Visiting Rwanda

 

All International flights arriving in Kigali are with SN Brussels, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi and Rwandair Express. All international flights arrive at Kigali International Airport, 10 Km from central Kigali. There are two flights a day from Nairobi, two per week direct from Brussels and two per week from Johannesburg.
For information on connections from Nairobi, Entebbe and Johannesburg, please contact  Rwanda Air Express on www.rwandair.com
Passport and Visas
A valid passport is mandatory. Visas cost USD 60 and can be bought upon arrival, required by all visitors except nationals of the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong.
Money
The unit of currency is the Rwanda franc. The US dollar is the hard currency of preference. It may be impossible to exchange travellers' cheques away from the capital. Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.
Language
In addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English,
.
Public Holidays
Good Friday and Easter Monday, which fall on variable dates, are recognised in Rwanda. Other public holidays are :
January 1 (New Year's Day); February 1(National Heroes Day); April 7(Genocide Memorial Day); May 1 (Labour Day); July 4 (National Liberation Day); August 15 (Assumption Day); October 1 (Patriotism Day); December 25 (Christmas Day).
When to Visit
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla trekking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Palaearctic migrants supplement resident species.
What to Wear
Dress codes are informal. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings and heavier clothing for the Parc des Volcans and Nyungwe. When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
What to Bring
Binoculars will greatly enhance game drives and forest walks. Bring a camera too. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
Communications
Rwanda has an excellent cell phone network covering almost the entire country. nternational phone calls can be made easily. Appropriate SIM cards for the network are readily available everywhere, even in remote towns, and cell phones can be purchased or rented from major shops in Kigali. Most towns of any size will have several Internet cafes and computer centres.
Getting Around
 
 
              Rwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa. Most visitors who have booked through a tour company will be provided with good private vehicles, usually 4-wheel drive. All of the major centres are connected with local and luxury bus services. Air charter services are available anywhere in the country.
Hiking and Biking
The fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valleys. Mountain biking and hiking can be enjoyed on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages, criss-crossing the entire country.
Gorilla Permits
Gorilla Permits can be arranged by Virunga Expedition Tours , or can be purchased directly through the Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) / The Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks, at the headquarters in Kigali.
Safety and Health
A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are located in all major towns.
Seasons and Climate
A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1,000mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May. See today's weather here