Located a few degrees south of the equator, Rwanda sits on the corridor between Central and Eastern Africa and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda is commonly referred to as the ‘land of a thousand hills’, an appropriate name for this small country with its stunning scenery of rolling verdant hills, picturesque mountains and some of Africa’s best inland beaches that are concealed by the shores of Lake Kivu. Most of Rwanda is at high elevation and there are a number of vast wetland systems made up of lakes, rivers and papyrus swamps, which tempers the weather, making Rwanda a pleasant place to explore all year round.
Rwanda’s capital, Kigali is a model African city with its green hillsides, winding boulevards and pristine streets. On landing at Kigali International airport located only 2kms from the city center, travellers feel the difference that sets Kigali apart as one of Africa’s most attractive – and cleanest – cities. The mention of Rwanda still evokes memories of the horrific genocide of 1994 that resulted in the deaths of one million people, but the country has steered down a very successful path of reconciliation and rebuilding that is slowly washing away the painful stain. Although Kigali bore the brunt of the genocide, it has since recovered remarkably and is now one of the safest and fastest developing cities on the continent. A shining example of this is the recently constructed Kigali Convention Centre that sits 2,500 for meetings, conferences and exhibitions, as well as shopping malls and arcades also located in the complex.
While mountain gorilla trekking in the misty Virunga Mountains and chimpanzee trekking in the ancient Nyungwe Forest are the highlights of trips to Rwanda, the rich and singular cultural heritage of this small country is an experience not to be missed, particularly the highly choreographed Intore dance that is performed in communities across the country.