Rwanda, located in East Africa, is regarded as the fastest growing economy and most advanced country in Africa. From gender equality to environmental conservation, this small East African nation is full of fascinating facts and surprises!
1. Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” with mountains and hills everywhere and towns and cities located at substantial elevations.
2. Rwanda is also the second smallest nation in Africa and is known to be the cleanest nation in East Africa.
3. Rwanda is listed as the ninth safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum and the 11th safest country in the world by a 2017 Gallup poll. It is incredibly safe and easy to visit.
4. Rwanda is a highly mountainous country. Kasirimbi Volcano is the highest point which is 4,519 m high and is found in the Virunga Mountains. The capital city, Kigali, is established on a mountainous region.
5. Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, has been voted as the cleanest and one of the most organized cities in Africa. In 2017, The United Nations nominated Kigali as the most beautiful city in Africa.
6. Not only that, it’s the first ever country to ban plastic entirely in 2008. Literally, no plastic bag is allowed to enter Rwanda. Even at the airport, you give up your plastic bags, and they give you biodegradable or reusable paper bag.
7. Rwanda is only one of three countries in Africa where you can visit Mountain Gorillas in the Wild. Gorilla tourism is a major activity that earns Rwanda millions of dollars. It is quite captivating to watch Gorillas in their natural habit – their proud movement, their game, their domineering voice, among others. The good thing is that they are not caged but free.
8. Also, it has the greatest number of women in the parliament in the world. 64% of the members of the Rwandan parliament in both chambers are women. Regulations mandates that at least 30% of all government institutions have to be women. No wonder why the country is doing well!
9. The last Saturday of every month is dedicated to community service. It’s called “Umuganda”in the local language, which means “working together”. The last Saturday of the month, each community delegates a place to meet up and do something positive to the community. Usually, activities involve cleaning up, planting out trees, building a house for the poor, or something of that nature. The idea is to work together for the betterment of the community and the Rwandan society at large.
10. Adding to that, in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, there are various car-free zones where pedestrians and cyclists can roam freely. Rwanda also implements a car-free day each month in which the government encourages residents to exercise and focus on healthy living.
11. You are not allowed to wear flip-flop sandals while walking in public places in Rwanda. Being open, this is considered unhygienic, as flip-flops do not cover the vulnerable parts of your feet. It is also thought that flip-flops easily pick up and spread germ-infested dirt onto other people’s feet, especially if they are behind you. The grand policy is – hygiene first. I am in love with this country already!
How to reach?
The international air terminus in Rwanda is the Gregoire Kayibanda Airport in the capital city of Kigali. There are a number of direct and connecting flights from the major cities of Rwanda to India. Delta, EgyptAir, Auric Air, Qatar Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Air France and Coastal Travel Limited all fly direct to Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park: The best thing to do in Rwanda is to go for gorilla trekking at Volcanoes National Park. Sharing a border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this national park in Rwanda is home to a growing number of critically endangered mountain gorillas. Besides the mountain gorilla, other attractions include over 75 species of mammals like Elephants, Buffaloes, and Giant forest Hogs, Bushbucks and spotted hyenas among others. The park is also a home of over 180 species of birds.
Rwandan Lakes: Several lakes exist in Rwanda and tourists can enjoy the scenic and serene views of these marvellous Lakes. They include Lake Kivu which is the largest fresh water lake. The twin lakes of Rwanda (Lake Ruhondo and Burera) are worth visiting too. Then there’s Lake Muhazi which is another favourable option in Rwanda. There are Jambo and Rwesero beaches at this Lake.
Akagera National Park: Akagera is among the top national parks in the country, and the only one that is a safari paradise! The 1,140-square-kilometer expanse (one of Central Africa’s largest protected wetlands) now boasts all of the Big Five animals, along with an abundance of birds and antelope. With more than 30 species of birds recorded in this Lake, it offers an interesting bird watching time to tourists as well.