Rwanda is a landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, situated on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift, a western arm of the Great Rift Valley, on the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems; the Nile and the Congo. Much of the country’s 26, 338 km2 is impressively mountainous, the highest peak being Karisimbi ( 4,507 m ) in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Volcanoes National Park. The largest body of water is Lake Kivu, but there are other numerous lakes around the country, notably Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi and some of which have erratic shapes following the contours of the steep mountains that enclose them.
A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate, temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low – lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal temperature variations are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive more than 1,000 mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May.
Primarily a subsistence agriculture economy, Rwanda nonetheless produces for export some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Other industries include sugar, fishing and flowers for export. For more information about Rwanda’s economy and investment opportunities available in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandan franc ( RFr ), which is sometimes also abbreviated to ‘Frw’. It’s best to come to Rwanda with US dollars or Euros in cash. The only useful bank branch in the country is Banque de Kigali in the capital, which offers cash advances on credit cards and can change traveller’s cheques, neither of which is possible in the provinces. There are ATMs in Kigali, but they are not yet wired to an international network. Credit cards can be used in some upmarket hotels and restaurants in Kigali. Bureau de change – which are mostly in Kigali – offer slightly better exchange rates than banks. Money changers hang around central Kigali and usually give a slightly better rate, but count your money carefully. All banks, and most bureau de change, are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.