Area: 26,338 sq. km
Capital City: Kigali
Terrain: Uplands and hills
River Systems: The Nile and the Congo
Largest Lake: Lake Kivu
Highest Peak: Karisimbi (4,507m) in the volcanic Virunga Chain
Rwanda is an East African landlocked country bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Being a tropical country at a high altitude, Rwanda has a temperate climate all year round. Temperatures rarely exceed 30°C during the day, and rarely drop below 15°C at night.
The chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot lowlands around the Akagera National Park are exceptions. Seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. The driest months are July to September.
Rwanda’s official languages are Kinyarwanda, English and French. Kiswahili, which is spoken throughout East Africa, is also widely spoken throughout the country.
PASSPORT AND VISA
A valid passport is mandatory. Visas are required by some nationalities. They can be issued at any Rwandan embassy or consulate, or on the spot at most ports of entry. Some nationalities, however, are required to apply online first to be issued a visa on arrival. Please contact your nearest Rwandan embassy or consulate to obtain the latest information on visa requirements, or apply online at www.migration.gov.rw.
The unit of currency is the Rwandan Franc. The US Dollar is the hard currency of preference, but the Euro and British pound are also accepted. ATMs accepting MasterCard and VISA cards are widely available. In Kigali, it is possible to exchange travellers’ cheques, and pay directly by credit card at major hotels, and restaurants.
WHEN TO GO
Rwanda can be visited all year long. The best time to visit, however, is from June to September when sunny weather makes gorilla trekking and other forest walks less demanding, and from December to March for birdwatching.
Several airlines connect Kigali to the region and the rest of the world including RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Brussels Airlines, KLM, and Ethiopian Airlines. Kigali International Airport is the main airport serving Rwanda. Overland travel by car or by bus is also possible from neighbouring countries.
Rwanda has a remarkable road system. The public transportation system extends to all major cities and towns. An alternative to bus travel is travelling with a private vehicle. In Kigali, taxis and moto-taxis are widely available. For visitors booking our tours and packages, we provide four wheel drives in excellent condition. Air charter and helicopter services are also available anywhere in the country.
A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are recommended. It is advisable to drink bottled mineral water which can be bought in all towns. In case of emergency, there are hospitals located in all major towns.
GORILLA AND OTHER SAFARI PERMITS
We arrange gorilla and other safari permits. Just ask.
For environmental reasons, Rwanda does not allow plastic bags. If you are carrying plastic bags when travelling to Rwanda, they will be confiscated at the border checkpoints. Littering is also strictly prohibited. There are rubbish cans where you are expected to throw your litter. If you are walking around, make sure not to step on the grass.