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

All travelers need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Rwanda. However, we recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times. Please ensure that your
passport has blank visa pages. A Rwanda tourist visa is required for citizens of United States. You can either get the visa on arrival (USD cash $50, valid for 30 days) or you can apply online using at irembo.gov.rw/rolportal/en/
web/dgie/single-entry-visa. You must apply online at least 5 days prior to departure as it takes about 3 days to process.

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

Destinations

Explore the rest of our Rwanda destinations:

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This Destination

Rwanda

Related Destinations

Akagera National Park
Alexandria
Amboseli National Park
Arusha
Aswan
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Botswana
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Cairo
Cape Town
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
Eastern Cape Safaris
Egypt
Ethiopia
Etosha National Park
Franschhoek
Garden Route
Ghana
Greater Kruger National Park
Greater Winelands
Hermanus
Hwange National Park
Johannesburg
Jordan
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
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Mauritius
Mombasa
Morocco
Mozambique
Nairobi
Namibia
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Okavango and Moremi GR
Oman
Oudtshoorn
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Praslin
Qatar
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
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Uganda
Umhlanga
Victoria Falls
Vilanculos
Volcanoes National Park
Windhoek

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