Republic. Gained independence from Belgium in 1962.
Head of state:
President Paul Kagame since 2000.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi since 2011.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
Known as the land of 1,000 hills, this country couldn't be further from the cliched African image of arid deserts and dry bush. Winding roads hug verdant slopes, every inch carved into fields with crops ranging from banana trees to maize. In the valleys are great sweeping tea plantations, rice fields and coffee groves.
Rwanda has made a remarkable recovery from the 1994 genocide which saw more than 800,000 people killed at the hands of Hutu extremists and much of its infrastructure collapse. The country is now leading the way in using tourism for sustainable development and conservation. The bamboo and mid-altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park in the north are home to the rare mountain gorilla and the high-altitude Nyungwe Forest in the south, one of the largest remaining rainforests in Africa, is home to 13 primates, including chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, rare orchids and nearly 300 different species of bird.
A landlocked country, Rwanda makes up for this with the stunning Lake Kivu, with beaches at Gisenyi and inlets and coves at Kibuye. Out in a kayak, you can paddle around forested islands and nod hello to the fishermen in dug-out canoes.
Last updated: 23 April 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The eastern part of the DRC remains volatile, and there is a continuing risk that the security situation in the region could deteriorate rapidly. There were reports of stray artillery fire falling on the Rwandan side of the border near Rubavu on 25 October, and north of Gisenyi and on Gisenyi itself between 21 and 29 August. If you’re travelling near the DRC/Rwanda border, make sure you check this travel advice regularly.
You should remain highly alert to the possibility of military incursions, stray bullets and/or artillery fire entering Rwanda.
Since 2011, there have been a number of grenade attacks throughout Rwanda, mainly in Kigali and Musanze. The latest attacks were on 27 January 2014 (Musanze) and 14 September 2013 (Kigali). You should remain vigilant.
Crime levels are relatively low but there have been recent incidents of street crime.