Travel Tips

Climate

Climate Generally dry and hot with cool nights/mornings June-­October and mid­-December­-March; short rains November to mid­-December; long rains April­-May but the seasons can vary. The coastal strip is hot and humid all year round. T

Clothes

Pack lightweight, washable clothes plus a sweater for early morning game drives, as well as a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Long sleeves and trousers in light-­colored fabrics help discourage insect bites. Brightly colored clothing may alarm the animals. Shorts are acceptable only while on safari for both men and women. Women should bring a wrap skirt (for over shorts) or wear capri-length or long pants to cover legs in villages and towns as revealing clothes can cause offense. On the beach and within the confines of beach hotels normal swimwear is acceptable (but not nudity).

Electricity

A 3 rectangular pin UK plug adapter is required to use electrical appliances including video cameras and digital cameras. The plug adapter is placed onto your appliance plug so that it will fit into the 3 rectangular pin electrical sockets.

The electrical voltage in Rwanda is 220V while the electrical voltage in the United States is 120V. If you have a dual voltage appliance or a universal power supply capable of operating safely with either 120V or 220V, all you will need is the plug adapter mentioned above. Most newer laptops, digital cameras and video cameras come equipped with a dual voltage power supply. Check to make sure that the input reads 100V – 240V or 120V – 240V.

If you do not have a dual voltage power supply, then in addition to the plug adapter, you will need to purchase a transformer/converter.

For more information, please visit http://www.kropla.com/electric.htm

Plug Adaptor (front)

Plug Adaptor

It is always a good idea to be prepared with one or two extra batteries for digital cameras, camcorders and laptops.

Gifts

Don’t indiscriminately hand out pens, money and sweets– it just encourages begging. As anywhere, gifts should be given as a true expression of friendship, appreciation or thanks.

Health

See Medical Tips.

Immigration

Visas are required. Visas cost $30 USD per person and can be obtained on arrival but you may wish to get them in advance. See Visa Information.

Language

English is widely spoken in the cities, but not spoken much in the villages. A few words of Kinyarwanda (or often Swahili) can be useful and will be appreciated greatly by locals.

Money

Major foreign currencies – particularly USD ­and EUROS are accepted and are convertible at banks and bureau de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. Credit cards are not always accepted and when they are accepted, sometimes they carry poor exchange rates and are subject to processing fees (between 5-10%). Banks often offer ATM facilities against international credit cards, but only dispense Rwandan Francs. ATMs are not available everywhere. Don’t change money in the street.

On Safari

Follow instructions of your guide. Don’t leave your vehicle in the parks except in designated places. Keep to recognized tracks to avoid damaging vegetation.

Personal Expenses

As noted in your contract drinks with meals, gratuities, laundry, select meals (where noted) and other personal expenses are not included in your package. A good starting point to calculate your cash needs is $25-30 per person per day. We have compiled a list of expenses so that you can better budget your incidental costs (Click here for PDF). Costs are average. Guide tips are preferred in USD. Rwandan Francs may be preferable for workers who live a distance from town (such as those at lodges and camps).

Photography

Bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera with you. Protect your cameras from dust and keep equipment cool. It is courteous to ask permission before photographing local people. If you intend to take a lot of people pictures, it can be nice to bring an instant camera with you so that you can leave a picture with the people you photograph. Excellent binoculars are recommended for the non-gorilla activities. If you do not have binoculars, we can supply your car with a pair upon request and free of charge.

Security

Rwanda is generally a safe country, but don’t invite temptation. Keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t walk in the towns or cities at night – take a taxi. Don’t carry cameras or large amounts of cash; beware of pickpockets. Use hotel safety deposit boxes to safeguard valuables and obtain a receipt. Leave valuable jewelry at home.

Shopping

The tourist areas and hotels sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewelry and trinkets. Don’t be afraid to haggle at roadside stalls.

Tipping

Safari Tips

Not obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service would be appreciated. Here are some general ranges of tipping per person per day / per vehicle
At some lodges/camps there may be a tip box at the front desk. We recommend that you use the tip box instead of tipping individuals so that everyone who made your experience enjoyable can share, even those behind the scenes. At most lodges and camps, someone will carry your luggage and you might feel compelled to tip them separately but that is up to you. Regarding other activities where there is a guide apart from your regular guide, each particular guide or company has been paid by Treks 2 Rwanda but in some cases you might feel compelled to offer a tip for exceptional service. In that case, it is purely a personal decision, but you might think of something in the range of $5 to $20 per group depending on the amount and level of service.These are general guidelines and you should feel free to tip as you see appropriate. Ask your guide in other instances if you are not sure whether to tip.

Time: 2 hrs +  GMT

Travel Insurance

Treks 2 Rwanda (in collaboration with Access 2 Tanzania) recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 23-0071.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 E7N


Cultural Tips

African cultures are nearly opposite to Western cultures in many ways. When in a rural village, it is important to respect the local culture so we will always be welcome. Some of the Rwandans you will encounter in a village have had little exposure to foreigners. In all cases, communication is a great path to mutual understanding and if you should get into any misunderstandings or run into any problems, feel free to talk with your guide.

Gender Relations

You may of course become friends with people of different genders, but be aware that if you spend a lot of time with any individual of the opposite sex, the community will assume you are having an affair. Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex will be offensive to the rural community. On the other hand, do not be surprised to see men holding hands in friendship. Women in particular may experience badgering from men including frequent marriage proposals. Wearing a wedding ring and telling people you are married goes a long way.

Clothing

Rwandans have a different dress code than westerners, which we need to respect. In urban areas western dress is appropriate, although generally throughout Rwanda shorts are only worn by primary school­-aged boys. For an adult, wearing shorts is culturally equivalent to walking around in underwear. In villages, men should wear long pants and shirts with collars and women should either wear skirts, lightweight dresses or pants that cover below the knee and shirts that cover shoulders. Depending upon the nature and location of your village visit your shoe choices can vary. If walking around a village area wear a sturdy pair of walking shoes. If you are doing formal meetings (at a school for example) then a nicer pair of close-toed shoes would be preferable. If in doubt, choose the culturally sensitive, conservative approach. If you dress shabbily, it may be interpreted as a lack of respect for the community.

Polite Behavior

Aside from general polite behaviors such as not swearing, smoking, or using other drugs considered offensive in many societies, there are special behaviors that are deemed respectful in Rwandan society. Greetings are very important. Also be aware that sniffing food is considered rude. Feel free to try a taste of something, and press fruit to see if it is ripe rather than smelling it.


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