Travel to Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the most popular tourist destinations among traveler. It is always a great idea to read and find more information about a country before you travel. The visa, health and safety and so much more. To help you better navigate the country, our experts have put together all the details in our Rwanda Travel Tips to get the best about a Rwanda Safari.
From visa to health information, language locally spoken or currency used, Cuisines weather and more; we got you covered. Discover all the essential details from Valiant Safari Experts in this Rwanda Travel Guide.
Getting to Rwanda
Rwanda has one airport which is in Kigali the capital city. It is located about 10 kilometers in the in eastern direction from the city Centre.
Kigali currently receives direct flights from Brussels, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Lagos, Entebbe, Nairobi, Bujumbura, and Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salaam, Juba and Dubai. It is also a possibility to take a bus from neighboring East African Community countries.
Getting around Rwanda
The capital Kigali is a small city and there are distances you can actually walk on foot; some however can be navigated by Taxi and others by motorized tri cycles. The tricycles and motorcycles are actually very common means of transportation within the city.
They can be identified by their jerseys and they always have an extra helmet. Most drivers speak Basic English or French. Rwandan Traffic laws require all moto-bike users to wear helmets, and Rwandans abide by this, do not sit on a motorbike without a helmet; you will be a victim of the law.
Taxis are common and can be found at taxi stands in Kigali and other provinces, they have specific bus stops. You may hire a special taxi by calling them or the reception at your hotel can call a recommended taxi driver for you. These are more expensive than motorcycles, taxis and other public buses.
“Matatus” are usually colored to differentiate from other motorists, the white with green or yellow colored minibuses travel across the country. Rwanda transportation system is very good with great inter-region connectivity, a good road network with well-maintained surfaces. These are served by modern minibuses that are a good choice to the public. Private cars and drivers can be hired from Kigali. To make your trip more interesting, if considering driving from Kigali to other provinces of Rwanda, for example; along Lake Kivu, it is recommended that you get a 4×4 and travel with someone who knows the area. Valiant Safaris professional and experienced driver guides will play a great role for you. Or use the public transport (Matatus) from the regional cars parking at Nyabugogo, each 30 minutes there are buses from different transport agencies linking Kigali to other cities of the country. Upcountry driving is perfect for anyone with interested in beautiful scenery and adventure. Be sure to get a 4×4, good maps, and a working phone before leaving if you are on a self-drive, otherwise you will sit and relax as our professional guides take you around.
Visitors interested in Visiting Rwanda are required to have a valid passport or any other internationally recognized travel documents. It is with this that you will be able to apply for a visa that will permit you entry into the Republic of Rwanda that you are supposed to apply for prior to your arrival
Rwanda Visas are easily obtainable on arrival at all entry points but you can as well apply online. We however recommend that you apply for the visa three months in advance. The East African tourist visa has been introduced for the three East African community countries of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda apparently.
Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandan franc (Rwf). It is best advisable to arrive in Rwanda with US dollars or Euros in cash, which can be exchanged either at the airport, at a Forex bureau or bank. You will need local currency for most local expenditures. However the USD and Euro are generally acceptable and widely used in most Hotels and Tourist centers. Banque de Kigali offers cash advances on credit cards and also accepts travelers’ cheques, this may not be possible with the banks in other provinces. There are ATMs throughout Kigali and most towns that are accessible to visitors.
In most Hotels and tourism facilities where other foreign currencies like U S Dollars and Euros are accepted, a prevailing rate to the RWF will be applied and you billed in the local currency.
Credit cards are accepted in some up-market restaurants and hotels, but it is best to confirm prior to ordering. Bureaux de Change are mostly located in Kigali, these offer slightly better exchange rates than most banks in the country. All banks and most Bureaux de Change are closed on Sundays, public holiday and on the last Saturday of every month until 11:00 am for the National Day of Community work, “UMUGANDA”.
Like any part of the world, tipping is customary here in Rwanda in the restaurants, bars and any service areas. A tip of 5% is very acceptable and a tip of 20% is very generous. It is also customary to tip your driver/guide at the end of a safari or hike, as well as the cook and/or porter that may accompany on the experience.
The percentages are just a guide and the tip is not fixed, but can be given depending on your satisfaction after a service. Tipping remains at your sole discretion.
Most hotels and cafes in Rwanda have Wi-Fi free of charge. You will find it quite easier to find Cafés in Kigali with Wi-Fi than other places outside the city. However it is not always guaranteed, we recommend that you check beforehand if you are interested in using internet all the time. Most Midrange and luxury lodges in the countryside are equipped with Wi-Fi.
Phone and SIM Cards
Pay as you go SIM cards and phones are available in most major retailers around Kigali. There are also multiple phone registration kiosks and stands around the city and at the airport where you may purchase and register SIM cards.
Power and Electricity
Rwanda uses power plugs C and J, if you are equipped with power plug C type you may be covered. Mainly power supply is 230 Volts Ac.
Food in Rwanda
Utmost foods in Rwanda consists of bounce, food like rice, sweet potatoes, sludge, millet, cassava, yams cooked with sap, peas, funk and beef. Also, flour cooked into porridge and fresh fruits including avocados, mangos and papayas. Food in Rwanda varies from medium to good. Umutsima (Cassava and sludge), isombe (cassava leaves with eggplant and spinach) and mizuzu (fried plantains) are some of Rwanda’s traditional dishes. Drinks include original beer and ikigage, a locally brewed beer made from sludge. Fresh fruit and the Franco- Belgian inspired cookery are generally good.
Health in Rwanda
There are medical installations of Western standards in Kigali; away facilities are may be rudimentary. It’s judicious to be over- to- date on vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, polio and diphtheria. Visitors are advised to have the Havrix vaccine to guard against infection by hepatitis A and a Yellow fever Vaccine is generally needed for entry into Rwanda. Malaria is wide throughout tableland Rwanda, so malaria preventives are generally essential. HIV infection rates are high in Rwanda and callers are advised to be conservative.
Language in Rwanda
The main language spoken in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language, also known as ‘Rwanda’ or ‘Ruanda ’). French is widely spoken and English is also spoken by numerous people who are in usual contact with visitors.
Weather and climate in Rwanda
Rwanda Safari presents callers with an affable tropical upland climate, although downfall isn’t uncommon. There are two stormy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible.
Average day temperature is around 24 °C, except in the advanced mountains, which take up a lot of the country, where the range is 10 °C to 15 °C. Rwanda can be visited at any time of time. The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain hoods, but the endless hills are barren, a discrepancy to the green flora of the wet season.
Stylish Time to Visit Rwanda for goon shadowing is June, July and August also December, January and February; travelling outside this time means it’s easier to arrange a permit.
It rains more constantly and heavily in the northeast, where the tinderboxes are covered by rainforest. The peak of Karisimbi (4507m), the loftiest peak in Rwanda, is frequently covered with sleet or snow.
Tailored Rwanda Safari Packages
Can be customized to suit your travel choice, budget and style
Talk to safari expert to help you plan.
Valiant Safaris will organise all your accommodation, transfers, permits, meals for you.