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Rwanda Travel Information.

Travel Information

Thank you for considering to gorilla trek or do your safari to Rwanda and/or Uganda with our tour company. In our pursuit of a memorable tour experience with us and to make sure that we meet with your Rwanda/Uganda tour expectations, we kindly request that you take a few minutes of your hectic schedule or precious retirement time to read through what we believe is fairly useful information for your forthcoming tour to Rwanda and Uganda. If you are simply browsing through our website pages, we request that you bookmark this important Rwanda travel information page for your future tour planning reference. It may come in very handy sometime.

Passport and Visas:
A valid passport is mandatory. The passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of completion of your tour in Rwanda or Uganda. For travel to Rwanda, Visas are required by all visitors except nationals of the USA, UK, Germany, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong. For visitors who require visas for travel to Rwanda, visas cost USD 60 and SHOULD be applied for in advance of your arrival to Rwanda online, using the website link below or at your nearest Rwanda embassy or consular offices.

https://migration.gov.rw/online_visa

For Rwanda visitors who intend to cross over to Uganda and trek the gorillas in Bwindi, you will need to apply for a multiple entry visa for Rwanda as you would be entering Rwanda twice. However re-entry visas can always be applied for at the Cyanika bordering crossing, and these cost US$30.  Uganda visas can be obtained on arrival at the border crossing at Cyanika/Gatuna  and cost US$60 each. However to avoid delays at the border crossing, it is advisable if possible and convenient to the traveller to apply for the visas in advance at your nearest Uganda High Commission.

We advise that you make a photocopy or scanned copy of Rwanda pre-entry admission authorisation and take a note of your confirmation number. In addition we recommend that you keep photocopies of your passport in the unfortunate eventuality that you were to lose your passport, you would be able to get assistance from your embassy in Kigali.

Travel with children not travelling with both parents: It is a requirement for all sorts of child protection reasons that children below 18 yrs not travelling with BOTH parents, carry either a full birth certificate or carry a notarized letter, authorising travel of the child, signed by the parent not travelling with the child. or by both parents in travel arrangements where none of the parents is travelling with the child.

NB. The minimum gorilla trekking age is 15yrs.

Security:

In 2012/2013 there were a few security skirmishes in the DRC on the Goma side of the border. We do take the security of our clients very seriously and will not run tours to areas that we believe are unsafe for travel. We monitor the security situation in DRC very proactively. We also invite you to always check with the US State Department AND Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Travel Advisory to Rwanda for any security updates concerning travel to the region.

Currency:

As at 2013 1 US$: 600Rwanda Francs (RWF) 1US$:2600 UGX(Ugandan shillings)

Major credit cards are generally accepted at big hotels only including Kigali Serena etc, and only at a limited number of restaurants and supermarkets only in Kigali U.S. dollars are the most commonly used foreign currency Uganda and Rwanda. However smaller USD denominations carry a less favourable exchange rate. We also also recommend that you carry USD bills printed after the year 2000, as any notes printed before the year 2000 are not acceptable in Rwanda and Uganda. Avoid changing USDs at the airports as they usually offer a very un-favourable exchange rate. Use forex bureaus and major banks for your forex requirements.

Time Difference: Rwanda is +2hrs ahead of GMT in European winters and +1hr ahead in European Summer time. Uganda is +3hrs ahead of GMT in European and North American Winters and +2hrs ahead in corresponding summer times.

Weather: Both Rwanda and Uganda are situated along the Equator, daytime temperatures can be pretty high especially during the dry season, but, due to the high altitudes in Kigali, PNV and Bwindi mornings are quite cool, while evenings and nights can be quite cold. Please carry warm clothing such as a light jumper or sweater for the evenings and night. We also recommend that you pack sunscreen and water proof jackets and waterproof bags to protect valuable equipment like cameras from getting rain soaked.

Getting to Rwanda.
Kigali airport is served by a number of international airlines including, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Uganda, Rwanda Air, Turkish Airlines, SN Brussels Airlines, etc.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you require information on regional connecting flights to/from Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, Juba, Mombasa, Johannesburg, Bujumbura or Entebbe.

Public Holidays:

It is important to note the public holidays in Rwanda, as institutions like banks and government offices including RDB for collection of your gorilla permits for independent travellers who buy the permits direct from RDB. Our offices remain open 24hrs, 7 days, 365 a year, including on Christmas days. The genocide memorial in Kigali is also open all year round. Gorilla trekking is also undertaken all year round without exception.
Good Friday and Easter Monday.
1 January (New Year's Day);
1 February (National Heroes Day);
7 April (Genocide Memorial Day); 
1 May (Labour Day); 
4 July (National Liberation Day); 
15 August (Assumption Day); 
1 October (Patriotism Day); 
25 December (Christmas Day), and 
26 December(Boxing Day).

