Rwanda, also known as the land of a thousand Hills or pays des Mille Collines is one of must-visit destinations in Africa. Critically endangered mountain gorillas, spectacular scenery, majestic Virunga volcanoes, water bodies, several primate species, diverse cultures and Big five animals are main reasons for visiting this small Central African country. You might be planning a safari to Rwanda but before that, there is need to understand some tips or information on this spectacular destination (such as transport, safety and security, currency, accommodation, emergency calls and tipping) prior to travelling so as to achieve a memorable experience during you safari.  Therefore, the following are important tips or guidelines you will need to understand before traveling to Rwanda for a safari.

Passports and Visas

It is important for all tourists to have passports and Visas before travelling to this country, except if you a citizen from a visa exempt country. Online application for Rwandan Visas can be done through Alternatively, you can acquire Visas from points of entry (Kigali International Airport, Cyangugu, Gisenyi and Cyanika border among others). The most exciting deal about this is booking for an East African tourist Visa at $100 that allows you travel across Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda with a single Visa.

Travel Insurance

Travelling to another country itself means you are taking a great risk thus need to purchase an insurance package against unexpected events such as accidents, loss of luggage, delays and in case of abrupt cancelation of your safari. However this shouldn’t scare you because as a company, we maintain high level of safety of our clients and their luggage during Rwanda safaris. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore buying Insurance because some things like cancelation or delay of flights go beyond the company.

Inoculation certificate

Don’t forget to vaccinate against yellow fever before undertaking your safari, thus a requirement to present an inoculation certificate as proof.

Rwanda is safe for safaris

Rwanda is definitely safe and secure for safaris and is in fact one of the safest African countries you can ever travel to.  Interestingly, you can even walk within Kigali City at night without much danger to your life because security is almost everywhere.

What to pack during Rwanda safaris

Items to carry during a safari in this country depends on which activity you are visiting for/or intending to engage in. Rwanda’s tourism mainly revolves around gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, volcano climbing, birding and wildlife viewing which all require almost the same things. Therefore for whatever reason you are visiting, must have items to pack include at least 1 or 2 long sleeved shirts, 2 short sleeved shirts, long trousers, 1 pair of shorts, wide-brimmed hat, a skirt (for ladies), swimsuit, gardening gloves, a backpack, sunglasses, toiletries (like toothbrush, tooth paste, shaver, shaving cream, deodorant and lotion), underwear, strong waterproof hiking boots, first Aid Kit, night gown, lightweight cotton socks, sandals preferably sports sandals like Tevas, insect repellants, camera, binoculars, sweater and waterproof jacket among others.

Tourist activities to enjoy in the country

This country is a real paradise with a number of activities to enjoy during safaris and some of them include gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking within Volcanoes National Park, Chimpanzee tracking within Nyungwe Forest National Park, game drives that offer sights of Big five animals (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Elephants and Rhinos), Giraffes, Zebras and Antelopes within Akagera National Park, Volcano climbing (hiking mount Bisoke, Karisimbi and Muhabura), visiting Musanze Caves, cultural tours, Kigali City tours, Nature walks and visit to Lake Kivu to mention but a few.

Best time to visit the country

Rwanda is an all year destination although most tourists prefer travelling in the dry season from June to September and December of February. However, its shouldn’t be a discouragement to travel during rainy seasons because the sun comes out during this season too. Did you know that this country is a land of Eternal Spring in Africa? This is mainly because of tranquil environment and climate.

Mobile phone use

Rwanda boasts of wonderful cell phone network coverage throughout the country hence easier and efficient connectivity. Surprisingly, even International calls can be made to connect with family members and friends. SIM Cards for Airtel, MTN and Tigo networks can be acquired from any part of the country including remote towns and mobile cell phones can be bought from mobile phone companies or shops.

Financial Institutions in the country

There are several Banks within Rwanda to take care of your banking needs such as cash deposits, withdrawals and exchange rates and they include Bank of Kigali, Fina Bank, I&M Bank Rwanda Limited, KCB Bank, Bank of Africa, Ecobank, Access Bank, Equity Bank and Urwego Opportunity Bank among others. However, there are some that don’t accept Visa cards while others like Bank of Kigali, Fina Bank and Access Bank accept the use of Visa Cards.

Currency to use during Rwanda safaris

The local currency of this country is Rwandan Francs (Rwf) although foreign currencies such as US Dollars are accepted in high-end Hotels, safari Lodges, for purchasing gorilla, Volcano climbing, golden monkey and chimpanzee tracking permits. Morestil, you will be required to exchange the foreign currencies (US Dollars, Euros and Pounds) into Rwandan francs for buying souvenirs and other items from local shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

Health tips

To avoid falling sick while on a safari, you will have to follow some health tips and guidelines that include; avoid drinking tap water, don’t eat street foods or salads except within luxury restaurants, the Safari Lodge and Hotel. Also be aware of insect bites (mosquito, tsetse fly bites) hence will need to carry insect repellants, avoid swimming in Lakes to prevent spread of Bilharzia, protect against HIV/AIDS, make sure to immunize for yellow fever before travelling and wear wide-brimmed hats to protect your skin from sunburns.

Tipping service providers in Rwanda

It is not a must but just courtesy to appreciate good service rendered by driver guides, waiters, waitresses, tour guides, housekeepers and receptionists during Rwanda safaris. Even if it’s little, tipping has a tremendous impact in someone’s life and family because with it, children will be sent to school, the family will receive improved healthcare and standard of living will obviously improve.

Airlines to connect to Rwanda

The National carrier is Rwandair but several other airlines also operate flights to and from Kigali International Airport and these include Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways and Brussels Airlines among others. With all these airlines, you can easily connect to this country to explore its magnificent attractions and enjoy the exhilarating tourist activities that await you.

Connecting or moving around Rwanda

Road transport is your definite choice for moving around the country and interestingly, Rwanda has a well developed transport system comprising of tarmacked roads. You will have to use taxis that are available within Kigali and other major towns, Moto-taxi which are considered faster although not safe thus you have to always use a helmet, Buses and Minibuses which are the most reliable and efficient form of public transport. Minibuses and Buses operate in most parts of the country although tickets have to be purchased in advance from the ticket office so as to avoid disappointment.

Electric current and sockets to use in Rwanda

The common outlet sockets used in Rwanda are Type C Europlug or Type F Schuko and Type E Schuko, and tourists are also advised to carry plug adaptors because when you cross to another country, you will find other sockets being used. Uganda for instance uses Type G plugs hence adaptors will be needed to ease their use. Rwanda’s sockets supply between 230 and 240 Volts AC thus if you desire use an electronic appliance built for the above range or when it is compatible with multiple voltages, definitely you need an adaptor.

Internet access

Visitors can easily access Internet throughout Kigali City including within midrange and up market Hotels, Some Safari Lodges and Internet Cafes. You can also use free Wifi in majority of the restaurants in the City, so long as you buy something. However, the best option is to buy USB Modems for personal laptops when you are not within a place with Wifi. If traveling as a group, it is advisable to purchase a cheap router for devises such as iPads, iphones and tablets among others.

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