Destinations

Rwanda

The land of a thousand hills

What guests are saying about Timbuktu

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Rwanda

Although never forgotten, the tiny landlocked country of Rwanda has come a long way since the genocide-ridden days of the 1990s. Today the Rwandans are a united nation, full of open smiles and genuine warmth, and are keen to show their gem of a country to anyone who’s thinking of a Rwanda safari. And with vast tracts of unspoilt, luscious vegetation, spectacular sightings of iconic mountain gorillas in the mist, dense jungle forest and a healthy dose of culture and promise in Kigali, there’s plenty to show off and a lot more than first meets the eye.


Why you'll love it

If you still need a reason to love Rwanda, it’s the people and the genuine care they have for their beautiful country – did you know Rwanda has already banned plastic bags, encourages the use of biofuel and has a national clean-up-the-streets day?


Off the beaten track

Dubbed the "African Galapagos", Nyungwe Forest is feast of biodiversity that is home to no fewer than 13 species of primates, including the legendary chimpanzee, as well as 120 species of butterfly and hundreds of ever-changing chameleons. Magical, indeed!


Something to think about

The cost of a permit to trek gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is a whopping US$1500. A good proportion is funnelled directly into the conservation of the gorillas, which is a truly fantastic mandate, but it does make the cost of your trip very high.

When to go

January

Season: Dry

February

Season: Wet

March

Season: Wet

April

Season: Wet

May

Season: Wet

June

Season: Dry

July

Season: Dry

August

Season: Dry

September

Season: Dry

October

Season: Wet

November

Season: Wet

December

Season: Dry

Need to know

Getting there

Rwanda has one international gateway for arrival by air, Kigali International Airport (KGL), which is located at Kanombe, 10km east of Kigali's city centre. This is a large airport and the hub for many airlines arriving from across the globe. There are various domestic airports and airfields connecting all major towns and safari destinations, and to other destinations in Africa.

Depending on your arrival time you may have to overnight before catching your connecting flight to your first safari camp the next day.

International flights
We would recommend booking your flights online in order to get the best rates. If you need any help or advice please let us know.

Domestic flights and transfers
Connecting between all the locations on your trip may necessitate a variety of modes: light aircraft charters, domestic commercial flights and road transfers. Please review the inclusions and exclusions on your specific trip page for details. If you need help understanding the best flights to book, please let us know.

From the moment that you land in Rwanda you will be greeted and assisted to your onward connections. You will be looked after from that point on until you are transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight.

Health

Please consult your personal physician and/or a travel clinic preferably 6 weeks prior to your departure. Vaccine requirements vary based on your country of origin and your travel itinerary and your previous vaccination history. It is best to consult with your physician or the CDC website for guidelines.

Important vaccinations to consider and which may either be required or recommended are: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Cholera, among others. Please always carry your "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)" (or "Yellow Card") with you.

Malaria
Malaria is present in Rwanda and it is strongly advisable to take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you.

In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures:

● Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously.
● Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk, as well as closed shoes.
● Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.

If you come down with flu-like symptoms either during or within four to six weeks after your visit to a malaria area, seek a doctor's advice immediately and let him/her know that you have been in a malaria area.

You can also visit www.malaria.org.za for more information.

Yellow Fever
There is risk of Yellow Fever in Rwanda; and, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Kenya, Uganda or elsewhere worldwide). It will also be required should you be carrying on to any regional countries without Yellow Fever (e.g. South Africa, Botswana, etc). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.

Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependents/travelling companions for the duration of your trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:

Compulsory Insurance:
a. Emergency evacuation expenses
b. Medical expenses
c. Repatriation expenses

Recommended Insurance:
a. Cancellation or curtailment of trip
b. Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods

Communication
Rwanda country code: +250

Calling overseas from Rwanda:
From a landline dial 00 followed by the country code plus area code and number.
e.g. USA: 00 1 910 795 1048

When calling from a cell phone dial + prefix followed by the country code plus area code and number. e.g. USA: + 1 910 795 1048

Visas

As a general precaution, we recommend you make several copies of your travel-related documents (passport, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, itinerary, airline tickets, insurance cover, visas, etc). Leave one set at home, and bring another set with you, and place it in a location separate from your originals.

