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The population of Rwanda is comprised of close to 13 million people (2017) belonging to three main ethnic groups, which can be classified according to their tribal background. The Twa people were the original settlers in Rwanda and are genetically a subgroup of the African Pygmies, but with a body structure that is larger than pygmy groups. Adult males are likely to weigh about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) with an average height of 5 feet. They have traditionally lived in the widespread forests around the Virunga Mountains as subsistence hunters and gatherers. As you will learn on your cultural vacation in Rwanda, the Twa people have always been considered inferior and were isolated by the other groups due to their smaller physical build, as well as differing customs and traditions.

The Hutu people migrated to Rwanda some 2000 years ago, and, since they were farmers, cut down many of the forests to make way for their farms. The Hutus share a genetic connection with the Bantu tribes that live in Eastern and Central Africa. The males have an average height of around 5 feet 5 inches and weigh about 130 pounds (59 kilograms). Similar to the Twa people, they also have dark skin and a stocky body structure. Both men and women work on the farmlands, and they build prestige on their ability to work hard. With the arrival of Hutus in Rwanda, the number of the Twa people began to decline.

Some 416 years ago the Tutsi people arrived in Rwanda as cattle herders, a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Belonging to a Nilo-Saharan genetic pool, members of this group are typically taller than the Hutus and Twa, with the males having an average height of 5 feet 9 inches and weighing around 120 pounds (54 kilograms). They also have a lighter colored skin and a slimmer build. In a culture where a height of 6 feet is highly regarded, the Tutsi came to be considered the elite class and ruled the country in small royal kingdoms prior to colonization. The Tutsi people were also warriors, so they suppressed the other tribes and created small kingly principalities. Touring the country today, and you will find that Hutus make up about 85% of the population, with the Tutsis and Twa significant minorities at 14% and 1%, respectively. These groups lived in peaceful harmony with each other until the advent of colonialism.

Distinctions between Rwanda’s three ethnic groups can only be made on the basis of their historical and genetic backgrounds; aside from this factor, they live interspersed various regions of the country and speak the same language of Kinyarwanda, which was adapted from the Bantu tongue. The groups also follow the same religious and cultural customs and traditions, and your trip to the country will surely be enriched by an introduction to their fascinating ways of life. Interestingly, the sphere of their cultural influence extends into the neighboring countries of Uganda and Congo, where many of the people speak Kinyarwanda. To maintain control over Rwanda the Belgians fed the belief that Tutsis were the superior race, sowing the seeds of the terrible genocide in which close to a million Tutsis lost their lives. Today, as you travel around Rwanda, you will find that a tenth of the people speak French and a small percentage speak English and/or Kiswahili. In terms of religion, the population is diverse and practices Christianity, Islam, and traditional African beliefs.

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CONTACT AN EXPERT ON RWANDA SAFARI PRICES & TOURS
Comprehensive Rwanda Safari & Tour Planning Guide
SAFARI PRICES FOR RWANDA
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SAFARI PRICES FOR RWANDA

Review individual itineraries and prices of our suggested Rwanda safaris with the option of customizing your Africa tour based on your needs and preferences.

AFRICA TRIP IDEAS FOR RWANDA
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AFRICA TRIP IDEAS FOR RWANDA

Review experiences available in Rwanda from gorilla treks, photo wildlife safari, hiking, family to honeymoon romantic vacation, beach lakes, cultural & birding tours.

PARKS & RESERVES IN RWANDA
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PARKS & RESERVES IN RWANDA

Review information on wildlife safari parks, reserves and lakes in Rwanda i.e. Volcanoes, Nyungwe Forest, Akagera, Gishwati-Mukura and Lake Kivu

ACCOMMODATIONS IN RWANDA
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ACCOMMODATIONS IN RWANDA

Review information on safari lodges and camps, city hotels, lakeside resorts in Rwanda's pristine wilderness, cities, lake beach shores and idyllic forests.

BEST TIME TO VISIT RWANDA
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BEST TIME TO VISIT RWANDA

Review details on the best time to go to Rwanda to visit its various wildlife outback, forests, beachside lakes, cities and towns, mountains and other wildernesses.

RWANDA PRIMATE & GORILLA TREK
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RWANDA PRIMATE & GORILLA TREK

Review the opportunity to see the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys of Volcanoes Park and other primates like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys of Nyungwe.

RWANDA COUNTRY PROFILE
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RWANDA COUNTRY PROFILE

Review country information and travel tips on Rwanda i.e. geography, culture, history, climate, tipping guide, what to pack and wear, entry requirements and more.

CITY DAY TOURS FOR RWANDA
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CITY DAY TOURS FOR RWANDA

Review city tour suggestions on full or half day options in Kigali. Experiences can be customized around your vacation travels in Rwanda parks and reserves.

RWANDA SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS
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RWANDA SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS

Review Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram real time social media news for Rwanda parks, towns, lakeside beaches, gorilla safaris, lodging and more.

AFRICANMECCA REVIEWS

What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWSfive star africanmecca safaris reviews

  • I just returned from a month in Africa, specifically Rwanda & Kenya. I am left breathless with my experience. AfricanMecca Safaris coordinated the entire trip for me and left no detail, nothing for me to do.
    Carol Bobb - Pennsylvania, United States
  • Rwanda was amazing. The accommodations, food, and guides AfricanMecca arranged were great. Raza also helped us through the complicated process of getting permits for gorilla trekking. AfricanMecca is a fantastic company to work with.
    Stephanie Weir - United States
  • Jambo Altaf and Raza! We are back on earth now after our fabulous honeymoon. This is to say THANK YOU so much for organising a week in Kenya that we will never forget.....!
    Dr Krina Zondervan, Oxford University - United Kingdom
  • Jambo Raza!!! The safari trip was spectacular! Everything went off without a hitch. We loved the Masai Mara. The migration was awesome. You listened to what I wanted and delivered it perfectly.
    Judi & Chaim Platt - Toronto, Canada
  • I cannot say enough about the quality of AfricanMecca. Their teams in Kenya and Tanzania were top notch. Raza, again thanks to you and your entire organization! We will be repeat customers.
    Dan Kobick - Managing Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers - New York, United States
  • AfricanMecca Safaris offers incredibly knowledgeable and skilled services! Our travel arrangements for 2 months of volunteering with TEACH Rwanda in country were made quickly and economically. Honored to work with Raza!
    Janet Brown - TEACH Rwanda Founder - United States
  • This is to let you know my guests, The Bryant's, had a wonderful time on the trip Samburu, Masai Mara/Kenya, Chobe/Botswana & Victoria Falls/Zambia. Everything was perfect! Thank you..
    Christine Milan - MT Carmel Travel - Connecticut, United States

EAST AFRICA SAFARI & TOUR HOLIDAY IDEA FOR RWANDA

When visiting Rwanda, we recommend combining your Kigali visit with a gorilla safari in Volcanoes Park, Nyungwe and Akagera. You may optionally extend out to other wilderness areas of Gishwati-Mukura ending with a beach vacation at Lake Kivu or even extending out to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar or Lamu, or even Mombasa.

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