Rwanda is a Landlocked country in the Equatorial Africa and is in the Eastern Arm of the Great Rift Valley. It is between Africa’s great water systems of the two largest rivers: the Congo River and Nile river. The 26338sqkm country is dramatically mountainous (Land of a thousand hills) with the highest point being Karisimbi (4507m) in the Volcanic Virunga ranges protected by Volcanoes National park.
The country’s largest water body is Lake Kivu in the west but there are other numerous lakes that are dotted around the country like Burera, Ihema in Akagera national park, Ruhondo, Muhazi and Mugasera all with erratic shapes following the contours of the steep mountains that enclose them.
The combination of Tropical location and height altitude makes the country to have a temperate climate all year round. Temperatures barely stray above 30°C by day or 15° at night. The expectations are chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains and the hot low lying Eatern part near the Tanzanian boarder in Akagaera National park. Most of the parts in the country receive in excess of 1000mm of rain annually, with the driest months being July to September .
Rwanda’s official languages are Kinyarwanda , English and French. Kiswahili, spoken throughout East Africa is also spoken in the country.
Passport and Visas
A valid passport is mandatory. Visas are required by some nationalities, but can be issued on the spot at most ports of entry whether using air or road. Also an East African tourist visa that allows you in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya can be obtained. Before you travel make sure you at least visit any nearest consulate or embassy to obtain the latest info on Visa requirements or apply online at www.migration.gov.rw
Getting to Rwanda
Rwanda is served well regionally and internationally by several airlines including Rwanda air, Uganda Airlines, Kenya airways, Brussels, Ethiopian airlines, KLM, Qatar airways, Fly dubai. All international flights arrive at Kigali international airport, 10kms from central Kigali. And another airport is being constructed in the western side of the country.
Also Rwanda can be access from Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania by road.
Rwanda Lies at a too high altitude for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. A certificate of yellow fever is required to enter the country and other travel Vaccines like Hepatitis A and B.
When to Visit
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla tracking and other forest walks are less damaging during the drier seasons. For birders the European winter is the best time as Palaearctic migrants supplement the resident species.
Rwanda’s unit currency is the Rwandan Franc. The US dollar is the hard currency of preference but Euro, and Pound sterling are also widely accepted. However it may be hard to exchange traveler cheques away from the city. Credit cards are usually accepted at major hotels, airlines and shopping malls not in the small retail shops or souvenirs shops.