Travel FAQs

Rwanda enjoys an agreeable tropical highland climate. Temperatures vary considerably between locations, but vary little from month to month. Peak temperatures rarely exceed 30°C (86°F) in the daytime or drop below 15°C (59°F) at night. Akagera is generally the warmest and the Virunga mountains the coolest. The average daily temperature in Kigali is 21°C (70°F). There are two rainy seasons in a year, from mid-February to May and mid-September to mid-December.
Pack lightweight, washable clothes plus a sweater for early mornings, 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. Women will feel more comfortable in knee-length or longer. When tracking gorillas or chimpanzees, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. Consider bringing gardening or leather gloves as well as gaiters. A lightweight waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
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 Plug Adaptor (front)
Plug Adaptor
It is always a good idea to be prepared with one or two extra batteries for digital cameras and laptops or travel with a battery bank that can be re-charged during the day in your vehicle.
Do not 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.
There are no compulsory vaccinations required for Rwanda. However, we recommend you consult with your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date recommendations, particularly in regard to malaria prophylactics. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country Yellow Fever is a high risk. See Medical Tips
A visa is required when travelling to Rwanda. Currently, this may be obtained online or it is also possible upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. A valid passport is mandatory for travel. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Rwanda. See Visa Information.
The official languages of Rwanda are French, Kinyarwanda, English and Swahili. English is spoken widely within the travel and tourism industry.
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.
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 $50 per person per day.  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).
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.
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.
The tourist areas and hotels sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewelry and trinkets. Don’t be afraid to haggle at roadside stalls.
Not obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service would be appreciated. Here are some general ranges of tipping per person per day / per vehicle
  • Number of people in a vehicle / Tipping guideline
  • 6 people / $10 to $15 per person per day
  • 4 people / $12 to $20 per person per day
  • 2 people / $15 to $25 per person per day
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.

Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Treks 2 Rwanda requires all travelers to secure Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation insurance. This bare minimum coverage (often called Post-Departure or Travel Med) costs less than $60 per person.  For more information on the available plans click here or contact Travelex Insurance 800-228-9792 and reference location number 23-0071. To get a quote or to enroll click here.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. 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

Treks 2 Rwanda enrolls all travelers with membership in AMREF’s medical evacuation program. This enrollment does not replace traditional travel insurance but facilitates an expedited response by AMREF for emergency transport to Nairobi.

Follow instructions of your Treks 2 Rwanda guide as well as the guides and porters who lead trekking expeditions. Click here for Rwanda Development Board (RDB) regulations for gorilla trekking. These general protocols hold true for other primate trekking.
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.
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.
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.
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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