Rwanda Safaris, Tours & Holidays

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Rwanda safaris, tours and holidays

Rwanda Safaris, Tours & Holidays

Destination Rwanda also officially known as the Republic of Rwanda is a small landlocked country on the edge of the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. One of the smallest countries on the African mainland, its capital city is Kigali which is centrally located closer to the Ugandan border making it superbly a top safari destination.

Rwanda is also known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda’s stunning scenery and warm climate, friendly people offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world. It is blessed with extraordinary biodiversity, with incredible wildlife living throughout its volcanoes, montane rainforest and sweeping plains, Chimpanzees, golden monkeys and other primates live alongside hundreds of brightly coloured birds, orchids and butterflies, Travellers come from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the magnificent gorillas, yet there is so much more to see and experience. The west of Rwanda forms a branch of the Great Rift Valley known as the Albertine Rift. It has many unique, endemic species and is bursting with life.

How to get to Rwanda

There are two ways to get to Rwanda travellers can fly into the main Kigali international Airport using either national carrier Rwanda Air or other airlines like Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines.

Other regional flights can Land in Kamembe airport and Gisenyi airport respectively.

By road Rwanda can be accessed through Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania with all these countries having modern border crossing points.

Passport, Visa and Entry requirements for Rwanda

  • Passport: Must be valid for six months after entry into the country.
  • Visa: Obtain a visa before travelling or a 30-day tourist visa at the port of entry for $30.

The health sector of Rwanda

Medical facilities in East Africa are limited. This is especially true for some of the remote places where your safari may take you. In case of a serious medical emergency, getting to the nearest full-service hospital may mean a long ground transfer over poor roads.

Wilderness Explorers Africa has a partnership with AMREF to provide an inexpensive Tourist Air Evacuation Scheme. For registered clients, AMREF Flying Doctors will respond swiftly and without delay in the event of an incident and coordinate directly with work with the client’s overseas insurance company.

Malaria and Yellow fever vaccination for Rwanda

Contact your general medical practitioner at least 8 weeks before your trip to Rwanda to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

Medical facilities in Rwanda are limited, particularly outside major towns. Medical help at the scene of an accident is likely to be equally scarce. In the case of a serious accident or illness, evacuation by air ambulance may be required. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and/or repatriation.

It is possible to purchase a short-term insurance policy with AMREF Flying Doctors programme to cover the period of your tour.

Make sure your Yellow Fever vaccination is up to date before arriving in Rwanda as this is often asked for by immigration officials.

Currency of Rwanda

The Rwandan francs is the official currency of the Republic of Rwanda but for travellers, the US dollar is the currency of choice, most tourism areas will have prices set in US dollars, Euros, British pounds but travellers can change money in the forex bureau in Rwanda upon arrival.

Travellers are cautioned to bring the newest notes up travelling to Rwanda as the older notes may be rejected by the local banks and the forex rates are also determined by the note if the note is big you get a higher rate and if the note is small you will get a lower rate.

Official Language of Rwanda

Unusually for Africa, Rwanda is essentially a mono-linguistic state, with the first language of practically all citizens being Kinyarwanda. In addition, most Rwandans speak little of at least one international language. Historically, French was the most widely recognised European language.

From a visitor’s perspective, it is pretty easy to get around in either English or French, both of which are recognised as an official language alongside Kinyarwanda, but English is undoubtedly the primary language of the tourist industry.

Best time to travel to Rwanda

Generally, during the day, the temperature ranges between 22°C and 27°C while at night they drop to between 16°C and 21°C. Unlike many other African countries away from the equator, it is neither too hot nor too cold.

The best time to visit Rwanda is from mid-May to mid-October; this is the long dry season and has perfect conditions for tracking gorillas. There are four seasons to consider when planning your Rwanda safari, however, the weather is fairly temperate and favours travel year-round, thanks to its compact size, proximity to the equator, and high altitude, which gives it a fresh highland feel and consistent temperature. The average daytime temperature is around 30°C or 86°F. The capital of Kigali enjoys an average temperature of 21°C or 70°F.

You can track gorillas year-round in Rwanda, however, you will want to bear in mind that the rainier months will make tracking more difficult with muddy conditions.

What to wear in Rwanda?

Men tend to wear trousers but shorts are fine, although walking around without a shirt is frowned upon. Women will feel more comfortable in knee-length or longer. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing and think about sun protection, including a hat and sunglasses.

What to bring while travelling to Rwanda?

Comfortable, casual wash and wear clothes are recommended. Please note that muted colours are recommended for game viewing. Game drives are conducted in the early morning and late afternoon, which can be very cold, especially in winter.

The most practical items to pack for safari are:

  • Khaki, green, beige and neutral colours (dark blue and black clothing should be avoided, as it attracts Tsetse flies)
  • Shirts with long sleeves (even in summer, as protection from the sun, mosquitoes and Tsetse flies)
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
  • A jacket and sweater are recommended for early morning and evening game drives
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sturdy trousers
  • Rain hat
  • Swim and beachwear while at camp
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Strong waterproof walking boots (comfortable for going up steep hills). Pants should be tucked into socks and boots while trekking.
  • Sunblock, sunglasses, hat, moisturizer and lip-salve are all essentials
  • Strong insect repellent
  • Binoculars and camera equipment
  • Small backpack to carry water and a packed lunch
Car hire and driving in Rwanda

Rwanda is a safe country to drive yourself as long as you keep the road rules. You will have to keep it right, the roads are good. Of course, if you organize your safari, it will be much cheaper than using a safari company however you may find it difficult to purchase gorilla and chimpanzee permits in Rwanda and as Wilderness Explorers, we recommend hiring a local drive along in order to have the best experience.

Accommodation in Rwanda

Rwanda is a small country most major towns and tourist attractions will have all types of accommodation ranging from Budget, mid-range and luxury so where to stay in Rwanda is not a concern though major tourist attractions like gorillas may require advance booking to reserve the best places.

Local food of Rwanda

The cuisine of Rwanda is simple yet unique with the typical Rwandan diet consisting of sweet potatoes, beans, corn, peas, millet and fruit. Many Rwandans don’t eat meat more than a few times a month. Those people who live near lakes also incorporate fish into their diets, particularly tilapia.

Tipping while Travelling in Rwanda

Tipping is not customary in most places in Rwanda, with the exception of some higher-end restaurants in town where 10% of the final bill is standard.

For safaris site guides are tipped after the activity and the safari guides can be tipped on the last day of the safari and for more information on how much to tip please contact Wilderness Explorers Africa safari experts today.

Further information for Rwanda

Rwanda has suffered significantly from the Genocide between 1994-1999 where many people were massacred so clients must reframe from ethnic conversations with locals during their safari in Rwanda.

Safety of Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the safest destinations in Africa, particularly for solo travellers. Crime is relatively low, with visitors sometimes experiencing petty crime, and locals are welcoming, friendly and hospitable. … Violent crimes against travellers are rare and the Rwandan government has made the destination safe for travellers.

Best time to visit Rwanda

The best time to visit Rwanda is from mid-May to mid-October; this is the long dry season and has perfect conditions for tracking gorillas. There are four seasons to consider when planning your Rwanda safari, however, the weather is fairly temperate and favours travel year-round, thanks to its compact size, proximity to the equator, and high altitude, which gives it a fresh highland feel and consistent temperature. The average daytime temperature is around 30°C or 86°F. The capital of Kigali enjoys an average temperature of 21°C or 70°F.

You can track gorillas year-round in Rwanda, however, you will want to bear in mind that the rainier months will make tracking more difficult with muddy conditions.

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