Rwanda, landlocked republic lying south of the Equator in east-central Africa. Known for its breathtaking scenery, Rwanda is often referred to as le pays des mille collines (French: “land of a thousand hills”). The capital is Kigali, located in the center of the country on the Ruganwa River.
Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda’s stunning scenery and warm, friendly people offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world.
Joined EAC: July 2007
Population: 12.1 million
GDP: US$ 9.51 Billion
Official language: Kinyarwanda, English, French
Timezone: GMT + 2hr
Currency: Rwandan Franc (Rwfr)
Area: 26,338 sq. km
Capital city: Kigali
Population density (per sq. km): 434
The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country with land borders with four countries: Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (clockwise from the north). Water covers 1,390 sq. km of the country; the largest lakes include Bulera, Ihema, Kivu (straddling the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo), Mugesera and Muhazi, and there are many rivers.
Kinyarwanda, English and French are the official languages, and Kiswahili is widely spoken.
Country code 250 (no area codes); internet domain ‘.rw’.
New Year’s Day, Heroes’ Day (1 February), Tutsi Genocide Memorial Day (7 April), Labour Day (1 May), Independence Day (1 July), Liberation Day (4 July), Assumption (15 August), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday and Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan, two days).
There are 14,000 km of roads, 19% paved.
There is no railway.
The main international airport is Kigali International Airport in Kigali.
Rwanda is a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, African Union, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, The Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, United Nations and World Trade Organization.
The terrain is rugged with steep hills and deep valleys, rising in the north to the highest peak, Karisimbi (4,519 metres), which lies in a range of volcanoes. The country is popularly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’.
Though the country is close to the Equator, the climate is tempered by altitude; it is hot and humid in the valleys, and drier and cooler in the higher elevations. The rainy seasons are March-May and October-November; the hottest season being August-September.
The most significant environmental issues are drought, limiting the potential for agriculture; overgrazing; soil erosion and degradation; and deforestation due to almost universal use of wood as a fuel.
Thick equatorial rainforest is found in the north and west of the country – forest covering some 18% of the total land area – and savannah in the east. Forest cover has increased at 1.6% p.a. 1990-2010. Arable land comprises 49% and permanent cropland 10% of the total land area.
National parks and game reserves cover some 8% of the country and include the Volcanoes National Park (famous for its mountain gorillas) and Akagera National Park (elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and zebras).