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Fly to Rwanda

Rwanda is known for its gorillas, and a trip to see these amazing animals is certainly a great excuse to explore the rest of the country as well. Rwanda is a very stable and peaceful country, and probably also one of the cleanest in the world. You will have a hard time finding any piece of rubbish anywhere and all plastic bags are banned in this country too, so don’t bring them in please.

Rwanda is green and hilly and has several national parks to visit and excellent places to relax after your visit to the gorillas and other places on your tour of the area. It is also one of the most populated countries in the world and apart from the national parks, pretty much all of it is cultivated. And as this is a hilly country, it is often called ‘land of a thousand hills’, terraces are common everywhere.

Book your cheap flight to Rwanda with Tripindigo today, and visit this tiny, clean and beautiful country.

Popular destinations in Rwanda

Rwanda is a small country with several fascinating and interesting places to visit like:

  • Parc National des Volcans
  • Parc National de Nyungwe
  • Parc National de L’Akagera
  • Lake Kivu

Book your cheap flight to Kigali in Rwanda with Tripindigo, the best starting point for your holiday.

Short history of Rwanda

In recent history Rwanda was colonised first by the Germans and then by the Belgians, both of these colonial powers playing the ‘divide and conquer’ tactics and supporting the power in the hands of the minority of Tutsis.

Independence came after tribal tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis in 1962 and the Hutus came to power. Tutsis were limited in their opportunities for education and work and more violence took place. Then in 1990 the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) under Paul Kagame invaded Rwanda, and again in 1991. Thousands of Tutsis were killed by the Rwandan army as well as Hutus who were thought to collaborate with the Tutsis, and by 1993 they had nearly reached the capital Kigali.

On 6 April 1994, the plane carrying Habyarimana (president of Rwanda) and the president of Burundi was shot down while on the way to power sharing talks. This event started the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda where an estimated 1 million people lost their lives.

A lot has happened since, but Kagame has managed to unite the country in a remarkably short period of time. The country is safe and clean, the economy is growing, inflation is low and foreign investors are returning to Rwanda once again.

Umuganda

Traditionally the Rwandan people would call upon their friends and family to help them achieve something big or difficult. In modern day Rwanda Umuganda can best be described as community work.

Every Rwandan aged between 18 and 65 has to participate once a month, on the last Saturday of the month. The projects include infrastructure development and environmental protection. So people can be working on building a school together, a medical centre or a hydroelectric plant. But it also includes things like rehabilitating wetlands, protection against erosion and picking up all litter in the area.

 

Information for visitors
Location

Rwanda is a landlocked country with no access to the oceans. To the east is Tanzania, and in the south is Burundi. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is to the west of Uganda and Uganda is to the north. The country is located just south of the equator in the southern hemisphere.

The entire country is high, the lowest point in the country is at 950m above sea level.

The capital of Rwanda is Kigali and is found in the centre of the country.

Population

The population of Rwanda is just over 12 million people in 2017, which equates to almost 500 people per square kilometre.

Visa Application

You’ll more than likely need a visa to enter Rwanda, very few countries’ citizens do not. Some countries’ nationals can obtain a visa on arrival for USD30. If you need to apply for a visa prior to arrival this can be done online for USD50.

Ensure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your arrival date and has at least 1 blank page.

Religious and Cultural considerations

More than 94% of Rwandans are Christians. Just under 3% are Muslim.

After the genocide in 1994 where almost a million people are estimated to have died in 100 days, mostly Tutsis killed by Hutus, the Rwandans now focus more on being Rwandan, not Hutu or Tutsi. Visit the Genocide Museum in Kigali to learn more about this period and the remarkable journey of this country and its people since then.

When photographing people, always ask permission first and agree on payment if required.

 

Which movies to watch before going to Rwanda

‘Hotel Rwanda’, telling the story of how the manager of hotel des Mille Collines turned the place into a shelter for thousands who were fleeing the genocide, is a must for anybody going to Rwanda.

Another movie to watch is ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, which is based on the true-life story of Dian Fossey who worked with the gorillas in the Parc National des Volcans. Especially interesting of course if you are going to track with the gorillas yourself.

Health Risks and Considerations

Sanitation is not up to first world standards. It is strongly advised that all travellers to the region consult with their doctor and are up to date with their travel vaccines.

Yellow fever vaccination and proof thereof is mandatory for travellers coming from yellow fever endemic countries and countries with active yellow fever transmission outbreaks.

The key to good health:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Eat and drink safely (bottled water as an example)
  • Avoid touching live animals
  • Avoid exchanging body fluids
  • Take anti-malarial meds where required
  • Prevent bug bites with lotions and long sleeves / trousers especially in the evenings
  • Reduce your exposure to germs by washing your hands
What Souvenirs to Buy

There is a thriving art scene in Rwanda and you can pick up some really beautiful, one-off pieces to take home with you. Colourful paintings are a fantastic way to remember your Rwandan holiday, but the most famous of all Rwandan souvenirs are the woven baskets. They were traditionally used to carry wedding gifts to the lucky couple, but you can use them for anything you want. There is a huge variety and you will be able to find the piece that suits your style and colours.

Rwanda also sells a lot of local fabrics including the usually colourful kitenge. You can purchase some and take home to make clothes, cushions covers, or even wall hangings with them.

Other interesting pieces of art to buy are the typical Rwandan paintings called imigongo which are made with cow dung. The dung is applied to a wooden board and left to dry, often in geometrical and spiral designs. It is then painted with organic colours, traditionally in black, white, red, grey, and beige.

So when you are on the lookout for something Rwandan, make sure you try to have a look for:

  • imigongo, the paintings made with cow dung
  • fabrics, including kitenge
  • pottery from the Batwa people
  • t-shirts with prints
  • paintings
  • wood carvings
  • jewellery

 

But whatever souvenir you pick up in Rwanda, please be aware what you are buying. Do not buy things made of ivory, coral, shells, rhino horn, tortoise shell, rare hardwoods or wild animal hides.

If you are not sure what the souvenir you are buying is made off and if it is legal, then don’t buy it. Not only it is illegal to buy certain items, but it is also illegal to transport those items out of the country and you can get in a lot of trouble.

Instead, try to find out where things are made locally, usually by women’s groups, and buy directly from them. A great way to support the people and show them that tourism brings jobs and money to the communities.

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