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Rwanda is a small, landlocked country located south of the equator in east-central Africa. With an area of 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles), it is almost as large as the state of Maryland.
Brief history of Rwanda.
In 1994, Rwanda's civil war dominated the world's headlines. This became known as 'Rwanda's genocide'; hundreds of thousands of people where killed.

Overview

overview

Rwanda is a small, landlocked country located south of the equator in east-central Africa. With an area of 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles), it is almost as large as the state of Maryland.

Brief history of Rwanda.
In 1994, Rwanda's civil war dominated the world's headlines. This became known as 'Rwanda's genocide'; hundreds of thousands of people where killed. It is still what most people will think about when they hear the word 'Rwanda'. Now, 17 years later, the country is once again peaceful. Rwanda's democratic government promotes harmony, and the Rwandese are enjoying a good life again. Many are eager to tell of their past, to let the world know what happened – and to protect their country against it ever happening again.

The Genocide

On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Habyarimana and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over Kigali, leaving no survivors. Within an hour of the plane crash, the Presidential Guard together with members of the Rwandan armed forces and Hutu militia groups known as the Interahamwe (“Those Who Attack Together”) and Impuzamugambi (“Those Who Have the Same Goal”) set up roadblocks and barricades and began slaughtering Tutsis and moderate Hutus with impunity. Among the first victims of the genocide were the moderate Hutu Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and her 10 Belgian bodyguards, killed on April 7. This violence created a political vacuum, into which an interim government of extremist Hutu Power leaders from the military high command stepped on April 9.

The mass killings in Rwanda quickly spread from Kigali to the rest of the country, with some 800,000 people slaughtered over the next three months. During this period, local officials and government-sponsored radio stations called on ordinary Rwandan civilians to murder their neighbors. Meanwhile, the RPF resumed fighting, and civil war raged alongside the genocide.

By early July, RPF forces had gained control over most of country, including Kigali. In response, more than 2 million people, nearly all Hutus, fled Rwanda, crowding into refugee camps in the Congo (then called Zaire) and other neighboring countries. After its victory, the RPF established a coalition government similar to that agreed upon at Arusha, with Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, as president and Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, as vice president and defense minister. Habyarimana’s NRMD party, which had played a key role in organizing the genocide, was outlawed, and a new constitution adopted in 2003 eliminated reference to ethnicity. The new constitution was followed by Kagame’s election to a 10-year term as Rwanda’s president and the country’s first-ever legislative elections.

Time in Rwanda

 There is no time difference between winter and summer months in Rwanda; it's always two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Currency in Rwanda

 Rwanda's currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF).

Rwanda's International Dialling Code

Rwanda's International Dialling Code is +250. Calling from Rwanda, you need to dial 0044 for the UK, or 001 for the United States, followed by an area code and local number. Calls can be made with Rwandatel S.A., Rwanda's largest company for telecommunications.

Food in Rwanda

The food in Rwanda varies from mediocre to good. Fresh fruit and the Belgian-inspired cuisine are usually good; otherwise, whilst hygiene standards are generally high, results can be variable. The diet for most local Rwandese people consists mainly of sweet potatoes, peas, corn, beans, millet and fresh fruit, including avocados, mangos and papayas. Umutsima (cassava and corn), isombe (cassava leaves with eggplant and spinach) and mizuzu (fried plantains) are some of Rwanda's traditional dishes. Drinks include local beer and ikigage, a locally brewed beer made from sorghum.

Travelling in Rwanda

With your own 4WD vehicle and driver, travelling in Rwanda is fairly easy. Although major arterial routes are tarred, roads in the more rural areas are not and can be in poor condition.

Health in Rwanda

There are medical facilities of Western standards in Kigali; elsewhere facilities are rudimentary. It is generally wise to you are be up-to-date on vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, polio and diphtheria. Many travellers also have the Havrix vaccine to guard against infection by hepatitis A and a yellow fever certificate is usually required for entry into Rwanda. Malaria is widespread throughout lowland Rwanda, so malaria precautions are generally essential. That said, it's vital that you always check the latest recommendations with your own doctor or travel clinic before you travel.

Language in Rwanda

The main language spoken in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language, also known as 'Rwanda' or 'Ruanda'). French is widespread and English is also spoken by many people who are in contact with visitors.

Climate in rwanda.

High altitudes keep the climate moderate in much of Rwanda despite its proximity to the equator. In addition, trade winds from the Indian Ocean moderate the temperatures on the Central Plateau, where the annual average is 21°C (70°F). Temperatures in the mountains of the northwest are lower, especially at night, yet they average near 32°C (90°F) in parts of the eastern lowlands. Average annual rainfall can range from as little as 76 centimeters (30 inches) in the eastern lowlands to 179 centimeters (70 inches) in the mountains. The yearly average rainfall on the Central Plateau is about 114 centimeters (45 inches).

Inland lakes

Rwanda has many lakes. The largest, Lake Kivu, is located in the midst of the volcanic peaks in the Virunga Mountains and forms part of the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lake has a surface area of 2,665 square kilometers (1,025 square miles) and reaches a maximum depth of 475 meters (1,558 feet). Lake Cohoha and Lake Rugwero lie in Rwanda's southeast, partly extending into Burundi. There are also eight sizable lakes that lie entirely within Rwanda: Lakes Rwehikama, Ihema, Muhazi, Mugesera, Hago, and Rwanye in the east, and Lakes Ruhondo and Burera in the north.

Rivers and waterfalls

.Most of Rwanda's rivers are in the eastern part of the country. The Kagera River in the east forms the boundary with Tanzania and part of the boundary with Burundi. With a total length of 692 kilometers (430 miles), the Kagera is the longest river in Rwanda. The Nyabarongo River and its tributaries drain much of the Central Plateau. In the west, the Ruzizi flows southward from Lake Kivu along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, into Burundi, and on to Lake Tanganyika. In the south, the Luhwa and Akanyaru Rivers form parts of the boundary with Burundi.

Rolling and flat terrain.

Much of the countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over the rolling hills that cover much of the Central Plateau; this terrain has given Rwanda the nickname "Land of a Thousand Hills."