Rwanda

Quick Facts

Region: Africa

Population:
10,746,311

Religion:

About one-half of the population is Roman Catholic, one-quarter are Protestant, one-tenth are Adventist, and one-twentieth are Muslim. The remainder of the people follow traditional religions.

Language:

The official languages are Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language), French, and English. Swahili is sometimes used in commercial centres. Rwanda has a good literacy rate of approximately 72%. Schooling is free, and in principle, compulsory for children aged 7 through 12. In 2001–2002 virtually all primary school-aged children were enrolled in school, but only 14 percent of the relevantly aged children attended secondary or technical schools. The National University in Butare, opened in 1963, had about 2,500 students in the early 1990s. However, after the violence began in April 1994, education at all levels ceased and has yet to be fully restored.

Area (sq. km):
26,338 square meters

Time:

GMT + 2 hours

When To Travel

Despite its proximity to the equator, the climate in Rwanda is cooled by the high altitude. It is warm throughout most of the country but cooler in the mountains. Rwanda has four main seasons: a short dry season from mid-December to mid-March, the long rains from mid-March through to May, the long dry period from mid-May to September and the short rains from October to mid-December. The average yearly rainfall is 790 mm (31 in) and is heaviest in the western and northwestern mountain regions.

Rwanda can be visited at any time though most people prefer to avoid the rainy seasons. The dry season from June to September and January to February are the driest months but you may still expect some showers in the afternoon.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Kigali International Airport, 12km east of Kigali (travel time 25 minutes). Airport facilities include bar, duty free shop, post office and currency exchange. Bus and taxi services are available.

Telephone:

The international dialling code for Rwanda is +250. There are no area codes. Telephone calls, especially international ones, can be expensive when made from a hotel. We suggest you check the price first. Accessing international roaming in Rwanda is not easy. If you have a mobile phone local sim cards and pay-as-you-go credits are easily obtainable. Phone calls made from public telephone offices are generally your cheapest option.

Electricity:

The supply is 230V and 50Hz. There are two different sockets used. Most of the sockets used are the C-type 2 round prong type – continental style which are widely used throughout Europe and South America. The other plug found is the type-J 3 square prong type used in Ethiopia and Madagascar. Power failure is common in Rwanda during the wet season .

Food:

The food in Rwanda is very good – the quality being similar to Kenya, meals being at reasonable prices. Some of the more popular dishes are goat meat, Nile perch and beef brochettes. It is possible to get continental food but this is more expensive than the local food. It is very important not to drink the water in Rwanda – bottled water is available everywhere and is cheap to buy.

Shopping:

Souvenir shopping is not up to the standard of Kenya or Tanzania. This is due to the fact that Rwanda does not have the flow of tourists like Kenya does. There are some beautiful handicrafts such as basketry, batik, drums and wood carvings to buy but you will find the easiest place to buy is in the centre of Kigali or in Butare.

Visa:

Visas are required by all nationalities and need to be obtained in advance. You must apply for this visa online at www.migration.gov.rw. You'll need to apply for an Entry Visa on their website (Services tab, Visa) which should take approx 2-5 days to come through. You must print this Entry Facility out to present at the border.


Nationals of Australia, Israel, New Zealand, USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden and Singapore are not required to pre-register, however must pay the visa fee upon arrival at the border post.


The visa costs approx US$60 payable on the border, with the exception of national from Australia, Israel, New Zealand, USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden and Singapore for whom the visa fee is US$30.


If you are asked to provide an address in Rwanda on your visa form, please use the address below -
Centre Pastoral Notre Dame De Fatima,
Avenue de la Nutrition,
Ruhengeri, Rwanda


Supporting Documents may also be required - the embassy will contact you if they require these.


Note: Rwanda is constantly updating its visa information; therefore we recommended that you check the website carefully for the latest up to date information www.migration.gov.rw



EAST AFRICA TOURIST VISA:
Effective 1 January, 2014, The East Africa Tourist Visa will allow travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with the same multiple entry visa. The visa can be issued at any of the diplomatic representations of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, at the immigration offices of the respective countries, or on line where applicable. The East Africa Tourist Visa is multiple entry visa and is be valid for 90 days.



Rwanda

For those beginning their trip in Rwanda, you can apply through the Rwanda Online Visa Application System. Under "Type of Visa" select "East Africa Tourist Visa." For more information contact your local Rwanda embassy.

Kenya

For those beginning their trip in Kenya, you can find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Kenya embassy's website.



Uganda

For those beginning their trip in Uganda, you can find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Uganda embassy's website.



The visa costs US$100.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

Rwanda - Bradt Guide East Africa - Lonely Planet

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families - Phillip Gourevitch

Gorillas in the Mist - Dian Fossey

Shake Hands With The Devil : The Failure of Humanity In Rwanda - Romeo Dallaire

The Rwanda Crisis - History of a Genocide - Gerard Prunier