Until recently perhaps best known for its horrific 1994 genocide, today Rwanda - the Land of a Thousand Hills - is one of Africa’s gems, gaining kudos from all over the world for its meaningful and dignified recovery. Its leadership has been visionary and the ambition for the future of the country, it seems, is tangibly shared by all the country’s citizens.
Tourism to the country dwindled to negligible levels in the 1990s, but since 2003 has risen sharply with more and more ecotourists flocking to the location of Dian Fossey’s groundbreaking gorilla study in Volcanoes National Park in the 1960s and 1970s. Rwanda harbours half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and observing them in Dian Fossey’s old stomping ground lends some historical significance to today’s ecotourism experience.
The country offers more than simply gorillas of course. Chimpanzees, rare primates, savannah mammals and birds endemic to the Albertine Rift running along the spine of Central Africa are all easily accessible. More than this, the country offers insight into a modern and progressive Africa determined to change the story of a continent often associated with famines, wars and struggling economies.
Tourism is a pivotal part of the Rwanda vision and foreigners are welcomed enthusiastically and hospitably whether in Volcanoes National Park, Lake Kivu, Akagera or the misty mountain forests of Nyungwe National Park.