Rwanda Travel Guide
Also referred to as “the land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda is known for its attractive landscapes, high-altitude forests and volcanic mountains. It’s even been referred to as the Switzerland of Africa, although the association seems unfitting for a country that suffered an horiffic genocide that wiped out nearly a million Rwandans in 8 bloody weeks in 1994. The Rwandans are known for their harmonious living and their efforts to be united and recognized as one people. It may have had a violent past, but it remains a rewardning ‘off the beaten track’ destination.
When to Go
Rwanda enjoys cool weather due its high altitude despite its proximity to the equator. It has two rainy seasons: one between January and April and the other between mid-October and mid-December.
Getting There & Away
Rwanda is accessible by plane through the Kigali International Airport. From the airport, getting around is easy by taking a bus or a taxi – even if it takes forever and is hardly efficient. Charter planes are also available for touring the rest of the country, but they are, of course, expensive.
Health & Safety
There are many health risks in Rwanda with outbreaks of diseases such as yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, and malaria. It is highly recommended that you have yourself vaccinated. Medical facilities such as clinics and hospitals are available throughout the country. To be safe, stick to the cities when traveling to Rwanda. There may be indiscriminate attacks from rebels lurking along the rural areas near the Congo and Burundi borders, so do avoid those places. Not highly rated by travel advisory websites when it comes to cleanlines.
Food & Hospitality
Most of the hotels with modern facilities are located in Kigali. Cheaper hotels are also available in both the urban and rural areas. Dormitories in the small towns and remote districts can accommodate tourists. Most restaurants, bars, and cafes serve local and international dishes. They’re about the safest place to enjoy comfort.
Two days at Kigali
Two days at Kibungu
Two days at Gisenyi
Kigali: it is the capital, a typical African steaming sub-tropical third world mini-sprawl. But it has a few interesting historical and cultural sites, as well as the all important Genocide Museum that documents the country’s unforgettable 1994 carnage.
Kibungu: located in the eastern portion of the country, Kibungu is known for its waterfalls and lakes such as the Rusumo Falls and Lake Mungesera, a pretty corner of the region if you can get there conveniently.
Gisenyi: the Parc National des Volcans is located in Gisenyi where several volcanic mountains exist. This is where you get to hang out with the gorillas or simply climb up the mountain and get a breathtaking view of the surroundings.
A’Kagera National Park: features a savannah stretching more than 1,500 square kilometers where zebras, lions, buffaloes, hippopotamuses, and other wildlife creatures reside. If you can’t make it to the Serengeti this is as good as it gets.
Gorilla trekking: Embark on a gorilla trek at the Parc National des Volcans, Military units are deployed throughout the park to ensure everyone’s safety – not just from the gorillas.
Mountain climbing: Rwanda has several volcanic mountains that you can climb such as the Virunga Volcanoes between Gisenyi and Ruhengeri, and the Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo at the Parc National des Volcans. Don’t worry, they’re dormant.
Entertainment: Watch the ballet performances of the Rwanda National Ballet well-known for its traditional song and dance presentations – yes ballet in central Africa.