Traveller Essentials


Useful Tips


The unit of currency is the Rwandan franc (RFr). It is divided into 100 centimes. Notes come in RFr100, RFr500, RFr1000, RFr5000 and RFr10,000 denominations. Coins come in RFr10, RFr20 and RFr50.


You will need cash to pay for a taxi, or a meal or if you want to do some shopping in Kigali. Therefore exchange money at the airport on arrival as it is quicker and easier. In the parks and rural areas, cards are not accepted. We recommend you carry a few hundred dollars as a fall back. Euro is the more readily accepted hard currency.



Credit cards are accepted at higher end restaurants, hotels and national park offices as well. Both Visa and Mastercard are accepted, but Visa is more commonly accepted.  

Exchange money at the airport, it is always easier and more practical. Otherwise, in Kigali city, money can be exchanged at the bank or private forex bureau. US Dollars and Euros are the more accepted currencies, with some requirements like 2006 notes, clean notes and a preference for bigger notes.


It is recommended to use ATMs in Kigali city before you venture out. Moreover it is only the Bank of Kigali, GT Bank and Ecobank which work with both Visa and Mastercard, and accept foreign credit cards.


Monday-Friday : 08:00 am to 06:00 pm

Saturday : 08:00 am to 01:00 pm

Health and Vaccinations

Health system in Rwanda is developing. The main hospital is in Kigali and the rest of the country has smaller medical facilities. For basic treatment most towns of any size have pharmacies with a limited range of medicines, while larger towns have hospitals.

In case of medical evacuation, Akagera Aviation operates a helicopter ambulance service within Rwanda in daylight hours, with one military paramedic on call. Please make sure you have adequate medical insurance.


Of course you need to have your routine vaccinations up to date, whenever you travel anywhere. Visit or call your doctor before travelling to obtain the right precautionary advices. The World Health Organization recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as for hepatitis B, regardless of their destination.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever in Rwanda. 

However, the government of Rwanda requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever or a country with an active yellow fever outbreak. 


Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are recommended. Malaria is transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, which has previously bitten a person infected with malaria.

Travellers should seek professional medical advice on taking anti-malarial medicines and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, especially between dawn and dusk. Precautions include using an insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, long pants, sleeping in a mosquito-free setting or using an insecticide-treated bednet. 

Water, Electricity and Internet


It is not recommended to drink tap water in Rwanda. Always ask for water bottles. In hotels, restaurants or on safari, it is always bottled water.  Avoid also taking ice in your drinks.

The water system and distribution is developing rapidly in the country and more and more people are now having access to clean water.


Electricity 230v 50Hz with two round pin plugs.


Rwanda has an excellent mobile phone network covering almost the entire country, and international calls can be made easily.

The country is among the top three African countries in terms of internet connectivity, with an ever-growing fibre optic network.

Safety and Security

Rwanda is one of the safest countries in East Africa to travel in today. Security everywhere you go is high level, and one can feel very safe in the country. Crimes or hostility against tourists are very rare and no need to worry. Kigali can be said to be the safest capital in Africa, though, as in any big city, you must take care at night and do not take any unnecessary risks.

It is also very important to know that one should not take photographs of any building connected with the government or military (post offices, banks, bridges, border crossings, barracks, prisons and dams) – cameras can be confiscated by the rather fervent police or security services.

Travel Insurance

It is advised to always take a travel insurance whenever you go on holidays. Ideally travel insurances should cover:

  • Medical expenses and hospital benefit.
  • Personal travel accident and liability.
  • Cancelling and cutting short your holiday.
  • Abandoning your trip.
  • Delayed departure.
  • Accommodation cover.
  • Scheduled airline failure.
  • Loss of baggage
  • Loss of personal belongings


Some tips when buying your insurance:

  • With the medical coverage, check there’s a 24-hour medical emergency number.
  • When securing baggage cover, make sure that the limit per article, will cover your most valuable possessions, like a camera or phone or tablet.
  • If you need to make a claim, you should keep receipts for medicines and medical treatment.
  • In the event you have anything stolen, you must obtain an official statement from the police.

What to pack

Before you go

  • Check airline baggage restrictions. Luggage policy might be stricter for small regional flights. 
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance.
  • Visit your doctor for vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets at least 3-4 weeks before your departure.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company that you are travelling.


Travel documents

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Return ticket and tour reservations are important documents to have handy on arrival for immigration.
  • Have your International Vaccination Card (or Yellow fever vaccination certificate) ready, it might be requested depending on the countries you have visited before.
  • Vouchers: Keep your tour voucher or safari voucher or transfer voucher in an easily accessible place, as you will have to submit them to your welcome ground agent on arrival.
  • Insurance documents


Take some cash with you. You can exchange money on arrival at the airport, and this might be the most practical. You do not want to waste time during your holidays to go look for ATMs or foreign exchange bureaus.

What to wear

  • Loose-fitting, light casual wear that dry quickly are recommended. Long Sleeved Tops & Comfortable Long Pants to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
  • In Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park,  a lightweight waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
  • Avoid wearing blue in Akagera National Park, which attracts tse tse flies, and take sensible precautions against mosquitos and other bites.
  • When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. Consider bringing gardening or leather gloves as well as gaiters.
  • Something warm, as you go up in altitude, the temperature may be cooler.
  • Sandals or thongs for in the showers are essential.
  • Lodges and camps are very casual even during the evening. No need for evening wear.


Travel Aids

  • A destination travel guide.
  • A pen – this is important to have as you might be required to fill in forms upon arrival. 
  • Toiletries: Sun glasses, Sun cream (high SPF factor), broad rimmed hat, lip protection against the sun and insect repellent
  • Charger, transformer, Electrical adaptor
  • Binoculars
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • First aid kit

Visa and Immigration

As of 1st January 2018, nationals of all countries receive a visa on arrival at Kigali International Airport and all land borders. A single entry tourist visa costs US $30 (exclusions apply for select countries and is valid for 30 days).

Visas can be applied for before departure, by submitting an application online, with the option to pay immediately online or upon arrival. Alternatively applications can be submitted at the Rwanda Diplomatic Missions of the country of residence.

Applicants should have a valid passport or another acceptable travel document. The document must have a validity of at least six months on the day of entry into Rwanda.

Some useful phrases

Good morning:     Mwaramutse

How are you? :     Amakuru yawe?

All good? :     Meza neza

Good evening:     Mwiriwe neza

Cheers:     Kubuzima bwacu!

Have a nice day:     Umunsi mwiza

How much is this?     Nangahe?

Thank you:     Murakoze