Land of a thousand hills

Rwanda is a small, landlocked highland country in central Africa, famous for its mountain gorillas, which inhabit the Volcanoes National Park within the Virunga Massif – a spectacular range of volcanoes straddling the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

In addition to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda has two other significant protected areas: Nyungwe National Park in the south-west and Akagera National Park in the east of the country. Nyungwe National Park is the largest contiguous block of ancient montane forest in the region and contains impressive biodiversity including 13 primate species and around 300 bird species (of which 24 are unique to the Albertine Rift). Akagera National Park is a scenic reserve containing a wide variety of species in across its mountain, savannah and wetland habitats.

Most of Rwanda is densely populated, however, and not much in the way of natural habitat or wildlife remains outside the country’s protected areas.

Rwanda facts
Country in Africa

Size (land & water):

26,338 km²

Population (2016 est.):

12,988,423

GDP per capita (2016 est.):

US$1,900

Rwanda is located in Africa. It is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the DRC.

1978

FFI launches its mountain gorilla programme at the request of Sir David Attenborough.

400-1,000

people per km2 live around the mountain gorilla parks.

Our work to protect Rwanda’s biodiversity

Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) focus in Rwanda is on the conservation of mountain gorillas. This work began in 1978 at the request of our vice-president, Sir David Attenborough. Upon returning to the UK having witnessed the plight of the mountain gorillas while filming for Life on Earth, Sir David immediately arranged a meeting with FFI to discuss what could be done to turn around their fortunes.

As he describes in his filmed conversation with Mark Rose, FFI immediately took steps to raise funds and establish what today is known as the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) – a coalition between FFI and WWF.

As a result of conservation initiatives like IGCP, as well as the efforts of government authorities and communities in all three countries, mountain gorilla numbers have been increasing steadily. This work continues today, and is one of our longest-running and most successful programmes.

Learn more about our work in Rwanda