When to Visit: 
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla trekking and chimp tracking are also all year activities.

What to Wear and what to pack 
Please refer to these pages for a suggested packing list of your tour to Rwanda and Uganda.

Communications:

Most cellphones will roam on any one of Rwanda's international cellphone networks. We are sure you will still be able to stay in touch with loved ones back home or with the office for workaholics. Please note that Rwanda has one of the highest cellphone charges in Africa. Be sure to limit your cellphone roaming data usage while in Rwanda. Cellphone rates in Uganda are quite reasonable.
Rwanda has a very good cell phone network coverage in almost all parts of Rwanda. After all it is a very small country. One is able to pick up a local SIM card on arrival to Rwanda, so that you can cheaply make outgoing calls. Please be reminded that in most cases your phone needs to be unlocked to be able to accept international SIM cards.

Getting Around:
Rwanda has some of the best tar roads and well maintained road network in East Africa. You may hire a self drive or with driver 4x4 vehicle at very good prices by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. They have a range of 4x4 vehicle options to choose from. If you have booked an all inclusive package tour, your travel company will take care of your transportation requirements while in Rwanda and Uganda. If you choose a self drive 4x4, be sure to fill gas at only major petrol stations,e.g Total, Shell, etc as it is not un-common to be supplied with adulterated fuel at some smaller independent fuel retail outlets.

Gorilla Permits:
Gorilla Permits can be arranged by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. other tour agencies in Kigali and Kampala or can be purchased directly through RDB's offices in Kigali for Rwanda gorillas permits OR UWA's office in Kampala for purchase of Uganda gorilla permits. Effective January 2014 Rwanda gorilla permits cost US$750 each and Uganda Gorilla permits will cost US$600.

Health & Safety: 
A YELLOW fever vaccination certificate is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an altitude and temperatures fairly low for malaria to be a worrying threat . We do however recommend that you check with your physician and medical doctor prior to travel toRwanda. While on tour in Rwanda, DO NOT drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all supermarkets in Kigali and other Rwanda upcountry towns.

Seasons And Climate
A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1,000mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Tracking gorillas will for many visitors to Rwanda be the highlight of their tour. Meeting a silverback gorilla in its natural habitat in the Virunga Volcanoes National Park and spending 1 hour observing, ogling and marvelling at the gorillas going about their daily lives, playing, feeding on bamboo shoots, is a once in a lifetime experience for many who make the journey to Rwanda to trek the gorillas. There is of course much more to Rwanda than just gorillas, the chimps of Nyungwe, the golden monkeys of PNV, the birds of Akagera and game drive, the rich culture and history of Rwanda, the people, the genocide memorials, but what better way to top it all with a trek through the mountains to see the gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are a rare and endangered ape species. They can only be found in the Virungas of Rwanda and Congo and the Bwindi Impenetrable forest of Uganda. Most gorillas visitors prefer to see them in Rwanda because of the much more favourable trekking terrain, but of course for those who can afford it, they can be tracked in all 3 countries in a single gorilla visit. Only 80 gorilla permits are available each day in Rwanda, and these sell out quite fast months in advance. We advise that you email us asap at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve one for yourself asap to avoid disappointment.

Rwanda Gorilla Groups:
There are currently 10 gorilla groups habituated for visitations in Rwanda.

  • Susa group gorilla family - 35 gorillas
  • Agashya gorilla family group - 25 gorillas
  • Kwitonda gorilla family group - 24 gorillas.
  • Amahoro gorilla family- 18 gorillas
  • Hirwa gorilla family group - 17 gorillas
  • Sabyinyo gorilla family roup - 14 gorillas
  • Umubano gorilla family group - 12 gorillas
  • Ugenda gorilla family group - 11 gorillas
  • Bwenge gorilla family group - 10 gorillas

Gorilla trekking guidelines.

Please read through the gorilla trekking rules on the pages here.

Rwanda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
Tel: +256-392.897.704
Mob: +256-782-014-207
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
Uganda Office: Suite 3, Pioneer House
Plot 28 Jinja Road
Kampala, East Africa

Uganda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
Tel: +256-392.897.704
Mob: +256-782-014-207
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
Uganda Office: Suite 3, Pioneer House
Plot 28 Jinja Road
Kampala, East Africa

UK Enquiries Contact

Ms Sophie Williams
87 Caernarvon Close, Mitcham, Surrey
CR4 1XE, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 208 765 1058
Mobile: +44 790 863 9450
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com