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Cattle on heavily cultivated land at the base of the Visoke volcano

The name Rwanda once evoked images of the amazing mountain gorillas and breathtaking mountain views, until the country was devastated by bloodshed. Still, much of it has been rebuilt by its inhabitants, the economy has been resurrected, and travellers can now move around much more safely.

The country is still shattered by the attempted genocide of the Tutsi tribe in 1994 - a brutal, unrelenting and allegedly premeditated slaughter by extremist Hutu militias that left nearly a million dead. There's a likelihood that the hatred between the two groups will simmer on.

Rwanda's captivating natural features offer some hard-to-beat experiences, from the mountain gorillas in reopened Parc National des Volcans to the hundreds of species of trees and birds in the magnificent rainforests of Nyungwe. Urban centres such as Butare and the capital, Kigali, have forged ahead, opening new places to stay, eat, drink, dance and meet the local population, while the shoreline of Lake Kivu has sprouted relaxing new facilities for visitors and the hordes of remaining NGO staff alike.

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