Rwanda

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Our lodges in Rwanda

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Parc National des Volcans
Virunga Lodge

Virunga Lodge

Parc National Des Volcans
Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Gisakura
Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge

Parc National Des Volcans

Why we recommend Rwanda

  • Visit a country which is home to half the world's population of Mountain Gorillas
  • Discover the diversity of prolific birdlife in the Nyungwe National Park and beyond
  • Scale volcanic peaks and trek through dense mountain forest away from the crowds
Map of Rwanda
About Rwanda

Two decades after the brutal 1994 genocide ripped Rwanda in two, the country is now a beacon of hope and optimism in central Africa. This small and extremely beautiful country is a delight to visit; it has truly undergone a renaissance in its recent history. Characterised by its lush green mountains, covered in terraced farmland and shrouded in equatorial jungles, it is easy to see why Rwanda is nicknamed the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Beautiful hillsides outside of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, guide you towards the country’s brightest star, Volcanoes National Park, where you have the opportunity to trek to see golden monkeys and rare mountain gorillas through bamboo forests, all in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Virunga volcanoes. A experience on many bucket lists, spending with the mountain gorillas is an unforgettable wildlife moment, truly unforgettable and worth every penny of the expensive permits required to trek into the volcanoes.

Rural Rwanda is teeming with birdlife and is covered in tea plantations, patchworks of banana and maize crop as well as shimmering lakes and rivers. While many travellers who visit Rwanda focus on primates, the extraordinary scenery more than complements any trip.

Although hard to predict, the weather in central Africa to a degree dictates the best time of year to visit. For trekking in the volcanoes the dry season is normally your best bet. Running from June to September the trails are often easier to navigate at this time of year. That said, a second shorter dry season from December to February is another popular time, and if your happy to get a bit wet and muddy then travel whenever you want to!


Kigali

Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, creeps up four of the emerald ridges that give the country its nickname, "the land of a thousand hills", before sinking into the mist-filled valleys between. Kigali is the ideal base before exploring the rest of Rwanda.

The centre of Kigali is bursting with energy and colour, mirroring the country’s forward-looking approach. Appreciating the need to learn from history, a visit to the intensely moving Genocide Memorial Centre calls for a deeper reflection of Rwanda’s troubled past and is an important stop on any visit to the country.

From Kigali, most of the places we’d recommend visiting are accessible by car and True Luxury Travel have established close relationships with a number of excellent guides in these areas who will accompany you throughout a Rwandan safari.


Virungas

The volcanic range of the Virungas is home to Volcanoes National Park and Rwanda's famous mountain gorillas and is only about 3 hours drive from Kigali, or a short but spectacular helicopter flight. With around 250 gorillas split across roughly 10 families, these magical animals are carefully protected and only about 50 people a day are allowed to trek to see them. Those lucky enough to spend time with these awe-inspiring animals have described the experience as intensely emotional and we couldn’t agree more.

Our expert consultant Peter Fisher recommends purchasing two permits to visit these easily-accessible creatures – the first, to take enough pictures to capture these majestic creatures and, the second, to just sit quietly and observe these hugely powerful animals in their natural habitat.

While you explore Volcanoes National Park you will be able to enjoy spectacular birdlife (there are over 350 bird species) as well as visiting Dian Fossey’s grave, where you can learn all about her fascinating work and the narrative behind the memorable film, Gorillas in the Mist.


Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes and possibly the continents most beautiful. More like an inland sea running along the Congolese-Rwandan border for 100km, it is one of the deepest bodies of freshwater in the world.

Terraced hillsides and lakeside villages give a glimpse of rural life while the picturesque town of Kibuye offers visitors a chance to take a boat excursion along the shores or enjoy a swim. There are no crocodiles or hippos in the lake and very few fish too (only 30 species) which experts have put down to the volcanic activity in the area.

Snapshot of Rwanda

Capital city: Kigali
Flight time: 12hrs from UK
Language: English, French, Kinyarwanda
Population: 12 million
Religions: Christianity, Islam
Sun hours / day: 8
Max. temperature: 18
Min. temperature: 17

Seasons in Rwanda

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Peak Mid Low
Where to go

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Covering over 1000 square kms, Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age, which explains its diversity. Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.

This majestic rainforest is filled with nature and wildlife experiences for you to emerge yourself in. Hiking or even biking the beautiful terrain, tracking the famous chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, witnessing beautiful birds, relaxing by waterfalls are just a glimpse of activities that Nyungwe offers.

Virungas

The volcanic range of the Virungas is home to Volcanoes National Park and Rwanda's famous mountain gorillas and is only about 3 hours drive from Kigali, or a short but spectacular helicopter flight. With around 250 gorillas split across roughly 10 families, these magical animals are carefully protected and only about 50 people a day are allowed to trek to see them. Those lucky enough to spend time with these awe-inspiring animals have described the experience as intensely emotional and we couldn’t agree more.

Our expert consultant Peter Fisher recommends purchasing two permits to visit these easily-accessible creatures – the first, to take enough pictures to capture these majestic creatures and, the second, to just sit quietly and observe these hugely powerful animals in their natural habitat.

