This country lies within equatorial area and experiences cool climate. However, its temperatures do vary depending on location. Also, there are two rainy/wet seasons which are experienced in Rwanda with long one that kick starts from March to May and the second one begins from October to November. The dry season on the other hand begins from June to September and the second phase of it starts from December to February.
Depending on what your travel interests are, Rwanda is an all year round safari destination but if you plan to visit this magical country for gorilla trekking, the dry season is regarded as the best the fact that it is characterized by low rainfall amount and the habitat remains relatively drier making it easier for one to hike through the dense vegetation and steep slopes while in search of mountain gorillas. However, it is also possible for you to track gorillas during the wet season as it also comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Things to See & Do in Rwanda
The main attractions in Rwanda include mountain gorillas which thrive within the Volcanoes National Park. Besides, it hosts five of the eight Virunga Volcanoes, golden monkeys and bird species among others. A gorilla safari in the Virunga Mountains is the most popular adventure activity that you can enjoy while in Rwanda.
The other stunning parks for you to explore in Rwanda include Nyungwe Forest National Park which is a popular primate paradise with chimpanzee tracking being its main tourist activity; the other species to see here include black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys as well as 310 bird species, waterfalls and others; Akagera national park-which is the country’s only savanna wildlife park offering refuge to big five game, birds and other savanna wildlife dwellers.
The other is Gishwati Mukura National Park-a newly established park with new experiences for you not to miss. Besides, you can also explore about the 1994 Rwanda genocide that claimed nearly a million lives within just 100 days. Today, there are many genocide sites for you to pay a visit to and they include among others Kigali genocide memorial site, Murambi genocide site, Nyamata genocide site, Nyanza genocide, Bisesero genocide site among others.
Rwanda can be visited and enjoyed throughout the year. The temperatures average at around 24 degrees Celsius, apart from for the higher mountain area where it ranges from 10 degrees and 15 Degrees Celsius. The dry season that lasts from mid-May to Mid-October, is the best time to track and hike the mountains, however it’s not as green as the wet season that spans the other half of the year. The wet season is from Mid-October to Mid-May. The North east has a lot of rain due to the volcanoes being covered in rainforest Karisimbi which is usually covered with snow.
Safety: Rwanda is a safe country and we do recommend that you exercise the normal caution as you would at Home, especially when traveling to Rwanda.
Plan Your Safari
Important information considered before traveling to Rwanda
Getting to Rwanda:
The major airport is Kigali International Airport and its located 10km East of the center Kigali Airport receives direct flights from Nairobi, Entebbe, Bujumbura, Kilimanjaro, Addis Ababa, Brazzaville, Libreville, Douala, Mwanza, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dar Es Salaam , Juba, Lagos, Dubai and Doha. It’s also easy and possible to take a bus from neighboring countries.
Vaccination: The yellow fever is a current risk in Rwanda due to the many out breaks that are taking place in the region. It’s recommended that the travelers over the age of 9 months receive this vaccine. This is vital for the travelers who will continue on to the other EAC countries since Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya require yellow fever vaccinations as well. The following vaccinations are also suggested but not required when visiting Rwanda; Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis a, Rabies and Hepatitis B.
Malaria: Though less common than other African countries, Malaria does exist in Rwanda. So while there is no vaccine against malaria, prophylactic drugs along with prevention will show reduction of the risk of getting it. We recommend you consult your doctor on malaria medicine prior to traveling to Rwanda.
It’s not advised to drink tap water during your time in Rwanda. It’s important to stick to stick to bottled water.
Money: Rwanda’s unit of currency is Rwandan Franc (RWF). It’s good to reach in Rwanda with the US dollars and Euros in cash, which can be converted either at the airport or at any forex bureau or at the bank. The most major useful branch would be the Banque de Kigali that offers cash advances on credit cards and also accepts the traveler’s cheques with is not possible in Kigali. There are ATMs throughout Kigali which can be accessible to the visitors. The credit cards are accepted in some luxury restaurants and hotels, however; it’s better to inquire and confirm prior to ordering. The Bureau de change are mostly located in Kigali and can offer a better exchange rate than many banks. All the banks and the forex de change are close d on Sundays and on each last Saturdays of every month until 11:00 am for national pay of community work “the Umuganda”
Tipping; this is customary to tip for any service in restaurants, and the bars. A tip of 5% is very acceptable and a tip of 20% is so generous. It’s a customary to tip your guide; at the end of a safari or the hike, and the cook or the porter that might accompany. Tipping is not at any fixed amount and this depends on personal wish.
The internet; Wi-Fi is present in most of the hotels and it’s free of charge. It’s easy to find cafes in Kigali with WIFI and its best to check beforehand in case you are planning on using the internet. The lodges in the country side are well equipped with Wi-Fi, however the cafes and restaurants outside of Kigali may not have it on offer.
SIM cards & Phone: pay as you go SIM cards are present in most major retail shops in Kigali and there are multiple phone registration kiosks and stands around the city where you may buy and also register the SIM cards. The major mobile phone network operators with in Rwanda include; Airtel Rwanda, MTN and Tigo Rwanda. More so ensure that your phone is unlocked.
To get to Rwanda, you take a flight and land into Kigali International Airport which is the country’s main entry point. It is situated about five kilometers’ drive off the capital city and it is served by airlines like South African airways, KLM, RwandAir, Qatar among others. You may also need a visa and for more information, you can cross on the Rwanda Immigration website. Besides, you will need to present proof of a yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Other vaccines that you will be required to take include typhoid, Hepatitis.