In this page:
Entry Requirements |
Organising Your Trip |
Living Conditions |
Organising Your Trip
Transportation From Airport to City Centre:
Kigali - Kanombe (KGL)
10 km/6 miles
Taxi RWF 10,000-15,000 – 20 minutes -
No official bus lines operate from the airport, but hotels operate courtesy shuttle services
Different Forms of Tourism
Memorials can be found throughout the country, in memory of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group (an estimated 1 million people were killed by the Interahamwe army in a span of 100 days). The most important is the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where 250,000 victims have been buried. Other memorials are those of Nyanza, Ntarama, Nyamata and Murambi.
In Rukari, the King's Palace Museum is a reconstruction of the traditional royal residence, with shows of local dances and explanations about the architectural structures of the ancient buildings.
East of Cyangugu is Butare, the intellectual capital of the country. It boasts an interesting museum, craft shops and a botanical garden. North of Butare is Gitarama, which has a good art museum; nearby is the cathedral town of Kabgayi; and in Mushubati, the grottoes of Bihongor.
The Rwanda Art Museum in Kigali displays contemporary artworks from Rwanda as well as abroad. In the capital there is also the Museum of the Environment, which also works as an educational centre for environment-related issues. The Ethnographic Museum in Butare has one of Africa’s finest ethnographic collections.
Rwanda is a mountainous land in the heart of Africa known as the "Land of a Thousand Hills", split by the Rift Valley, and dominated by a mountain range that crosses the country from north to south. The three principal areas of interest are the Virunga Volcanoes, the Kagera National Park and the region around Lake Kivu.
- Kagera National Park: Kibungu, in the east of the country, is in the centre of a region of lakes and waterfalls, including Lake Mungesera and the Rusumo Falls. It is also close to the southern tip of the Kagera National Park, which covers over 2,500 km² (1,000 sq miles) of savannah to the west of the Kagera River (the frontier with Tanzania). The park has a variety of wildlife and is a habitat for over 500 species of birds. There are accommodation facilities on the edge of the park at Gabiro, 100km (60 miles) to the north. Reservations should be made in advance. In the rainy seasons (December, March and April) many of the routes become impassable.
West of Kagera is the Parc des Volcans, one of the last sanctuaries of the Gorilla mountain. The ORTPN bureau in Kigali can organise guided tours of the park for small parties; it is advisable to book a long time in advance. This region is composed of volcanic mountains, of which two, across the frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still active.
Kivu Lake : Gisenye is the main centre for excursions in the Parc des Volcans. Plane trips can be made from here to view the craters. Located in the north of Kivu Lake, it also offers many opportunities for water sports or for excursions on the lake. Kibuye, further south, is another lakeside resort. Near Cyangugu, on the southern shores of the lake, are the spectacular grottoes of Kaboza and Nyenji, and the thermal waters in Nyakabuye. Nearby, the Rugege Forest is the home for many rare species of wildlife.
Kibeho, in the south of the country, is known for the Virgin Mary apparitions and has become a well-known religious site in East Africa.
Other religious landmarks are Butare's Catholic Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Michael in Kigali and the Byumba Cathedral.
Rwanda can offer several hot springs, including the ones in Bugarama, Gisenyi, Kinigi and Nyamyumba.
The shores of Lake Kivu conceal some of the best inland beaches on the continent.
- Winter Sports
The climate of Rwanda is not suitable for winter sports.
- Outdoor Activities
Trekking is one of the major outdoor activities and can be carried on in most of the country’s national parks. In the Congo Nile Trail, which runs the full length of Lake Kivu for 141 miles, is possible to hike, bike and kayak for the entire trail. Mount Karisimbi, a volcano that is also the highest summit of Rwanda, can be climbed during a two-days excursion. Near Kivu Lake, Gisenyi offers many opportunities for water sports.
Weaving and basket making is a traditional art in Rwanda: the typical dry containers are also known as peace pots and are used both for storing food and medicines and for commemorating weddings or other special occasions. Pottery – made with the traditional Batwa techniques – are of high quality and are among the most typical products of Rwanda. The Caplaki craft-cooperative in Kigali is among the best places to go shopping for souvenirs, offering wooden carvings (another peculiar form of art of the area), paintings, batik, bags, etc.
Time Difference and Climate
- Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Kigali (GMT+2)
- Summer Time Period
There are no daylight saving time clock changes in Rwanda.
Map of the Time Zone
- Type of Climate
Rwanda is located just south of the equator, with its relatively high altitude providing the country with a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate, albeit also rainy in certain periods. Temperatures do not change much during the different seasons; however, they do vary considerably between locations depending on their altitude. Rwanda's rainy season is quite long and lasts from about March to May: during these months rainfalls are heavy and persistent. The dry season is generally from June to mid-September and represents the best time to visit the country. October to November is a shorter rainy season and it's followed by a short dry season from December to February. During both of Rwanda's dry seasons, there is often light cloud cover, which helps moderating the temperatures but also occasionally brings light rain showers.
- Hotel reservation websites
Rwanda Meteorology Agency
Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall
- Food Specialties
The cuisine of Rwanda is quite varied, due to the different culinary traditions of the country's ethnic groups. Rwandan staples include bananas, manioc, plantains, sweet potatoes, beans and pulses. Typical dishes include:
Matoke: a dish made from cooked plantains (either baked or steamed)
Ugali: a paste made from maize and water
Isombe: mashed cassava leaves served with dried fish
Tilapia: a fresh water fish
Ibihaza: pumpkins cut into pieces mixed with beans and boiled.
Traditional drinks include:
Urwagwa: a beer made from fermented banana juice mixed with roasted sorghum flour
Ikigage: an alcoholic beverage made from dry sorghum
Ubuki: alcoholic drink made from fermented honey
Milk is a staple drink in Rwanda. Several beers are consumed locally, the main ones being Primus and Mutzig.
- Dietary Restrictions
Eating while walking in public was considered a sign of insolence, but nowadays such custom is less and less followed. The same can be said about the habit of eating meat and drinking milk at the same time; and the custom according to which women should not eat goat meat (the most common type of meat available in the country).
Muslims (around 5% of the population) normally do not eat pork or other meat (unless it is “halal”, which means it is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law) nor drink alcohol.
- Domestic Currency
- ISO Code
- To Obtain Domestic Currency
Most of the banks in major towns have ATMs. Currency exchance offices can be found in major airports and in bigger cities, however generally they apply worse exchange rate than ATMs.
- Possible Means of Payment
The majority of tourist hotels accept credit cards. EUR and USD are also widely accepted.
- Official Language
Rwanda has three official languages: Kinyarwanda (the first language of almost the entire population of the country), French and English.
- Other Languages Spoken
Swahili (Kiswahili) may soon become the fourth official language of Rwanda. Several dialects are spoken in the country, mainly deriving from Rwanda-Rundi and Bantu languages.
- Business Language
Mainly French. English is also spoken for business purposes (mainly with foreigners, alongside Kinyarwanda (within nationals).
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Latest Update: September 2023