About this page:
It is important that you should read these notes in conjunction with the detailed trip specific Pre Departure Information.
This information is supplied to you at the time of booking and contains extensive information about subjects such as climate, clothing and gear, medical and visa matters, currencies, and other information about the countries visited.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date.
Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. This information was correct at time we put it on this website, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Kigali.
We are here to help you!
Well before traveling, please ensure that you have a current passport, with an accurate photo, that is valid for at least six months after your scheduled return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport. Some countries may require that you have a return air ticket, or have sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket.
On all our holidays you must have comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalization, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. Please take your insurance policy with you when you travel. Peregrine is able to recommend a policy for you. You may take other cover, of course, but we require you to be adequately insured before we can allow you to participate in our programs. Your Peregrine leader will need to see and record your policy details at the pre-tour briefing, so please bring a copy along to the meeting. If you arrive without travel insurance your Tour Leader will require you to purchase a policy before you continue your journey with us. If you are covered by a policy arranged through your credit card company you will be asked to provide evidence of this cover, as well as a 24-hour emergency contact number. Many credit card companies do not provide an insurance policy number. In this instance, the tour leader will need to record your credit card number, as this is required to activate any request for emergency assistance. You should also bring along the travel insurance information booklet provided by your credit card company. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the requirements set out by your credit card company in order to be effectively covered and that the cover offered is of a suitable standard.
Foreign Nationals wishing to obtain Rwandan Visas, submit their applications to Rwandan Embassies or Diplomatic Missions of their Country of residence for processing.
In the case of those coming from countries where Rwanda does not have an Embassy or Diplomatic Mission, they should request for an entry facility on line which will be used to obtain a visa on any official point of entry in Rwanda. The website for this is www.migration.gov.rw
In view of the bilateral agreements, the Nationals of the following Countries may visit Rwanda without visa for a period up to 90 days: USA, Germany, Canada, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong and Burundi.
The visitor’s visa should not beused for employment.
Please consult your doctor or nearest vaccination center to see if any of the listed vaccinations are required: This list is by no means complete and only your doctor or vaccination center can provide you with the latest up-to-date information:
- Polio (oral vaccine)
- Gamma Globulin or Havrix (against Hepatitis A)
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Certain countries such as Tanzania and Kenya are considered Yellow Fever zones. Please be aware that you maybe required to show proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever when travelling to your next destination and particularly, if returning to your home country within six days of leaving the infected area. Please check with your relevant government health authority as to your home country’s requirements. Yellow Fever vaccinations need to be recorded by your doctor in your “International Certificate of Vaccinations” booklet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides a list of yellow fever countries.
Malaria is prevalent in many tropical areas of Africa. Please advise your doctor which regions you will be visiting and discuss the necessary medication with them. All anti-malarial tablets are taken for a period before possible exposure and continued for a period after such exposure ceases, and should be taken carefully according to instructions. It is possible that the people in your group may be taking different anti-malarial tablets. Be aware that some anti-malarial medication may increase skin sensitivity to sunlight, and take extra care to ensure good use of sunscreens. A good insect repellent is advisable if visiting these regions, preferably one containing a high percentage of DEET.
Getting to Rwanda:
One can fly to Rwanda with:
- SN Brussels,
- Rwandair Express,
- Ethiopian Airlines,
- Kenya Airways,
- Air Tanzania,
- South African Airways and
- Air Burundi.
- All international flights land at Kanombe Airport which is 10kms away from central Kigali.
WHEN TO VISIT RWANDA
Rwanda can be visited any time of the year, read more about the various seasons. Rwanda can be visited any time of the year even during the rainy seasons as the scenery then is greener and the skies are clearer. The wet seasons season is the best time to trek chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest as they during dry season’s wander further away into the forest and consequently are harder to spot.
Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May, when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice.
October to November is a shorter rainy season and it’s followed by a short dry season from December to February.
During both of Rwanda’s dry seasons, there is often light cloud cover. This helps to moderate the temperatures, but also occasionally brings light rain showers.
