Rwanda Images

Virunga Volcanic Mountains

When we think of Africa we often imagine deserts, famine and hunger, yet the small landlocked country of Rwanda has numerous rivers (some of which are claimed to be part of the source of the great River Nile), twenty three lakes and five volcanoes in what is known as 'the land of a thousand hills'. Rwanda is situated just south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda to its north, Tanzania to its east, Burundi to its south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to its west. Rwanda, which is slightly larger than Wales in size, is a beautiful country with the incredible beaches of Lake Kivu to the west and vast national parks where wild animals roam free, as well as the famous Rwanda gorillas making their homes in the Virunga volcanic mountains in the north of the country (above). Other lakes include the Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi, Rweru and Ihema.

The east of the country is predominately savannahs with swamps and fertile plains, the centre features rolling hills that climb into mountains as you head west reaching Rwanda's highest point, Mount Karisimbi, which has its summit at 14,787 feet ~ the peak of Ben Nevis is just 4,409 feet above sea level by comparison. 90% of those living in rural Rwanda are engaged in subsistence farming, mainly growing coffee and tea, however most holdings are around one half acre in size, making it difficult to grow cash crops, and these plots are becoming increasingly fragmented as the population grows and they are inherited by children, who may divide the limited land even further between them. Amongst the traditions of the Rwandan people, music and dance play an important role with dancing often divided within tribal lines. The Tutsi people's traditional dance routines commemorate acts of bravery and excellence, whilst the Hutu prefer humorous lyrics and the Pygmies song and dance reflects their hunting roots. Until the uprising, many dance routines were made in honour of the Tutsi Kingship, however, following the Hutu presidency, new dancing routines emerged reflecting Hutu heritage. One of the more popular dancing routines is the gushyayaya (cow dance) with its controlled, elegant movements.

Rwanda Topography

Dancing is culturally embedded within Rwanda from spontaneous performances in villages to the Intore Dance Troupe (above) that was founded centuries ago to entertain the royal court, and remains through to the present day. Rwanda is so proud of this dance troupe that they refer to it as "a dramatic spectacle far removed from the often lame tribal dancing offered to tourists in other parts of Africa." This troupe is based in Butare however they perform nationally chanting and moving in formation whilst carrying traditional weapons. The music itself is African folk music and dancing and music are taught across the country in dance groups.

Rwanda Dancing

Ironically it was the displacement of many Rwandans following the internal war and genocide to countries such as Belgium that brought Rwanda dancing and music to a wider audience. Music can be heard everywhere in Rwanda from market places, bus stations even at schools before lessons commence, whether it be religious, traditional or popular music. Places worth a visit in Rwanda include the Virunga Volcanoes, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the Volcanoes National Park (best known for its 300 mountain gorillas), Akagera National Park founded in 1934 on the border with Tanzania with its game and wildlife and Nyungwe Forest, one of the oldest forests in Africa renowned for its primates.

Rwanda Images: Volunteer in Rwanda

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Rwanda Images: Gorilla Webcam

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Rwanda Images: Child Sponsor Rwanda

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Rwanda Images: Rwanda Country Profile

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