Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. Its fertile and hilly terrain, which give it the title "Land of a Thousand Hills", supports one of the densest populations in Africa.
The majority of the landscape in Rwanda is covered by tall mountains and deep valleys and not surprisingly, Ecotourism is growing. Many ecotourists on vacation visit for the primate tours, particularly the gorillas as half of the world's mountain gorillas live in Rwanda.
In the Virungas lucky ecotourists can trek through the jungle and meet the endangered gorillas. There is also the opportunity to visit the research centre founded by Diane Fossey, who dedicated her life to protecting these gorillas and became famous through the film, Gorillas in the Mist.
Another attraction is the Nyungwe National Park which boasts 1000 square kilometres of majestic hills which is rich in flora and fauna diversity. You can spot 13 species of primate including chimpanzees and around 300 species of birds.
Cultural tours are also available which gives ecotourists the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Rwanda and include visits to local villages to learn about the food, and traditional arts and crafts
The Twa are pygmy people who are the original inhabitants of Rwanda, however these days they make up only 1% of the population. The remainder of the population are either Hutu or Tutsi who share similar cultures and backgrounds. Divisions were made by the Belgians who pointed out differences in appearances between the ethnic groups and made them carry ID cards to distinguish themselves. The Belgians claimed that Tutsi were taller and thinner that the Hutus however it is impossible to tell from their appearance.
The capital of Rwanda is Kigali and the official languages are Kin yarwanda, French, and English.
Find an eco tour in Rwanda. A list of eco tour operators, travel agents and accommodation providers either based in or that can organise trips to Rwanda. Each listing includes a full page description so click for more information.
Terra Incognita ECOTOURS - Rwanda
Rwanda, home to the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla, where we shall TWICE track these gentle giants. The Mountain Gorillas inhabit some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, high on the flanks of the Virunga Volcanoes. We will also take the opportunity to visit the grave of famed primatologist Dian Fossey, who dedicated her life to the conservation and protection of these animals. Also spend time in the savannahs of Akagera. An incredible journey!
A Closer Look Travel
Specializes in booking eco travel, community (real cultural connection) travel and volunteer travel. We have one of the largest databases (about 3,300) of worldwide sustainable travel opportunities in the US.
Explore pioneers small, group adventure holidays around the world. Explore's responsible tourism policy is the cornerstone of the company's approach to tour operating.
Below you can find a collection of resources related to ecotourism issues in Rwanda.
Articles on ecotourdirectory.com:
Gerard “Ged” Caddick founder of Terra Incognita ECOTOURS introduces the "Gorillas in the Mist" Rwanda tour.
Rwanda is a very conservative society, most people dress modestly especially women. Wearing shorts or tight skirts and skimpy tops is likely to get you stared at twice as much as normal.
It is unusual for a couple to make public displays of affection, even though many men walk hand in hand with male friends. Also Rwandans will generally never eat or drink in public, apart from at restaurants. Rwandan women are rarely seen smoking in public or out in bars unaccompanied. Rwandans are very private, reserved people and loud public confrontations (shouting matches) or obvious shows of emotion (such as crying) are also frowned on.
If you feel you are being overcharged by a trader, quietly persisting with the negociation (or your complaint!) is likely to produce results much faster than an angry outburst!It is also impolite to make eye contact with an elder.Please understand that Rwanda is still recovering from a civil war and genocide in which over 800,000 people, perhaps a million, were killed.
Many Rwandese lost relatives and friends. Remember to be sensitive to this sad fact when dealing with Rwandese. Most people today are trying to forget the tribal divisions and would rather be referred to as Rwandese than Hutu or Tutsi. It is considered impolite to ask someone about their ethnic orgin.
There is not much political discourse in Rwanda, unlike in many neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya where people talk freely about the government and political issues, people in Rwanda will be uncomfortable if asked their views or even if seated at a table where national politics is discussed.
Information from wikitravel.org*
Tourists are usually welcomed warmly in Rwanda, and the country is largely considered safe for visitors. The possible exceptions are certain places along the Congolese and Burundian borders. The gorilla trekking is near to the DRC border it is generally considered safe, due to the large and continous Rwandan army presence.
While travelling in matutus (taxis) in the countryside, don't be surprised if the matutu drives through several Police/Military check-points. This is done to check IDs, car registration and insurance, so it would be wise to bring at least a photocopy of passport with you everywhere you go in Rwanda.
Information from wikitravel.org*
Click on the Panorimo Button to view Rwanda travel photos directly on the map!
Related Resources for Rwanda:
Projects in Rwanda:
The Gorilla Organization
The Gorilla Organization works to protect the endangered mountain gorilla in its native habitat. It also works to ensure that local people benefit from their unique natural heritage. The Organization, founded by the late Dian Fossey who lived with the gorillas, is involved in education, conservation and public awareness.
If you have any suggestions for Rwanda ecotourism or travel planning resources please contact us.
* ecotourdirectory.com is not responsible for the travel advice and travel with respect sections on this page. We would strongly advise that before traveling to Rwanda you consult your countries embassy for the lastest guidance.