Rwanda is the travel world’s phoenix rising. It has emerged as one of East Africa’s premier travel destinations, with a capital city transformed and world renowned national parks, which teem with birds and big game—minus the tourist hordes. Here are five reasons you should visit Rwanda right now. Rwanda is one of only three places in the world where you can spot some of the world’s remaining 880 mountain gorillas, and staring down one of mankind’s closest relatives in its natural habitat is an experience we doubt you’ll soon forget.
The Essence of Rwanda — Go behind the scenes of a conservation success story and visit the headquarters of the Akagera National Park. The reintroduction of the endangered black rhino and threatened lion prides into the park is something to celebrate.
Meet some of the individuals who safeguard these animals and learn about conservation initiatives as well as community involvement which has brought poaching to an all-time low. Once you know their story, you might just tear up watching a lion or a rhino stride across the savanna.
Primate possibilities— It is said to be one of the most profound wildlife experiences in the world to spend an hour in the company of a Mountain gorilla. We couldn’t agree more. It is an honor and a privilege to visit these majestic animals in their own home; a twist of vines and roots and dense vegetation high on the slopes of dormant volcanoes. It is a challenge navigating the terrain, but the reward is amplified because of that challenge. Equally interesting to visitors to Volcanoes National Park, the frolicking antics of the Golden monkeys are a contrast to the peaceful slow-moving gorillas (usually!). Chimpanzees and a dozen other primate species can be found in Nyungwe Forest National Park. A habituated troop of Rwenzori Black & White Colobus monkey numbers over 400 individuals!
The Culture of Connecting—It is impossible to come to Rwanda and not acknowledge its recent history. A visit to the Genocide Museum in Kigali is heart-wrenching and somber, but it is also insightful, respectful, and important to understanding the country as it emerges from that shadowy past. Please remember that everyone you meet that is older than 25 has been impacted in some way by those tragic days. Despite the darkness of that chapter, Rwandese people are writing a bright future for themselves by establishing their nation as a forerunner in tech innovation and coffee production. Anywhere you go in the country, you will be met with smiles and warmth.
Lake luster – Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest body of water, nestled in the Great Rift Valley, and a place to slow down and unwind during a safari. In the mornings, songs drift through the air as fishermen head out in traditional boats for their daily catch. Find yourself exploring by kayak or sail on this sparkling expanse past islands which dot the lake. Here you will get a pulse on the sleepy, palm-fringed small-town life of the locals. The Imbabazi Orphanage with its stirring history, ‘Crop-to-Cup’ coffee tours which support local growers, and the colorful markets of Gisenyi are all worth investigating.
Hidden gem— Believe it or not, Kigali is Rwanda’s undiscovered wonder. Most travelers pass right through on their way to the wilderness areas. This up-and-coming city is thriving with an arts scene, a foodie revolution, and cafés serving heavenly coffee. Tour through the colorful neighborhood of Nyamirambo—with maze-like markets, prolific street art, and a proud creative community. Follow the cobblestone streets to some of the most gorgeous mosques in the city or sit at a café savoring some local dishes like chapati or samosas. A visit to the Nyamirambo Women’s Center is fascinating as it was started by 18 women to fight gender-based violence, gender inequality, and discrimination. See how their initiatives are helping women in their community. Come sunset find one of the seven hilltops which make up the core of the city and witness a spectacular sunset from a rooftop café.
Situated just beneath the equator in the African Great Lakes region, Rwanda has two dry seasons and two wet seasons.
You’ll find that the best time to visit Rwanda is during the longer of the dry seasons, from June to September. October then brings a short rainy season, followed by a short dry season from December to February. The longer rainy season runs from March to May.
Over that period, the rain can be heavy and may make visiting some areas a little unpleasant. Kigali and central Rwanda’s temperature stays fairly stable throughout the year. The temperatures in the north and west tend to be lower than in the east.
One of Rwanda’s main draws is the opportunity to go gorilla trekking but there are also other reasons to head to this lush central African country. There are three national parks to explore and a large wildlife population, as well as burgeoning tea and coffee industries
A number of international airlines fly directly within East Africa among them British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, Kenya Airways, Qatar, KLM, Uganda Airways South African Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Most major towns have an airstrip as do most National Parks and Game Reserves. There are regular scheduled flights between most airstrips, and there are reputable charter operations as well
Looking for cheap flight tickets to/out of East Africa? Contact or travel consultants right away.
What are the visa requirements for East African Countries?
Rwanda single entry visa costs US $30 per person. Visas have to be applied for online via the Rwanda Immigration website. You will need a copy of the approved application at the entry point where the visa will then be issued and paid for. The citizens from the following countries are required to pay visa fees but are allowed to obtain their visa upon arrival without prior online application: Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA.
East African Tourist Visa:
If you are planning to travel to East Africa and travel to the East Africa countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania) it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa. This special East Africa tourist visa costs US $100 per person and allows 90 days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.
How to obtain the East African Tourist Visa.
Applications for the East Africa Tourist visa is at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda and Republic of Tanzania at the Immigration Offices of the respective countries or online where applicable.
- Uganda and Kenya: upon arrival at the airport and can be paid directly in cash and find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Kenya embassy’s website.
- Rwanda: online via the Rwanda Immigration website. Similar to the application for the single entry visa but make sure to select the East African Tourist Visa.
- Tanzania has recently joined though information on how to apply for this visa is yet to be confirmed.
Within East Africa, accommodations ranges are budget, midrange, and luxury/top end facilities. These consist of Guest Houses, Motels, Dormitories, camping grounds, Hostels, Hotels, Lodges, Luxury Tented Camps, Fly in Camps, Cottages /Cabins. During your itinerary designing, we always advise accordingly with descriptions of the facilities and do aim for comfort, cleanliness, safety, and a good location.
Rooming and Single Room Supplements (SRS)
Within the national parks, most of rooms are twin bedded rooms despite the fact that the rooms may be booked as single rooms as well. There is supplement to book a single room. If you are travelling as a family, most facilities lack family settings however some do arrange triple rooms from time to time what is normally called Extra Bed Supplement – a twin bedded room with an additional bed
Most of the lodges around and in the national parks offer rates inclusive of meals (Full Board) however you may request for a bed and breakfast option to get advice accordingly. Children rates are offered between 2 -12 years –usually 50% off adult rate though this has to be reconfirmed.
Meals range from local cuisine to intercontinental cuisines
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What our travelers say…
Everything was perfect. We were a family of 5 adults -three adult children and parents and we all loved every minute of our trip. Of course the two trips to the gorillas was quite truly a once off unforgettable 2 hours in ours lives. We simply could not fault the operators organisation and wonderful choices of accomodation and planning and choosing Justinn as our kind and considerate guide. 5 stars for everything for the 5 of us We shall all never forget this incredible experience.
Simply incredible! So happy that for my first trip to Africa I chose Uganda. My only regret is that I didn’t book a longer trip (we had 13 days) so that we could have had time to immerse ourselves in the culture a bit more.
You guys exceeded my expectations. The trip was a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. Thank you.
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