Rwanda Travel Tips

Money and currency:

  • Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandese Franc (RWF): The Rwanda Franc is currently US$1 = RWF800. Notes are in denominations of RWF 500, 1,000, 2000, and 5000, while coins are RWF 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.
  • It is recommended to travel with US dollars as most banks and Forex Bureaus do not accept traveler’s cheques in exchange for cash.
  • Only banks, Forex Bureaus, hotels and lodges are authorized dealers as recommended by the company to change money. US$ bills produced before 2000 are not accepted, while those produced between 2001 – 2005 will fetch a lower exchange rate same as small bills (5, 10, 20) at 650 RWF.
  • Credit cards are usually accepted at major hotels, souvenirs shops and shopping malls in Rwanda. (Except local markets.) 
  • Kenya, Tanzania/Uganda currency is not accepted here, but can be exchanged only in local banks and Forex Bureaus. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign exchange.
  • It is advisable to pay your extra bills and check out the night before you depart from a hotel or lodge to avoid long delays in the morning.

Language: Kinyarwanda is the National language, while French and English and Swahili are official languages. English  is widely spoken throughout the country.

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 agent for permits is at the Rwanda Development Board Office at the Kigali headquarters.

General Clothing:

  • Safaris are informal and casual dress in comfortable lightweight cottons is appropriate.
  • A hat and a pair of sunglasses are advisable for protection against the sun
  • Laundry can be done at most lodges, but please make sure you hand in you laundry requirement at least a day before departure. Note: express laundry facilities might not be available in all hotels/lodges.
  • Light comfortable shoes such as sneakers or lightweight hiking boots are recommended
  • Be prepared for cool evenings at higher altitudes of Virunga Mountains and Nyungwe, where you may need a sweater and trousers/jeans.