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Rwanda Safari

Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of east-central Africa, bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania. A verdant country of fertile and hilly terrain, the small republic bears the title "Land of a Thousand Hills". It features a number of national parks, most famously Parc des Volcans with its population of mountain gorillas, and L ...Show More
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Before you go – Kensington Tours

BEFORE YOU GO

On Your Rwanda Safari

Passport Requirements for Rwanda Safaris

A passport that is valid for at least six months after the end of your trip is required for both U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter and depart the country. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately. Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport. Your passport must have at least one blank page for the entry stamp. This cannot include the ‘endorsement’ page at the back.

Visa Requirements for Rwanda Safaris

Citizens of the USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and Sweden will be required to purchase a visa for Rwanda at any point of entry, without prior application. The fee is $50 USD for a 30-day visa.

ALL OTHER NATIONALITIES - Must apply for a visa online and then pay for the visa upon arrival.

Where Application Made: Applications should be made online (Click here for application form!) using the Entry Facility provided at the entry point. If the link does not work, visit the website of Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration: http://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=203

Note: After submitting the online application, you immediately receive a tracking code.

For more information, please visit the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration website at: https://www.migration.gov.rw

Insurance Recommendations for Rwanda Safaris

Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.

Vaccination Requirements for Rwanda Safaris

Some vaccines require more than one dose or a major length of time to be effective. For that reason, it is recommended to see your doctor or health provider at least 6 to 8 weeks before your trip. For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:

World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.

Currently Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 9 months of age arriving from infected areas or directly from the U.S. and Canada. It must be given at least 10 days before your trip in order to be effective. 

Other vaccines to discuss with your doctor or travel health professional:

  • Tetanus & Typhoid recommended but not required for entry
  • Hepatitis B & E recommended but not required for entry
  • You may also want to discuss Typhoid, Diphtheria and Poliomyelitis (polio), Meningitis, Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) from swimming or paddling in fresh water, dengue fever from mosquitos and rabies depending on your time of visit and where you’ll be traveling
  • Malaria is endemic to Rwanda However, malaria pills or any other prevention medication are strongly recommended before arrival (consult with physician)

Remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind. Wearing long sleeves is a good idea. To reduce the risk of contracting yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria, liberally apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET to your skin and clothes, and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks especially in the evenings.

Medication Requirements for Rwanda Safaris

If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items. Other recommended Items:

  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), after-sun lotion, lip balm, sunglasses
  • Insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET (at least 30 percent)
  • Basic medicine kit (painkillers, band-aids, antiseptic cream, etc.)
  • Digestive aids such as Imodium, Pepto-Bismol. Also, re-hydration salts and anti-diarrhea preparations.
  • Hydrocortisone tablets or cream for allergic skin reactions and bites
  • Anti-nausea tablets if you suffer from motion sickness

Weather, Seasons and Climate in Rwanda

Rwanda’s climate is tropical and moderate the high altitudes of the country make sure it’s not too hot or too cold year-round. There are two rainy seasons in Rwanda; January – April and October – mid December in between these two seasons is a dry season. Even during the dry seasons rain is common, this is how the rainforests stay lush and green year round. Gorilla trekking is best during the dry season, avoid months of July and August for less crowds. For up-to-date forecasts, check www.weather.com.

Clothing and Essential Items for Rwanda Safaris

While gorilla trekking in Rwanda, it is important to keep your arms and legs covered to avoid getting cuts or scrapes in the bush. Long pants, hiking boots, long sleeves, and a light rain jacket are important to bring in case of precipitation in the forest while hiking. You'll be walking through dirt and mud so be sure to wear clothing that you don't mind getting dirty.

Preferred colors on safari are khaki, beige, olive green and brown. You are less visible in the African bush and therefore less threatening to the animals. These colors also help to deflect harsh sun and are less likely to attract mosquitoes.

Other essential items:

Sweater, jersey pullover, safari jacket or windbreaker for the evenings, swimwear, bandannas, handkerchiefs and hat with a brim. For upscale lodges and nights out, you may want to pack something more formal.

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Video camera, camera with zoom lens in a dust-resistant case, sufficient memory cards, a spare camera battery and charger, binoculars.

Electricity, Phone and Internet in Rwanda

Electricity: Electricity in Rwanda is 220 Volt, 50 Hz. Plugs are designed to accept round prongs.

