20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Rwanda [Explained]

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Rwanda is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. When many think of Rwanda, the horror of 1994 immediately springs to mind. But away from that bitter horror, you should know other exciting facts about Rwanda.

Common Facts About Rwanda

Officially known as the “Republic of Rwanda,” this African country has a population of around 13.5 million people. Rwanda is well-known for its gorilla tourism as well as its gorgeous capital.

This country features rugged and rocky terrain, incredible people, and rich history. Aside from that, many interesting facts about Rwanda will captivate your heart.

Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.

Historical Facts On Rwanda

Rwanda Is Over 1000 Years

rwanda-is-over-1000-years

We cannot accurately say how old modern-day Rwanda is; one thing we can determine is it is over 1000 years. It has been suggested that the has been inhabited as far back as the late glacial era or the Neolithic era around 8000 BC.

During a period between the 5th and 11th centuries, the Hutu people migrated to modern-day Rwanda. They were closely followed by the Tutsi people early in the 14th century.

In 1858, Hanning Speke landed the region, making him the first European to grace the land.

Rwanda was subsequently colonized by Germany in 1890, and then by Belgium in 1916. The country gained independence in 1962 with the national day in Rwanda being the 1st of July.

Ruanda-Urundi

Did you know this fact about Rwanda? It was once called Ruanda-Urundi. The name was forged after Merging Rwanda and Burundi (another small African nation bordering Rwanda to the North). They were both independent countries until the arrival of the Germans in 1894.

The two countries merged into one as a European colony was ruled by Germany and subsequently Belgium until the colony gained independence in 1962. After independence, the two countries split again into two independent countries – Rwanda, and Burundi.

So, it is not a surprising fact about Burundi that it shares some cultural similarities with Rwanda. The two countries are tightly linked as beyond adopted European cultures they also share indigenous languages and traditions.

Rwanda Genocide

This is one of the most unfortunate facts about Rwanda. The country was host to the world’s most notorious modern-day genocide. It was a genocide against the Tusti group. Led by a fraction of the majority Hutu ethnic group led it.

It started in the country’s capital of Kigali, spreading across the country at speed words cannot describe. It was brutal beyond words. Here is a fact about the Rwanda genocide. It lasted only 100 days between April to July 1994. But it did cost the lives of a little less than a million people and left at least 2 million people refugees.

An amazing fact about Rwanda, though, is despite the horror of the 1994 genocide, it has recovered and bounced back well. Ranking as one of the safest countries in Africa after that is no small feat.

Useful Facts About Rwanda For Tourists

Gorilla Tourism

gorilla-tourism

Did you know that you can enjoy a gorilla safari in Rwanda? It is one of just three countries where you can enjoy gorilla tourism firsthand.

In Rwanda, you can visit mountain gorillas in the wild. Here is a fact about Rwanda for kids, you can see gorillas and play with them in Rwanda. Gorilla tourism is a big part of Rwanda’s economy as it fetches millions of dollars.

Watching these gorillas out in the wild is a sight to savor. You can witness the gorillas in their natural habitat; interestingly, they are not caged. So, if you think you are up for the task, you can pat a gorilla on the head.

National Volcano Park

Along the nation’s northern border, in the Mufumbiro highlands, is where you’ll find this lovely park. At least 8 volcanoes can be seen in the background. DR Congo and Rwanda both border the park.

Hiking through these mountainous woodlands is an enjoyable adventure. As a bonus, you may even come across golden monkeys living in the bamboo forest throughout your hike. If you are up to the challenge, Volcano Park offers experiences that are better felt than articulated.

Amazing Ecosystem

amazing-ecosystem

It wouldn’t be a bluff to say Rwanda has it all. The nature ecosystem in Rwanda is both beautiful and unique.

The south houses the Nyungwe lush rainforest; the northwest hosts the Virunga volcanic massif. The Akagera National Park plays host to a savanna. To cap it all, Rwanda is home to some impressive indigenous fauna and flora.

Kigali

kigali-rwanda

Kigali is the largest city and the Capital of Rwanda. It is considered one of the most organized cities in Africa. The capital city is situated deep in the heart of the country.

In 2017 the UN (United Nations) name-checked Kigali as the most beautiful city in Africa. It has an elevation of 1567 meters above sea level with a total land area of 730 square km.

Safe Country

This is another surprising fact about Rwanda. Considering safety is not something associated with many African countries.

Rwanda ranks high as one of the safest countries to travel to in Africa. That said, when you travel to Rwanda, you should avoid certain places. The country’s border with DR Congo and Burundi should be avoided as it can be volatile due to neighboring attacks.

Cultural Fun Facts Of Rwanda

Brochettes

tasty-brochettes

Rwanda is blessed with some wonderful delicacies. Most of Rwanda’s cuisine is laced with plantains. Bananas, beans, sweet potatoes, and Cassava. With that, many assume that their meals are only rich in vegetables and considerably lack protein like meat or fish.

Well, that is not the case. The national dish in Rwanda, brochettes, is meat-based. Although there are different varieties of brochettes, it is not a meat-rigid dish, and some are made with skewer or fish.

