Things to Know Before Traveling to Rwanda : As you plan your trip, and before you travel, we recommend that you read and research about the places that you are going to – regardless of where you are travelling to, or how you are travelling. We urge you to do this, as we recommend that all our travelers keep themselves up to date with the current foreign office advice on their destination countries.

In 1994, Rwanda’s civil war dominated the world’s headlines. This became known as ‘Rwanda’s genocide‘; hundreds of thousands of people where killed. It is still what most people will think about when they hear the word ‘Rwanda’. Now, over 20 years later, the country is once again peaceful. Rwanda’s democratic government promotes harmony, and the Rwandese are enjoying a good life again. Many are eager to tell of their past, to let the world know what happened – and to protect their country against it ever happening again.

There is no time difference between winter and summer months in Rwanda; it’s always two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Currency in Rwanda

Rwanda’s currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF).

Rwanda’s International Dialing Code is +250. Calling from Rwanda, you need to dial 0044 for the UK, or 001 for the United States, followed by an area code and local number.

Rwanda presents visitors with a pleasant tropical highland climate, although rainfall is not uncommon.

With your own 4WD vehicle and driver, travelling in Rwanda is fairly easy. Although major arterial routes are tarred, some roads in the more rural areas are not and can be in poor condition

Food in Rwanda

The food in Rwanda varies from mediocre to very good. Fresh fruit and the Belgian-inspired cuisine are usually good; otherwise, whilst hygiene standards are generally high, results can be variable. The diet for most local Rwandese people consists mainly of sweet potatoes, peas, corn, beans, millet and fresh fruit, including avocados, mangos and papayas. Umutsima (cassava and corn), isombe (cassava leaves with eggplant and spinach) and mizuzu (fried plantains) are some of Rwanda’s traditional dishes. Drinks include local beer and ikigage, a locally brewed beer made from sorghum.

Health in Rwanda

There are medical facilities of Western standards in Kigali; elsewhere facilities are rudimentary. It is generally wise for you to be up-to-date on vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, polio, diphtheria and Covid 19. A yellow fever certificate is usually required for entry into Rwanda if you are passing through a yellow fever endemic country.

Malaria is still a common in most of the African communities including Rwanda. The supply of mosquito nets and massive sensitization and treatment in hospitals has however helped to stop the wide spread of Malaria. Visitors are encouraged to carry insect repellants to avoid mosquito bite that could cause Malaria.

AIDS is common in Rwanda; HIV infection rates are high. Generally, this is not an issue for visitors, though they should be aware of the current situation, and take the same wise precautions to avoid infection as in most other countries. We understand that blood supplies used by the private hospitals here have been carefully screened for years.

Things to Know Before Traveling to Rwanda
Things to Know Before Traveling to Rwanda

Given out break of Covid 19 in 2019 worldwide, travelers getting into Rwanda are required to present a Covid 19 certificate as proof of full vaccination. The visitors are subjected to a compulsory test for Covid19 to access tourist attractions (paid by the tourist). It’s no public secret that all countries are taking all the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the deadly corona virus.

Language in Rwanda

The main language spoken in Rwanda is Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language, also known as ‘Rwanda’ or ‘Ruanda’). French is widespread and English is also spoken by many people who are in contact with visitors.

Visas for Rwanda

We understand that travellers of all nationalities need to purchase a visa when touring to Rwanda; currently (Feb 2019), this costs US $30 and can be obtained on arrival. However, always check with your local Rwandan Embassy in your country of origin, Things to Know Before Traveling to Rwanda.

Plastic bags

It is no doubt that Rwanda is one of the cleanest places in Africa. The government of the republic of Rwanda in 2008 banned the use of all non-biodegradable plastic bags. Warning signs have been placed on all the corners of the airport at Kigali on big signposts. Check are done on the luggage of the travelers and those found with polythene are fined and may sometimes be taken to jail depending on the magnitude of the offense.  The fine charged is 50,000 Rwandan Francs, which is an equivalent of about $61. As a traveler, you must therefore be careful to observe the laws as set by the government.


Rwanda is relatively a crime free country with very friendly and welcoming people smiling at the glance of visitors in their community. The security of the visitors is guaranteed by the established security institutions, which explains the growth of Rwanda’s tourism sector. Visitors must be careful just like in any other in any another country, pickpockets are very alive in crowded places requiring you to be on a watch. Crimes against tourists are not common and most of the travelers have been able to visit without any trouble.

Local laws

Visitors must be aware of the prevailing laws of Rwanda to avoid fines and potential jail sentence. The Use of, possession and trafficking of drugs is criminal in Rwanda and the culprits are subjected to the prevailing laws. Drinking and the Use of phones while driving are traffic offences punishable by law. Taking photographs of the army, government buildings and border crossing points is highly prohibited. Unfitting talks about the Genocide is punishable and could lead you to jail if not controlled, Things to Know Before Traveling to Rwanda

The Rwandan Genocide

Thousands of Rwandan people lost lives in the 1994 genocide that happened immediately after the assassination of the then president Juvenal Habyarimana in a plane crush. The Rwandan people went through a lot of trauma after many of them were displaced during this turmoil. The government of Rwanda therefore established laws to control the hate speech and promote unity and peace. Travelers are therefore advised to avoid any talk about the genocide that promotes hate and is inappropriate as this may cause fines or even imprisonment of the accused persons.

Travel insurance

Any one traveling to Rwanda is required to have health insurance; tourists who get into the country without it are given the 30 days to have it worked out as soon as they can. Rwanda’s health services are basic and may not cater for some of the health attention you may need as a traveler.

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