• Rwanda
    © Goran Bogicevic / 123RF
  • Rwanda
    © Jonathan Peacock / 123RF
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Rwanda

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
The "land of a thousand hills" has become famous against its will. The war opposing the Hutus and the Tutsis gave rise to one of the deadliest genocides of the XXth century. It is a shame however to sum this country up by its wounds as it conceals many treasures those who travel to Rwanda will discover. Nothing compares to a hike inside its caves, in the heart of the Virunga volcano range, by the side of its numerous lakes and along its rivers. It is on this territory that the Beringei gorillas have chosen to live. The American anthropologist, Dian Fossey, dedicated her life to the famous "silverbacks". The mythic film "Gorillas in the Mist" recounts her action.

Our Editorial team's advice

You must be careful, Rwanda is a country emerging from one of the civil wars that has marked the XXth century. The trials of the genocidal figures are currently being held, prisons are overcrowded and the process of recovery could go on for many years. However, the mountain gorillas of the Virunga volcano range offer, without a doubt, the most renowned attraction. Additionally, the picturesque shores of lake Kivu are recommended for a holiday.

pros

  • +French is a language used for communication
  • +The mountain gorillas and the landscapes.

cons

  • -The 1994 genocide is still present on everybody's mind and has left visible marks in the country.
  • -The unsafe zones are in the North and South of the country.

Food

The Rwandans eat roots (manioc, sweet potatoes, yams) and cook them in all sorts of ways, but especially deep-fried. Peas and beans are the base of Rwandan food. They are generally suggested as a casserole, seasoned with chillies and palm oil and served with fish or chicken dishes. A typical dish is sombé with dried isambas: they are sardines from lake Kivu and manioc leaves. Umutsima is mashed banana or pumpkin, served with various dishes. Zebra steak is one of the most prized dishes. There is local beer and banana wine, considered one of the national drinks.

Souvenirs

You will find basketry: beautiful mats with geometrical patterns used as wall decorations, or cylindrical baskets with pointed lids. Woodwork is also present, in the form of small representations of shields (ingabo), games (isigoro games) or even traditional musical instruments. Rutongo embroidery is one of the country's specialities. There is a wide range of table cloths, handkerchiefs and sheets available to buy, as well as framed African or Western embroidered patterns. Pottery is also very popular, most objects (vases, jugs, small dishes) are designed for domestic use. Shops are open Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 6 pm and to 10 pm in cities.