Rwanda is a landlocked country surrounded by Burundi to the south, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, and Tanzania to the east. Lakes and open plains dominate the country’s eastern borders, while the north-west is covered in forests. The country has a surface area of 26,338km². The land of a thousand hills is known for its spectacular scenery and friendly people. Despite their harrowing past associated with the genocide in 1994, Rwanda has come back even stronger. Today, the country offers an explosion of cultural experiences and plenty of opportunity for those seeking wildlife. While many visit for gorillas trekking, there is much more to see and do.
Kigali, the capital city, is quite progressive. It has an international airport and car rental facilities available. The city also offers plenty of taxis and motorcycle taxis as a means to explore the city. It is one of the greenest and cleanest cities in Africa—plastic bags are banned.
Some of the major protected areas worth visiting are Akagera, Volcanoes, and Nyungwe National Parks. Akagera features Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and offers a refuge for savannah adapted species in Rwanda. It has the largest collection of wildlife in the entire country. It is the only Big 5 park in the country. Volcanoes National Park is the destination for gorilla tracking but also offers various hiking trails, caving adventures, and of course birding.
Travellers can visit Nyungwe for a trip back in time. Situated within one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, it is the ideal location to search for chimpanzees, one of 14 primate species found here. The park also features numerous trails, more than 1,000 plant species, and a canopy walk.
Rwanda has a large variety of species to see, but the major attraction is the Mountain Gorillas. Other wildlife to see in the country includes the endangered golden monkey, chimpanzee, zebra, leopard, hippo and giraffe, while Akagera National Park is the place to go for a Big Five experience. Approximately 10% of the country is classified as Important Birding Areas, which makes Rwanda a top destination for birders, with just under 700 bird species to tick off the list. Special species to look out for include the elusive Shoebill.
Accommodation in Rwanda varies vastly, with something for every type of traveller. The national parks offer luxury 5-star experiences, while camping or glamping options are available to anyone that want to truly experience nature by hearing the sounds of the night.
Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate with average temperatures ranging from 24.6 to 27.6 degrees Celsius. August and September are the hottest months. The wet season is from March to May and then from October to November. The average rainfall ranges between 1,000 to 1,400 millimetres per year.
|Time Zone||GMT +2 (CAT)|
|Language||Kinyarwanda, French, English and Swahili|
|Power||Plug C and G & 230V/50Hz|
|Dress Code||Neutral for Safaris|
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For those visiting Rwanda for gorilla trekking purposes, the best time to visit is between May and October, during the dry season. It offers ideal conditions for this safari experience. There are two wet seasons: between March and May and again between October and November.
Rwanda offers a variety of accommodation options for every discerning traveller. Most of the parks boast accommodation, while there are also various luxury hotels, rustic camping experiences, and glamping options available.
Visas are required to enter Rwanda. Those from certain countries will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival, while other nationals can obtain a visa in advance. Travellers should check with the appropriate consult within their country of origin.
All travellers should be up to date on their routine vaccinations, including measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC recommends vaccines for hepatitis A, malaria, and typhoid for most travellers, while other vaccine recommendations include rabies, yellow fever, and hepatitis B.
Experts recommend drinking bottled water only, as well as brushing teeth with bottled water as a precaution.
Rwanda is not particularly family-friendly. There isn’t a lot for children to do in terms of recreation.
For safari-goers coming to Rwanda for gorilla trekking, they should have a level of fitness for trekking through the dense jungle to spot these impressive primates.
It is always a good idea to get travel insurance before leaving your country of origin. Check with your local travel consultant when planning a trip to Rwanda.
Safari-goers planning to drive in Rwanda require an international driving permit, along with their national driving permit. They drive on the right side of the road in Rwanda.
Those travelling to Rwanda for tourism should keep in mind some of the following: do not eat in public, do not take photos of Rwandans without asking permission first, and do not casually talk about Genocide.