Nationals of Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America shall receive an entry visa and pay for this visa fee upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point without prior application. The Rwanda entry visa fee is currently US $ 30.00 (cost is subject to change without prior notification) and valid for a period of up to 30 days. Nationals of the mentioned countries may also choose to apply for visas at Rwanda Diplomatic Missions (except
the UN Mission in New York) or online.

Effective 01 January 2018, all nationalities will be able to apply for visas on arrival and without prior application.

Please do contact the embassy or consultant in your home country to reconfirm visa requirements, as they are known to change frequently. Visa Central is also a good resource.

Money
The currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF). You can convert money to Francs at a bank or Forex Bureau, or withdraw from an ATM, all found in the larger airports and towns. Please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and establishments, however there may be a surcharge levied. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and stalls. Major banks are available in most towns in Rwanda. IMPORTANT: When bringing foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR) into the country, be sure to have the new format with no damage or marks.

What to pack

Climate
Rwanda produces a hot and humid climate with minimal temperature fluctuations throughout the year. There are two rainy seasons in the country – late-February to early-May (long rains) and the period from mid-October to early-December (the lighter short rains). Rwanda can be visited at most times of the year, but the climate can become quite unpredictable at the peak of the wet season.

Dress Code
Conservative/casual clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Rwanda Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you. Dark colours such as navy or black can attract tstese flies and are best avoided, as are bright colours like yellow, red and purple if you are going on safari.

Gorilla Trekking Guidelines
• No spitting in the park
• No littering in the park
• No coughing in the direction of the gorillas
• Only speak in whispers
• Do not point at the gorillas
• Movements around the gorillas must be unthreatening
• No venturing behind thick shrubs, you may surprise a gorilla
• If a nettle stings you, do not cry out, scream, shout-out loud or make any sudden moves
• If a gorilla charges or vocalizes, do not look directly at it - stand perfectly still unless the guide asks you to crouch or move back
• Keep a minimum distance of 7 meters from the Gorillas

Please note: that children must be older than 15 years of age for gorilla tracking.

What to Pack
• Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
• A warm fleece or jumper
• A lightweight waterproof jacket
• Comfortable but sturdy shoes
• Flip-flops
• Swimming costume (Bathing suit)
• A hat or baseball cap
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen – a must!
• Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
• A small torch
• Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
• A good pair of Binoculars (8x40/8x42 is recommended)
• Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time
• Pair of garden gloves (1 pair)
• Low ankle gators (1 pair)
• Knee high socks (1 pair)

Most camps and lodges will have a small medical and first aid kit, but we recommend bringing your own supply of essentials - cough medicine, plasters, vitamins, aspirin and paracetamol, and anything else you use on a regular basis.

Camera Equipment (for the enthusiasts)
• A telephoto lens (200/300mm)
• Flash and fast film (400 ASA) for night photography
• Ample film (64,100,200,400 ASA) if you are using an SLR camera
• Spare memory cards for digital cameras
• Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
• Bring spare batteries as although you may recharge your batteries at the camps, charging capacity can be limited

NB: Plastic bags are banned and carry a fine if brought into the country. Make sure you leave your bags on the airplane upon arrival.

Luggage
Please check with your airlines for the specific luggage restrictions relevant to your flight schedule. Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20 kgs or more per person and commercial airlines generally permit two (2) pieces of checked luggage. The carry-on bag must be of such dimensions and weight as set by the airlines.

Electricity
In Rwanda, the power sockets are of type C and J. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Most hotel rooms have sockets for 110V electric razors. Also, most safari camps have electricity points either in the main communal area or in each tent/room. It is best to bring an adapter/convertor combination.

Gratuities
Gratuities are not compulsory or expected; rather it is a reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you have received, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute or do both. Tips can be made in the local currency (RWF), USD, GBP or EUR.

Gratuity suggestions:
Safari Camp or City lead guide: $10 - $15 per person per day
Transfer drivers (e.g. in cities or between airport and hotel/lodge): $2 per person per transfer
Porter: $1 per bag
Ranger or any “ancillary” guides on ad-hoc basis for a specific activity: $3 - $5 per person per activity
General Camp staff (put in a central box in each camp’s main area): $7 - $10 per person per day
Waitstaff in a city restaurant: 10%-15% (large group may incur automatic service charge, please check)

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