While you explore Volcanoes National Park you will be able to enjoy spectacular birdlife (there are over 350 bird species) as well as visiting Dian Fossey’s grave, where you can learn all about her fascinating work and the narrative behind the memorable film, Gorillas in the Mist.

Practical info

Currency

Rwanda’s unit of currency is the Rwandan franc (RFr), sometimes also abbreviated to ‘Frw’.
It’s best to come to Rwanda with US dollars or euros in cash.
The only useful bank branch in the country is Banque de Kigali in the capital, which offers cash advances on credit card and can change travellers cheques.
There are ATMs in Kigali, but they are not yet wired to an international network. Credit cards can be used in some upmarket hotels and restaurants.

Travelling with Children

Lodge specific

Passports and Visas

Passport:
A passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the intended date of departure is required by everyone. A minimum of three blank pages is required.

Visas:
Visas are required by everyone except nationals of Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
From a Rwandan embassy or consulate, tourist visas are valid for three months, cost US$60 and can be extended in Kigali. Two photos are required, and visas can usually be collected within 24 hours.
Two-week extendible tourist visas are available at the Kigali airport and at the major land borders with Burundi, the DRC, Tanzania and Uganda, for US$60.

Vaccinations

We recommend that you consult with your doctor 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. Make sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date including, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), chicken pox (varicella), diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT), influenza and Polio vaccinations
Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid; Yellow Fever.
Other vaccines to consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Rabies.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for all travellers over 1 year of age.
Malaria precautions are essential in all areas, all year round. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually recommended.

Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is essential, including medical cover. We also highly recommend trip cancellation cover. Flying Doctor: As you know, many safari camps operate in extremely remote areas and it is imperative that in the unfortunate cases of medical emergency, clients reach a well-‐equipped hospital fast and with expert care en-route. As previously stated, we insist that you take out travel insurance before allowing you to travel and while most good policies will include medical evacuation cover (which incurs huge costs for anyone not covered), inevitably emergencies arise out of hours, and delays whilst seeking authority from clients’ international medical insurers (or even Flying Doctors themselves when they are dealing with patients who do not carry their cover) can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore flying doctor cover is automatically included in our costed itineraries. We feel Flying Doctors offer the best in-flight care and equipment, the fastest response times and in our experience consistently prove to be the most reliable. The Flying Doctor Service is part of AMREF, a well-respected foundation that offers the premier evacuation service and all profits are ploughed back into their charitable work. There are two levels of Flying Doctors tourist membership, dependent on the duration of stay and distance from Nairobi Hospital: 1. Tourist Membership up to 500 Km from Wilson Airport (valid for travel on all Northern Circuit itineraries including Arusha, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti) Up to 14 days $15pp 2 months $25pp 2. Tourist Membership up to 1,000 Km from Wilson Airport (must be used for any itineraries that include southern Tanzania, Katavi, Mahale and Zanzibar) Up to 14 days $30pp 2 months $50pp The cover itself is as follows: “AMREF Flying Doctors Service operates a 24 hours, 365 days a year operation. Full time medical staff and aircrew are on standby to respond to emergencies. In case of a medical emergency that requires an evacuation from a remote area, the Flying Doctor service will send in a medical team and an aircraft which can be converted into an airborne intensive care unit to evacuate you to Nairobi Wilson Airport where you will be transported by an ambulance to a hospital in Nairobi (the Flying Doctors do not cover the cost of hospitalization). In addition the service operates one of Africa’s largest radio networks. So if you are in a remote area without any other form of communication it may be possible that you will be near an HF radio station that would be linked to AMREF's base at Wilson Airport in Nairobi. As a member of the Flying Doctor Society of Africa you are entitled to one free evacuation per year in case of a life threatening emergency that would necessitate the use of the flying doctors to transport you to a medical facility in Nairobi. The evacuation can be undertaken up to 500 or 1,000 kilometres radius of Nairobi depending on the type of membership you have taken.” Please also visit their website: http://www.amref.org/flying-doctors/
You are 100% financially protected through our membership of the Travel Trust Association.

Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
A 26 26 26 25 25 25 26 27 27 27 26 26
B 15 15 15 15 15 15 14 16 15 15 15 15
C 69 100 106 183 92 20 9 34 86 102 127 100

A = Maximum average temperature (C)
B = Minimum average temperature (C)
C = Average rainfall (mm)

Rwanda can be visited at any time of the year for a gorilla safari. The best time to go to Rwanda is from mid-May to mid-October, this is the long dry season and has perfect conditions for tracking gorillas.
There are four seasons to consider when planning your Rwanda safari, however the weather is fairly temperate and favors travel year round, thanks to its compact size, proximity to the equator and high altitude, which gives it a fresh highland feel and consistent temperature. The average daytime temperature is around 30C or 86F. The capital of Kigali enjoys an average temperature of 21C or 70F.

Weather

Rwanda JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
min. temperature ( ℃ ) 15 15 15 15 15 15 14 16 15 15 15 15
Max. temperature ( ℃ ) 26 26 26 25 25 25 26 27 27 27 26 26
Rainfall ( mm ) 69 100 106 183 92 20 9 34 86 102 127 100

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