You can spot brochettes everywhere in Rwanda. The meat used for this dish includes beef, chicken, pork, and goat meat. When trying out the brochettes, it goes well with side dishes like roasted potatoes, fresh salad, or fried bananas.

Umuganda

traditional-umuganda

Here is a cool fact about Rwanda’s culture. They love to help others. Every last Saturday of the month is a national community service.

Umuganda means “Working together.” These days, the community picks a place to meet and do something that will positively impact the community.

Activities like cleaning, planting trees, and building houses for the poor are some of the common activities they engage in. It serves as a way of bonding and creating a better community.

Typically, the Umuganda is done between 8 to 11 am.

Languages In Rwanda

Rwanda has four official languages, English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. However, the lingua franca in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda.

Rwanda is gradually becoming a multicultural country. But how about this for a weird Rwanda fact? Rwanda was colonized by Germany and Belgium subsequently. There was no mention of France anywhere in the history of Rwanda. Amazingly you’d expect their official languages to be German or Dutch, but French actually takes the spot. 

Kinyarwanda was the only official language before French joined in, which is mostly spoken by the older generation.

One point to note is that Belgium’s official languages are Dutch, German, and French. It may not be totally out of the box that French features as one of Rwanda’s official languages.

Due to a sizeable number of refugees from neighboring regions, English and Swahili are leading the pack as the most non-native languages spoken in the country.

Geographical Rwanda Facts About Kids

Small Rwanda

Rwanda is the second smallest country in Africa. Due to the country’s size, it is the most densely populated country in Africa.

Due to the dense population in Rwanda, almost every plot of land is well inhabited. Although beyond people, farming also takes up some land in the country.

Kasirimbi Volcano

The Kasirimbi volcano is the highest point in Rwanda. This volcano can be spotted in the Virunga mountains. The Kasirimbi volcano has an elevation of 4519 meters above sea level.

Hilly Rwanda

hilly-rwanda

Here is a Rwanda fact you might not know. The land is often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills.”

It is no surprise considering the country is hilly and mountainous. There are hills almost everywhere in the towns and cities in the country. And all the cities have resealable elevations. This has made the country a natural beauty to behold.

Other Interesting Facts About Rwanda

Clean Rwanda

clean-rwanda

Did you know that? Rwanda is one of the world’s cleanest countries. That’s one interesting fact about Rwanda that you don’t associate with many African countries.

Rwanda’s public spaces are extraordinarily clean, with almost no litter on the ground. It is hardly surprising, though, given that the government outlawed the use of plastic bags in the country in 2008.

When visitors arrive in another nation, their luggage is usually inspected for potentially dangerous things. In Rwanda, however, officials search your luggage and seize any plastic bags in addition to looking for potentially dangerous things.

Gender Equality In Rwanda

gender-equality

Here is an interesting fact about Rwanda. According to GGGR (Global Gender Gap Report), Rwanda has ranked top of the list for gender equality since 2018 .

The idea has been demonstrated in many sectors of the country, including education, job opportunities, women in health care, and politics.

Rwanda has the highest population percentage of women in its parliament. Over 60% of the parliament members in Rwanda are women.

Rwanda Coffee

rwanda-coffee

It wouldn’t be a cliche to say Rwanda has some of the best coffee in the world. Coffee thrives in mountainous regions, making Rwanda a perfect home for coffee.

Coffee plays a significant role in Rwanda’s economy, amounting to a significant part of the country’s exportation. Due to Rwanda’s high altitude and volcanic soil, good rainfall, the country has amazing coffee.

Some of the popular coffee in Rwanda include arabica coffee, Caturra coffee, and Catuai coffee. 

Car Free Day

Here’s another interesting fact about Rwanda. The country’s capital hosts car-free days twice a month. This is also one factor that reduces air pollution and contributes to Rwanda’s cleanliness.

On the first and third Sundays of every month, cars are parked, and all busy streets are shut down to allow only bikes, skaters, and runners to own the road.

This they did in an attempt to reduce gas emissions while also promoting other modes of transportation. Interestingly, residents in Kigali anticipate these car-free days as it provides them with a platform to socialize and engage in outdoor activities. 

Rwanda Inspired Movies

Truth or not, we will allow you to decide that. Did you know that the country of Rwanda has inspired some great movies? Namely, “Hotel Rwanda” (2014) and “Gorillas in the Mist” (1998).

The hotel Rwanda was based on the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina. The manager of “Hotel des Mille Collines.” During the 1994 genocide, he saved the lives of 100 hundreds of people. The hotel still runs today, and many visitors love this hostel because of its history.

Gorilla in the mist was a story of Dian Fossey who as a naturalist, studied the lives of mountain gorillas and created a kind of conversation with them. In Rwanda, an infamous hiking route was named after her, leading to her research camp and the tomb where she was laid to rest.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Rwanda

Rwanda is a beautiful country with many hidden gems to discover. From its cleanliness, a strong commitment to gender equality, delicious coffee varieties, car-free days, and inspiring movies – there’s so much that makes Rwanda an incredible place.

If you want to learn more interesting facts about Rwanda and uncover all the great things the country has to offer, plan a trip when you get the chance. There is no better way to know about a country than experiencing it yourself.


PIN THESE FUN FACTS ABOUT RWANDA FOR LATER!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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