flag Rwanda Rwanda: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration
For Further Information
Diplomatic missions of Rwanda
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

Return to top

Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Taxis are the easiest and fastest way to get around in cities, though they are relatively expensive and often the drivers don't know directions. Prices have to be agreed in advance, and it is better to look for the official taxis, which are recognisable from the orange stripe. In the capital Kigali, city-express buses ran from the major bus stations. They only leave once the bus is full and are extremely cheap. Moto taxis can also be an option: they represent a quicker way to get around, however they can be sometimes unsafe. However, most towns apart from Kigali are small enough to get around by feet.
Maps of Urban Networks
Kigali Public Transport Map

Return to top


Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
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 Not available Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The easiest and most comfortable way to travel across the country is by express bus. Such buses cover the entire country, are generally reliable and have scheduled departure times, so that there is no need to wait for them to be full before they leave. Tickets have to be bought in advance at the office of the bus company.
Alternatively, there is an extensive network of minibuses that run from city to city for a very low price. They only leave once the van or bus is full (which sometimes means overloaded), prices are generally not negotiable and the payments happens inside the van once it starts its ride. This mean of transport is the most used by local people.
While Rwanda has no train network, there is a ferry service on Lake Kivu which connects the ports of Cyangugu (Rusizi), Kibuye (Karongi) and Gisenyi (Rubavu) twice a week (RWF 2,500 per way). Speedboat charters are also available, but at quite high fares.

Return to top

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Rwanda Air National carrier Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Return to top

Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
The road network in Rwanda is relatively well maintained, though some roads may be in poor conditions (especially during the rainy period). Some roads may be unpaved and thus a 4-WD is needed. Driving in Rwanda is on the right. An International driving license is acceptable and can be used for one year for driving in Rwanda. There are several local agencies to rent cars in main towns and airports, with prices starting at around USD 50/day. It is also possible to hire a driver to get you around the country. Drunk drivers are fined and jailed for 24 hours, and limits are low (0.08%).
Road Maps
Detailed map of Rwanda
Find an Itinerary
ViaMichelin Rwanda
Rwanda road network map

Return to top

Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
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.
Cultural
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.
Nature
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.
Religious
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.
Thermal
Rwanda can offer several hot springs, including the ones in Bugarama, Gisenyi, Kinigi and Nyamyumba.
Beach
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.
Shopping
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.
Tourism Organisations
Visit Rwanda

Return to top

Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There are no specific vaccination requirements to enter Rwanda (except for vaccine against yellow fever which is required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever or a country with an active yellow fever outbreak). Nevertheless, WHO and foreign ministries of various countries recommend the following vaccines before entering the country: Hepatitis A, Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis B and Rabies.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
CDC - Health Information for Travelers to Rwanda
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - Rwanda Travel Information
Government of Canada - Rwanda Travel Advice
OSAC - Rwanda Crime and Safety Report
 

Emergency Numbers

Medical National National 912
Police National Nationa 112
Fire National National 112
Police National wide Traffic police 113
 

Return to top

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

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.
For Further Information
Rwanda Meteorology Agency
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

Return to top

Eating

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.
Drinks
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.

Return to top

Paying

Domestic Currency
Rwandan Franc
ISO Code
RWF
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.

Return to top

Speaking

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).
Getting Some Knowledge
Visit the website of Omniglot to learn the basics of Swahili language.
Free Translation Tools
Swahili-English Dictionary :
Babel Fish : Free French-English-French traduction of texts and web pages

Return to top

Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
House in Rwanda
HomeRwanda

To Find a Job
Glassdoor Rwanda
Indeed Rwanda
Job in Rwanda

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: July 2022