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VISIT RWANDA, TREK GORILLAS

Trekking mountain gorillas in this landlocked country of undulating hills, terraced farmlands, volcanic mountains, and untamed rainforests is an experience unlike any other. When you visit Rwanda on safari, you’ll marvel at awe-inspiring panoramas, an overabundance of primates, friendly local people, and one of Africa’s most promising capitals.

Rwanda has made massive strides in security and tourism development in the few decades since the 90s genocide and is now internationally recognized as one of the safest destinations in Africa.

A sense of order prevails: violent crime is nearly nonexistent, and police can be spotted at most major intersections. New roads and tidy villages characterize the countryside.

Citizens are required to participate in a monthly day of community service, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find litter on the streets, particularly plastic bags, which are banned. You’ll find new businesses, homes, and roadways under construction in every corner of the country.

It’s worth noting that Rwanda offers more than just gorillas: The primeval forests of Nyungwe National Park are inhabited by more than 75 different mammals, including hundreds of chimpanzees and nearly 300 bird species. Akagera National Park in the northeast offers the Big Five and a savanna safari experience without the usual khaki-clad crowds.

  • Highlights

    • You will spend unforgettable moments trekking mountain gorillas in thick forests found on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains.
    • Tracking wild chimpanzees and other primates in the southerly Nyungwe National Park. The canopy walkway will suspend you above a ravine in the lush montane rainforest, an exhilarating perspective on the ancient treetops and wildlife.
    • Easy to explore the popular circuit between the national parks passing through magnificent scenery, with warm smiles greetings from natives around every corner.
    • Explore the big game in Akagera National Park, but there is no cheetah in Rwanda.
    • From Kigali City’s genocide memorials, museums,  and cosmopolitan culture displays to countryside gatherings and annual events like Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony, celebrate Rwanda culture and creativity.
    • Explore the coastline of Lake Kivu by kayak, an excellent way to immerse yourself in the scenery, gazing up at the mountainous backdrop from the tranquility of the water.

Why Vissit Rwanda

Primate Adventures

This mountainous Nyungwe National Park, in the country’s southwest, protects a rainforest home to roving families of chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and almost 300 unique bird species. It offers some of the best chimpanzee adventures, canopy walks, bird spotting, primate trekking, waterfall hikes, and expansive tea field visits.

Gorilla Trekking

Visit Rwanda and navigate your way through emerald foliage, bamboo forests, and gauzelike mists to behold the world’s largest living primates on their own turf. Their sheer size and eerily humanlike interactions will leave you spellbound, and Rwanda’s focus on their conservation is impressive. A permit in Rwanda costs $1,500 per person (2021) from Rwanda Development Board.

 

Community & Cultures

Get lost in the Itore ballet, the Impala Orchestra that adds considerable luster to the country’s cultural life. Visit Rwanda through Kigali and immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan city’s cultural fusion. From majestic cultural sites to dancing the Itore, basketry, and Umuganda, the vibrant Rwandan cultural scene will leave you astonished.

Virunga Volcanos

This slice of the Virunga Mountains may be synonymous with gorilla trekking, but its active volcanoes, lakes, and grasslands offer stunning views and rewarding hikes. You can spot golden monkey, buffalo, elephant, bushpig, giant forest hog, several antelope species, and about 180 bird species in its environs.

Kigali City

Arguably East Africa’s safest and most future-focused city, Rwanda’s capital is a patchwork of palm tree-lined boulevards, artisan coffee shops, international restaurants, and a downtown dotted with new buildings. The burgeoning art scene, dine-out options, and Kigali Cultural Village will keep you entertained during your visit.

Safari Big 5

Rwanda’s up-and-coming safari destination, Akagera National Park, is now home to the Big Five. The last refuge for savannah-adapted species is worth a safari after watching the mountain gorillas in the Virungas. Akagera is just two hours east of Kigali, and you cannot miss the spectacular northern plains.

 

RWANDA TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Entry Visa

Foreign travelers require tourist visas for entry into Rwanda. You can obtain a 30-day visa from the Irembo Immigration Website for USD 50. Check with your embassy or consulate for the latest regulations at least a month before your flight. Your passport must be valid for six months from the intended travel date and contain at least one blank page.

Network & Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi in Rwanda can be commonly found at most restaurants, cafés, and hotels with 4G LTE wireless broadband in major cities. Outside of Kigali, however, Wi-Fi becomes much more unreliable. If you think you might need consistent Internet or phone access, bring an unlocked cell phone and get a SIM card upon arrival; MTN and Tigo are considered the most consistent providers.

Getting There

Kigali International Airport, your entry point, is approximately 10 km (6 miles) or a 20-minute drive from central Kigali. The airport serves as the primary gateway for Rwanda’s gorilla safaris. Airlines servicing Kigali International Airport are: RwandAir (the nation’s carrier), Uganda Airlines, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.

 

 

Health & Vaccines

Visitors to Rwanda must present proof of yellow fever vaccination and COVID-19 PCR test done within the last 72 hours upon arrival at the airport. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended. Adventurous eaters and travelers to rural areas should also consider the typhoid vaccine. Malaria is a risk, so consult with your doctor on antimalarial tablet options. At the very least, sleep under a mosquito net at night and wear insect repellent during the day. Avoid tap water and opt for bottled instead.

Food & Dining

Rwanda has a burgeoning culinary scene with local and international restaurants well represented all over the country. In addition to international offerings, try some of Rwanda’s traditional dishes; brochettes (grilled meat or fish on a stick), Akabenz (roasted and marinated pork), and Misuzu (fried sweet plantains) are delicious and available throughout the country. Tipping is unnecessary mainly during your visit Rwanda trip, though if service is exemplary, feel free to leave a few small notes.

Getting Around

Rwanda has a well-surfaced road network linking the major towns, and the most convenient way to travel the country is by car. Smaller roads are frequently unsurfaced with varying conditions responsive to weather change. Visit Rwanda with a local tour operator that can arrange a vehicle with a driver. Self-drive travelers can hire four-by-four cars from agencies in the city. Taxis & shared minibusses operate in the larger towns, but there’s no rail service in Rwanda.

 

 
Currency

Rwanda’s official currency is the Rwandan franc (Rwf). Although larger hotels and tour operators may accept U.S. dollars and credit cards, expect to pay in francs at local shops and restaurants. You can withdraw the local currency at ATMs in large cities or exchange your U.S. dollars at the airport and regional banks. US$50 and US$100 bills will fetch better exchange rates, as will newer notes. Bills printed before 2005 may not be accepted.

Accommodation

The quality of travel accommodation in Rwanda has improved in leaps and bounds over the past several years. Expect good food; excellent, personalized service; and a few unique touches—like a hot water bottle under your sheets—from Rwanda’s best. Bring travel necessities, such as toothbrushes and shampoo, but don’t be surprised if those items are already awaiting your arrival. Most lodges will supply rooms with mosquito bed nets, although you may not require a net in properties at high altitudes.

Plastic Ban

Please avoid carrying plastic bags to Rwanda. Banned by law since 2008, any plastic bags in your luggage will be confiscated at the airport or other points of entry. When you visit Rwanda, you’ll discover that citizens consider safeguarding the environment and keeping it clean with high regard.

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