Travel to Rwanda

Rwanda

A tiny, landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, Rwanda lies on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift and the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo. Often called the “land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is a mountainous country with a moist, temperate year-round climate.

Rwanda has a number of unique delights to offer travelers.  Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga volcanoes is home to the mountain gorillas to which Dian Fossey dedicated her life. Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest montane forests in Central Africa, is renowned for its large troops of colobus monkeys and rich variety of orchids. Akagera National Park is a savannah park with elephants, hippo and crocodile. Lake Kivu is a beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep terraced hillsides. There are a large variety of birds.

Overview

A tiny, landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, Rwanda lies on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift and the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo. Often called the “land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is a mountainous country with a moist, temperate year-round climate.

People

The earliest known inhabitants of Rwanda were pygmoid hunter-gatherers, ancestral to the modern Twa people who today comprise only 0.25% of the national population. Some 2,000 years ago, agricultural and pastoralist migrants from the west settled in the area. Oral traditions recall that prior to the 15th century a ruler named Gihanga forged a centralised Rwandan state with similar roots to the Buganda and Bunyoro Empires in neighbouring Uganda. Comprised of a cattle-owning nobility and agriculturist serfdom majority - the precursors respectively of the modern-day Tutsi and Hutu - this powerful state was able to repel all early attempts at European penetration.

Language

English and Kinyarwanda are the most widely spoken languages.

History

Originally the domain of hunter-gatherers, Rwanda emerged into a centralized state with a feudal monarchy in the fifteenth century. It became a German colony in 1890 and was mandated to the Belgians after the First World War. In 1962, under Prime Minister Gregoire Kayibanda, Rwanda gained independence. Ten years later Major General Juvenal Habyarimana came to power. His death in a plane crash in April 1994 unleashed the genocide in which about one million Rwandans are thought to have been killed and nearly twice as many fled into exile. In recent years, as peace and stability have returned under President Kagame, many Rwandans have come back. Local elections were held for the first time in 35 years in 2001 and are an encouraging sign of the steady return of stability to the country.

Travel Guide

Currency

The Rwandan Franc (Frw/Rwf) is the legal currency in Rwanda. American Dollars and Euros are accepted in some hotels and restaurants however expect to receive your change in Rwandan Francs.

Weather

Rwanda is near the Equator.  As a result the climate does not change much. The rainy seasons tend to be from March to April and October to November, but this varies in different areas and it can rain any time of year, especially in the gorilla parks areas. Travel can be slower in the rainy season but the views are often better. Gorilla tracking can be muddier but remains open. In the mountainous areas it is much colder than on the plains and the rainfall is greater. The temperatures on the plains tend to be between 69°F and 86°F and in the mountainous areas they can go down to 50°F in certain months.

Health Requirements

Anti-malaria tablets and mosquito repellent are essential. Seek advice on vaccination inoculations that may be required. A Yellow Fever Certificate is required.

Visa Requirements

Visas are not required for U.S. citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard is accepted at most lodges/hotels.

Electrical Appliances

230/240 volts at 50 Hz. 2-pin (round) sockets

Water

Drink bottled water only.

Map

A: Alexandria
B: Amboseli National Park
C: Arusha
D: Aswan
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
G: Botswana
H: Bwindi Impenetrable NP
I: Cairo
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
P: Drakensburg
Q: Dubai
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
V: Durban
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
Y: Egypt
Z: Ethiopia
AA: Etosha National Park
AB: Franschhoek
AC: Garden Route
AD: Greater Kruger National Park
AE: Greater Winelands
AF: Hermanus
AG: Hwange National Park
AH: Johannesburg
AI: Kafue National Park
AJ: Kampala
AK: Kariba
AL: Kenya
AM: Kigali
AN: Knysna
AO: Kruger National Park
AP: Kwazulu Natal
AQ: La Digue
AR: Lake Manyara NP
AS: Lake Nakuru
AT: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AU: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AV: Livingstone
AW: Lower Zambezi National Park
AX: Luxor
AY: Madagascar
AZ: Madikwe Game Reserve
BA: Mahé
BB: Maldives
BC: Mana Pools National Park
BD: Masai Mara
BE: Mauritius
BF: Mombasa
BG: Mozambique
BH: Nairobi
BI: Namibia
BJ: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BK: North Island
BL: Okavango and Moremi GR
BM: Oman
BN: Oudtshoorn
BO: Plettenberg Bay
BP: Port Elizabeth
BQ: Praslin
BR: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BS: Quirimbas Archipelago
BT: Rwanda
BU: Sabi Sands
BV: Samburu National Park
BW: Selous Game Reserve
BX: Serengeti National Park
BY: Seychelles
BZ: Sharm El Sheik
CA: Sheik Zayed Road
CB: Silhouette Island
CC: Skeleton Coast National Park
CD: Sossusvlei
CE: South Africa
CF: South Luangwa
CG: Stellenbosch
CH: Sun City
CI: Sun City and Surrounds
CJ: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CK: Tanzania
CL: Tarangire National Park
CM: Timbavati Region
CN: Uganda
CO: Umhlanga
CP: Victoria Falls
CQ: Vilanculos
CR: Volcanoes National Park
CS: Windhoek
CT: Zambia
CU: Zanzibar and Pemba Island
CV: Zimbabwe

Destinations

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This Destination

Rwanda

Related Destinations

Alexandria
Amboseli National Park
Arusha
Aswan
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Botswana
Bwindi Impenetrable NP
Cairo
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Cape Winelands
Central Kalahari Region
Chobe National Park
Denis Island
Desroches Island
Drakensburg
Dubai
Dubai Beaches
Dubai City Center
Dubai Desert
Dubai Marina
Durban
Eastern Cape
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Egypt
Ethiopia
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Franschhoek
Garden Route
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Greater Winelands
Hermanus
Hwange National Park
Johannesburg
Kafue National Park
Kampala
Kariba
Kenya
Kigali
Knysna
Kruger National Park
Kwazulu Natal
La Digue
Lake Manyara NP
Lake Nakuru
Lewa Wildlife Conservation
Linyanti/Savuti Region
Livingstone
Lower Zambezi National Park
Luxor
Madagascar
Madikwe Game Reserve
Mahé
Maldives
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Mauritius
Mombasa
Mozambique
Nairobi
Namibia
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Okavango and Moremi GR
Oman
Oudtshoorn
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Praslin
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Quirimbas Archipelago
Rwanda
Sabi Sands
Samburu National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Seychelles
Sharm El Sheik
Sheik Zayed Road
Silhouette Island
Skeleton Coast National Park
Sossusvlei
South Africa
South Luangwa
Stellenbosch
Sun City
Sun City and Surrounds
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Uganda
Umhlanga
Victoria Falls
Vilanculos
Volcanoes National Park
Windhoek
Zambia
Zanzibar and Pemba Island
Zimbabwe

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