Rwanda is rising from its tempestuous past to become one of the greatest models for conservation on the planet! Exploring this Central-East African country takes you on a unique safari journey unlike any other on the continent. Massive peaks etched by volcanic activity are painted deep green by flourishing, dense rainforest and encircled by the delicate, soft shapes of clouds. Nestled among these geologic giants are charming, peaceful Hutu and Tutsi villages,where the laughter of joyful children is carried by the breeze, echoing almost endlessly through the valley. Symmetrical hillside patchwork draws the eye to a tea farm in the distance, whereworkers tend to seedlings that emerge from rich, dark soil. In the higher elevations are protected bamboo forests, home to Rwanda’s mountain gorillas of the Virunga, a species that has
captured hearts and minds around the world.
Spending time amid the country’s people, flora, and fauna is an experience that brings insight. You come to understand that protecting Rwanda’s biodiversity and ecological treasures has an incredibly personal meaning to each and every Rwandan. Conservation and the promotion ofnature-travel demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a quality of life that will protect future generations from the genocide that is such a tragic part of the country’s history. Beyond the economic benefits, the efforts of Rwanda’s people protect one of the most important ecologicalregions on Earth. The Albertine Rift is home to Africa’s largest number of threatened and
endemic birds and mammals, including 31 mammals and 35 bird species that exist nowhere else in the world
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY
Located in the equatorial Africa, Rwanda is a land locked country at the border of the Great Rift Valley on its western Arm. The 26338km2 sized country is between the two river systems of the Nile and Congo Rivers and 1/5 of the country is covered by lakes with Lake Kivu being the major water body. Nicknamed “The Land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is mountainous with the highest point at 4507m on Mount Karisimbi which is one of the 8 Volcanoes that make the Greater Virunga chain of volcanoes and it is protected in the Volcanoes National Park north of the country.
Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the
Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. The country has a temperate climate, with two rainy
seasons (February to April, November to January).The high-altitude forests of the Virunga volcanic mountains, in northern Rwanda are home to the world’s largest number of endangered mountain gorillas. Numbering in the hundreds, the gorillas live in protected areas, free from poachers. The gorillas can be viewed in their naturalmountain habitats at a fairly close range.
Average temperatures range from 16-22 degree Celsius. The rains in Rwanda usually occur in the form of downpours or thunderstorms, but there is not much sun, in fact, the sky is often cloudy, although in the driest months, especially in June and July, the sun comes out more often. South of the Virunga Mountains, the whole western part of the country is mountainous: in the west, in the Murambi province, the highest peaks reach 2,700 meters (8,900 ft), while in the south-west, in the Nyungwe Forest National Park, they reach 2,500 meters (8,200 ft). Above2,000 meters (6,500 feet), it can get cold at night throughout the year.In mountainous areas, rainfall is more abundant, and showers can occur throughout the year.
WHEN TO VISIT
The best time to visit Rwanda runs from June to August, since it is the driest of the year. June and July are the best months, while by the second half of August, the rains usually start to get a bit more frequent.
WHAT TO PACK
In winter (June to August): bring spring/autumn clothes (light for the day), a sweater and a jacket for the evening, a sun hat, and hiking shoes. For the Virunga Mountains, bring warm clothes, such as a down jacket, a hat, and gloves. In the rest of the year: bring spring/autumn clothes (light for the day), a sweatshirt, a raincoat, hiking shoes, and a light jacket for the evening above 1,500 meters (5,000 feet). For the Virunga Mountains, bring warm clothes, such as a down jacket, a hat, and gloves.