The main dry season lasts from June to September and is the best time to trek the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. It is also worth noting that with the above mentioned, the climate is not uniform throughout the country. It is drier in the east than in the west and north. Sometimes the volcanoes can even be capped in snow. Kigali and Volcanoes National Park can become rather chilly. The areas around Lake Kivu are generally rather sunny and pleasant all year round.
Practical health tips when traveling to the warm heart of Africa. Rwanda is a pleasant country to visit and does not present any major health hazards. The main towns have hospitals although for any serious problems Kigali is the best place to get help. All towns normally have a well-stocked pharmacy although the individual traveler should bring any known personal medication along. As one always should when traveling to any remote area, it is wise to consult your doctor 6-8 weeks prior to departure for updated advice on health care and precautions. It is strongly recommended to up date personal immunization protection for tetanus, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis A and typhoid. Yellow fever vaccination is required for all visitors over 1 year of age and as the vaccination is not valid until 10 days after vaccination it is important to have this done in good time as this will be checked upon arrival to Rwanda. This dangerous virus is spread by mosquitoes and is on the increase in the world.
Malaria is less prevalent in Rwanda than in many other African countries but as it does exist in most parts of Rwanda using prophylactic drugs and preventing mosquito bites will reduce the risk of getting malaria. Lariam / Mefloquine and Malarone are currently the 2 most commonly used prophylactics but medical advice should always be sought by the individual prior to departure. Persons with certain medical conditions should not take Mefloquine. It is also important to try and avoid mosquito bites between dusk and dawn, as this is the period when the malaria-carrying mosquito is most active.
Useful advice on recommended equipment when trekking and traveling through the land of a 1000 hills!
Personal trekking equipment The following is a suggested list of items to bring along, specifically if your safari includes trekking the gorillas and / or the chimpanzees. It is highly recommended that visitors prepare themselves and attain a reasonable level of physical fitness prior to doing a trek, as the terrain is mountainous and at times fairly steep. During periods of rainfall the terrain can be muddy and slippery.
- Good, waterproof hiking footwear. Good grip soles important.
- Change of shoes, suggestedly comfortable sports shoes or similar
- Comfortable socks & T-shirts
- Raincoat or rain poncho, preferably also covering head.
- Long trousers / jeans of good quality to protect against stinging nettles
- Long sleeved summer jacket for nettle protection and a sweater for chilly evenings
- “Day back pack” to carry change of T-shirt, socks, sweets, camera, raincoat, snacks etc Camera with plenty of light sensitive film, for digital cameras extra memory card! Hat and high level sunscreen
- Water container – 2 liters capacity suggested
- Sweets, chocolates etc
- Walking stick (can also be arranged locally)
- Re-hydration mixture, paracetamol and any personal medication
MONEY AND CREDIT CARDS
Come prepared – how to make the financial aspect smooth during your visit. The local currency is the “Rwanda Franc” and there are several denominations up to RwFr 5000. Be careful, as some older and newer notes are rather similar. One US$ = Approximately 567 RwFr, one Euro = Approximately 727 RwFr. (Feb 2009). There are several foreign exchange bureaus in Kigali offering similar rates, the most widely accepted currencies are US$, Euro and to a certain extent also French Francs and Sterling Pounds. There is currently (May 2005) one exchange bureau at the airport. Banks are generally not open on Saturdays and queues can here be long and rather slow. For fast and efficient money transfers there are several Western Union offices in Kigali and most other towns have at least one Western Union office.
Few establishments accept credit cards so be careful to check this before running up a bill at for example restaurants. Major hotels, restaurants and lodges do although accept some credit cards, sometimes with an extra charge added on tope of the bill.
Travelers cheques are not recommended as they are not widely accepted and if you do decide to bring some of your travel budget in travelers cheques it is very important to bring all documents related to them including the purchase receipt, you will not be able to change travelers cheques if you do not have all related purchase documents as well as a valid, internationally accepted personal identification.