Rwanda General Information
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.
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
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.
The dry season is Jun-Sep and Feb. however you can still expect some showers in the afternoon. Wet long rains Mid Mar – Mid May. Short rains Oct and Nov
Useful Travel Facts
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.
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.
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 .
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
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.
Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians currently require a visa for Rwanda. No visas are required for British or American passport holders for stays up to one month. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. PLEASE NOTE: All tourists requiring visas MUST pre-register for their visa prior to arrival in Rwanda, see below for details.
BEFORE YOU DEPART YOU MUST DO THE FOLLOWING:
Log on to http://www.migration.gov.rw.
Fill out all of the information listed on the single entry visa form. Full Name, Occupation, Gender, Father's Full Name, Mother's Full Name, Spouse's Full Name, Nationality, Passport Details, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Country of Birth, Proposed Address in Rwanda (please contact Peregrine for details), Proposed Dates of Arrival and Departure from Rwanda, Entry Point (will generally be Kigali Airport unless arriving overland), Purpose of Visit, Details of previous Rwanda visit, current Address Details and Phone Number. Ignore the box to upload the Invitation Letter.
PLEASE DO NOT use a Hotmail address as you will be likely to not receive your acceptance letter.
A pre-registration acceptance letter will be emailed to you which you MUST print out and take with you to present on arrival in Rwanda. If you have any questions please contact your travel agent or the team at Peregrine.
A single entry visa can by purchased for US$30 at the border/airports for most nationalities, HOWEVER you must have your pre-registration acceptance letter printed. USD cash is the only accepted form of payment for visas and please note that the cash must be 2006 series notes or later.
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.
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.
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.
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
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