Rwanda: A voyage amidst nature’s valley

  • May 20, 2017

Republic of Rwanda is a sovereign state in central and east Africa and known to be one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is situated in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year. Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda and is considered one of the safest and cleanest African cities. Talking about the religion and language, Christianity is the dominant religion in the country and the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as official languages. Rwanda has a presidential system of government and the current ruling President is Paul Kagame from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has remarkably low corruption in comparison to the neighbouring countries. Rwanda is not only the land of a thousand hills, but also a country rich in flora and fauna and stunning natural beauty in its scenic rolling and breathtaking green savannah. The country hosts some rare species of animals like the silverback mountain gorillas as well as unique birds and insects in the tropical forest of Nyungwe.

Blend of culture & tradition

Music and dance forms an important part of Rwandan ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings and storytelling. The most famous and celebrated traditional dance is a highly choreographed routine consisting of three components: the umushagiriro, or cow dance, performed by women, the intore, or dance of heroes, performed by men and the drumming, also traditionally performed by men, on drums called as ingoma. The best known dance group is the National Ballet, which was established by President Habyarimana in 1974, and performs nationally and internationally. Traditionally, music is transmitted orally, with styles varying between the social groups. Drums are of great importance; the royal drummers enjoyed high status within the court of the King.

Wonderful Kigali

Spanning several ridges and valleys, with its lush hillsides, flowering trees, winding boulevards and bustling streets, Kigali is arguably one of the most attractive capital cities in Africa, as well as easily one of the cleanest and safest. It’s been more than two decades since the civil war and genocide of 1994 that devastated this tiny country, and it’s come a long way, being now a member of the Commonwealth. Despite bearing the painful scars of the genocide’s unspeakable horrors in 1994, Kigali has been the centre of Rwanda’s nationbuilding efforts since that time and has seen massive amounts of state and foreign investment streaming in over the past two decades. Indeed, the rebirth of the capital has seen a cosmopolitanism arrive in the city and Kigali now boasts a slew of new skyscrapers, several international hotels and a host of excellent eating options. Rwanda is synonymous with mountains and scenic landscapes, celebrated for its gorgeous national parks, historical and cultural attractions. Kigali offers much more, from stunning architecture, museums, shopping, amazing restaurants and hotels, to elegant cuisine and friendly people. Few people leave Kigali without being impressed by this plucky and charismatic survivor.

Lakes you may like

Rwanda has beautiful lakes with calm waters and natural scenery. The country is definitely a great spot for a releasing lakeside retreat. The stunning retreats and stylish luxury at Rwanda lake shores are amazing. Lakeside getaways will definitely slow your pace because the lakes brim with a peaceful countryside ease. Lake Burera located at the base of volcano Muhabura, surrounded by precipitous peaks with Virunga volcanic mountains in the background, lake Burera is one of the beautiful lakes of Rwanda. The lake’s beauty is difficult to overlook. Popular among the tourists, it is surrounded by luxury lodges. Lake Kivu is part of the great lakes of Africa. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains with settlements around the shore in places like Sake, Kahele, Gisenyi, Bukavi and many others. The lake has salient coastlines and beaches, with resorts.

Treat for taste buds

The local goat kebabs known as brochettes are lip-smacking and are available in most bars and restaurants. Many restaurants also serve juicy grilled fish and chicken, and frites and fritesbanane are quite common. In urban areas a local buffet known as melange is sold at lunchtime. This consists of a buffet of mostly carbohydrates such as potatoes, bananas, beans, rice, cassava accompanied by some vegetables and a small amount of meat or fish with sauce. Milk, particularly in a fermented yoghurt form called ikivuguto, is a common drink throughout the country. Other drinks include a traditional beer called urwagwa, made from sorghum or bananas, which features in traditional rituals and ceremonies. Kigali has a much better range of restaurants than the rest of the country. People who are a big time foodie won’t be disappointed here. Here you can find several Indian and Chinese restaurants, as well as Italian, Greek, French and multi-cuisine establishments charging around $10 for dinner.

The heart of art

Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, although most originated as functional items rather than purely for decoration. Woven baskets and bowls are especially common. Imigongo, a unique cow dung art, is produced in the southeast of Rwanda, with a history dating back to when the region was part of the independent Gisaka kingdom. The dung is mixed with natural soils of various colours and painted into patterned ridges to form geometric shapes. Other crafts include pottery and wood carving. Traditional housing styles make use of locally available materials; circular or rectangular mud homes with grass-thatched roofs (known as nyakatsi) are the most common. The government has initiated a programme to replace these with more modern materials such as corrugated iron.

Woven baskets and bowls are especially common.Imigongo, a unique cow dung art, is produced in the southeast of Rwanda, with a history dating back to when the region was part of the independent Gisaka kingdom.

Go Rwanda!

Home to one third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, one third of Africa’s bird species, several species of primates, volcanoes, game reserves, resorts and islands on the expansive Lake Kivu, graceful dancers, artistic crafts and friendly people, Rwanda offers tourists a once in a lifetime of a kind journey. Instead of planning yet another trip to places like United States, Europe or Canada, pay attention to your adventurous side and visit Rwanda. The experience and memories of your trip to Rwanda would keep on urging you to go and witness this immense beauty all over again. Most travelers come to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas at Volcanoes National Park and leave, often to nearby countries as part of a broader trip in the region. This is really a shame as the country has some incredibly beautiful landscape, including lakes, volcanos and mountains. Not to mention the opportunity to visit local markets and villages to get a feel for everyday life in Rwanda. The East African country’s beauty is immeasurable and has so many things to offer any visitor, from safari to lake and beach adventures. It’s time to pack your bags and fly to Rwanda, an adventurous voyage is waiting for you.

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