Overview

Gorillas in Rwanda at the Volcanoes National Park
Gorillas in Rwanda at the Volcanoes National Park © Derek Keats

Popularly known as the 'Land of a Thousand Hills' (Pays de Mille Collines), Rwanda is a small, lush central African country of misty hills dotted with tea plantations, rugged peaks and towering volcanoes. Despite being landlocked, Rwanda has several 'beaches' along Lake Kivu to the west, one of Africa's largest bodies of water.

Sadly, this beautiful country is best known for the horrific genocide of 1994, when nearly one million Rwandans were slaughtered in the space of about three months. This massacre was the result of long-standing ethnic tension between the minority Tutsis and the Hutus.

Fortunately, Rwanda has recovered wonderfully from its tragic past, and is now a peaceful, unspoilt holiday destination that is rich in culture and wildlife, boasting fine food and some of the friendliest people in Africa. The world is finally catching on to the allure of this African gem and tourism is on the rise.

The rapidly growing city of Kigali, situated at Rwanda's geographical heart, is not only the capital but also the country's most important business centre and the main point of entry. While it is not a tourist hot spot, it contains some first-rate sites and is worth a quick exploration for travellers arriving from overseas.

However, the country's real appeal lies outside the city, in the magnificent national parks. The most popular activity for tourists in Rwanda is gorilla trekking. Meeting these gentle giants in their natural habitat is widely acknowledged as one of the most profound and thrilling wildlife experiences in the world.

A picturesque country with an incredible people and interesting history, Rwanda will captivate its visitors and spark a passion for African travel.