Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Tips on travelling to Rwanda from Miriam Kyasiimire


Miriam is a travel blogger, tourist guide and the owner of Kagera Safaris Ltd, a company committed to offering travellers to East Africa 'Memorable African Expressions'. She is passionate about community development, photography and travel.


For more information on tours in Rwanda visit www.kagerasafaris.com

Where would you send a first-time visitor in Rwanda?

Volcanoes National Park, where the beautiful sight of the volcanoes towering above the earth and peeking through the clouds awaits. There are several activities in the park to keep visitors occupied, from gorilla trekking (the most popular) to golden monkey trekking and bird watching. You also have great opportunities for engaging with the local community as well as lots of hiking options.

What are your favourite places in Rwanda?

Nyungwe Forest is by far my favourite place in Rwanda. The journey to Nyungwe National Park is rewarding due to the beautiful scenery. The tea plantation at the edge of the forest is a wonderful place to stop and take photos and join in tea ceremonies which cover the process all the way from the picking to the drinking.

Is there good infrastructure for tourists?

Yes, Rwanda has good infrastructure for tourism. All the major roads to the popular tourist sites are tarred. You are able to easily find hotels offering excellent services and both local and international food is available. The tour guides usually speak English and French and German-speaking guides are also often available upon request.

What is the best means of transport when exploring Rwanda?

The best and most convenient way is to contact a travel agency or tour operator and let them arrange hotel bookings, activities and ground transport for you.

Public transport in Rwanda consists mainly of buses, which depart mostly from the capital, Kigali. You can also contact a car hire agency if you prefer to drive yourself.

How safe is Rwanda for tourists?

Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa. Tourists are seldom hassled and the government takes their safety very seriously because tourism is the top foreign exchange earner in the country and employs a big percentage of the population.

Are there any parts of the country you would tell travellers to avoid?

I would encourage tourists to be conscious of their surroundings just like they would in any other destination but not to avoid visiting any particular area. Rwanda is a small country, which is highly interconnected, and tourists are safe throughout.

What are your favourite local meals?

The brochettes (goat/beef kebabs) are by far my favourite but they are really more of a snack. My favourite meal is matooke (plantains) with chicken stew.

What are the best souvenirs to buy in Rwanda?

The peace baskets, which send a great message of hope after the 1994 genocide, are the best souvenirs. Woodcarvings of wild animals and paintings of the landscapes and communities of Rwanda are also highly recommended. 

How long would you recommend people spend in Rwanda on holiday?

I would recommend a minimum of seven days if someone wants to explore the country and engage with the local community in their daily activities like gardening and food preparation.

And when is the best time to visit?

Rwanda is a tropical country so you can visit all year round. The months of December to February and June to August are more popular because they get less rain but ultimately with climate change the rains can come any time. The beauty of the weather in Rwanda is that even when it rains, it is for a short while and then the sun is out again.

How expensive is Rwanda as a travel destination?

Generally the country is affordable for travellers. You will find hotels in all price ranges. Activities are usually affordable too, although gorilla trekking permits currently cost US$ 750 per person (as of 2016).

Do you have any other tips for travellers visiting Rwanda?

Come with an open mind to explore this beautiful African country.  Engage with the locals and eat their food. The country's history of genocide is exactly that - history. You will soon notice the people have moved on and they are positively involved in their communities. 

For more information on tours in Rwanda visit www.kagerasafaris.com