Discover Rwanda, The Country of Gorilla Safaris in Africa Rwanda is a tiny country, landlocked and only about the size of Wales, with three million more residents than Scotland. One can make it nearly anywhere in Rwanda from the capital, Kigali, by car in close to two hours. The roads are well-maintained and easy to follow, making drives through the beautiful countryside a distinctly Rwandan pleasure. It is old Rwandan legend that God, although he or she may spend the day wandering the world, always returns to Rwanda to appreciate its beauty! Come enjoy the lovely hospitality of the Land of a Thousand Hills!, one of the recent African Safari destinations

Landscape, Wildlife and Gorilla Safaris Rwanda is known as the Land of One Thousand Hills. It can be a joke to most Rwandans, who like to say that whoever was counting certainly missed a few! In northern Rwanda, the hills are like overturned cones, covered in farm plots that make the landscape appear to be quilted. The roads twist through the countryside, providing a spectacular view for anyone traveling by car.

Much of Rwanda’s extensive collection of wildlife and breathtaking views are results of the Albertine Rift. The Rift stretches from Tanzania through Rwanda and even as far north as Uganda. The collision and separation of two of Earth’s land masses created the Rift, resulting in a vast array of natural wonders and habitats, from hot springs to alpine climes. Thanks to the Albertine Rift, Rwanda has more than 670 different species of birds, 120 varieties of butterflies and splendid paths through all its national parks.

Permits to enter the country’s parks can be obtained at Rwanda’s Tourism Offices (ORTPN), on l’Avenue de l’Armee in Kigali. Visitors should make a point to stop in, since more information and souvenirs are provided there as well.

A permit to track the gorillas of Rwanda is USD 500 per person. The gorillas are one of the most endangered species in the world with a number shrinking to 700 mountain gorillas. For every permit you pay, you contribute directly to the conservation of these apes. An African Safari involving the gorillas is very rewarding.

History and People Rwandans today are the descendants of three major ethnic groups: the Twa, the Hutu and the Tutsi. Although the Twa, pygmies of the Rwandan forests, were the first people to settle into the area, today they only account for 1% of Rwanda’s population. The Hutu peoples came later, followed by the Tutsi. Traditionally, the Hutu and their descendants worked in agriculture, while Tutsis were known for raising cattle.

It wasn’t until the 1700s that Rwanda became a country, in the modern sense. Power became centralized under the rule of the “Mwami,” the Tutsi kings who were thought to have divine powers. In the court of the Mwami, Twa dancers were often employed as jesters and entertainment. Otherwise, the Twa people mostly kept to themselves during Rwanda’s history. The Mwamis controlled Rwanda by demanding tribute of district chiefs, who were also typically of Tutsi descent.

Since 1994, Rwanda has increased its tourism tremendously. The number of tour operators in Europe and the United Kingdom who provide tours to Rwanda had grown to 23 by the year 2003. Relying on Kigali’s beautiful hotels, the rare mountain gorillas and the country’s fantastic array of wildlife, the tourism industry has bloomed.

Rwanda’s people have united under the former leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, President Paul Kagame. Kagame, who seeks to create a sense of national identity in Rwanda, won the first democratic elections in the country in August, 2003.