Land of a Thousand Hills
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A largely undiscovered Eden, she promises unrivalled biodiversity, dramatic mountains and volcanoes, some of the oldest and most precious rainforests on earth, a glittering skein of lakes, rivers and waterfalls and four stunning national parks. As to wildlife, Rwanda boasts 13 species of primates (25% of Africa’s total) and remarkable 670 species of birds, many of which are globally endangered.
LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS
Set against a backdrop of towering volcanoes and mist – wreathed mountains, Rwanda is a land of verdant rolling hills and plunging ravines. Studded with lakes, waterfalls and ancient forest, she boasts 200 species of trees and 300 species of orchid, many so rare they are undocumented.
When it comes to wildlife, Rwanda wins again, with 13 species of primates including the world – famous mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and the rare Golden Monkey. Her wildlife cast also includes a wide range of antelopes, zebras, buffalo, giraffes, hippos, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, golden cats and giant forest hogs.
A BRILLIANCE OF BIRDS
An ornithologist’s paradise, the country boasts 670 species of birds which, in a country the size of Belgium, is unprecedented. Highlights include the fabulous Shoebill Stork and the elusive Great Blue Turaco.
THE VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Africa’s first national park, the Volcanoes National Park, protects the steep slopes of the Rwandan section of the Virunga Mountains, a range of six (6) extinct and three (3) active volcanoes. A dense, green and misty realm it offers immeasurably ancient forests, massive stands of bamboo and crisp Afro – alpine moorlands dominated by giant Lobelia and Senecio plants. The park offers 50 km of walking trails, tours of lakes and caves and a fascinating selection of mountain climbs.
Of the approximate one thousand gorillas that remain on earth some two hundred live in the volcanoes National Park. And so heavily protected are these shy and gentle creatures that only thirty tourists per day are allowed into their domain.
THE OLDEST FOREST ON EARTH
The Nyungwe Forest is one of the oldest on earth, dating back to before the last Ice Age. Most famous for its 13 species of primates, Nyungwe is the place to see Chimpanzees. Visitors can also see elephants, giant forest hogs, otters, duikers, civets and some 300 bird species. This unique biosphere also offers 50 kms of excellent walking trails that wind through forests, waterfalls and panoramic viewing points.
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
75 km east of Kigali, Akagera National Park is dominated by a labyrinth of hippo filled swamps and crocodile – patrolled lakes. Across its savannah plains are impalas while predators include lions, jackals, leopards and hyenas. As for the birds, this stunning realm offers 525 species including 40 Raptors (Birds of prey)
LOVELY LAKE KIVU
Lake Kivu, the largest of Rwanda’s many freshwater lakes is one of its only three exploding lakes” (due to gaseous volcanic activity). Ringed by wooded hills and fringed by white sandy beaches and sultry hot springs, it offers lake side resorts, watersports and Island tours while the towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye an Cyangungu excel in leisure, dining and accommodation options. Walking, boating, fishing and rural village tours are also offered on many of Rwanda’s other 22 lakes.
KIGALI, THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS
Rwanda’s attractive capital, Kigali, ranges over several hills. It offers a world – class range of hotels, restaurants and bars and is one of the best places to experience the extraordinary spectacle of the Intore Royal Ballet. Also in the city is the world’s famous and exceptionally moving Genocide Memorial Centre, a permanent exhibition documenting the tragedy of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
THE INTORE DANCERS
Traditionally the sons of the King’s noble men, the Intore (finest) dancers were originally based at his court in Nyanza where they performed for his pleasure. At that time their dances depicted only war but today, clad in leopard skins and colobus monkey capes with bells around their ankles, they perform a series of rhythmic pieces, the most famous of which is the Crane Dance.
Must – buys in Rwanda include pottery from the Twa (pygmy) people, basket ware, wood carving, bead work, jewelry, masks, musical instruments, banana leaf products, batik, locally oven fabrics and candles made from local beeswax.
QUICK RWANDA FAST FACTS
- Name: Republic of Rwanda (Republika Y’u Rwanda)
- Location: East Central Africa
- Size: / Area: 26, 338 Sq.km
- Capital: Kigali
- Borders: Landlocked and borders by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
- Climate: Temperature with two rainy seasons.
- Language: Kinyarwanda (National), English (Official) French (Official) and Kiswahili.
- Currency: Rwandan Franc