The beauty of Rwanda

A visit to Rwanda is an excellent introduction to the entire African continent – particularly because of the country’s very pleasant climate, the high levels of security and stability, the general friendliness of the people, and the ease of getting around and reaching all major attractions within a few hours. But beyond being a part of Africa, Rwanda is a small microcosm of its own . Due to its remoteness and hilly terrain, it was one of the last places to come in contact with the rest of the world. Rwandans are patriotic, proud and keeping to themselves which is why a very distinct culture was able to thrive. The current government’s strong embrace of globalization and ‘modern’ values has led to a fascinating mix of old and new, of traditions and change

Physical geography:
Rwanda is a small and landlocked country on the border of East and Central Africa with a surface of 26,338km2. It lies about 120km south of the Equator, 1,200km west of the Indian Ocean and 2,000km east of the Atlantic Ocean. The neighbors include the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, Tanzania to the east, Uganda to the north and Burundi to the south. Despite the proximity to the Equator, Rwanda enjoys a rather mild climate with an average annual temperature of around 24°C and regular rainfall with two main rainy seasons from the middle of of September to December and from the end of January to May. This is mainly due to the country's high altitude, ranging from 1,000m to 4,507m. Rwanda is literally the Land of a Thousand Hills, owing to its position on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift Valley, part of the watershed of the Nile and Congo rivers.


Five distinct periods characterize the history of Rwanda.They include the pre-colonial times until the late 19th century, the colonial times until 1962, the time of independence and continued tensions between the two main social groups, the genocide of 1994, and the post-genocide phase.

In pre-colonial times, the Rwandan society was organized as a kingdom and included three socio-economic groups - the cattle-raising Tutsi, the farming Hutu and the hunter-gathering Twa. Despite being the minority, the Tutsi traditionally assumed power under a feudal system. During colonial times, the kingdom came under the rule of Germany and, later, Belgium. Both colonial powers decided to accept, use and even further enforce this hierarchical system. Tensions started to grow and, by the time of independence in 1962, the majority Hutu overpowered the monarchy and formed Rwanda's first government. It followed a period of almost permanent instability with frequent clashes between Hutus and Tutsis, and several major incidents, including an open civil war that started in 1990. The tragic culmination point was the 'most effective genocide in world history' in 1994. The post-genocide developments are nothing short of a 'miracle'. Today, Rwanda is one of the safest and most stable countries in Africa. Moreover, the government has set an impressive course towards sustainable economic development and poverty reduction.


As Rwanda remained largely isolated from the rest of the world until late in the    19th century, the country and its population were able to develop a very diverse and dynamic culture. While globalization is starting to have a big impact on the 'modern' Rwandan society, old local customs and traditions are now blending with influences from the 'West' as well as the 'East'. They form an interesting mix and become every visitor's desire to explore and unde

Moving along the lines of history offers a first approach to Rwandan culture. Despite the recent war and destruction, a number of cultural heritage sites have been preserved. Visitors can explore them on a challenging trip through '5 Centuries of East African Civilization'. Highlights include the National Museum, old King's palaces, grand buildings and tea estates from colonial times, or the remnants of the country's civil war and the genocide in the early 1990s.

While cultural heritage sites might be the main point of interest for many, it is usually the 'ordinary' images of the contemporary 'living' culture that leave the biggest impression. A must for most visitors is a performance of the elegant Intore dancers as well as an experience with widely praised handicraft producers that use a number of diverse materials such as banana leaves, sisal, wood, leaves, sisal, wood, clay and even cow dung. But apart from that, any visit to a village, any personal interaction with a local person, any meaningful cultural exchange will create the images and stories of a unique friendly people and their beautiful country.


Rwanda tops region in tax compliance

The report ranked Rwanda 25th out of 185 countries surveyed globally. It is followed by Uganda at position 93, Tanzania was ranked 133rd, Burundi at 137 and Kenya trailed at position 164. 

The report noted that Rwanda is the easiest country to pay taxes in the region with just 17 payments annually followed by Burundi, 25, with Uganda businesses having to make 31 payments, Kenya 41 and Tanzania makes it harder for taxpayers with 48 payments. 

Ahantu nyaburanga hasurwa hakoreshejwe ikarita imwe “East African Tourist VISA”

Mu rwego rwo guhuza ubukerarugendo mu Rwanda, Uganda na Kenya, hakoreshejwe ikarita imwe “East African tourist Visa” ; ba mukerarugendo bazajya basura ibyiza nyaburanga byo muri ibyo bihugu uko ari bitatu bishyuye rimwe gusa.

