The information below contains geography information for Rwanda, including climate, weather,
cities, and area information. You can also check out the
Rwanda Country Page for additional
Area: 26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.
Cities: Capital--Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities--Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.
Terrain: Uplands and hills.
Climate: Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.
Geography of Rwanda
Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the People's Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.
Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda's high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73o F (23o C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.