Information & Facts
A handshake is the normal form of greeting. A knowledge of
French is useful as English is not widely spoken; interpreters may
be required. Lightweight suits are suitable attire for meetings,
which need to be arranged in advance.
Rwanda experiences a pleasant, tropical highland climate with
temperatures that vary depending on altitude, but vary little from
month to month in the same location. There are two wet seasons and
two dry seasons; a long and a short one. The wettest time of year
is between March and May, while the driest months are July to
September. There is also rain between October and November.
Temperatures rarely go above 86°F (30°C) during the day or drop
below 59°F (15°C), except on the upper slopes of the Virunga
Mountains where frosty conditions are possible.
The international dialling code for Rwanda is +250. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
UK). City codes are not required. There is an excellent cell phone
network covering most of the country, and cell phones can be rented
in Kigali. Internet cafes and computer centres are located in most
Photography of government buildings is prohibited in Rwanda.
Plastic bags have been banned for environmental reasons and will be
confiscated on arrival at the airport. It is considered impolite to
ask someone about their ethnic origin.
Passengers older than 16 years may bring two cartons of
cigarettes and two litres of alcohol into the country without
incurring import duties.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European
two-pin attachment plugs are the most commonly used.
There is a year-round risk of malaria throughout Rwanda and
travellers are advised to take a course of prophylactics. A yellow
fever certificate is required by all visitors and inoculation is
also recommended. A hepatitis A vaccine is recommended as well as a
polio booster for those who have not had one as an adult. Other
health risks include meningitis and cholera. Bottled drinking water
is available in all towns. Medical facilities are limited and
medical supplies may be unavailable, although hospitals are located
in all major towns. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Kinyarwanda, French and English are the official
languages. French is widely spoken, but English is limited to a few
people in the tourist centres.
The official currency is the Rwanda franc (RWF), which is
divided into 100 centimes. The US dollar is the hard currency of
preference; travellers cheques are difficult to exchange, even in
the capital. Credit cards are only accepted at the major hotels in
Passport and/or passport replacing documents must be valid on
arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six
months validity remaining after your intended date of departure
from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply
different rules to those stated by travel agents and official
Crime levels are relatively low in Rwanda, although tourists
should be alert to bag snatching and incidents of petty theft.
Travel to the border areas with Burundi and the DRC is not advised;
trips to see the gorillas in the Volcanoes NationalPark should only
be undertaken as part of a guided trek.
Local time is GMT +2.
Some small change left at restaurants will be appreciated when
dining in Rwanda. Guides on gorilla treks expect to be well tipped;
amounts vary, but 10% is common.