Travelling to Rwanda with Wilderness Safaris

Travel Advice for Rwanda

Rwanda, one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, is a stable and well-run country.

Full Name: Republic of Rwanda
 12 million (2014)
  2 00 S, 30 00 E
 26 338 sq. km / 10 169 sq. mi
Time: 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year round

Rwanda, one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, is a stable and well-run country.

Full Name: Republic of Rwanda
Capital: Kigali
Population: 12 million (2014)
2 00 S, 30 00 E
Area: 26 338 sq. km / 10 169 sq. mi

Time: 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year round

Climate and Seasonality

Despite its proximity to the Equator, the climate in the Rwanda is moderate as opposed to tropical, thanks to the relative high altitude. In general, it has two rainy seasons interspersed with two dry seasons.

What to pack

  • Rwanda has no strict dress code on what to wear, however women travellers are advised to dress conservatively
  • Fast-drying clothes and sturdy, water-resistant shoes
  • Rain Jacket and warm jersey
  • Camera with waterproof/dustproof bag/cover
  • A good pair of binoculars
  • Day pack for walks / gorilla tracking
  • “Zip lock” bags or a lightweight dry bag for electronic equipment
Download Packing List

Health and Safety

It is sensible to take basic precautions whilst travelling anywhere in the world. We advise that you ask Tourist Information Officers, camp/lodge and hotel staff and local residents about areas to avoid.

While Bisate Lodge is not located in a malaria-risk area due to its elevation, other areas in Rwanda which you may pass through do carry a risk; please therefore consult your medical practitioner regarding any anti-malarials. Please check with your health department/travel clinic prior to departure, in the event there have been changes in the health regulations of the country you are visiting.

Passports and Visas

Depending on the country of origin, an entry visa or tourist visa may be required. More details for these and other countries can be found online at

Visitors to Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended departure date, together with onward travel documents, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of the stay. Please also ensure that you have sufficient blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least 2 consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). Please speak to your Africa specialist to ensure that you have any appropriate travel documentation before departing on safari.

NOTE for those travelling through South Africa or Botswana: All passengers under 18 years of age will need to present an unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport when entering, departing or transiting South Africa and Botswana. A sworn translation (certified/authenticated) in English should accompany all documentation that is in a language other than English.

For single parents, or those travelling alone with their child/ren, the following must be provided:

- An affidavit (no more than 3 months old on the date of travel) in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, or

- A court order granting full responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or

- The death certificate of the absent parent.

Banks and Foreign Exchange

The local currency is the Rwandan Franc (RWF) and the most common exchange transactions are Rwanda Francs to US Dollars. Note that when exchanging US Dollars to Rwanda Francs, the higher amount of currency you change, the more favourable the exchange rate will be.

All banks accept all currencies and electronic transactions are fully applicable. At Wilderness camps and elsewhere Visa Card, MasterCard and Union can be used.


Kinyarwanda, English, French are the most common languages spoken, with Kinyarwanda being the official language. English is spoken in the major international hotels and some tourist areas.

Recommended Reading

We recommend the following books specific to the Rwanda region. A further list of recommended books is contained in our pre-tour information.

  • Rwanda – The Bradt Travel Guide – Philip Briggs & Booth
  • Gorillas in the Mist – Dian Fossey
  • Woman in the Mists – Farley Mowat
  • The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals – Jonathan Kingdon
  • Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi – Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe
  • Wild Rwanda: Where to Watch Birds, Primates, and Other Wildlife – Ken Behrens, Christian Boix, Keith Barnes
  • In the Kingdom of Gorillas: The Quest to Save Rwanda's Mountain Gorillas – Bill Weber and Amy Vedder
  • In The Shadow of Man – Jane Goodall
  • Birds of Africa South of Sahara – Ian Sinclair Peter Ryan
  • Among African Apes – Martha Robbins, Christophe Boesch
  • Walking with the Great Apes (Goodall, Fossey, Galdikas) – Sy Montgomery
  • The Year with the Gorilla – George Schaller
  • Shake Hands with the Devil – The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda – Romeo Dallaire
  • A Time for Machetes – Jean Hatzfeld