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Gorilla in Rwanda
Mountain Gorilla's
As their name implies, mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet.

Mountain Gorilla's

As their name implies, mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 8,000 to...

Rwanda flag

Rwanda Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Kigali

Location:

Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi

Currency:

Rwandan francs (RWF)

Area:

26,338 sq km

Population:

12,943,132 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, French (official) <0.1, English (official) <0.1, Swahili/Kiswahili (official, used in commercial centers) <0.1, more than one language, other 6.3%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)

Religion:

Protestant 57.7% (includes Adventist 12.6%), Roman Catholic 38.2%, Muslim 2.1%, other 1% (includes traditional, Jehovah's Witness), none 1.1% (2019-20 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+2

Tel Code:

+250

Things to Do

Rwanda is a small, landlocked country located in East Africa. Despite its size, Rwanda is known for its incredible natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse wildlife. From gorilla trekking to genocide memorials, there is no shortage of things to do in Rwanda. Here are the top 10 things to do in Rwanda:

1. Gorilla trekking

Rwanda is home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world, and gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities for visitors. Treks typically take place in Volcanoes National Park and offer an unforgettable experience of getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures.

2. Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a protected rainforest in southern Rwanda that is home to a variety of wildlife and plant species. Visitors can go on guided walks through the forest, spot chimpanzees and other primates, and take part in a canopy walk to get a unique view of the forest from above.

3. Visit Kigali Genocide Memorial

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a museum and memorial in Kigali that honors the victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The memorial serves as a powerful reminder of the atrocities that took place and the importance of reconciliation and peace.

4. Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, zebras, and giraffes. Visitors can take part in game drives, boat rides, and guided walks to get a closer look at the animals and their habitats.

5. Visit Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is a beautiful freshwater lake that forms part of Rwanda's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Visitors can take boat rides, swim, and enjoy the local beaches and restaurants.

6. Visit Butare National Museum

The Butare National Museum is Rwanda's largest museum, and it showcases the country's cultural history and traditions. Visitors can learn about traditional Rwandan art, music, and dance, as well as the country's colonial history.

7. Go on a coffee tour

Rwanda is known for producing some of the world's finest coffee, and visitors can go on coffee tours to learn about the production process and sample some of the local blends.

8. Hike Mount Bisoke

Mount Bisoke is an active volcano located in Volcanoes National Park. Visitors can go on guided hikes to the summit to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

9. Visit Inema Arts Center

Inema Arts Center is a contemporary arts center in Kigali that showcases the work of local artists. Visitors can browse the galleries, attend art workshops, and meet with the artists themselves.

10. Visit Ntarama Church

Ntarama Church is a historic site that serves as a memorial to the victims of the Rwandan Genocide. Visitors can learn about the church's tragic history and pay their respects to those who lost their lives.

Weather

Rwanda is located near the equator and its climate is generally mild and temperate, with the high altitude moderating the heat. The best time to visit Rwanda is during the dry season, which lasts from June to September, and also during December and January. During these months, the weather is dry and sunny, and the roads are easier to navigate.

Dry season (June to September and December to January)

During the dry season, the weather in Rwanda is generally pleasant, with lower humidity levels and less rainfall. This makes it easier to navigate the country's roads and to take part in outdoor activities, such as hiking and wildlife safaris.

Rainy season (February to May and October to November)

Rwanda's rainy season is from February to May and from October to November. During this time, rainfall is more frequent and roads can be more challenging to navigate. However, this is also a good time to visit for birdwatching and to see the countryside at its most lush and green.

Visas

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Rwanda Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Accommodation

      Budget lodges and guesthouses

      These are ideal for budget travelers who are looking for affordable accommodation. They offer basic amenities and services, such as shared bathrooms and communal living areas.

      Mid-range hotels

      These offer comfortable accommodation with standard amenities such as private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.

      Luxury lodges and hotels

      These offer high-end accommodation with exceptional amenities such as spa facilities, infinity pools, and fine dining options.

      Hostels

      These offer affordable accommodation for budget travelers who are willing to share dormitory-style rooms.

      Eco-lodges

      These offer unique accommodation options for those who want to experience the beauty of Rwanda's natural environment while minimizing their impact on the environment.

      Homestays

      These offer an opportunity to stay with a local family and experience their way of life.

      Tented camps

      These offer a unique way to experience the beauty of Rwanda's national parks, with comfortable tents and all necessary amenities.

      Transportation

      Taxis

      Taxis are widely available in Rwanda, and they are a convenient way to get around the cities. Taxis are usually metered, and you should negotiate the fare before starting your journey.

      Motorcycles (boda-boda)

      Motorcycles, or boda-boda, are a popular mode of transportation in Rwanda. They are quick and affordable, and they can navigate through traffic easily. However, they can be dangerous, so make sure to wear a helmet and negotiate the fare before starting your journey.

      Car rental

      If you want to explore Rwanda on your own, renting a car is a good option. Many international car rental companies operate in Rwanda, and you can rent a car at the airport or in major cities.

      Public transportation

      Public transportation in Rwanda is mainly in the form of buses and mini-buses, which are used for both short and long-distance travel. While they are affordable, they can be crowded and uncomfortable.

      Private drivers

      If you want a more comfortable and convenient option, you can hire a private driver. Many tour operators and hotels offer this service, and it allows you to explore Rwanda at your own pace.

      Money

      Money Tips for Travel

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
      • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
      • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
      • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

      ATM and Credit Cards

      • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
      • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
      • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
      • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
      • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

      Exchange Rates

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

      Insurance

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

      Medical Coverage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

      Trip Cancellation and Interruption

      Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

      Lost or Stolen Luggage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

      Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

      Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

      Liability coverage

      Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

      Mobile

      When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

      eSIM

      Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

      Dual SIM phone

      If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

      Extend your home plan

      Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

      Keep your primary SIM

      With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

      Community

      There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

      Facebook groups

      There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

      Meetup

      Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

      Internations

      Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

      Couchsurfing

      Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

      Reddit

      Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

      Linkedin

      LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

      At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

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