RWANDA a small landlocked country covering an area of 10,169 sq. miles which is a 1/3 the size of Belgium. It lies south of the Equator in the heart of Africa, being bordered by Uganda in the north and north east, Tanzania in the east, Burundi in the south and democratic republic of Congo in the west. The entire country is at a high altitude the lowest point is the Rusizi River at 950m (3,117 ft) above sea level. The country is known for its breathtaking scenery Rwanda is often referred to as le des mille collines (French to mean Land of a thousand hills) and known as the Switzerland of Africa due to the hills. Much as the country is small, the country is very beautiful and endowed with fascinating attractions, which makes the country a paradise on earth.Its capital is Kigali located in the Centre of the country on the Ruganwa River.
In prehistoric time’s montane forest occupied 1/3 of the territory of present day Rwanda. Naturally occurring vegetation is now mostly restricted to 3 national parks with terraced agriculture dominating the rest of the country. Nyungwe the largest contains 200 species of 3 as well as orchids and begonias. Vegetation in the volcanoes national park is mostly bamboo and moorland with small areas of forest. Akagera has savanna ecosystem in which acacia dominates the flora. The greatest diversity of large mammals is found in the 3 national parks which are designated conservation areas. Akagera contains typical savanna animals such as giraffes and elephants, while volcanoes is home to Mountain gorillas. Nyungwe Forest boasts 13 primate species including common Chimpanzees and Ruwenzori Colobus arboreal monkeys; the Ruwenzori colobus move in groups of up to 400 individuals, the largest troop size of any primate in Africa.
Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries because of its high elevation. Kigali in the centre of the country has a typical daily temperature range between 12 and 27 degrees Celsius with little variation through the year. There are 2 rainy seasons in the year the first runs from February to June and the second from September to December these are separated by 2 dry seasons the major one from June – September, during which there is often no rain at all and the shorter and less severe one from December to February. Rainfall varies geographically with the west and northwest of the country receiving more precipitation annually than the east and southeast.
Flights & Getting Around
Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport: A short drive from Kigali, Rwanda’s point of entry is served by a direct flight from Brussels otherwise you’ll be flying in from Entebbe, Nairobi, Lusaka or Johannesburg.
It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from Kigali to the gorilla trekking destination of the Volcanoes National Park. Transfers in Rwanda are usually conducted in 4X4 vehicles but you can also take a helicopter flight from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Because Rwanda is a small country, the maximum driving distance between major points of interest is about four to five hours long. In Kigali, one of the most efficient and fun ways of getting around is on the back of a local scooter – it’s a great way to get an authentic taste of the city.
Visa & Passport Requirements
A passport valid for at least six months is required by all visitors to Rwanda. Visas are required by everyone except citizens of the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, Kenya and South Africa.
Multiple-entry tourist visas can be purchased from your nearest Rwandan embassy or consulate. Visas are valid for three months and can usually be extended in Kigali on a month-by-month payment basis.
A gorilla-trekking permit is essential. It is important to note that children under 15 are not permitted on gorilla treks.
The Top Highlights
Top places you must visit in Rwanda include the following;