Rwanda


Rwanda is a land locked country,
south-west of Uganda.

Rwanda is also referred to as the land of a thousand
hills. Rwanda has five volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers. Her mountainous
topography is a product of her position on the eastern rim of Albertine rift
valley, part of the Great Rift Valley which cuts through Africa from the red
sea to Mozambique.

rwanda

Rwanda has three main conservation areas: the Volcanoes Park, Akagera National
Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. Each of these protects a very unique
ecosystem and combination of mammals.

Rwanda is a wonderful destination for bird watchers with an incredible 670
species recorded in an area which is smaller than Belgium and has less than a
half the land surface of Scotland.

Rwanda can be visited at any time of the year. The long dry season June –
September is the best time for tracking gorillas and hiking in Nyungwe since
the ground should be dry under foot, and the odds of being drenched are
minimal.

With the highest population density in Africa, Rwanda as a former French colony
has three spoken languages including Kinyarwanda, French and English and
Christianity and Islam as the dominant religions not withstanding animist communities’
therein. After independence, Rwanda established an office of tourism and
national parks (ORTNP) to ensure the promotion of a sustainable tourism and
conservation of wildlife.

Tourism
and Major Attractions in Rwanda

Genocide memorials: On the south of
Kigali, you would find two major tourist attractions you could make within one
day. Roughly 30 Km off Kigali there is a church that once was a scene of a
horrific massacre. There is nothing left inside the church; it is now cleared
and empty except for some blood stains you would observe on the walls which are
constant reminders of the brutality. In the yard there is a horrific
underground chamber dug in with the skulls of hundreds of people who were
killed in the massacre.

This Ntarama church is about 20 Km
away from Kigali and about 5 Km along the right hand fork branching from the
Nyamata road and it is left just as it was cold and empty as it was since the
bodies were removed. There are pieces of cloth and personal things lying so
still on the floor. This is yet another place where people sought safety and
hope and yet fate betrayed them and they got slaughtered.

Kabgayi
Church Museum

The oldest church in the city of
Kabgayi lies on the Butare road, 3 Km from Gitarama and it is dated as far back
as 1925. By 1906, missionary service was already initiated in Kabgayi and it
became the Catholic bishop’s first seat. From the inside the cathedral, one
would feel the massiveness and the tranquillity and it’s certainly a place most
visit-worthy. There is a tiny museum close by.

Nyungwe
Forest

In Nyungwe you find the single
biggest and the remaining track of montane forest in Central and East Africa.
The primeval feeling would start enticing you even before you enter the forest.
This forest is an amazingly diverse hotspot of biodiversity and there many
different species of animals including 275 bird, 75 mammal and 120 butterfly
species. There are also about 100 orchid varieties. Chimp tracking is possible
at a really small expense.

There are also monkeys like the Acrobatic Rwenzori Colobus which can be found
in strong troops up to 400 in number and these are really gorgeous and very
much localized and hoest’s monkeys.

The
Gorilla Tours Rwanda and the birds

Interestingly, the three countries
of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo commonly have a share of
the rare mountain Gorillas whose main sanctuary is the Virunga. The Virunga
conservation area on the upper slopes of the Virunga
volcanoes forms three neighbouring parks namely: Parc national Des Volcans in
Rwanda, Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Parc des virunga in Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC). Going into some more details about the Gorilla Tours Rwanda,
you would be surprised to know that there are over 300 mountain gorillas (half
of the world’s populations live in this region. Over 180 bird species have been
recorded in these parks including handsome francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori
batis, starnge weaver, dusky crimson – wing, shelly’s crimson – wing and
Archer’s ground robin.

Akagera
National park

This national park is named after
the river Akagera that’s found along the Eastern boundary. The park is pretty
warm and it is found on relatively low ground. The undulating plains act as a
cover of defence especially with the trees with broad leaves and also the
distributed, rolling grasslands. On the eastern portion of this park you would
find numerous wetlands and lakes linked by voluminous swamps and massive
convoluted waters streams connected to the great Akergera River.

Musanze
Cave

2 km off the Gisenyi road lays the Musanze
cave in Ruhengeri. The main and the largest cave is said to be about 2 Km long
and its entrance is said to be as large as that of a cathedral and inside it
there is an amazing bat colony.  One opening of the cave which is a large
ditch is littered with black volcanic rubble and at the other end you can find
a bridge naturally made by the lava from one of the Virunga volcanoes. There is
also a legend which says musanze was the construction of one local king and
that on some occasions in history it was used as a refugee.
There were also more recent reports stating that during the genocide,
this cave was used as a place of massacre and that until recently there were
human remains inside.