RWANDA


Quick Facts:

CAPITAL CITY: Kigali
POPULATION: 11.92 million
CLIMATE: Equatorial Climate
LANGUAGE: French, English and Kinyarwanda
RELIGION: Christianity
CURRENCY: Rwandan Franc

TOURIST ARRIVALS: BAccording to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) statistics, the number of arrivals in Rwanda was 1,298,000 in 2015 and 1,427,000 in 2016 that generated revenues 368 million USD and 404 million USD respectively

BRIEF HISTORY
Rwanda really is remarkable. It’s a country that offers so many exciting experiences - and not just tracking for mountain gorillas, for which Rwanda is so rightly famed; The ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, Rwanda is home to one third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, fourteen species of primates, one third of Africa’s bird species, three National Parks and islands on the expansive Lake Kivu, graceful dancers, artistic crafts and the most friendly of people. 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. Previously colonized by Germany and Belgium, Rwanda has been independent since 1st July 1966. It is a landlocked country in the great African Lakes region bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A window into Rwanda’s history is provided by many memorial sites and museums preserved around the country. A number of Community Based Tourism experiences offer travelers the opportunity to experience the destination’s rich cultural life.

HERITAGE
Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, although most originated as functional items rather than purely for decoration. Woven baskets and bowls are especially common. The south east of Rwanda is noted for imigongo, a unique cow dung art, whose history dates back to when the region was part of the independent Gisaka kingdom. The dung is mixed with natural soils of various colours and painted into patterned ridges, forming geometric shapes. Other crafts include pottery and wood carving.

Imigongo;
is an art form popular in Rwanda traditionally made by women using cow dung. Often in the colors black, white and red, popular themes include spiral and geometric designs that are painted on walls, pottery, and canvas. The images are produced using cow dung which is put onto wooden boards in spiral and geometric designs. The dung is left to harden and is then decorated using colours made from organic material. The traditional colours are black, white, red, grey and beige-yellow but increasingly other colours are used. The imigongo images were originally found in Kibungo inside the walls of huts as “magical” decorations during the 18th century.

The Former Kingdom;
The route between Kigali and Nyungwe hosts a number of informative cultural sites including King’s Palace Museum, Rwesero Palace Art Museum (known as Nyanza Mwami palace) and Ethnographic Museum. This is sometimes referred to as the “Cultural Corridor”. Nyanza Mwami palace; Nyanza’s main tourist attraction, this ancient hilltop palace marks the site of the old Mwami’s (King’s) home. The traditional ancient palace of the Mwami has been reconstructed, together with some other buildings, 3–4km away from its original site, beside the newer Westernstyle palace built for Mwami Rudahigwa Mutara III in 1932. In olden times, Nyanza was the heart of Rwanda and seat of its monarchy, background to the oral tradition of battles and conquests, power struggles and royal intrigues. It is where the German colonisers came, at the end of the 19th century, to visit the Mwami – and contemporary reports tell of the great pomp and ceremony these visits occasioned, as well as the impressive size of the Mwami’s court. The traditional palace has been carefully reconstructed and maintained, and contains the king’s massive bed as well as various utensils.

Dance, Music & Crafts;
Capturing Rwandan Culture: The arts play an important role in the traditions of Rwandan people. Performances range from demonstrations of bravery and excellence, to humorous dance styles and lyrics, to artistry based in traditional agricultural roots. The most famous traditional dance is Intore, a highly choreographed routine consisting of three components - the ballet, performed by women; the dance of heroes, performed by men, and the drums.

Peace & Reconciliation:
When visiting Rwanda, it is impossible not to see and learn about the impact of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Whilst this can be a moving experience, at the same time it can be surprisingly uplifting as you will see first-hand how the people of Rwanda have learnt so much from this dark period in the country’s recent past and are positively moving forward together.

Kigali Genocide Memorial
Centre; This is one of memorial sites. Kigali Memorial Centre commemorates the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The remains of over 250,000 people are interred there. There is a visitor centre for students and those wishing to understand the events leading up to the events of 1994. The Centre is a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place in which the bereaved could bury their family and friends. The Centre is managed and run by the Aegis Trust and the Kigali City Council.

WILDLIFE
Besides gorillas, Rwanda has more than 700 birds species. 37 of them being endemics to Lake Victoria and Albertine Rift . There are four national parks and most of the large mammals are found here.

• The Volcanoes National Park, created in 1925, a rain forest covering 160 km2 and which is most known to host mountain gorillas
• Akagera National Park, created in 1934, a savannah Park covering 1122 km2, and harboring the big 5 for safari tourism
• Nyungwe National Park, created in 2005, a rain forest covering 1019 km2, well known to host more than 12 species of primates including chimpanzees
• Gishwati-Mukura National Park, gazetted in 2015, a rain forest covering 35.6 km2 and harboring among other species chimpanzees and golden monkeys

WATER BODIES:
Rwanda has numerous rivers and lakes, some forming the source of the River Nile: Main water bodies Lakes are:
1. Lake Kivu,
2. Lake Muhazi
3. Lake Ihema,
4. Lake Rweru
5. Lake Burera
6. Lake Ruhondo
7. Lake Mugesera
8. Lake Cyohoha South

Main Rivers are:
1. Akagera River
2. Akanyaru River
3. Nyabarongo River
4. Mukungwa River
5. Sebeya River
6. Koko River, Rutsiro District
7. Koko River, Rusizi District
8. Rubyiro River
9. Ruhwa River
10. Mbirurume river
11. Mwogo river
12. Rukarara river
13. Base river