Rwanda Travel Guide Information, Travel planning:
Rwanda travel guide country information.
Rwanda, a landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, situated on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift. At the western arm of the Great Rift Valley and on the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems. The Nile as well as the Congo river from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Much of the country’s 26,338km2 is impressively mountainous, the highest peak Karisimbi (4,507m) in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Parc des Volcans. The largest body of water Lake Kivu, but numerous other lakes dotted around the countryside, notably Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi and Mugesera. Some with erratic shapes following the contours of the steep mountains that enclose them.
Primarily a subsistence agriculture economy, Rwanda on the other hand produces for export some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Other industries include sugar, fishing and cut flowers for export. For more information about Economy and investing in Rwanda, please go to the Economy and Investment section of this Web site.
All International flights arriving in Kigali are with SN Brussels, Kenya Airways Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi,South African Airways and Rwandair Express.
All international flights arrive at Kigali International Airport,10 Km from central Kigali .There are two flights a day from Nairobi, two per week direct from Brussels and two per week from Johannesburg For information on connections from Nairobi Entebbe then Johannesburg,
RWANDA AIR EXPRESS PASSPORT AND VISAS:
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 obtainable on arrival. MONEY:
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. However, credit cards only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.
In addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French language widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English.
Good Friday as well as Easter Monday, fall on variable dates, and recognized in Rwanda. Other public holidays are 1 January (New Year’s Day); 7 April (Genocide Memorial Day); 1 May (Labour Day); 1 July (Independence Day); 4 July (National Liberation Day); 1 August (Harvest Festival); 15 August (Assumption Day); 25 September (Republic Day); 1 October (Heroes Day); 1 November (All Saints’ Day) and 25 (Christmas Day).
WHEN TO VISIT:
Rwanda visits possible throughout the year. Gorilla tracking 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.
WHAT TO WEAR:
Dress codes are informal. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings and heavier clothing for the Parc des Volcans and Nyungwe. When tracking gorillas on a Rwanda Safari , wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
WHAT TO BRING:
Binoculars will greatly enhance game drives and forest walks, as will a good field guide to East African birds. On the other hand, bring a camera and an adequate stock of film. Print film is available but transparency film is not. Toiletries and other essentials available at major stores in the cities.
Rwanda meanwhile, has an excellent cell phone network covering almost the entire country. International phone calls using GSM network. Appropriate SIM cards for the network, therefore available even in remote towns. Cell phone purchases or rented from major shops in Kigali. Most towns of any size have several Internet cafes and computer centres.
All of the major centres have connections with local and luxury bus services. In addition, Air charter services are available anywhere in the country and well advertised.
HIKING AND BIKING:
The fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valleys. Mountain biking as well as hiking can be enjoyed on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages, criss-crossing the entire country.
Gorilla Permits by and large should be booked ahead of time through the Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN).
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. Otherwise, bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are presently located in all major towns.
SEASONS AND CLIMATE
A combination of tropical location then 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, then the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Meanwhile, 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