The Republic of Rwanda is a small, land-locked, mountainous country, the watershed between two of the largest river systems in Africa – the Nile and the Congo. The high elevation means the climate is temperate, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year, allowing for an agricultural production that is the country’s main economic resource. Often referred to as “Pays des Milles Collines” – country of a thousand hills – Rwanda is a far cry from the common conception of the arid and flat drylands of Africa.
Rwanda is a country in the ascendancy and is now enjoying political and social stability, after brutally turbulent times in the 1980s. Kigali’s Genocide Museum, a memorial to the 800,000 people that were murdered in the infamous one hundred days, permanently reminds the world of the devastating effect of division, tribal conflict and hatred.
It is the most densely populated country on the Continent and the Rwandese are famed for their love of music and dance, especially in a festival or ceremonial context. To witness one of these performances is to really feel the beating pulse of Africa.
Nyungwe National Park in the west, boasts 13 species of primates and 280 recorded species of bird life, making it one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in Africa. It is, however, the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas made famous by the work of Dian Fossey and George Schaller and depicted in the movie Gorillas In The Mist that are the main tourist attraction. These majestic and benevolent creatures are found in the forests flanking the slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the northwest of the country. Simply sharing the company of the mountain gorilla is a profoundly moving and thought-provoking experience that ranks on most bucket lists.