11 Interesting Facts about Rwanda

11 Interesting Facts about Rwanda


Rwanda is a small African country, whose name is often mostly associated with the horrific genocide that happened here in 1994. It was one of the most tragic events in the history not only of Rwanda, but the world. However, it was also a turning point in the country's history. It has since then embarked on a new path of social, economic and ecological development and deserves to be known for more that the events from 1994.
Here are some interesting facts about Rwanda that will spark your curiosity and put the country on your bucket list.

1. Plastic bags are banned

What you might not expect from an African country is to rank among the cleanest ones in the world. That is the case with Rwanda. Its public spaces are always remarkably clean and there is normally not a single piece of trash around. That is partly due to the ban on plastic bags in the country from 2008. Upon entering the country, your luggage will be checked by officials and you will be asked to remove any plastic bags that you might have.

2. The highest % of women in parliament in the world

With over 60% of its parliament members being female, Rwanda has the highest percentage of women in the parliament in the world.

3. Every last Saturday of the month is community work day

Every last Saturday of every month from 8am to 11am people nationwide participate in community projects. It's known as Umuganda and its mandatory. People all over the country take part in cleaning the streets, helping to build schools, cutting grass, etc. The idea behind this practice is not only to keep everything clean and tidy, but also to help unite people after the Genocide.

4. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas.

About 60% of the population of this endangered species can be found in the Virunga Massif - which the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is part of. Gorillas are fascinating animals and seeing them in their natural habitat is a unique experience, especially keeping in mind that people share over 97% of genetic code with them. Rwanda takes their conservation very seriously. This means less than 100 tourists a day are allowed to take part in the gorilla tracking, the costs for which are more than $1000.

 5. It’s known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills”

Rwanda is a characterized by its hilly and mountainous terrain. The country is 1, 000 m above sea level on average and never goes down to sea level.

6. It was part of Germany

Before Rwanda became part of the Belgian Empire after WWI, it was part of Germany, tohether with Tanzania.

7. One of the most horrific genocides in history happened here

Rwanda’s population is made up mostly of Hutus and Tutsis. Although Rwandans are working really hard now to leave their differences behind, these two ethnic groups have often been in conflicts historically. The culmination of this conflict was in 1994, when for a period of only about 100 days, almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by the Hutus. It is the fastest and one of the most brutal genocides in history – with weapons such as machetes and clubs used by both military and ordinary people.

8. It inspired some of the greatest movies of all time

The 2014 drama “Hotel Rwanda” was inspired by the real story of Paul Rusesabagina – the manager of Hôtel des Mille Collines, who managed to save hundreds of lives during the genocide in 1994. This hotel is open and is now one of the most preferred choices for visitors of Kigali. Another critically acclaimed drama based on real events is the 1998 movie “Gorillas in the Mist”. It tells the story of naturalist Dian Fossey who studied the mountain gorillas extensively put a lot of effort in their conservation. In fact, one of the most popular hiking routes is named after her and leads to her tomb and her research camp.

9. Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa.

The average population density is estimated at 274.6 people per square kilometer, which makes it the most densely populated countries in Africa.

10. Rwanda has four official languages

The official languages of Rwanda are French, English, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili.

11. Rwanda hosts a car-free day

To promote healthy living and sustainability, Rwanda implements a car-free day each month. On these days the streets of Rwanda fill up with people running, biking, roller skating or any other other type of outdoor sports.

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