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Rwanda - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Name Type Domestic flights International flights

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Roads are available from the surrounding countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Tanzania. Visitors are advised to exercise extreme caution, owing to political instability. Driving is generally not recommended and can be dangerous. Bus: There is a twice-weekly service from Kampala in Uganda to Kigali (Wednesday and Saturday). Traffic drives on the right. The network is sparse and most roads are in bad condition, although the roads linking the capital with Butare, Bugarana and the frontier posts are of better quality. Driving is not recommended and visitors are advised to exercise extreme caution. Bus: Services are operated by L'Office National des Transports en Commun and are classified into three groups: Urban (route numbers prefixed by A, B or C); Suburban (D routes); and Interurban. A timetable and tariff booklet is available in Rwanda. Taxi: Available in Kigali and other large towns. Fares should be agreed in advance. Tipping is not expected. Car hire: Limited facilities in Rwanda. There are no international car hire firms operating, but there are local companies in Kigali. Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required.


Different forms of tourism

Cultural: East of Cyangugu is Butare, the intellectual capital of the country. It boasts an interesting museum, craft shops and a botanical garden. North of Butare is Gitarama, which has a good art museum; nearby is the cathedral town of Kabgayi; and in Mushubati, the grottoes of Bihongor.
Nature: Rwanda is a mountainous land in the heart of Africa, split by the Rift Valley, and dominated by a mountain range that crosses the country from north to south. The three principal areas of interest are the Virunga Volcanoes, the Kagera National Park and the region around Lake Kivu.
- Kagera National Park: Kibungu, in the east of the country, is in the centre of a region of lakes and waterfalls, including Lake Mungesera and the Rusumo Falls. It is also close to the southern tip of the Kagera National Park, which covers over 2,500 km² (1,000 sq miles) of savannah to the west of the Kagera River (the frontier with Tanzania). The park has a variety of wildlife and is a habitat for over 500 species of birds. There are accommodation facilities on the edge of the park at Gabiro, 100km (60 miles) to the north. Reservations should be made in advance. In the rainy seasons (December, March and April) many of the routes become impassable.
West of Kagera is the Parc des Volcans, one of the last sanctuaries of the Gorilla mountain. The ORTPN bureau in Kigali can organise guided tours of the park for small parties; it is advisable to book a long time in advance. This region is composed of volcanic mountains, of which two, across the frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still active.
Kivu Lake : Gisenye is the main centre for excursions in the Parc des Volcans. Plane trips can be made from here to view the craters. Located in the north of Kivu Lake, it also offers many opportunities for water sports or for excursions on the lake. Kibuye, further south, is another lakeside resort. Near Cyangugu, on the southern shores of the lake, are the spectacular grottoes of Kaboza and Nyenji, and the thermal waters in Nyakabuye. Nearby, the Rugege Forest is the home for many rare species of wildlife.
Outdoor activities: Near Kivu Lake, Gisenyi offers many opportunities for water sports.

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required from all travelers older than one year. The risk of malaria mainly in the malignant form P. falciparum exists all year throughout the country. Reports relating to strains of P. falciparum highly resistant to chloroquine and resistant to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Recommended prophylaxis: MEF.

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Kigali (GMT+2)
Summer time period: None
Climate: Rwanda has three main seasons: a short dry season in January, the major rainy season from February through May, and another dry period from May to late September. The average yearly rainfall is 790 mm (31 in) and is heaviest in the western and northwestern mountain regions. Wide temperature variations occur because of elevation differences. The average daily temperature in the Lake Kivu area is 23°C (73°F). In the mountains in the northwest, frost occurs at night. Despite its proximity to the Equator the climate in Rwanda is cooled by the high altitude.
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    Food specialties: Hotels generally serve a reasonable choice of European dishes, while restaurants serve Franco-Belgian cuisine and some African dishes. Drink: A fairly good selection of beers, spirits and wines is available. Beer is also brewed locally.


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