Discover Rwanda: 59 Fascinating Facts For Travelers

Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked sovereign state in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Rwanda is a few degrees south […]

Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked sovereign state in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Rwanda is a few degrees south of the Equator, bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda enjoys a temperate to subtropical climate, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year is in the African Great Lakes region. Rwanda’s topography is highly elevated and is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a very high density. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, with three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa.

Here are 59 facts about Rwanda:

Starter Facts

  • Official Name: Republic of Rwanda
  • Capital city: Kigali
  • Population : 12,634,116
  • Official Languages: English, French, Kinyarwanda, Swahili
  • Rwanda Flag: Three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double-width), yellow, and green, with a golden sun with 24 rays near the fly end of the blue band. Blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources. The sun represents unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance.
  • National symbol(s): Traditional woven basket with peaked lid.
  • National colors: blue, yellow, green
  • National anthem: Adopted in 2001, “Rwanda nziza” (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
rwanda flag, facts about rwanda
Rwanda Flag

Political Facts

  • Government: Presidential Republic
  • President: Paul Kagame since 22nd April 2000
  • Independence: 1st July 1962 from Belgium
  • GDP: Total; $24,717, Per Capita; $2,090
  • The countries legislature is composed of Parliament, Upper house chamber- Senate, Lower house chamber- Chamber of Deputies.
  • President is directly elected by simple majority vote for a 5-year term. Constitutional amendments approved in December 2016 included one that reduced the presidential term from 7 to 5 years but included an exception that allowed President Kagame to serve another 7-year term in 2017.
  • The parliament has more female than male members.
  • Rwanda is a safe, stable, and secure county to visit. The World Economic Forum ranked Rwanda as the 9th safest country in 2017, ahead of Qatar, Luxembourg, Portugal, New Zealand, Austria, Estonia, Sweden, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands, and Morocco.
  • Rwanda is the fifth-largest contributor of peacekeepers worldwide.
  • Crime levels are relatively low.
  • Corruption is not tolerated in Rwanda.
  • Administrative divisions: 4 provinces ( Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern) and 1 city (Kigali)
  • The nation’s public holidays include; 1st Feb Heroes day, 7th April-Genocide memorial day, 1st July- Independence Day, 4th July Liberation day, 15th Aug Assumption, 1st Oct Patriotism day.
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, facts about rwanda
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame

Geography Facts

  • Area: Total-26,338 sq km, Land area: 24,668 sq km, Water area: 1,670 sq km
  • Geographic coordinates: 9408°S, 29.8739°E
  • Time Zone: CAT/ UTC +2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
  • Climate and temperate; the country has two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January), mild in the mountains with frost and snow. The evergreen country enjoys the cool tropical highland climate—ideal for visiting all year round.
  • Topography: mostly savannah grassland, uplands, and hills; relief are mountainous with altitude declining from west to east.
  • Mean elevation is 1,598 m, with the lowest point being Rusizi River 950m and the highest point Mt. Karisimbi Volcano 4,519 m
  • It incorporates five of the eight volcanoes. The highest peak being Mt Karisimbi within its borders. The others are Muhabura, Bisoke, Sabyinyo and Gahinga.
  • Rwanda has 28 lakes with the larger ones being Lake Kivu, Muhanzi, lhema, Bulera, Ruhondo and Mugasera.
  • Rwanda’s natural resources are gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land.
  • There are few natural hazards with periodic droughts. Visoke Volcano (3,711 m), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country’s only historically active volcano.
  • Rwanda is predominantly rural, with agriculture accounting for about 63% of export earnings and some mineral and agro-processing.
  • As much as Rwanda is a landlocked country, you can still relax, unwind and enjoy the white sandy beach and weather at Lake Kivu shoreline.
Typical Rwanda Landscape, Rwanda facts
Typical Rwanda Landscape

Economic Facts

  • The 1994 genocide stalled the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy.
  • GDP has improved to a growth rate of 6.2% while inflation has reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line.
  • The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment.
  • Rwanda consistently ranks well for ease of doing business and transparency. You can start and register a company in 48 hours.
  • Agriculture products include coffee, tea, pyrethrum, bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes, and livestock.
  • In 2012, Rwanda completed the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali to attract investment in all sectors, specifically in agribusiness, information and communications, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. The government has also launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.
  • Currency: Rwandan Franc (RWF)
Rwanda Francs, facts about rwanda
Rwanda Francs

Religion Facts

  • Religion is dominated by Christians; Protestant 50.2%, Roman Catholic 44.3%, Muslim 2%, other 0.9% (includes traditionalist/animist), none 2.5%.
Silverback Gorilla, facts about Rwanda
Silverback Mountain Gorilla

Wildlife Facts

  • Rwanda is home to mountain gorillas that can safely visit. A Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1,500 per person.
  • The baby gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, takes place every year on the 1st of September.
  • Akagera National Park hosts all the Big 5, among other wildlife and birdlife.
  • The dense Nyungwe forest is a haven for chimpanzees and a variety of colorful bird and butterfly species.

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Culture Facts

  • Rwandan culture includes music and dance, particularly drums and the highly choreographed Intore.
  • Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including Imigongo, a unique cow dung art.
  • Rwanda, land of a thousand smiles because locals are particularly hospitable, friendly, warm, and welcoming to visitors.
  • All citizens join in Umuganda day, a consistent schedule for community service every last Saturday of the month where they clean the environment.
  • Rwandese are always sensitive to others feeling and may keep the truth from you.
  • As a sign of respect, avoid direct eye contact with elders.
  • They have funny beliefs that eating fish eyes will have the devil visit you at night or eating green bananas make your bottoms grow fat.
  • Pointing at a person is odd and rude.
Traditional Dancing
Traditional Dancing

Miscellaneous / Good to know

  • Calling code: +250
  • Internet code: .rw
  • Drive on the right
  • There are direct flights from International capitals like London to Kigali.
  • Rwanda is leading Africa’s Digital Revolution providing access to free WIFI on public buses, hospitals, taxi parks, thus providing 95% of the population with 4G access.
  • Keep off the grass—no walking on the manicured lawns of Kigali.

Well, there you have it, 59 facts about Rwanda! Go and impress your friends and family with your newfound knowledge of Rwanda, don’t point at anyone…

Want to visit Rwanda? Discover more about the country, here.

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Discover Rwanda: 59 Fascinating Facts For Travelers
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