Rwanda is fast growing as one of the continent’s travel destinations. This is due to the rapid development taking place in the country as well as the favorable policies geared towards drawing more visitors to this country. Traveling is pretty simple. But people normally do not plan adequately in advance something that increases ones expenses and at other times it ruins the overall experience. And in some worse cases, it doesn’t even let you get out there into the world of travel. So this section is intended to provide some of the ways through which one can travel safely in this country for a memorable experience. These travel tips are based on the writer’s wide experience and expertise in organizing mouthwatering safaris for a couple of years now. This article is prepared with an aim to simplify your holiday. The idea is to reduce your cost burden while improving your holiday experience.
These tips have been categorized under different headers to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. You will find answers to many of your travel questions as well as the top things to do, top things to see, top things to eat, top things to experience, etc.
You shouldn’t be nervous about traveling, but you should definitely be careful to help avoid problems as best as possible.
Here are some of the important tips for a safe travel in Rwanda;
First things first: you cannot go anywhere without your documents, so you’d better check you have yours and those of your family before leaving the house. When organizing a trip, be sure to know ahead of the time if you will need a passport, visa or just an identity card, and check if they are still valid and can be accepted in your destination country.
Universal plug adapter
This is one of those things you underestimate when you are in your country, but that is essential when going abroad. How are you going to charge your mobile phone? How are you going to use your blow dryer? There are different plugs and electricity sockets all around the world! Buy a universal plug adapter before leaving for your holiday and you will never have this problem again.
No one wants to feel sick on holiday but you never know what might happen! So better remind yourself to bring some over-the-counter medicine with you during a holiday abroad, such as pain relievers and an anti-diarrheal plus mosquito repellants and don’t forget your medicine, especially if you’re on prescription: of course there are pharmacies everywhere, but the dosage may differ, so play it safe.
Guidebooks and dictionaries
Buy a guidebook and a dictionary before leaving for your holiday abroad. If you are traveling on your own, you might want to know more about the places you are visiting, their history and their background. Also, guidebooks give useful information about hotel, restaurants and things to do. Moreover, dictionaries often have a section with idiomatic expressions in the local language that will help you communicate easily abroad.
Small travel bag
It might be useful to bring a small travel bag with you, one that doesn’t take too much space and that you can easily fit in your backpack or baggage (especially before security check at the airport). There you can put and carry all your travel documents, your passport and visa, your cellphone, guidebooks and wallet so that you have all at hand.
Why you need to visit Rwanda
There are many reasons why you should visit Rwanda but the key things to do in Rwanda include gorilla trekking, mountain climbing (5 of the Virunga Volcanoes are homed in Rwanda), golden monkey tracking, chimpanzee tracking and canopy walks in Nyungwe forest national park and several wildlife viewing safaris in Akagera National Park among other interesting activities.
Getting to Rwanda
Rwanda’s National Carrier-Rwanda air operates flights from many cities like London, Johannesburg and Nairobi among others. Alliance Express also operates flights from Johannesburg, Entebbe, Nairobi and Bujumbura to Kigali Airport. Other International Airlines that operate flights to Kigali Airport include Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi, Kenya Airways and Air Tanzania among others.
Passport and Visa requirements
A valid Visa is important/mandatory for most tourists to Rwanda except Nationals from DRC, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Mauritius for a period of 90 days. With the East African Tourist Visa (at $100), you can get to visit Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya without acquiring a Visa for each country. Tourists from countries that are not Visa exempt can obtain from Rwandan Embassies in their countries or use the Online Visa Application system.
Tourists planning to travel to Rwanda need a certificate of inoculation against Yellow fever. The fact that Rwanda is located in a high altitude does not mean Malaria is inevitable. There are several health centers/clinics or hospitals across the country but the best ones are found in Kigali town. Another important advice regarding health is that you should avoid drinking tap water, but instead take bottled water that can be purchased from supermarkets or shops. Also avoid buying street foods and salads but instead buy from supermarkets.
Best time to visit Rwanda
Rwanda can be visited anytime of the year, but most tourist activities for example gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking are best done during the dry seasons because it is when tracking conditions are favorable (tracking trails are less muddy and slippery).
Disposal of wastes
Follow the principle of Pack it in, pack it when dealing with waste disposal in Rwanda. Kigali is one of the cleanest towns in Africa and throwing rubbish on the street is a big crime.
What to pack for your trip
What to pack depends on the activity you are planning to participate in. However, the key things to carry include for gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking or golden monkey tracking long sleeved shirts, long trousers, strong hiking boots, a backpack, camera with enough batteries, binoculars (for birding and nature walks), a sweater, a rain jacket, toiletries and insect repellant.
The local currency used in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc, but most lodging facilities accept US Dollars and most tourist activities are paid inform of Dollars. However, it is important to change to local currency for shopping and tipping. Also, most shops or lodges use cash and rarely credit cards.
Tipping in Rwanda
Tipping is required though it is not compulsory in Rwanda. As a courtesy for good service, you can tip the receptionists, tour guides, or the driver guide and the amount to tip depends on you
The indigenous language in Rwanda is “Kinyarwanda, but other languages commonly spoken include French (spoken throughout the country) and English (mostly in the Capital).
This country is known to have the excellent local and International call network. It is advisable to obtain cell phones from major shops and mobile companies, and prepaid simcards to allow you communicate with your friends and family back home. You would be safe to have unlocked phones when in Rwanda
Internet access in Rwanda
Internet in Rwanda can be accessed from Internet Cafes or most restaurants, lodges or hotels where you will be staying offer free wifi to guests. Tourists who have laptops but with no Wifi location can purchase Modems or routers for tourists travelling in large numbers.
Rwanda is totally safe and is considered one of the safest countries in Africa. However, it is also important to be cautious and careful because in almost all countries, there are pickpockets and Rwanda is not exceptional.
Electricity in Rwanda
Rwanda’s Voltage is 230 volts, and tourists are advised to carry European converter plugs for proper fitting of appliances.
There are several lodges, guesthouses and hotels within Kigali including Hotel des Milles Collines, Serena Hotel among others. There are exquisite lodges within the tourist sites like National Parks.
Local dishes like Grilled Tilapia, Matooke, potatoes, Goat Kebabs and international dishes are served in most Restaurants and Hotels. Avoid eating street foods because sometimes you may not be sure of the hygiene of the person who prepared the food.
In conclusion, for you to have a memorable travel experience in Rwanda, it is important to get information on the travel tips that include visa requirements for Rwanda, best time to visit, activities you can engage in when you visit the country and your safety within the country. Once you understand the tips and apply them, believe me you will appreciate the country and wish to come back or even recommend someone to visit.