Rwanda Geography

Rwanda Geography

Rwanda, Rwanda, officially French République Rwandaise [repy Republic RWA dε ː z], Kinyarwanda Republika y’u Rwanda, German Republic of Rwanda, a landlocked country in East Africa (2018) 12.3 million residents; The capital is Kigali.


Rwanda borders Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.

Rwanda lies on a highland block broken into clods in the East African inter-lake region. The west belongs to the area of ​​the Central African Trench with the Kiwu Lake, which is 1,460 m above sea level (border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and its outflow, the Rusisi.

A steep ascent of more than 1,000 m leads from the bottom of the trench up to the eastern shoulder of the trench in the crystalline mountainous region of Hochruanda, the main settlement area of ​​the country with arable land and pastures as well as remnants of mountain forests.

In the northwest, also densely populated, joins the massif of the Virunga Volcanoes (in the Karisimbi 4,507 m above sea level). The plateau zone, which is around 1,500–1,700 m above sea level and interspersed with outflowless lakes, occupies the east as far as the Kagera. Their areas, which are to a small extent forested, are mostly used for agriculture, while there are hardly any settlements in the deeply cut, often swampy valleys with papyrus thickets. The extensive marshland of the Kagerawith the Kagera National Park extends along the eastern border.


The native population of the country, the Banyarwanda, is made up of three ethnic groups: 85% are Hutu, a traditionally arable Bantu people, 14% belong to the Nilotic cattle breeding people of the Tutsi ( Hima ). The Twa form a small minority(Pygmies); the majority of them live in the area of ​​the Central African Rift in the south-west of the country. There have been strong tensions between Hutu and Tutsi for centuries. They discharged themselves in 1994 in the genocide of Tutsi and dissident Hutu. Together with subsequent refugee movements and the return of the Tutsi who had previously been in exile for decades, this led to lasting social upheaval. Around (2017) 600,000 Rwandans lived abroad, at the same time around 500,000 migrants were in the country in 2017. In addition, there were (2017) 171,000 refugees (mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). 259,000 people fled Rwanda (2017). The common language is Kinyaruanda. In addition, there is French as the official language and, after the return of numerous Tutsi refugees from English-speaking countries after 1994, English. Swahili is important as a lingua franca.

With (2017) 495 residents per km 2, Rwanda is the most densely populated state on the African mainland. The scattered settlement is typical for the country. With an urbanization rate of (2019) only 17%, the capital Kigali is the only major city. It is followed by the university town of Butare, Gisenyi and Ruhengeri.

The biggest cities in Rwanda

Largest cities (population, 2012 census)
Kigali 859 300
Gisenyi 136 800
Ruhengeri 59 300
Butare 50 200
Guitarama 49,000

Social: A large part of the population still lives in poverty. Medical care is inadequate, especially in rural areas. When it comes to nutrition, the country is dependent on food aid from abroad. Due to this shortage, the leasing of fertile land to foreign investors is viewed critically.


The constitution guarantees freedom of religion. According to remzfamily, well over 90% of the population are Christians: Around 44% belong to the Catholic Church (Archdiocese of Kigali with eight suffragan bishops), around 50% to Protestant denominations (especially Adventists with 11.8% of the Population share and members of the Anglican Church of the province of Rwanda with around 8% of the population and 11 dioceses, which are statistically assigned to the Protestants) as well as around 2% independent churches.

Belief practices of indigenous African religions are widespread, often at the same time as belonging to Christian churches. Islam, which officially includes around 2% of the population, is growing steadily.


Music, dance, and poetry are among the early art forms in Rwanda that were used at ceremonies, festivals, and other gatherings. The connecting link within the feudal society of the Kingdom of Rwanda (15th to 20th centuries) was the common language Kinyaruanda.

One of the traditional musical instruments is the inanga, a zither that used to accompany the recitation of stories and poems. The stringed instrument made of wood is still played today. The musician Sophie Nzayisenga ( life dates unknown ) is considered the national icon of the Inanga game. The singer, songwriter, organist and composer Kizito Mihigo ( * 1981 ), originally from the field of church music, was also involved in the arrangement of the new national anthem of Rwanda from 2002. Successful new trends in popular music see themselves as a mixture of classical rhythms and modern elements from the fields of rhythm’n blues, gospel, folk and rap. Its most important representatives include: B. Cecile Kayirebwa (* 1946), Massamba Intore (* 1969) and James Ruhumuriza ( * 1990 ) alias King James.

Rwandan literature is represented by Alexis Kagame ( * 1912, † 1981 ), among others. The philosopher, historian, linguist and writer published poems and compiled the orally transmitted history of his country in his works.

For a long time, cultural life in the region of today’s Rwanda remained untouched by external influences. Early trade routes and the caravans of the Atlantic slave trade that began in the 16th century led around the area. It was only with the arrival of the first white explorers in the second half of the 19th century that the country became known in Europe. Under the Belgian colonial administration, Rwanda also began to change culturally from the 1920s. The 1994 genocide, which killed up to 1 million Tutsis and opposition Hutu, was another decisive turning point in cultural production. Today, art and culture are seen as important pillars of social cohesion in Rwandan society.

Soccer is the most popular sport, but handball and volleyball are also popular. Team sports are specially promoted by the state as a socially unifying element of reconciliation. The most popular individual sports include marathons, triathlons and cycling.

Rwanda Geography

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