Take a look into the eyes of Rwanda.
Rwanda general informationIs Rwanda safe to visit? What time is it in Rwanda? Do I need a visa for Rwanda? When planning a holiday to Rwanda, many important travel questions crop up. Below we've tried to answer them as best as we can for our travellers.
Rwanda's historyIn 1994, Rwanda's civil war dominated the world's headlines. This became known as 'Rwanda's genocide'; hundreds of thousands of people where killed. It is still what most people will think about when they hear the word 'Rwanda'.
Now, 17 years later, the country is once again peaceful. Rwanda's democratic government promotes harmony, and the Rwandese are enjoying a good life again. Many are eager to tell of their past, to let the world know what happened – and to protect their country against it ever happening again.
Time in RwandaThere is no time difference between winter and summer months in Rwanda; it's always two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Currency in RwandaRwanda's currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF). Currently (Jan 11), £1=Rwf920, and US$1 = Rwf580; you can check the latest exchange rates with www.oanda.com.
Rwanda's International Dialling CodeRwanda's International Dialling Code is +250. Calling from Rwanda, you need to dial 0044 for the UK, or 001 for the United States, followed by an area code and local number. Calls can be made with Rwandatel S.A., Rwanda's largest company for telecommunications.
Food in RwandaThe food in Rwanda varies from mediocre to good. Fresh fruit and the Belgian-inspired cuisine are usually good; otherwise, whilst hygiene standards are generally high, results can be variable.
The diet for most local Rwandese people consists mainly of sweet potatoes, peas, corn, beans, millet and fresh fruit, including avocados, mangos and papayas. Umutsima (cassava and corn), isombe (cassava leaves with eggplant and spinach) and mizuzu (fried plantains) are some of Rwanda's traditional dishes. Drinks include local beer and ikigage, a locally brewed beer made from sorghum.
Travelling in RwandaWith your own 4WD vehicle and driver, travelling in Rwanda is fairly easy. Although major arterial routes are tarred, roads in the more rural areas are not and can be in poor condition.
Health in RwandaThere are medical facilities of Western standards in Kigali; elsewhere facilities are rudimentary. It is generally wise to you are be up-to-date on vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, polio and diphtheria. Many travellers also have the Havrix vaccine to guard against infection by hepatitis A and a yellow fever certificate is usually required for entry into Rwanda. Malaria is widespread throughout lowland Rwanda, so malaria precautions are generally essential.
That said, it's vital that you always check the latest recommendations with your own doctor or travel clinic before you travel. (The Scottish NHS site can also be a useful travel resource for medical information about Rwanda.)
AIDS is common in Rwanda; HIV infection rates are high. Generally, this isn't an issue for visitors, though they should be aware of the current situation, and take the same wise precautions to avoid infection as in most other countries. We understand that blood supplies used by the private hospitals here have been carefully screened for years.