A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling to Rwanda

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Monkeys in Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda

Monkeys in Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda

Contrary to popular belief, touring Rwanda isn’t like visiting the middle of nowhere. Africa – especially highly urbanized countries like Rwanda – have greatly evolved in recent years, allowing tourists from all over the world to remain in contact with their loved ones from home even while they tour the wilds of Africa.

Tips for Travelling and Vacationing in Rwanda

Tip #1 – As with any other country, an official passport is a must if you want to travel to Rwanda. If, however, you happen to live in countries or cities such as Hong Kong, South Africa, Sweden, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, or the United States then you may visit the country up to ninety days without having to acquire a visa.

Tip #2 – Although Rwanda remains beautiful and has numerous attractions to offer all year long, the best time to visit the country – if you’re in the mood for an adventure such as hiking or gorilla trekking – would be in the months of summer. Make sure you visit during the months of European winter, on the other hand, if you’re an avid birdwatcher.

Tip #3 – Credit cards would only do you good if you’re staying at one of the country’s top hotels and traveller cheques are pretty hard to exchange in Rwanda. But don’t worry. USD would usually more than suffice but you can also have it exchanged for Rwanda francs.

Tip #4 – It is best to have a tour guide accompany you during your travels to Rwanda. Although French and English are listed as the country’s official languages, together with Kinyarwanda, the latter is something mostly spoken only in tourist-populated areas. It would be unfortunate, however, if your travels are limited to such places because of communication problems. But with a multilingual tour guide, you can explore the best known and secret attractions of Rwanda without a worry.

Tip #5 Most establishments – with the exception of a few major tourist attractions – are closed during the country’s public holidays, which includes Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year, and Labor Day. Other holidays include the country’s National Heroes Day on the first of February, Genocide Memorial Day on the 7th of April, Independence Day and National Liberation Day on the 1st and 4th of July respectively, Assumption Day on the 15th of August, and Patriotism Day on the 1st of October.

Tip #6 Rwandans are quite laidback so you can wear pretty much anything in the country. Just make sure that your outfits are light and airy during the day and have light jackets ready if you’re visiting Nyungwe National Park or Parc des Volcans.

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