Tourism & Communications
Rwanda is sometimes called ‘the Switzerland of Africa’ because of its mountainous terrain. When the Europeans first came to this green and rolling land, they nicknamed it the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’.
The high altitude of its attractive landscape also provides a pleasant climate for visitors. Temperatures average around 21°C in the centre, though highland and mountain areas can be cooler.
And since Rwanda is quite compact (it is smaller than Belgium and less than half the size of Scotland), visitors can travel to the different regions within a few hours and really get a feel for the country.
Rwanda has around 700,000 visitors each year (World Tourism Organisation).
An inland sea
The huge inland sea of Lake Kivu runs down the eastern side of the country, providing palm-lined sandy beaches and water-sports for tourists. Three resort towns lie along the shores of this lake – Rubavu, Karongi and Rusizi (formerly known as Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu).
These towns are connected by what’s described as a “wild roller-coaster road”, which travels through patches of rainforest.
Visitors to islands in the lake can see huge colonies of fruit bats which live here. Watch the 'tourism' video.
Rwanda’s best-known animals
Rwanda has two other wildlife reserves of distinction – the Nyungwe National Park in the southwest and the Akagera National Park in the east. See Geography & Wildlife.
Rwanda’s most famous wild inhabitants live not far from Rubavu, in the Volcanoes National Park. This is the best-known location for tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.
More than 20,000 visitors come to Rwanda each year to see the gorillas.
On the slopes of the Virunga mountain range, the famous Dian Fossey studied the behaviour of the gorillas for almost 20 years. In her book – ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ – Dian wrote about her life and work. This best-selling account was made into a successful film in 1988. Unfortunately, Dian Fossey didn’t live to see the film. She was killed in her cabin in 1985, probably by poachers. Visitors can trek to the grave of the woman who gave her life for these incredible animals.