Rwanda Travel Guide

Baby Gorilla on one of the Gorilla Rwanda Safaris

Located in east-central Africa, Rwanda is known for its picturesque scenery, breathtaking mountains, and lush green rainforests where gentle giants roam. It’s also called the Land of a Thousand Hills and lies in the Great Rift Valley, sandwiched between Kenya and Tanzania, south of the Equator. While Rwanda is most famous for its Gorilla Rwanda Safaris, there are plenty of other beautiful places to visit in Rwanda. Besides National Parks with abundant wildlife, savannahs, lakes, and historical places and. To help you plan your trip to Rwanda, I have compiled a Visiting Rwanda Travel Guide PDF highlighting some of the best places to visit in Rwanda.

Rwanda Travel Advice

Interesting facts about Rwanda

Rwanda is a mountainous country with high altitude, where the highest peak, Mountain Karisimbi, stands at 4507 meters above sea level. The height declines from the western to the eastern side of the country. Another interesting fact about Rwanda is that despite being the most densely populated country on the African continent, it is voted one of the cleanest cities in Africa. Kigali city is the capital city of Rwanda and offers many historical sites, markets, shopping centres, restaurants, and other touristy places.

Safety in Rwanda

Besides the turbulent past of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, beautiful Rwanda is voted one of Africa’s Safest Countries and the world’s sixth safest Country. Why is crime so low in Rwanda? Due to the integrity of the Rwanda National Police, the locals work together to maintain peace, safety, and security in the neighbourhoods. Drones are prohibited in conservation areas. Do check the news, as it seems that the Rwanda-Burundi border, as well as the Rwanda-DRC border, is not safe due to armed conflict.

Environ friendly Rwanda

In 1998, a national holiday called Umuganda was introduced to Rwandans, where the community is obliged to perform community work once a month between 08:00 and 11:00. Work such as cleaning streets, repairing roads and public facilities, cutting grass and trimming bushes, and even assisting vulnerable persons. Altogether, in the year 2008, Rwanda banned all non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Besides known for its orderly traffic, Rwanda boasts with car free days. On the first and third Sundays of every month, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the roads between 07:00 and 11:00. Car-free days are found to reduce air pollution and encourage locals to be more active. On a car-free day, locals walk and cycle to their destination, and encouraging them to participate in sports positively impacts their lives.

Rwanda Travel Tips

Money-Saving Tips

  • Kinyarwanda is the official language alongside French, English and Swahili.
  • Monetary Unit: The currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan franc (RF), but US $ is widely accepted. Some places accept cards; ATMs, banks, and Forex agencies are available in major cities.
  • Use a money bag, as pickpockets are primarily active in crowded places.
  • Bargaining in Rwanda is acceptable and essential.
  • Join a group of Expats in Rwanda by asking them for advice and recommendations.
  • Travel to Rwanda during the rainy season when prices are relatively lower.
  • Plan to go on a Gorilla Rwanda Safari and save costs by arranging your own transport to get to the starting point.

Visa Requirements and Passports

  • Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the entry date, with at least 2 blank pages.
  • A visa is required to enter Rwanda, although Visa requirements may vary according to your nationality.
  • Citizens of the African Union and Commonwealth Countries can get a 30-day Rwanda Visa on arrival.
  • Check Rwanda Visa application and Rwanda Visa-Free Countries.

Transport in Rwanda

There are different options for travelling in Rwanda, and although there is a significant improvement in road conditions, you might need an off-road vehicle in rural areas. Let’s look at all your options:

Renting a mountain bike in Rwanda can be a great source of enjoyment. Boda Bodasmotorcycle taxis and bicycles are commonly found in East Africa. You can rent a motorbike in Kigali or Gisenyi to explore Rwanda on two wheels. Local buses are the main transport that is most affordable for those who tour Rwanda on a budget. Local buses travel everywhere in and around Rwanda, with bus stations in all major cities and towns. The bus companies Ritco and Rwanda Interlink are some popular bus companies.

