Rwanda is a small mountainous
country in central Africa and is bordered to the north by Uganda,
to the East by Tanzania, to the south by Burundi and to the west
by the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country is divided by great
peaks of up to 3000m (9842ft), which run across from north to south.
Rwanda has good climate, vegetation, and it is no wonder that Rwanda
is commonly referred to as ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’.
Rwanda’s tourism sector has rich and beautiful attractions.
Among these are the Akagera and Nyungwe National parks, forests,
various flora and fauna, and the famous Silverback Mountain Gorillas
found in the Parc Nationale des Volcans or the Volcano National
The Virunga volcanoes, which
are home to the world’s most endangered and famed Mountain
Gorillas, rises steeply from Lake Kivu in the west, sloping down
first to a hilly central plateau and further eastwards to an area
of marshy lakes around the upper reaches of the Akagera River, the
most remote source of the Nile, where the Akagera National Park
is situated. Dominated scenically by the labyrinth of swamps and
lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, this
is archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland
interspersed with open grassland.
Extending for 1,000 square kilometres across the majestic hills
of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block
of montane forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most
ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age. Nyungwe is most
alluring for its primates, home to 13 species in all, including
humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well
as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and harbours almost
300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful
of montane forests on the Albertine Rift.
The Parc des Volcans protects the steep slopes of this magnificent
mountain range - home of the rare Mountain Gorilla - and the rich
mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo
forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.
The bustling market town of Ruhengeri has a memorable setting at
the base of the Virungas. On the outskirts of town, the natural
bridge at Musanze - a solidified lava flow - is a fascinating relic
of the volcanic activity that shaped this scenic area. Also within
easy day tripping distance of Ruhengeri, are the seldom visited
but lovely Lakes - Burera, Ruhondo and Karago. Ruhengeri offers
a good selection of reasonably-priced small hotels and guest houses,
including the newly renovated hotel, Gorilla's Nest. Visitors could
also base themselves in Gisenyi or Kigali and - with an early start
- head to the Parc des Volcans and Ruhengeri as a day trip.