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Rwanda is a small country located in East Africa, bordered by Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is situated a few degrees south of the equator and is the 149th largest country in the world, as well as the fourth smallest on the mainland of Africa. The official languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French, and English, and the national currency is the Rwandan franc. There are only three tribes in Rwanda: Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The capital city is Kigali, which is served by Kigali International Airport. The country’s largest lake is Lake Kivu and it has a tropical climate. Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” due to its mountainous landscape. The city of Kigali is known for being the cleanest in Africa, as the government banned the use of polythene bags in an effort to protect the environment. Rwanda is also home to a large percentage of the world’s gorilla population and is a popular destination for eco-tourism.
Tourism in Rwanda is divided into several categories, including business tourism, dark tourism, medical tourism, cultural tourism, and religious tourism. Some of the most popular national parks in Rwanda are Akagera National Park, Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Nyungwe National Park. Ten percent of Rwanda is designated for birding experiences. In 1994, the country suffered from the Rwanda genocide, in which 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutus in just 100 days following the assassination of President Habyarimana. The country is still recovering from this event and has made significant progress in rebuilding its economy, infrastructure, population, and natural environment.
There are many unique activities to experience in Rwanda, including gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park, a canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest, a visit to the King’s Palace Museum to see the Royal cows, the Ethnographic Museum to learn about traditional customs and beliefs, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International Karisoke Research Center, a tour of Gorilla Guardians Village or Nkotsi Village to immerse oneself in Rwandan culture, a visit to the Kimironko market in Kigali, the Inema Arts Centre, the Genocide Memorial Center, the Rubona Peninsula, the Nyamata and Ntarama churches, the National Arts Gallery, Gisenyi Public Beach, and Rusomo Falls. Rwanda also has five dormant volcanoes: Karisimbi, Gahinga, Muhabura, Bisoke, and Sabyinyo, which can be explored by those interested in volcano tourism.