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Rwanda FAQS

RWA St Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Shutterstock Brina L Bunt

Your Rwanda Questions Answered

Rwanda offers lots of varied wildlife, as well as some breathtaking scenery; from soaring mountains to deep forests. Great for primate tracking, you can find both cheeky chimpanzees and cute colobus monkeys as well as mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas is one of the main reasons people travel on safari to Rwanda, however there is so much more to this stunning country and, with tourism booming, this is the time to visit.

Below we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions by our clients on Rwanda. If there is anything you would like to know, or think we should cover in this area, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Does Accommodation have mosquito nets?

Not all camps and lodges in Rwanda have mosquito nets. It all depends on their individual location, e.g. the altitude, distance from open water and so on. Much of the accommodations are tented camps which are sealed tightly and zipped up, avoiding the need for mosquito netting. In the lodges, while you enjoy your dinner, house-keeeping will complete a turn-down service and spray the rooms with mosquito repellent. Regardless of mosquito netting, you should always bring insect repellent with DEET, trousers/slacks, sports/long sleeved shirts and/or blouse and dress/skirt for ladies. Keeping you skin covered will reduce your risk of being bitten.

What should I wear on a gorilla safari?

We recommend that you dress modestly whenever travelling abroad; it is always better to blend in with the local population rather than sticking out like a sore thumb, for safety reasons and so you can truly appreciate the people and culture that you are part of during your journey.

Please find below a selection of items that you may find useful on your journey into the extraordinary…

Khaki / natural coloured clothing for safaris / trekking

  • 1 – 2 pairs of light weight trousers / slacks – that can dry quickly if wearing on treks
  • 1 Pair of shorts
  • 1 – 2 long sleeved shirts – preferably quick drying
  • 2 – 3 short sleeved shirts – preferably moisture wicking

Casual clothes for evenings

  • 1 – 2 pairs of light weight trousers / slacks
  • 1 – 3 sports / long sleeved shirts and / or blouse
  • 1 dress / skirt for ladies

And the following

  • 1 Lightweight waterproof / windproof / breathable jacket, e.g. Gortex / Event type fabrics
  • 1 Fleece, sweater or sweatshirt
  • Sturdy / lightweight waterproof walking boots – trousers / pants should be tucked into socks and boots wile trekking (heavy soled rain boots or gaiters also work well)
  • 1 Pair of shoes for evening wear
  • 1 Pair of sports sandals will be useful, e.g. TEVA
  • Swimsuit (and a plastic bag for packing in)
  • Towel – many lodges provide these, but if needed we suggest taking trek towels. These are lightweight, pack to a small size and dry quickly. Best to get a large or extra large.
  • Bush hat with a brim for sun protection
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight wool socks
  • Gloves – gardening or similar (for gorilla tracking only)
  • Gaiters
  • Sunscreen and moisturising cream
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Insect repellent with DEET, please note that DEET can effect man-made fibres and plastics.
  • Daypack / small rucksack
  • Binoculars
  • Alarm clock – though our staff will wake you
  • Ear plugs
  • Spare / extra batteries
  • Camera and extra lenses
  • Camera charger / converter / adapter for 220 / 240 AC voltage, plus cigarette lighter adapter is useful
  • Film – particularly fast film for the primates (400 – 1600ASA)
  • Personal toiletries /Prescription medicines and the prescription itself
  • Wet-wipes / tissues
  • Back-up glasses especially if you wear contact lenses
  • Wash cloth and plastic bag (if needed)
  • Ziplocs / dry bags and other plastic bags for keeping valuables dry or storing wet clothes
  • Torch / flashlight – LED models are light weight and have a good battery life
  • Sewing kit (needle, thread, safety pins)
  • Small notebook
  • First Aid Kit – including anti-diarrhoea medicine, rehydration sachets, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids (plasters), motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication
  • Photocopies of your passport, visas, credit cards and airline tickets (it is advisable to have 2 sets to keep in separate places)

How far are lodges from gorilla tracking HQ?

When tracking the gorillas you will be located within easy access of the park headquarters, but the distance will depend on which accommodation you opt for. The distance to the headquarters will vary from a 1 minute walk to an hours drive.

In Rwanda, the mid-range lodges of Gorilla’s Nest and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge are a 10 minute drive while the luxury Sabinyio Silverback Lodge is situated 3 kilometres from the main entrance to the park, strategically located to offer spectacular views. From here, you will have to walk a tough 15 minutes to the park headquarters. The eco-lodge comfort of Virunga Lodge is a 45 minute drive to the park headquarters.

What money should I bring?

The local currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan franc and money can easily be changed in Kigali before you head off into the mountains.

The economy is quite cash based, though some big hotel chains may accept credit cards or debit cards. If you are exchanging from US dollars, you must ensure that the date on the notes is 2006 or newer. Older bills won’t be accepted. The higher the value of the note, the better the rate you will receive. For example, you will get a much better rate for exchanging $100 notes compared to $20’s.

In restaurants you are not expected to tip, however it is nice to show your appreciation with a tip if the service was good. For guides, rangers and porters in National Parks we recommend between $5 and $20 per day, for drivers we recommend $15 to $25 per day.

Is Rwanda politically stable?

Both Uganda and Rwanda are still quite misunderstood when it comes to safety and security whilst travelling. Rwanda is now a peaceful country, despite a turbulent past.

Is it safe to drink tap water?

Unfortunately, no. We do not recommend you drink tap water during your time in Rwanda. Always ensure you drink bottled water, even when brushing your teeth (this is just a safety precaution). You must also make sure that the ice in your drinks is made from bottled or purified water.

What is the weather like in Rwanda?

You can travel to Rwanda at any time of the year and it is well known for its ‘eternal spring’. The temperature stays quite constant throughout the year, with August through to September being the hottest times. Evenings are quite cool so we recommend you bring warm clothing for the night time.

There are two rainy seasons that we recommend avoiding if you have the flexibility, March to May and October to December. Rainy seasons are usually a mix of heavy downpours and bright sunshine, so these times of the year can make gorilla tracking terrain much harder work. You must, however, expect rain at any time of the year.

View our best time to go to Rwanda page for more details.

Contact us for a bespoke quote.