Welcome to Rwanda. Coming to Africa, coming to Rwanda and entire Africa, takes a bit of preparation, a bit of planning and it is best to use the services of a tour company such as Rwanda Eco Company and Safaris that will assist you to make your time in Rwanda pleasure.
Safari Tips that are practical and that will avoid potential grief and frustration. We do not just sell safaris we tell you about what is the best for you while on Safari with us in Rwanda.
Know before you go is best here, packing the right things without over-packing. Knowing what to wear to various activities and choosing where to stay while on Safari and of course what to eat.
There are tips and advice for most anyone, even Vegans, and Vegetarians. After all, we do not want you to go hungry.
Be informed before you go.
Traveling to Africa is unlike any other trip you have ever taken, it is best to be prepared. Read books, read local newspapers, watch a few National Geographic Films, you might want to watch Gorillas in the Mist, or Out of Africa to get you ready for your Safari in Africa.
Kigali International Airport is the Major Airport in Rwanda. Number of direct flights across the globe, do land at this airport.
At this point customs and immigration officials of the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) are polite and efficient to all the visitors to the country. A visa can be purchased on the spot at Kigali International Airport or at any overland border. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport, which is also serviced by several shops and restaurants. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water. At the airport there is a variety of Airport taxes which can take you on town service, but is much advisable to our clients to request for our standard vehicles to any destination of choice.
There is no Customs desk on departure at Kigali International airport. Departing passengers are required to present a valid passport (6 month validity) or other travel document and completed departure embarkation card to the immigration officer. The officer will ascertain that the traveler obtained the relevant Visa.
The travel document is duly stamped and returned to the passenger. Passengers then proceeds to the departure-transit concourse for duty-free shopping and refreshments. After the final security formalities, passengers get into the holding-area where one can ascertain their belongings, tickets, passports, traveler’s checks.
Packing for your Trip to Rwanda:
Practical Advice for Packing for Rwanda- and the most practical is that you do not pack the kitchen sink – keep it down to the essentials starting with the reason you are coming to Rwanda for. That can decide even the type of suitcase that you will need and use.
If you are coming for a Safari – you will need to pack differently than if you are coming as a volunteer or business visitor – however every visitor while visiting Rwanda should make plans to spend a few days in the African Wild even on a mini-safari.
How much you can pack is determined by which region of the world you are flying from since different regions have different allowances for suitcases.
Packing wisely is the key and if you are coming for a Safari or as a volunteer pack with purpose and pack some things such as deflated footballs, books, dolls, no candy please, stethoscope, blood pressure kits and more. Pack wisely.
Light summer clothing with a sweater or jacket will be best at any time of the year. However, cotton slacks and flat heel comfortable walking shoes are highly suggested on safari tours. You shouldn’t forget to bring a hat for protection against the sun and also a swimsuit. Umbrellas and windbreakers are recommended during the rainy season. All you need to do is to request additional details at the time of booking.During the day, temperatures are generally warm depending on which region of the country one is at, so bring lots of light clothing. Evening temperatures are cooler at especially high altitudes, so it is advisable to bring a couple of light sweaters as well. For the tourist intending to hike or climb on the mountains, you are advised to pack accordingly due to the alpine temperatures. You would do well to carry solid walking shoes and strong clothing, a sun hat, sunglasses, waterproof jackets which are ideal for forest walks, game drives and national park tours.
Smoking is not permitted but all safaris include frequent stops that can provide you with an opportunity to smoke.
When packing for your Trip to Rwanda – do not leave Common Sense behind:
Africa is different any part of the world, quite different from anywhere else in the world and it takes practical common sense to get the most out your time in Rwanda.
Nothing is predictable but the wonders of Africa. Often the African ways may frustrate a Westerner. Things like lack of customer service – something improving, the indifference of wait-staff, hotel management at times can drive a Westerner crazy.
Just before you lose your patience or sense of human – take a deep breath and realize that in many ways we may do things differently, but we’ll have similar dreams of tomorrow.
Rwanda Tourist Visa:
The most convenient Way for Tourists to obtain visas for Rwanda is on arrival at the airport in Entebbe if you are flying. By land, you can obtain the Rwanda Visa at any entry point into the country.
You can apply for the Rwanda Tourism Visa online if you want everything settled prior to arrival. The process in our opinion is cumbersome compared to the visa on arrival, there are photos, uploads of itineraries, plus a Credit Card fee.
For those continuing on to Rwanda – as of January 1 -2018 visas can be obtained at the point of entry. There is also the East African Visa that allows you to move freely in between Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda which is $100.
