeds 90,000 inhabitants!
There are two main airports in Rwanda: Kigali International Airport, in Kigali, and Kamembe International Airport which serves the western regions. But tourists can also land at Butare Airport. Roads and railways are in extremely bad conditions, so the people mainly use airplanes to move. Thanks to Lake Kivu, water transport and trades are possible, but only to and from the nearby Republic of Congo.
Rwanda is a Republic, the president – who keeps the role for seven years – has most of the power. The nation is divided into five Provinces: Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western and Kigali. People can speak and understand both English and French but mainly speak local languages, as Swahili.
In order to enter Rwanda you must have: passport valid for up to six months, authorized Visa, two photos, your return ticket and yellow fever vaccination. You better get a safe health insurance because hospitals in Rwanda are not organized and not all medicines can be found, over there. Technology is far from being known, and internet connection gives a lot of problems.