PASS PORT AND VISA
A valid passport is mandatory. Visas, required by all visitors except nationals of the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong, cost USD 60 and can be obtained upon arrival.
The unit of currency is the Rwanda franc. The US dollar is the hard currency of preference. It may be impossible to exchange travellers’ cheques away from the capital. Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.
In addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English.
WHEN TO VISIT
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla trekking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Palaearctic migrants supplement resident species.
SAFETY AND HEALTH
A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are located in all major towns.
SEASON AND CLIMATE
A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1,000mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May.
Getting to Rwanda: One can fly to Rwanda with Sabena, Alliance Express/Alliance Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania and Air Burundi. All international flights land at Kanombe Airport which is 10kms away from central Kigali.
Passports and visas: A valid passport is mandatory. VISAS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR NATIONALS OF THE USA, GERMANY, CANADA, UGANDA, TANZANIA, KENYA, BURUNDI AND THE DRC. For further information, please call the Rwandan Embassy/Mission nearest to you.
Health: A certificate for yellow fever vaccination is required. Malaria is present and anti-malarial drugs are recommended. Bottled mineral water, which is available in all major towns, is recommended instead of drinking ordinary tap water.
Money: The unit of currency is the Rwandan franc. The US dollar is the hard currency preference. It may be impossible to exchange travelers’ cheques at a good rate (or at all) away from Kigali. All major credit cards can be used at hotels and good restaurants in Kigali.
Language: In addition to the indigenous language, Kinyarwanda, French and English are the official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country, while many people speak English in Kigali and the main tourist areas. Kiswahili is also widely spoken around the country.