Well prepared for your trip to Rwanda and surrounding countries?
Here are some useful travel tips and suggestions.
Current information for single or multiple entry for Rwanda you’ll find when clicking here, there is no need to apply in advance.
For an East-Africa Tourist Visa (including Uganda and Kenya) click here, if starting your visit in Rwanda. If you start your visit in Kenya or Uganda please apply to the authorities of these countries or their embassy in your country. For Tanzania a separate visa is required. It is obtainable upon arrival or online as an e-visa.
Virunga Ecotours advise you to take an international adapter with you for your electric equipment. The system used in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is the British system. In the DR Congo, the French system is used.
For the local tours with daily accommodation you can take any baggage. On safaris baggage is limited to one soft sided bag per person, plus one small piece of hand baggage for a camera and other portable items.
Don’t forget to arrange your travel insurance to cover loss of baggage or valuables, personnel accident and medical expenses.
The local currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc, in DR Congo the Congolese Franc. In Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda the local currency is the Shilling. Our clients are advised to carry foreign currencies like US Dollar, Euro or Pound Sterling. Some ATM’s accept Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit cards, download a ATM locator app for your credit card. Travelers checks are not accepted anymore.
It’s better to buy the gorilla trekking permit as early as possible, at least 3 months in advance, because of the limited number of permits available per day. Between June and September and in December and January it is not easy to obtain gorilla trekking permits (high season). The current (2020) Rwanda Volcanoes National Park fee is 1500 USD. The Uganda Bwindi forest and Mgahinga gorilla permit fee is 700 USD.
Covid-19/Coronavirus: Of course you should not travel if you are (or suspect to be) infected with the coronavirus. Be assured that during your trip we’ll take all necessary precautions according to WHO and local public health advice on coronavirus.
Yelow Fever: A certificate proving that you have received a yellow fever vaccination is obligatory when entering Congo, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. In Rwanda only if arriving from an African or South-American country. A health certificate and a yellow fever vaccination is highly recommended.
Malaria: All travelers, should carry anti-malaria tablets as recommended by your doctor.
Don’t forget an insect repellent, mosquito net as well as suntan lotion, a first aid kit, cream for bites or stings and diarrhea remedy.
Please consult your doctor or pharmacist for up-to-date requirements. Use of bottled water or canned drinks is recommended when you are travelling.
Generally, the English language is widely spoken especial in the Great Lakes Region except in DR Congo where French is the official language.
When to visit
All travelers can visit Rwanda, DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania at any time or any season throughout the year. The rainy seasons are from March to early June and October to mid-December.
What to wear
As weather conditions are generally warm to hot, bring light clothing while in cold area especially at an altitude like highland areas (Kigali is at 1630m, Musanze at 1850m) or mountain hiking you should carry a couple of sweaters. During rainy season a light waterproof jacket is recommendable.
For mountain climbing for course a more dedicated outfit is necessary.
For gorilla trekking: wear comfortable shoes or jungle boots and cloth such as rain coat, gloves, jeans, long sleeved shirts.
Safari vehicle and guides
Virunga Ecotours provides clients with safari vehicles of 4×4 drive, driver and guides. The guide is responsible for the success of the safari and the well-being of our clients. Virunga Ecotours have taken the responsibility in selecting our guides who are fully trained in all aspects of wildlife identification and good behavior towards clients and vehicle maintenance and good hospitality. Our guides can fluently speak English, French, Swahili and other European languages.
What to bring
A passport and visa is obligatory. When you visit to Game Reserves and National Parks it is recommendable to carry binoculars and field guides book. Photographers will need a zoom lens for game viewing and don’t forget to carry enough memory cards with you.
Driving in Rwanda and DR Congo is on the right-hand side and in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on the left-hand side. Visitors without extensive experience with local African roads are advised to travel with a 4×4 vehicle with a professional driver.
Facilities and accommodations
When touring on a small budget, bathroom equipment and accommodations can be very basic in all countries in this program.
In all countries tipping is not obligatory, but it is normally being appreciated. Sometimes a tip can be small or up to 10% depending on services rendered. It is customary to tip porters, drivers and guides, especially on national park activities.