Rwanda Travel Advice – Money – Visas – Climate – What to pack for Rwanda Safari – Getting Around in Rwanda.
We bring you our comprehensive Rwanda travel advice for travelers intending to take a Rwanda Safari. Her is what you need to know about Rwanda before you go.
Money & Spending
Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandan Franc but we’d recommend bringing US Dollars (post-2003 bills only) or Euros in cash (traveller’s cheques usually attract poor exchange rates). Do any necessary banking in Kigali as few opportunities exist outside the capital – bureaux de change establishments usually offer the best exchange rates.
Credit cards – notably MasterCard – are accepted in some of the upmarket hotels and restaurants in Kigali but not in many other places.
Tipping is not customary in most places in Rwanda, with the exception of some higher-end restaurants in town where 10% is standard. If you are doing a gorilla trek, tipping is not compulsory but it will be greatly appreciated – amounts vary depending on the size of your group and the level of assistance required. Your porter (if you choose to take one) should usually receive the highest tip, with a second tip distributed between your guides, trackers and security personnel.
For in-depth tipping guidelines, inquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Average year-round temperatures: 12°C to 27°C
Rainy seasons: January to April and October to mid-December
Refer to “best time to visit Rwanda” for climate charts and advice on the best times of year for gorilla trekking.
What to Pack
You’ll need to be suitably equipped for gorilla trekking in Rwanda – preparation is key. When packing for your Rwanda safari, be sure to include long trousers and long-sleeved tops, long socks to wear over your trousers as protection against ants, a pair of light gloves to protect against nettles, a hat, a raincoat and of course a pair of sturdy, comfortable hiking boots (break them in before your trip).
It can get cold and damp on the mountains so pack a change of clothes and a warm fleece in your day pack, along with sunscreen and insect repellent.
Flights & Getting Around
Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport: 10km from Kigali, Rwanda’s point of entry is served by a direct flight from Brussels otherwise you’ll be flying in from Entebbe, Nairobi or Johannesburg.
It’s only 80km from Kigali to the gorilla trekking destination of the Volcanoes National Park – about a 2.5hr drive. Transfers in Rwanda are usually conducted in 4X4 vehicles.
Visa & Passport Requirements
A passport valid for at least six months is required by all visitors to Rwanda. Visas are required by everyone except citizens of the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, Kenya and South Africa.
Multiple-entry tourist visas can be purchased for US $60 from your nearest Rwandan embassy or consulate. Visas are valid for three months and can usually be extended in Kigali on a month-by-month payment basis.