The Republic of Rwanda, also known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, is situated in East – Central Africa. It lies 121 Km South (75 miles) of the equator in the Tropic of Capricorn, 1416 kilometers (880Miles) west of the Indian Ocean and 1250Km (777Miles) east of the Atlantic Ocean – literally the heart of Africa. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year. Rwanda is one of the world’s few countries with one common language, Kinyarwanda, and one culture. English and French are the other two used official languages.
At 26.338 square kilometers (10.169 square miles), Rwanda is the world’s 149th largest country and the fourth smallest on the African mainland after Gambia, Swaziland, and Djibouti. It is comparable in size to Burundi, Haiti and Albania. The entire country is at a high altitude, the lowest point is the Rusizi River at 950 meters (3.117 ft) above sea level. The capital, KIGALI, is located in the centre of Rwanda.
Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries because of its high elevation. Kigali has a typical daily temperature range between 12 and 27 °C (54 and 81 °F), with little variation through the year. There are some temperature variations across the country; the mountainous west and north are generally cooler than the lower-lying east. There are two dry seasons and two rainy seasons in the year. Rainfall varies geographically, with the west and northwest receiving more precipitation annually than Kigali, the east and southeast.
Kigali, home for the much awaited 7th World Healthcare Students Symposium, possesses a tropical savanna climate with a pronounced dry season. Kigali is cooler throughout the year than most other cities around the Equator due to its elevation, which tempers the heat and results in warm rather than hot days and mild rather than uncomfortably warm nights.
Anyone visiting ‘the land of a thousand hills’ is in for a multitude of surprises. Personal safety, peace, security and stability enjoyed by both citizens and visitors of the country. The beauty of this nation is breathtaking, the landscapes in this green country, a magnificently organized and neatly clean Kigali as well as the fast-growing infrastructure sector every here and there, are just awe-inspiring. Many visitors to Rwanda have remarked that the physical beauty of the country is without an equal on the African continent. Rwanda has five volcanoes, twenty-three lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of River Nile.
Spectacular volcanoes and dense tropical forests dominate the north of the country, while gentle hills and valleys, calm lakes and turbulent rivers in both savannah and dense tropical vegetation dominate the rest of the country.
The high altitude forests of the Virunga volcanic mountains, in northern Rwanda are home to the world’s largest number of endangered mountain gorillas. Numbering in the hundreds, the gorillas live in protected areas, free from poachers. The gorillas can be viewed in their natural mountain habitats at a fairly close range.
Nothing describes Rwanda’s culture better than the affectionate hospitality of its people, the thrill of its intore culture dancers and singers as well as the usual determined ethic for work and industry. Little wonder some have referred to Rwanda as a land of a million smiles. Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa, with a sole common language and culture. Many people who have had a chance to visit Rwanda have been amused, if not intrigued, by the actuality that Rwandans are harmoniously living together after the Genocide that threatened to ruin the social fabric and destroy the centuries of long interactions among them.
Today, not only are Rwandans living together but they also share the common aspirations as it used to be. Music and dance plays a central role in the tradition of Rwandans. The Rwandan people have a diversity of music and dance with an assortment of acts that express epics celebrating excellence and bravery, humorous lyrics and hunting roots. Intore Dance Troup is the finest model of Rwanda’s varied and dynamic traditional musical and dance style. A wide range of traditional handicrafts is produced in rural Rwanda, ranging from ceramics and baskets to traditional and contemporary woodcarvings.