‘Smart Kigali’ brings free internet to city.

Residents of the City of Kigali will now have access to free wireless internet in specific areas under what has been dubbed the ‘Smart Kigali’ initiative that was launched on Friday.
Umuryango w’Abibumbye (UN) wambitse imidari y’ishimwe abasirikare b’u Rwanda bakorera muri Batayo ya 67, bakorera ahitwa Kabkabiya, ni mu majyaruguru ya Darfur mu gihugu cya Sudani. read more...

RWANDA is a country of Land of thousand hills

Capital: Kigali

Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English and French

President: Paul Kagame

Prime Minister: Pierre Damien Habumuremyi

Independence: From Belgium in July 1, 1962

Land Area: 26,338 square Kilometers.

Population: Approximately 12 million

Density: 401.4/km2

Currency: Rwanda Francs (RWF)

Timezone: CAT (UTC +2)

Driving hand: Right

ISO 3166 code: RW

Internet TLD: .rw

Calling code: +250

Rainfall: Rainy seasons: March - May and October - November(Average of 110-200 mm. per month).

Average Temperature: 24.6 - 27.6ºc. Hottest months: August, September.

Altitude: Ranges from 1000-4500m above sea level.

Vegetation: Equatorial forest in the north-west and Tropical savannah in the east.

Borders: North:Uganda, East:Tanzania, South: Burundi, West: Democratic Republic of Congo.



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Africa gets into your heart and calls you back again and again. On our second trip to Africa we visited Rwanda to volunteer at a local preschool and, of course, to see the famous mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans.
The view from Virunga Lodge where we stayed is stunning. It sits on a hilltop overlooking Lake Bulera, Lake Ruhondo and several of the magnificent volcanoes that make up the park. But nothing compares to your first glimpse of a mountain gorilla. It is hard to describe, but was literally breathtaking. We were so much closer than I ever imagined we could be. At one point we had to step back to let a gorilla get past us. What a treasure to be in the midst of such magnificent creatures while they just go on about their business of eating, stretching, playing, etc. - even the giant silverbacks. It was an incredible experience. Our second day of trekking offered even more spectacular gorilla viewing. Among the highlights were four silverbacks and a three-week old baby gorilla. You would think it would be frightening being surrounded by a dozen or more gorillas, but they are so gentle. And the team that leads you to this experience is an amazing group of people. From the actual gorilla trackers to the Park Rangers that guide you, everyone works together to make sure you have an unforgettable experience.

As spectacular as viewing the gorillas was, the people of Rwanda were truly a highlight; friendly, warm and welcoming. You will notice when you arrive in Ruhengeri, and even when driving back and forth to the Park for trekking, children run out to the road and yell "Hello" or "Good Morning" as you drive by. It seems to be the highlight of their day. Even many of the adults walking down the streets will smile, wave and say "Hello." It's amazing how attached you can get to people in such a short time.

While in Kigali, we visited two genocide memorials: the Kigali Memorial Center and the Ntarama Church. The Kigali Memorial Center is the site chosen for mass burial of 250,000 victims of genocide in Kigali; it is their final resting place and a memorial to all those who were murdered during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Memorial Center is comprised of three permanent exhibitions: Documentation of the genocide, a children’s memorial, and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. Outside the building are the mass graves and a beautiful memorial garden designed as a place for personal reflection. The memorial is very well done – artistic, dignified and respectful - but, brutally honest. The Ntarama Church is about an hour’s drive from Kigali and is located in a beautiful rural countryside that belies the horrific tragedy that occurred there. To be honest, it was a very emotional experience; but, we felt a personal responsibility to visit the memorials to acknowledge the truth and to honor the memory of those who experienced the horrors.
One thing that somewhat tempers such an emotional visit is observing firsthand the power of forgiveness and the triumph of the human spirit in overcoming such tragedy. Our experience was that Rwandans have a deep commitment to forgiveness, to reconciliation and to becoming ‘one people’ once again. We sensed in them a strong determination to prevail over this tragedy and to build a future where genocide will never again be possible. I’ll close with a quote that speaks to their amazing magnanimity. 
“There will be no humanity without forgiveness, there will be no forgiveness without justice, but justice will be impossible without humanity.” Yolande Mukagasana, a survivor. This quote speaks volumes of the character of the Rwandan people. When you visit, I think you will find that you are not just another tourist, but a welcome guest and friend. 
by Patrick and Georgiann Gibson, Boise, Idaho, USA
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