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Rwanda general information

Rwanda general information

General country information

Is 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.

Know before you go

As you plan your trip, and before you travel, we recommend that you check the latest Foreign Office advice on the places that you're going to - regardless of where you are travelling to, or how you are travelling. See FCO's Rwanda advice here, or its info on other countries here.
We urge you to do this, as we recommend that all our travellers keep themselves up to date with the current foreign office advice on their destination countries.

Rwanda's history

In 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, over 20 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 Rwanda

There 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 Rwanda

Rwanda's currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF). Currently (Feb 19), £1 = Rwf 1,1415, and US$1 = Rwf 875; you can check the latest exchange rates with www.oanda.com.

Rwanda's International Dialling Code

Rwanda'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 Rwanda

The food in Rwanda varies from mediocre to very 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 Rwanda

With your own 4WD vehicle and driver, travelling in Rwanda is fairly easy. Although major arterial routes are tarred, some roads in the more rural areas are not and can be in poor condition.

Health in Rwanda

There 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 if you are passing through a yellow fever endemic country. 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.

Language in Rwanda

The main language spoken in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language, also known as 'Rwanda' or 'Ruanda'). French is widespread and English is also spoken by many people who are in contact with visitors.

Visas for Rwanda

We understand that travellers of all nationalities need to purchase a visa when travelling to Rwanda; currently (Feb 2019), this costs US $30 and can be obtained on arrival. However, always check with your local Rwandan Embassy for the latest regulations; UK nationals will find details on the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in London website.

Weather and climate in Rwanda

Rwanda presents visitors with a pleasant tropical highland climate, although rainfall is not uncommon. For more details, see our webpage on the climate and weather in Rwanda.

Our top picks for holidays to Rwanda

We'll always tailor-make your Safari for you. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you.


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Golden Monkey Safari

12 days • 5 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

The perfect itinerary for those who want see everything that Rwanda has to offer. Combine four key areas on this excellent value trip, for a true wildlife and cultural experience.

US$8,960 - US$9,990 per person

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Mona Monkey Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

This example of a luxury holiday explores the wildlife of Nyungwe Forest, the scenic shores of Lake Kivu and the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, all accompanied by a private guide and vehicle.

US$10,190 - US$13,260 per person

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L'Hoest's Monkey Safari

7 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

Meet three iconic primates – gorillas, chimps and golden monkeys – and explore Rwanda's fascinating culture on this excellent value privately guided adventure.

US$5,010 - US$5,470 per person

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Gorillas and Serengeti Safari

11 days • 4 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Combine three iconic experiences – Rwanda’s gorillas, and the Serengeti plains and awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

US$10,920 - US$11,860 per person

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Gorillas and Maasai Mara Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

This trip combines two of Africa's most unforgettable wildlife experiences – Rwanda's mountain gorillas and Kenya's Maasai Mara.

US$9,760 - US$11,630 per person

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Mountain Gorilla Safari

5 days • 2 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

Staying in great-value lodges, with a private driver-guide and 4WD, this adventure includes two treks to get up close with groups of mountain gorillas.

US$5,550 - US$5,550 per person

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Gorillas and migration

9 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

This luxury safari combines two iconic wildlife experiences, firstly trekking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, then flying to the northern Serengeti in search of the wildebeest migration and spectacular river crossings.

US$14,770 - US$19,300 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,600 - US$15,210 per person

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Silverback Gorilla Safari

4 days • 1 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

Fly into Rwanda and you can be trekking to meet a family of mountain gorillas the next morning. An itinerary like this could easily be combined with a safari in Kenya or Tanzania.

US$8,650 - US$9,760 per person

View all holidays in Rwanda

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