Mention Rwanda to anyone with a small measure of geopolitical conscience, and they’ll no doubt recall images of the horrific genocide that brutalised this tiny country in 1994. But since those dark days a miraculous transformation has been wrought and today the country is one of tribal unity, political stability and a promising future.
Tourism is once again a key contributor to the economy and the industry’s brightest star is the chance to track rare mountain gorillas through bamboo forests in the shadow of the Virunga volcanoes. These conical mountains are shrouded in equatorial jungles and helped earn Rwanda the well-deserved moniker of ‘Le Pays des Mille Collines’ (Land of a Thousand Hills).
So, while Rwanda’s scars may run deep, now is the time to help the country look to its future and embrace its new-found optimism.
East Africa: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s East Africa guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip...
Need to know
A formidable natural border between Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, the Virunga volcanoes are where Rwanda really earns its nickname as the Land of a Thousand Hills. Home to their share of the last mountain gorillas on the planet, the Rwandan Virungas are protected by Parc National des Volcans, the undisputed highlight of the country.