Rwanda’s stunning scenery and warm, friendly people offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world. Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is blessed with extraordinary biodiversity and some of the world’s most incredible wildlife living throughout its volcanoes, montane rainforest and sweeping plains.
The name “Rwanda” is derived from the Rwanda-Rundi word rwanda meaning “domain” or literally an “area occupied by a swarm”. The official name of the country was “Rwandese Republic” until May 2003, when the adoption of a new national constitution changed it to its current name of “Republic of Rwanda”.
Modern human settlement of what is now Rwanda dates from around 8000 BC. But it is the modern history and events of Rwanda from the 90’s that have shaped the Rwanda we see today. In 1990 a rebel group composed of nearly 500,000 Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from their base in Uganda, initiating the Rwandan Civil War. The group condemned the Hutu-dominated government for failing to democratize and confront the problems facing these refugees. Neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage in the war, but by 1992 it had weakened President Habyarimana’s authority. Mass demonstrations forced him into a coalition with the domestic opposition and eventually to sign the 1993 Arusha Accords.
The cease-fire ended on 6 April 1994 when Habyarimana’s plane was shot down near Kigali Airport, killing him. The shooting down of the plane served as the catalyst for the Rwandan genocide, which began within a few hours. Over the course of approximately 100 days, around 800,000 Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu were killed in well-planned attacks on the orders of the interim government. The infrastructure and economy of the country had suffered greatly during the genocide and there are still visible signs today of the aftermath of this mass slaughter today.
Two decades after the 1994 genocide, the great untold story of Rwanda’s rise is how women rebuilt the nation. Most of those killed in the genocide were men and because many male perpetrators fled to neighboring nations, 70 percent of Rwanda’s post-genocide population was female. Faced with ensuring their families’ very survival, women stepped up. Mothers took in orphaned children and organised support groups for widows. Women moved from cleaning buildings to reconstructing them. They farmed and started businesses. Throughout the country, they created stability in the aftermath of unspeakable violence.
Today, Rwanda is acknowledged by many as one of the most stable nations in Africa and remarkably corruption-free. In only ten years, life expectancy has risen from 48 to 58 years. Deaths of children under five have been cut in half. A compulsory education program has put boys and girls in primary and secondary schools in equal numbers. Women can now own and inherit property and are active leaders in all sectors of the nation, including business. National mandates and programs are reducing violence, including violence against women. Foreign aid has contributed to the recovery process, but Rwandans themselves have shaped the policy to heal a nation and the local people are the true success story of this remarkable nation.
Our Remarkable Rwanda women’s only small group tour is one of our most inspiring and memorable tours, not just for its incredibly unique wildlife experiences but because of the opportunity to experience first hand Rwanda’s story from ruin to being one of the world’s safest countries and most progressive leaders in East Africa.
Learn in-depth more about how women at the forefront of this incredible re-emergence as well as experience the history, resilience, skill and community building, which are essentially the ingredients for what has created the success story of rebuilding Remarkable Rwanda.
On this tour you will also see the rare and magnificent Mountain Gorillas including a behind the scenes interaction with Dian Fossey’s Gorilla Doctors. Encounter other primates, safari animals and stunning vistas, as we get you in touch with the daily lives of Rwandans with immersive authentic experiences taking you into their daily lives, micro entrepreneurial businesses, skills and rich culture both ancient and recent to show you the heart of this inspiring country and their incredible story in the land of a thousand hills.
Make this experience yours, let us help you secure your spot on this amazing adventure of a lifetime – Remarkable Rwanda. Contact us today!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.