Flying to Rwanda: The best way to travel to Rwanda is by plane, and the Kigali International Airport is the main airport in the country. RwandAir, the national carrier of Rwanda since 2002, operates under the name Rwandair Express. There are various rental options and transfers available for transportation in Rwanda.

The Best Time to visit Rwanda

Visiting Rwanda between May and October is advisable if you are looking for the best experience. This period is called the dry season, with better weather conditions and less chance of rain. Additionally, there is a lower risk of contracting Malaria during this season. The dry season is also ideal for hikers as the hiking conditions are favourable. Again, it all depends on what you want to experience in Rwanda.

Health & Vaccination Requirements

  • For Vaccination requirements, go to the Travel Health Pro Website.
  • Please note that Uganda and Rwanda are both in the yellow fever region of Africa.
  • Please consult your physician before you travel to Africa for advice on precautions against malaria.
  • Chronic medication users: ensure you take adequate medication plus your signed doctor subscription.

The Best Places to Visit in Rwanda

Top attractions in Kigali

Kigali Genocide Memorial

One of the top attractions in Rwanda’s Kigali city is its historical places. Visit the National genocide memorial to learn about the devastating genocide against the Tutsis during 1994 in Rwanda. Altogether, where more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide have been laid to rest. There is no entrance fee, but donations are welcome and greatly appreciated. Besides the Kandt house museum in Kigali City, the Palace in Kigali.

The Niyo Arts Center is a haven for Rwandan artists in the lively neighbourhood of Kimihurura in Kigali. The centre is home to 17 artists from the Great Lakes region, who showcase African art from all over the continent. In the Niyo Arts Center, you’ll be surrounded by a selection of beautiful artworks, paintings, sculptures, jewellery, and other handicrafts. Altogether, the unique ‘imigongo,’ which is traditional African artwork made from cow dung and characterized by geometric designs. The art scene also includes traditional photography, as well as drumming, and dancing experiences. Niyo Center in Kigali contributes 40% of the profit towards the Niyo Foundation, which supports women and children living in poverty in Rwanda. They are open daily from 8am to 6:30pm. 

Top Places to visit in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

One of the best things to do in Rwanda is to go on one of the Gorilla Safaris. Some of these beautiful giants can be found in altitudes ranging from 2,200 to 4,300 meters, whereas the lowland Gorillas’ habitat is in dense forests and lowland swamps. Did you know these Critically endangered Gorillas are the largest living primates? Experts estimate about 800 gorillas in the wild and about 18 gorillas in mountain families in Rwanda.

Gorillas on Rwanda Safaris one Safest African Country
Gorillas on Rwanda Safaris, one of the Safest African Countries

The Best Time to See Gorillas in Rwanda is during the dry season when Mountain Gorillas inhabit sub-Saharan Africa’s forests. Highly rated Rwanda gorilla safaris are most prevalent from December to February and June to September, making it the best time to visit gorillas in Rwanda. Rwanda Gorilla permits are very costly, so if you’re on a very tight budget, the best time to visit Rwanda for gorillas is during the rainy season. The age limit for trekking Gorillas is 15 years. Safaris Rwanda permits for Volcanoes National Park Rwanda gorilla trek cost from $1500 for 1 Day Gorilla Trekking. Check your options for Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.


Although the dry season is best for gorilla safaris in Rwanda, the rainy season is the best time for trekking chimpanzees in Nyungwe. Chimpanzees are more accessible to locate in the savannas and tropical forests of equatorial Africa during the rainy season. The Old-World Golden Monkeys are primarily in the highland forests of the Virunga mountains in Central Africa. Altogether, in the Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda, Virunga, and Kahuzi-Biega in the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you plan on trekking endangered chimpanzees Rwanda during the rainy season, invest in a good rain jacket to be prepared and you’ll have the time of your life.