Money Advice and Tips for Rwanda Travelers:
Here you will find the most Advice and Tips about using money in Uganda including money safety and security tips for Uganda.
Rwanda is a cash-based society where the US dollar reigns as the currency of choice, where the use of credit cards is limited because Traveler Cheques are not accepted everywhere and it is a cumbersome process to get them exchanged into Cash.
Credit Cards can be used but normally there is a 3 – 5% fee when you use a credit card. ATM machines are found in major towns, have a Visa ATM Card – Master Card can be used at limited banks, forget American Express Cards with ATM machines.
Eating out in Rwanda – Restaurants:
Most likely you will not be cooking on your own unless you are like me and live here. If you are going to cook for yourself I can tell you where you will find butchery and bakery that is reasonable and cuts meats in western ways. As far as eating out, there are some basic precautions that one must use in order to stay healthy.
The food that is served in lodges, restaurants, hotels and camps is usually well prepared and safe to eat. The luxury properties serve superb cuisine that is of a very high standard. We would, however, recommend that you drink bottled water only, peel your fruit and avoid street food.
Spicy food does not mean you will not get sick. You do not want Amin’s revenge and be laid up in your lodging instead of enjoying Rwanda.
Rwanda is not a tipping culture country – however, your tip will be gladly accepted by a waiter, waitress, driver-guide, and lodge or hotel staff during your time in Rwanda.
What might surprise you is how much of an impact your tip left will have. It is also customary to tip your driver-guide while on Safari and those leading you on gorilla tracking or chimpanzee tracking and wildlife Game Drives.
Tipping may not be common in Rwanda but as an ambassador of your country is a good thing to practice.
The tip does not have to be large – keep in mind the low salaries that a waiter or waitress receives here in Rwanda.
You will find different brands of both local and international beer available in Rwanda. Most spirits and wines are imported and are readily available at lightly elevated prices. The legal drinking age is 18 years; though it’s not well-enforced.
Visitors from or passing through a yellow fever and cholera zone (most of tropical Africa and South America) may be able to produce a valid International Certificate of Vaccination. Air travellers who only pass through the airports of such a zone are exempt from the requirement. It is also advised that all travellers be vaccinated against Meningitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis. As Uganda and Rwanda are in a malaria zone, visitors should also take prophylactics against malaria although the best way to avoid catching malaria is to avoid bites by using mosquito repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. For your own comfort take a mosquito repellent. Mosquito nets are provided in most hotels, lodges and camps. Precautions should be taken against malaria both when visitors are in the country, and when they return home. It is advisable to drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid swimming in ponds and still water pools.
It is also advisable to drink bottled which are readily available in any of the many supermarkets, restaurants and shops rather than tap water. The AIDS scourge which afflicted the nation has dramatically dropped due to a strong AIDS sensitization campaign by the government and NGOs but one is advised to take precaution.
Medical Insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you’re spending any time in remote parts of the country. There are some medical rescue organizations available.
Internet Access in Rwanda:
Internet is available at our most lodges; however you can connect to the internet cable, or buy a local sim card that will help you to connect. Internet is available everywhere in the café.
Getting around Rwanda:
Getting around in Rwanda for Visitors.The various options that visitors to Rwanda have as means of transportation.
There are mini-bus public taxis that serve cities and the countryside. You have Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis by the thousands that offer quick, efficient transport, however with some dangers involved.
There are long-distance buses in the country and beyond to Kampala, Nairobi and even into Tanzania.
The best way is to be driven around Rwanda on a safari – that is the most comfortable safest way to see Rwanda.
What to Bring for Your Visit:
Visitors to Rwanda are required to have valid passports, and visa requirements should be checked with the customs and immigrations at the Airport on arrival before you travel. Binoculars and tour guides will enable you reap the most of game reserves and national parks tours and game drives. Zoom lens for Photographers who intend to capture the beautiful wildlife and scenery (70-300 or similar).
Video Camera – A small, light video camera is better, especially on walking safaris. Bring extra tapes and batteries.Batteries can be charged in lodges with the right adapter.
Printing film and developing facilities are available in Kigali. Toiletries and other essential commodities can be purchased at any of the numerous supermarkets and shopping centers in the cities.It is always polite to ask before taking a picture of a person. Sometimes money may be requested by the subject – if this happens, negotiate the amount before taking the picture.
Last but not least, dress sensibly and in an inoffensive manner. Skimpy dressing is frowned upon. Nude bathing is illegal in most African countries.