Top events in Rwanda

July
16

Rwanda is developing a reputation as the centre of a burgeoning film industry and its annual film festival is attracting talent from all over...

June
01

The traditional Kwita Izina naming ceremony in which community members suggest names for a new born infant has been adopted for the gorillas. Park...

June
16

I wanted to inform you of a new enterprising event that has been started this year, called the Cultural Week.

From 16th June-23rd June, in...

Rwandan children
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Rwandan children

© Creative Commons / tonikyrinfo

Rwanda Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

26,338 sq km (10,169 sq miles).

Population

12.3 million (2014).

Population density

468.4 per sq km.

Capital

Kigali.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Paul Kagame since 2000.

Head of government

Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi since 2014.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are most commonly used.

Known as the land of 1,000 hills, this country couldn't be further from the cliched African image of arid deserts and dry bush. Winding roads hug verdant slopes, every inch carved into fields with crops ranging from banana trees to maize. In the valleys are great sweeping tea plantations, rice fields and coffee groves.

Rwanda has made a remarkable recovery from the 1994 genocide which saw more than 800,000 people killed at the hands of Hutu extremists and much of its infrastructure collapse. The country is now leading the way in using tourism for sustainable development and conservation. The bamboo and mid-altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park in the north are home to the rare mountain gorilla and the high-altitude Nyungwe Forest in the south, one of the largest remaining rainforests in Africa, is home to 13 primates, including chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, rare orchids and nearly 300 different species of bird.

A landlocked country, Rwanda makes up for this with the stunning Lake Kivu, with beaches at Gisenyi and inlets and coves at Kibuye. Out in a kayak, you can paddle around forested islands and nod hello to the fishermen in dug-out canoes.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 30 June 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Local travel

The border crossings between Rwanda and the DRC at Gisenyi/Goma and Cyangugu/Bukavu are currently open between 06:00 and 18:00. Both borders are liable to close at short notice and you should not rely on them as a point of exit from DRC. If you are crossing regularly between Rwanda and the DRC you may encounter immigration difficulties if you have not regularised your residency status. Take care when travelling near the border with Burundi. This is because of instability in Burundi’s border area.

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is available as part of organised tours in the Parc National des Volcans (also known as Volcanoes Park). The park authorities only permit gorilla trekking that is undertaken as part of an organised tour.

Grenade attacks

Since 2011, there have been a number of grenade attacks throughout Rwanda, mainly in Kigali and Musanze. There were 2 grenade attacks in Musanze, northern Rwanda, in January 2014. There were 2 grenade attacks in Kicukiro market in Kigali in September 2013. There were also grenade attacks in Nyabugogo market in Kigali in July 2013 and on Kimironko taxi park in Kigali in March 2013. The attacks resulted in fatalities and a large number of injuries. Further indiscriminate attacks cannot be ruled out, including in places frequented by foreigners. You should remain vigilant.

Crime  

Levels of crime remain relatively low in Rwanda, but there have been reports of bag snatching and mugging incidents targeting foreigners.

You should take sensible precautions. Take care when walking at night. Pre-arrange transport. Don’t carry large amounts of money and don’t leave cars unsupervised in the town centre.

Road travel

You can drive using a UK driving licence or an International Driving Permit for up to three months, after which you should apply for a Rwandan licence.

Roads from Kigali to all major towns are good. There can be landslides during the annual rains in late spring and autumn. Avoid road travel after dark as roads are unlit and driving standards are poor.

Shared taxis (mini-vans) and motorbike taxis are the most common form of public transport within towns and around the country. However, they are also the most vulnerable to accidents.

Air travel

Before using internal or regional flights that are not with major international carriers, you should check the airline’s accreditation and see whether the airline operates in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) safety standards. Rwandair leases its aircraft from GECAS.

Health and Safety

Levels of health and safety in Rwanda are lower than in the UK. There have been incidences of buildings and construction sites collapsing, causing deaths and serious injuries. Fire safety standards are also variable, with incidences of fire in residential and public places a continuing risk.

There have been a number of building fires apparently caused by poor wiring and substandard electrical cables. Take extra care when using electronic equipment.

Newsletter