Golden Monkey Trekking Rwanda

Trekking the Golden Monkeys in Rwanda is very special. Old World monkeys live in the highland forests of the Virunga mountains in Central Africa. They can be found in national parks such as Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda, as well as Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega in theDRC. While Blue and Golden monkeys look pretty similar, the Golden monkey can be distinguished by its goldfish-orange patches on its sides and back. For various activities and excursions, you can check out GetYourGuide. The best time for a Golden Monkey trekking safari in Rwanda and Uganda is from June to August and December to February.

Explore The National Parks

Visit Rwanda’s National Parks is a must-have experience. Not only is it a great way to save money while travelling, but it also gives you the opportunity to witness the fantastic fauna and flora, including various wildlife and bird species, and even primates such as Silverback gorillas and Chimpanzees. Add a visit to the Gishwati forests, located between Akagera and Volcanoes National Park, to your itinerary.

The area is home to the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Rwanda’s fourth National Park, formed by merging the Mukura and Gishwati forests. Additionally, other National Parks worth visiting in Rwanda are Akagera National Park Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Virunga National Park Rwanda, and Nyungwe National Park.

  • Akagera National Park
  • The Volcanoes National Park
  • Virunga National Park
  • The Nyungwe National Park

Lakes in Rwanda

Some of the best Places to visit in Rwanda is its beautiful Lakes. Lake Kivu and Lake Tanganyika are only two of 101 Rwandan Lakes that the Environment Management Authority revealed in 2008. For more information, you can visit Wikipedia Lakes of Rwanda.

Lake Kivu – With its emerald green water, Lake Kivu is surrounded by mountains and is the largest freshwater lake in Rwanda.

Lake Tanganyika is the second-largest lake in Eastern Africa and the longest freshwater lake in the world.

Lake Kivu Rwanda #largestlakeinrwanda
Lake Kivu Rwanda

Other exciting Things to Do in Rwanda

Hiking in Rwanda

Exploring Rwanda towns on foot is a fun way of exploring Rwanda. Besides that it’s good exercise, you’ll get to see more. The epic scenery, and pleasant climate make Rwanda a remarkable place to explore on foot.

The Congo Nile Trail

One of the most challenging and epic adventures in Rwanda, is the Congo Nile Trail. Traversing through rainforests with a peak elevation of 2630m, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime rewarding experience among both hikers and cyclers. The 227km Nile cycling trail runs along Rutsiro, Rugavu, Karongi, and Nyamasheke and finishes at Kamembe in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. For more information on this bucket list experience and other hikes in Rwanda, go to Hiking in Rwanda Guide.

Experience Rwandan Cuisine

To truly experience the culture of Rwanda, you must try the local cuisine. Rwandan cuisine is a delightful blend of beans, vegetables, meat, rice, and maize and offers a unique insight into the country’s culinary traditions. Exploring the best places to visit in Rwanda should always include sampling the local cuisine, which will introduce you to the friendly and welcoming locals.

Where to Stay in Rwanda

Lodges & Luxury Hotels Rwanda

One of Rwanda’s most renowned cities and Rwanda’s Capital is Kigali, which is also one of Africa’s most influential cities and an excellent city to visit. If you want to see the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, the best place to stay is at one of the Luxury Lodges in Rwanda. The Volcanoes National Park is also one of the beautiful places in Rwanda.

Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge

Nestled like large bird nests in the woods, the spectacular Wilderness Safari Bisate Lodge is located 8500 ft above sea level. The Lodge was built to support conservation, which at the same time help to safeguard the Mountain Gorilla’s habitat. One has a magnificent birds-eye view of the Volcanoes National Park from your Villa.

Rwanda Houses & Other Accommodation options

Kigali has many options when it comes to accommodation. Check Options and Prices on all types of accommodation in Rwanda by going to the link or banner below. Both and Hostelworld, offers luxury and budget rooms, self-catering apartments, Guesthouse, Hotels, as well as a range of Bed and Breakfast Accommodations in Rwanda.

