Guide to Visiting Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the upcoming destinations on the African continent. Learn about the best things to see, things to do, where to go, when to visit & travel tips to help you plan a safari in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills.
The history of Rwanda is most times overshadowed with the horrible memories of the genocide and this clicks most people’s minds whenever they talk about the country. What most people do not know is that the once affected country has greatly recovered in the past two decades and its now on of the most visited destinations in East Africa. The clean fascinating streets of the capital Kigali are very safe with no disturbances, no vendors and any other irritating unnecessary interference.
The country is blessed with many attractions that are both natural and man made. They include the popular mountain gorillas in the northern part of the country and other incredible wildlife, well architectural buildings, museums, crop plantations, forests, lakes, mountains, rivers and the unique cultures of the people.
Located in the heart of Africa, this country sits high in Central Africa. Also referred to as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is an interesting destination – home to the endangered mountain gorillas, wild chimpanzees and birds.
The country has a well developed transportation network from the airport, around the city and connecting to the national parks and the country’s major attractions. There are buses, mini buses, taxis, motorcycles and most kinds of special hire that can enable you tour the city and the country at reasonable fares. In case you get lost or stranded; you can ask the local people for direction because they are very hospitable and help you if you ask for their assistance. There are also bus services to Uganda that can enable one to easily explore the tourist attractions in the two beautiful countries.
Top Things to See in Rwanda
- Mountain Gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park
- Chimpanzees and other primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park
- Genocide Memorial Sites – there are more than 8 genocide memorial sites within the country
- Cultural Attractions including museums, community tourism, villages etc
- Mountains including Karisimbi, Bisoke etc
- Lakes & Rivers
- Akagera National Park- the only savanna game park in the country
Top Things to Do in Rwanda
- Gorilla trekking
- Chimpanzee Tracking
- Bird Watching
- Golden Monkey Tracking
- Cultural Tours
- Dark Tourism – Genocide Memorial Tours
Top Places to Visit in Rwanda
- Volcanoes National Park – home to endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and the Virunga volcanoes.
- Nyungwe National Park
- Akagera National Park
- Kigali Genocide Memorial
Rwanda Travel Guide
Before traveling to Rwanda, Africa, i knew less about Rwanda. Most of the media reports always brought either political news, stories about the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, the different plotical conflicts between Rwanda and the neighboring countries etc. However after my visit escapade into Rwanda, i discovered a lot about this small country which oas also known as the land of a thousand hills!
Rwanda is the true gateway to Africa. Emerging from tragedy of the much reported 1994 Genocide, the country has recovered a lot and there is now nowhere better to enjoy a safari in Africa than this place. The Rwanda safari offers the promise of exotic wildlife, a unique cultural experience and majestic sightseeing of the mountain gorillas on gorilla safaris. See some of the largest populations of gorillas in Africa. Gaze at exotic birds and take in other African wildlife in the African lowlands of Rwanda. A true once in a lifetime experience for even the most traveled. Amazing cultural events such as the Izina Ceremony promise a memorable trip. There is no better trip in Africa than Rwanda safaris. Come enjoy Africa at its most impressive.
Rwanda is an impressive land with a unique ecological heritage and tracts of unspoiled wilderness with still thriving wildlife populations. Rwanda safaris are a chance to see a country’s treasures as it rises from the ashes. Truly priced for any family a safari to Rwanda is a beautiful vacation idea. You will love how close to nature you get to be and watching all the wild animals in their natural habitat is amazing. There are all sorts of animals that you will get to see on your safari and it will make some of the most amazing memories that you have ever had.
So start planning on this amazing trip today so that you and your love can go out and see some of the things others only get to dream about. This will be something that you can keep with you always and forever and you will love this memory. So get ready today so that you can go and do all the things you have always wanted in Africa. There are several different packages that you can choose from for your safari so you should get on the internet and try to find one that will work for you and your family. You will want to bring along a camera since there is a good chance that you will get to see things that you need to capture on film for showing to your friends and family.
The country requires visas from citizens entering the country except the east African countries plus Germany, Mauritius, Hong Kong, United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, democratic republic of Congo and Sweden. Tourists visas can be got by applying on- line, at the airport on arrival or at the border that is only issued for eight days. Those interested in staying in the country for a longer period like thirty days can also apply.
The east African community recently introduced the east African visa that can enable one have many entries to visit Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for a period of 90 days at $100. This visa can be acquired from the airport.
Common Tourist Paths/Trails
Kigali to Ruhengeri (volcanoes national park) is the most common tourist trail for gorilla safaris. Others go to Gisenyi to visit Lake Kivu for sunbathing at the beach and for boat trips or to Butare to Nyungwe national park to for chimpanzee tracking, birding and canopy walks in Nyungwe forest. They usually use tourist vehicles, buses and other local transportation means however the adventurous tourist go biking.
Currency and costs
The country use Rwandan francs (RWF); however dollars, pounds, and euros are accepted. There are Forex bureaus where one can exchange his money to the local currency. Payments in major towns can be by use of ATMs like master cards. One can spend about $35-40 a day excluding gorilla permit charges ($750).
Where to stay
The country has well improved accommodation facilities both in the city and national parks. The most famous hotels include Kigali Serena hotel, Gorilla Lake Kivu hotel, impala hotel, hotel des mille Collines, gorilla golf hotel, Virunga lodges, hotel Muhabura, volcano lodges, Nyungwe forest lodges, Akagera guest house and many others. Those in the city may be a little expensive but with standard services.It’s important to make early bookings to avoid inconveniences.
Book your Rwanda gorilla safari permit in advance with the Rwanda Development Board and make instant payment or use your trusted tour operator. If you pay through the Rwanda development board, they will send you a confirmation email that you use when picking up your permit from their offices. Gorilla permits are sold at $750. You can then head to volcanoes national park a 2 hours drive from the city. On the day for the gorilla safari, you are expected to be at the headquarters early (7:00 am) for briefing. You are then divided in groups of eight that will track the different mountain gorilla groups in the park.