Phone: Your cell phone will work in most areas while on safari if you have a “Smart Phone.” However, roaming can be quite expensive so we do strongly recommend that you pre-purchase a data and roaming plan with your carrier before travel.

Internet: Local connections are exceptionally slow and can be costly (as much as $5-10 per half hour). “Smart” phones such as BlackBerrys and iPhones will actually download data much faster than computers. Again, roaming and data charges can be exceptionally high – so please talk to your phone provider to pre-purchase a data plan for when you are on safari.

Internet cafés and wireless access are available in most urban areas, airports and hotels. Please note that wi-fi and internet service provided in properties is at the discretion of each establishment and Kensington Tours has no control over this. Please feel free to check with your Sales Consultant before travel if you’d like to know internet set up at each of your properties or contact the properties directly so you are aware of their internet policy if this is important to you. You may like to speak to your internet provider prior to travel to arrange a roaming package.

Currency in Rwanda

The currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF). Notes are in denominations of 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of RWF 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 but these are worth very little and are rarely used. For current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com

Quick Facts for a Rwanda Safari

Capital: Kigali

Language: There are three official languages: Kinyarwanda, French, and English. You’ll also find numerous indigenous languages.

Currency: Rwandan Franc (RWF)

Religion: Christian 65%, Muslim 26%, Protestant 9%

Time Zone: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) + 2 Central Africa Time

Electricity: 220 Volt, 50 Hz

Telephone: Country code for calling is 250

Calling North America: Dial 011 plus area code and your 7-digit number

Emergency numbers in Rwanda: There is no 911 equivalent in Rwanda. For police dial 311, for emergency dial 112, and for traffic accident dial 113

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

GORILLA TREKKING PERMITS

If you're going to be gorilla trekking while in Rwanda, you'll first need to obtain a permit. Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda cost US $750 per person. You'll need your passport when you arrive at the park so officials can check your trekking permit.

WHAT TO BRING

While gorilla trekking, there are some key items you'll want to bring with you. Keeping arms and legs covered is important to avoid getting any cuts or scrapes while in the forest. Long sleeves, pants, and a light rain jacket will keep you covered and dry in case it starts raining while hiking. You may also want to pack a separate pair of waterproof pants to pull on in case of rain. Comfortable hiking boots are imperative as you'll be spending the day trekking through the forest and don't want to be fussing over uncomfortable shoes. You'll be walking through mud and dirt so consider wearing clothing that you don't mind getting dirty.

You'll want to bring lots of snacks and water with you to keep you going throughout the hike. Although you will be stopping to eat lunch, you may find your energy draining and will want to be able to eat a quick snack to pick it back up.

Some other items to consider packing in a small backpack for your trek:

  • Plastic bag for your camera in case of rain
  • Extra batteries and memory cards for camera
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Hat for protection when not covered by the forest

TIPPING

Note: If you'd prefer not to carry your gear throughout your trek, you can hire a Porter to carry your small bag and assist you up hills and through challenging parts of the forest. Just let your guide know that you're interested in hiring a porter and they'll find one for you at the park entrance.

The following are guidelines and you may tip more or less at your discretion:

  • Porter US $10 per trek.
  • Gorilla Trek Guide US $20 per trek.
  • Gorilla Trek Assistant Guide US $10 per trek.
  • Gorilla Trackers US $5 per tracker per trek (usually 3 or 4 trackers are used to find the gorillas).
  • Gorilla Security trekker US $5 per trek.

Please keep in mind that Porters do not earn a salary, so if you choose to take a porter or two, they will depend on your tip. Guides, Trackers, and Security personnel earn salaries.

 

See What Our
CLIENTS ARE SAYING
See What Our
CLIENTS
ARE SAYING
Eve T., June 13, 2016
"We cannot emphasize enough how amazing our guide was and how much he added to our trip. "
Elliot J., April 8, 2016
"I can't say enough great things about the travel experience with Kensington. We were 110% pleased."
Chris S., February 6, 2016
"We were thrilled with our holiday and the quality of the package Kensington put together for us."
Claudia C., October 8, 2015
"The whole journey was so much more than amazing! "
Nancy W. & Cliff W., September 21, 2015
"Our trip to Tanzania was absolutely superb! "