Rwanda is the land of 1,000 hills: here’s why it should be on your to-do list
When people think of Rwanda, they often think of its dark past. Since then, the country has successfully progressed and become strong and united.
While it is important to remember the past and understand the history of a country, we would be doing Rwanda a disservice if we did not recognize the beauty of the country today.
With a population of 12.95 million, Rwanda – also known as the land of a thousand hills – is geographically small but has a lot to offer those who visit it.
Here’s why you should.
Rwanda is extremely safe and clean
Although I am not a proponent of calling countries dangerous or safe, especially African countries, it should be emphasized that Rwanda is safer than most of your favorite destinations.
It has been consistently dubbed the safest country in Africa for years and was recently rated the sixth safest country in the world for solo travelers by Usebounce.
I explored Rwanda with no worries – even more so than most places I have travelled. It was common to see women strolling quietly through the streets at night or friends wandering through dimly lit places at a party.
Although you don’t have to and you have to practice taking precautions anywhere, it was reassuring to see others doing things that would normally make me feel uncomfortable.
Rwanda is also immaculate, making its surroundings a treat to wander around. Kigali, the capital of the country, is often nicknamed the cleanest city on the continent; littering fines, environmental initiatives and cooperative projects contribute to this. An important practice is Umuganda, a national clean-up day that takes place on the last Saturday of the month and is attended by citizens across the country.
The result of these efforts will be noticeable during your stay there.
There are countless activities to do
It’s hard to get tired of Rwanda because there’s always something else you can add to your list. You can head west and kayak in Lake Kivu, or enjoy Kigali’s nightlife and restaurants.
There are a number of museums to help you explore the country’s history, such as the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, or you can use a digital app to get started on the liberation history tourist trail.
If you feel like doing another hike, you can choose from 32 hikes spread across the country.
And if you’re not tired yet, you can hike to observe gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park or Chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park.
While many of these activities could be done in other countries, Rwanda’s small size comes in handy. Anything over a 15 minute drive in Kigali is considered far! Unlike its neighboring countries, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where 10-hour drives are not uncommon, Volcanoes National Park is only a 2-hour drive from Kigali.
In fact, the three most popular parks are less than five hours away.
Plus, taking part in these activities in the land of a thousand hills means breathtaking views await while you do them – you’ll be trying to find a rooftop or a mountain peak at all times.
Rwanda is both luxurious and exclusive
Rwanda positions itself as a place for luxury ecotourism and rightly so: luxury lodges abound near national parks, in hotspots like Lake Kivu and Kigali.
It is also not difficult to find sumptuous restaurants in Kigali, such as Fusion Restaurant, which offer the best service.
Certainly, the activities you can do in Rwanda will be more expensive.
For example, to complete the most popular tourist activity – gorilla trekking – it will cost you $1,500 (€1,471). In Uganda and DRC, the activity is $700 (€686) and $400 (€392) respectively.
However, these prices are a signal of Rwanda’s luxury status and make the country’s experience more exclusive for tourists who seek an opulent experience in every way.
Rwanda Wins Sustained Efforts
Committed to sustainability through its development policy, Rwanda has shown that it is an undisputed leader in this category, with the goal of achieving a climate-resilient economy by 2050.
Single-use plastic bags are banned nationwide and it is illegal for travelers to bring them into the country.
Although gorilla trekking permits are expensive in Rwanda, you will be invest in their conservation and the communities surrounding the park to fund projects such as building hospitals and schools.