Top 10 things to do in Rwanda

Rwanda

Gorillas in the mist.

Rwanda is a country.

Rwanda (/ruːˈɑːndə/ or /ruːˈændə/), officially the Republic of Rwanda (Kinyarwanda: Repubulika y'u Rwanda; French: République du Rwanda), is a sovereign state in central and east Africa. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate of the country is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are composed of three ethnic groups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes, while others view them as being ethnicities or tribes. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with French and English serving as official languages. Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda has the world's highest proportion of females in government positions in proportion to the population.

Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed later by Bantu peoples. The population coalesced first into clans and then into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power, and later enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and ultimately established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory.

Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, but has since strengthened. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, and visitors are prepared to pay high prices for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture, particularly drums and the highly choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art.

Overall rating: 4.7
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Rwanda

Butare

Butare
locality

Gitarama

Gitarama
Gitarama is a city in Rwanda, in the Muhanga District, in Southern Province—at the coordinates 2° 4' 48.00"S, 29° 45' 0.00"E . The city is 5,945 feet , above sea ...

Cyangugu

Cyangugu
Cyangugu is a city and capital of the Ruzizi District in Western Province, Rwanda. The city lies at the southern end of Lake Kivu, and is contiguous with Bukavu, Democratic ...

Gisenyi

Gisenyi
Gisenyi is a city in Rubavu district in the Western Province of Rwanda. Gisenyi is contiguous with Goma, the city across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ...

Kibungo

Kibungo
Kibungo is a town in the Republic of Rwanda. It is the political, administrative and commercial capital of Ngoma District.LocationKibungo is located in Ngoma District, Eastern Province. ...

Ruhengeri

Ruhengeri
Ruhengeri is a city and capital of Musanze District in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Some sources now refer to the city itself as Musanze, after the district in which ...

Kibuye

Kibuye
Kibuye is a city in Karongi district, and the capital of Western Province in Rwanda. The city lies on the eastern shore of Lake Kivu, about halfway down, and between ...

Kigali

Kigali
Kigali, with population of more than 1 million, is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is situated near the geographic centre of the nation. ...