Rwanda Travel Tips

Getting to Rwanda: Kigali International Airport is the gate way into Rwanda. Many international flights among them SN Brussels, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi and Rwandair Express fly into Kigali. The airport is located 10 Km to Kigali’s central business district.


When to visit: Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla tracking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months IE Jan – mid March and Mid Jun - October. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Palaearctic migrants supplement resident species.


Visa requirements / Passports: Visa can be obtained upon arrival and costs US$30. The following nationalities do not require entry visa: USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong. A valid passport is mandatory.


Health: Rwanda’s height above seas level is relatively high and malaria is not a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It’s highly recommended that one visits their doctors at least a month before travel. While in Rwanda, it is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required.


Currency: Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandese Franc (RWF). One Dollar US is exchanged at about 600 RFr in 2011. 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: Kinyarwanda is the National language, while French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. English is mainly spoken in the capital and tourist centres.


What to dress: Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or sweater for early mornings and evenings. Additional heavier clothing may be necessary for the Parc des Volcans and Nyungwe. When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. Water proof rain jacket is important. Sun protection, sunglasses and hat are important to bring.


What to bring: Binoculars will greatly enhance game drives, forest walks and bird watching. A camera and an adequate stock of film are essential.


Communication: Rwanda has excellent cell phone coverage. Local SIM cards are readily available in most town centres, and cell phones can be purchased in Kigali. International phone calls can be made easily. Most towns have Internet cafes.


Roads: Rwanda has a good road network, with little traffic while major Town centres are well connected with good road infrastructure. The country offers opportunities for long bicycle trips across the hills and valleys. Mountain biking and hiking can be done on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages.


Gorilla permits: Gorilla Permits are the single most demanded item in Rwanda. Purchase of Gorilla Permits needs to be arranged well in advance through your local tour operator. The Single sales agents for permits is the Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) / The Rwanda Tourism Board, at the headquarters in Kigali.

 

Distance Between Cities in Rwanda

Distance from Kigali to Gitarama is 51 Kms takes about 1 hour

Distance from Kigali to Butare is 142 Kms and takes about 3 hours.

Distance from Butare to Cyangugu is 155 takes about 3 hours.

Distance from Kigali to Ruhengeri is 72 Kms and takes about 2 hours at current road conditions.

Distance from Ruhengeri to Gisenyi is 62 Kms and takes about 1 hour.

Distance from Kigali to Bugasera is 60 Kms and takes about 45 minutes

Distance from Kigali to Kibuye is 130 Kms and takes about 3hours 15 minutes

Distance from Kigali to Rwamagana is 50 Kms and takes about 1 hour

Distance from Kigali to Akagera National Park is around 120 Kms and takes about 2 hours 30 minutes

Distance from Kigali to Nyungwe National Park is around 225 and takes around 6 Hrs 30 minutes

Distance from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is around 80 Kms and takes about 2 Hours 20 minutes