Rwanda Camping

Camping in Rwanda is the cheapest and most affordable option for those who visit Rwanda on a budget. All camping gear and equipment are available for rent in the country. Moreover, you can rent a vehicle with camping equipment and go on a self-drive Safari. The dry season is the best time to visit Rwanda National Parks for camping.

Where to stay in Rwanda


When it comes to Guesthouses, there are various options and prices. The Nest in Kigali and Kigali Guesthouse offer affordable rooms that include breakfast.

Another great option is tamped at the Akagera National Park or the Nyungwe National Park. Some of the Rwanda Hostels and Guesthouses also offer camping facilities.

I suggest you always read the reviews before making a decision. Easy to check the reviews, options and prices on the link (banner) below.

Red Rocks Rwanda Campsite & Guesthouse offers accommodations with the most fantastic view. It is situated 7 kilometres outside Ruhengeri and only 30 kilometres from Volcans National Park. TwinTents are available for $30, double rooms with shared bathrooms for $40, and double tents for $45pp per night.

Kitabu Eco Centre, just 2km from the Nyungwe forest, offers tents and rooms to rent with the most amazing views—camping from $20 pp per night and $30 per couple per night. Camping gear is available to rent from $20 pp. Rooms from $60 pp per night, and Hotel Maisons Sifa, Butare. Another great option is tamped at the Akagera National Park or the Nyungwe National Park. Some Rwanda Hostels and Guesthouses also offer camping facilities.

Rwanda bikepacking

Bikepacking is an increasingly fun way of travelling in Rwanda. The ay- and more extended cycling tours are available, and it is an exciting way of exploring Rwanda. Rwanda Bike Tours, as well as Rwandan Adventures, are popular companies. However, the best time to visit Rwanda’s national parks for popular backpacking is during the dry season. Rwanda’s Congo Nile Trail, which takes you through the Nyungwe National Park forest, is one of the many beautiful places in Rwanda.

Share & Pin these to use later: Monkeys of Africa, Is Rwanda Safe? About Food in Rwanda, and the Best Places to visit in Rwanda, as well as beautiful Rwanda Holiday destinations.

#Monkeys of Africa #Golden Monkeys, Rwanda Volcano National Park
#Safety in Rwanda #Is Rwanda Safe
Food from Rwanda #Rwanda food

Travel Insurance

Health Insurance is Compulsory for anyone who travels in and around Rwanda. Even when you visit Rwanda on a budget, Travel Insurance is compulsory. They will give you time to sort it out if you fail to take out travel insurance before your trip. Going on a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda or not, no person should travel without travel insurance. It is vital for anyone who takes on a Journey to take out adequate cover for unforeseen circumstances and sicknesses, 24/7 emergency assistance and evacuation by air.

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase (at no additional cost), I might earn a commission.

  • Eat food in Rwanda where the locals eat, and you’re guaranteed a good and inexpensive meal during your Rwanda Itinerary. You can check the prices of Rwanda foods in Supermarkets and restaurants here.
  • Visit local markets for the best quality fruits and food from Rwanda.
  • Save on using a reusable water bottle and fill it up instead of buying water. Most hostels or guest houses allow you to fill or boil the water to refill your bottles.  
  • Buy local alcoholic beverages. Local beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Rwanda from $3.
  • Wine and imported beer are more expensive than local drinks.
  • Tipping in Rwanda is not compulsory and is at your discretion.

Other interesting Happenings in Rwanda

  • Join the famous 1,000-kilometre race around the spectacular Rwandan countryside. The self-supported single-stage race event starts in Kigali around February every year.
  • Rwanda Bikepacking is a fun way of travelling in Rwanda, (off course during the dry season).
  • A famous 1,000-kilometer race around the spectacular Rwandan countryside for the Adventureous.

Check out other posts on Adventure destinations.

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  1. This looks great.