Planning an Africa safari to Rwanda might be a daunting task not only for first timers but also for seasoned travelers who lack the right information. It is therefore important for your to note the below factors that will affect your travel plans to Rwanda.
There are several international and regional airlines that fly to Kigali from the rest of the world. Kigali International Airport is the entry point to Rwanda for international visitors whether traveling for business or on a Rwanda safari holiday. The major international carriers that fly Kigali include:
- Emirates Airlines
- British Airways
Flights From/ Via Other African Countries
In the continental block there are other airlines that fly to Rwanda whether from the western world like Europe most of them via the airline’s operating hub and/or other countries to Kigali and this are:
- Kenya Airways
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Egypt Air
- Air Malawi
- South African Airways
There are other airlines whose operations are just within the East African region. This allows you to combine African safari tours in one or more countries with Rwanda easily. They include:
- Air Rwanda
- Air Uganda
- Fly 540
NB: It is important to note that polythene bags are not allowed when entering Rwanda.
It is important to check with Rwandan Embassy or consulate in your whether or not you will require an entry visa among other travel requirements needed as there are some Visa exemptions depending on your country of origin.
If case you are from a country affected by Yellow Fever one will be required to have an International Certificate of Vaccination. This is often asked for upon entry. International Certificate of Vaccination is particularly relevant for those travelling through or from neighbouring African countries.
The British High Commission recommends that all visitors to East Africa are vaccinated against Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. It is also recommended to have Anti-malarial with courses most of the time commencing two weeks prior to travel. You should seek further medical advice from your General Practitioner or Travel Medical Centre early enough for proper advice.
It is important to take appropriate travel and medical insurance before leaving for an Africa safari in Rwanda. Most travel agents from your host country will include this in their packages. If Using a ground handler from Rwanda, you can ask if this is included and in most instances it is not for you are often advised to do this from your home country.
What to Pack
Below is a list to give you an idea of some of the things you will need to carry when travelling to Rwanda.
Money and Documentation
This includes your passport with enough remaining pages, Air tickets, Vaccination cards, money (clean US$ bills printed from 2006 – mixed denomination) credit cards (mastercard/ visa), traveler’s cheques.
During the day you may need light clothing (long pants for walking in bush), sturdy walking or hiking shoes, wide brimmed hat, sunglasses. Avoid brightly colored clothes on safari as these may alarm animals. Natural colors are preferable. If having a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari or trekking the chimpanzees or the golden monkey, it will be advisable to carry a rain coat as in the rain forest it can rain at any time.
At night a casual wear with a light jumper or jacket for cool evenings and the mornings will do especially in the Rain forests of PNV and Nyungwe.
Other types of dressing can include a swimsuit for lounging by the pool in case the hotel or lodge you will be staying in has one.
Electronics and Equipments
Remember that you will want to have a pictorial if not movie reminder of that special time you spent on an African safari in Rwanda. A camera whether digital or manual with enough memory space or film and batteries and battery charger is a must. Binoculars, battery chargers (110 to 240V transformer if required), flashlight are some of the things you may not forget.
There are other things that will make your life more comfortable or protect you from harmful vectors. This includes Sun block, sunglasses, sun hat, insect repellent, anti-malaria tablets, day pack (small backpack).
These are general information that is suppose to help you with smooth planning and execution of your Rwanda safari.
The unit currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc. You can get them from the banks in Rwanda or the forex bureaus. Most hotels and lodges in Rwanda accept purchases in other international currencies though their exchange rates might not be very favorable compared to banks and forex bureaus. Carry some local currency as you never know, you might want to buy a memoir.
Voltage is at 220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz and in most places you have the British style 3 square pin plug. Dont be suprised to find a place with the round pin plug. Just ask for adapter and you get the problem solved.
General Security Matters
Rwanda is generallya safe and peacefu, however, just like any othe destination exercise caution when traveling around. Avoid wearing flashy, expensive clothing and jewellery or carrying large amounts of money. Dont leave your luggage un attented to in your rooms and make use of safes in the hotel for anything of value.
Kinyarwanda is the national language spoken by everyone. French has been the official language and is spoken by a sizeable population. After joining the East African Community, Rwanda has introduced English as an official language. Most tour guides can speak English.
There are both mobile and fixed telephony infrastructure in Rwanda and talking telephone will note be a problem. Internet is also available the the speed is quite slow and might be frustrating if you are sending a document in a hurry.
Last but not least, plan early, choose carefully and let you be immersed in the African spirit of adventure. Just let yourself enjoy your African safari to Rwanda