General information about Rwanda
LocationThe Republic of Rwanda is a land-locked country located in central Africa. It is bordered on the east by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with which it shares the shores of Lake Kivu; on the north by Uganda; on the west by Tanzania; and on the south by Burundi. Rwanda is a small country with an area of 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles). Comparatively, Rwanda is about the size of the state of Maryland. The capital city of Kigali is in the center of the country.
TimeGMT + 2
Area:Land area: 9,633 sq mi (24,949 sq km)
Total area: 10,169 sq mi (26,338 sq km)
ClimateThe average daytime temperature is around 24°C, except in the higher mountains, which take up a lot of the country, where the range is 10°C to 15°C. Rwanda can be visited at any time of year. The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain gorillas, but the endless hills are barren, a contrast to the verdant greens of the wet season. Peak season for gorilla tracking is July and August; travelling outside this time means it is easier to arrange a permit.
It rains more frequently and heavily in the northeast, where the volcanoes are covered by rainforest. The summit of Karisimbi (4507m), the highest peak in Rwanda, is often covered with sleet or snow.
LanguageIn addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English.
EconomyPrimarily a subsistence agriculture economy, Rwanda nonetheless produces for export some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Other industries include sugar, fishing and flowers for export.
Hiking and bikingThe fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valleys. Mountain biking and hiking can be enjoyed on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages, criss-crossing the entire country.
Getting AroundRwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa. Most visitors who have booked through a tour company will be provided with good private vehicles, usually 4-wheel drive. All of the major centres are connected with local and luxury bus services. Air charter services are available anywhere in the country.
ReligionsThe majority of Rwandans, about 65%, are Roman Catholic, with another 9% Protestant. Only about 1% of the population is Muslim. About a fourth of Rwandans are adherents of indigenous beliefs. However, these numbers and divisions are not clear cut. Many Rwandans practice both their traditional religion and Christianity at the same time.
Public HolidaysGood Friday and Easter Monday, which fall on variable dates, are recognised in Rwanda. Other public holidays are :
1 January (New Year's Day);
1 February (National Heroes Day);
7 April (Genocide Memorial Day);
1 May (Labour Day);
1 July (Independance Day);
4 July (National Liberation Day);
15 August (Assumption Day);
1 October (Patriotism Day);
25 December (Christmas Day), and
26 December(Boxing Day).