Rwanda is a landlocked country found in East Africa. Its capital city is Kigali. It is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Uganda and Burundi. It was formerly called Ruanda. It sits in the Great Rift Valley region where the African great lakes of East Africa. The country temperature is sub-tropical with two main rainy seasons and two dry seasons. It is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east with very many lakes running through the country. Rwanda has a population of over 12 million making it the densely populated mainland African country.
Rwanda is mostly occupied by one cultural and Linguistic group called the Banyarwanda. The Banyarwanda are also divided into the Hutu, Twa and Tusti. The Twa are the forest residents’ pygmy people. Christianity is the main religion in the country. They speak the Kinyarwanda language with French and English as additional languages.
The country was also affected by the memorable Rwanda genocide of 1994.
Tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda has a fast growing tourism sector; it has increased the country’s foreign income drastically. Rwanda is blessed with a variety of national parks, they include;
Volcanoes national park
It sits Northwest of Rwanda; it is one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist destinations. Volcanoes national park was re-opened in 1999, since then, it has become one of the world’s famous mountain gorilla sanctuary. It has almost over 700 species left now; it gives the visitors a close sighting of the mountain gorillas than anywhere in the world. Volcanoes national park is also known for its spectacular scenery and diverse vegetation. It is also part of the Virunga conservation area which covers more than 125sqkms, including five extinct volcanoes: Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Karisimbi and Bisoke, they can be climbed during one or two days trek. Tourists climb through the abundant bamboo and rainforests, with the open swamp and grassland of volcanoes national park to see golden monkeys, buffalos, and bush duiker, spotted hyenas, over 178 bird species recorded. The peak of the volcanoes is spotted right through the dense forest canopy.
Akagera National park
It is a protected area that lies along the Tanzanian boarder. It is sited in Eastern Rwanda. Akagera covers 433sqmi,it was founded in 1934. Akagera is occupied with Savanna, montane and swamp habitats. Akagera national park was named after the Kagera River which floors along the eastern boundary. It is the largest protected wetland in East-Central Africa occupied with a complex system of lakes and papyrus swamps.
Akagera national park was once having the largest number of African wild dogs. Today you will view the buffalo, Zebras, lions, impala, black the black rhino, leopards, hippo, the masaai giraffe and the hyenas.
The best time to visit Akagera national park is June to September.
Nyungwe Forest National park
Nyungwe Forest national park is located in the southern part of Rwanda close to the Congo boarder. It is 1,015sqkms of land filled with over 85 mammals, 310 bird, 1050 plant, and 120 butterfly species and over 38 reptiles. The Nyungwe forest national park has enough activities to do, they include; the canopy walk through the montane rainforest, it takes 2 hours to cover the 200metres long trail which is over 50 meters above the forest cover. Children below the age of 6 years are prohibitive from the hike.
Chimpanzee trekking is another activity to do at Nyungwe forest national Game Park. The park is a home to over 25% of Africa’s total primate species. The Chimpanzee population is second to Uganda’s Kibale National Park. There is always a guide to take you through the long treks along the trails, the treks are not always smooth. The chimpanzees are sighted swinging on the tree branches, mother chimps cuddling their babies.
The trekking experience starts always at 8am in the morning, through the rain forests, the group of at least 8 members walk through the slippery trails. The use of binoculars is advised because the chimp can sometimes be sighted afar away.
The Nyungwe Forest bird walk is another activity to do at the game park. It being among the top birding spots in Rwanda, it is a home to over 310 bird species. There are the rare birds to watch like the Great blue turaco, the red throated Alethe, the paradise flycatcher and the forest hornbill. Ther other birds like Ross’s turaco, Red-Breasted sparrow, woodland warbler, the Ruwenzori bartis. With a number of trails in the parks, the chances of viewing many birds are high.
Colobus monkeys are common in the forest too; they can be trekked at the Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe national park has 13 primate species where half of these are monkeys. Most of the monkeys are so common to the region and among these is the Ruwenzori colobus monkey. There also the grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys, Owl faced monkeys, blue monkeys and the mona monkeys.
Giswati Mukura National Park
Located in the western part of Rwanda, the national park is made up of Giswati Mukura with two separate forests, the larger Giswati and small Mukura, this forming a total of 34sqkms. It is a home to a group of 20 chimpanzees, golden monkeys, Lhotse’s, Blue Monkeys. There are 232 bird species at Giswati and also 163 bird species at Mukura