BASIC FACT FILE FOR RWANDA

IMMIGRATION & VISAS

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
  • A single-entry conference visa costs US $30 and is valid for 30 days
  • A multiple entry business visa costs US $50 and is valid for one year
  • The East African Tourist Visa (EATV) covers Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, costs US $100 and is valid for 90 days

Alternatively, applications can be submitted at the Rwanda Diplomatic Missions of the country of residence. Visa extension applications should be submitted the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration offices.

For further information on visas please consult the Rwanda Directorate of Immigration and Emigration.

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. Visas can be applied for before departure, by submitting an application online, with the option to pay online or upon arrival.

Details on each class of visa are set out in the Information section. Visa extensions should be applied for whilst the initial visa remains valid.

MONEY

The Rwandan franc (Rfr) is the principal currency, although US dollars are widely accepted. Expect to pay for local services in cash, in Rwandan francs. The greater the amount, the more likely US dollars or other hard currencies are preferred, such as gorilla tracking and upmarket hotels.

A growing number of places accept credit and debit cards, with Visa being more widely accepted than Mastercard. It’s best to check when making a booking.

ATMs can be found in Kigali and nearly all major cities. Cash can be exchanged at banks and private forex bureau (bureau de change). Both are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

It may be impossible to exchange traveler’s cheques away from the capital. Western Union facilities are common. Tipping is discretionary and appreciated. Cash is usually preferred. As a rough guide, tip professional guides and drivers US $10 per day, trekking porters US $2.

PLASTICS BAN

Please refrain from bringing plastic bags to Rwanda. Banned by law since 2008, any plastic bags in your luggage will be confiscated at the airport or other point of entry.

As a country we strive to protect, safeguard and promote the environment – a matter which is written in to our constitution and carefully observed by our citizens, who all participate in a community service called Umuganda on the last Saturday of every month.

We respectfully request that all visitors help us keep Rwanda the cleanest country in Africa, and dispose of all litter responsibly.

DRONES

A permit is required to fly a drone recreationally or commercially in Rwanda. Permits are issued by the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, with an average processing time of 2 to 4 weeks (RPAS Activity Permit) or 2 months (RPAS Operator Certificate).

Foreign citizens are unable to register drones themselves – a Rwandan citizen, permanent resident or body / entity may register a drone on behalf of a foreign citizen.Drones must be marked with a registration number assigned by the RCAA.

Basic Rules:
  • Do not fly your drone over people or large crowds
  • Respect others privacy when flying your drone
  • Do not fly your drone over airports or in areas where aircraft are operating
  • You must fly during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions
  • Do not fly your drone in sensitive areas including government or military facilities. Use of drones or camera drones in these areas are prohibited.

For more information, please consult the RCAA website or email enquiries to d.fss@caa.gov.rw.

You may be interested to read up on the partnership between Rwanda and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to nurture the drone industry in Rwanda, building on the success of Zipline’s blood delivery technology, which hails from Silicon Valley. The partnership is managed by WEF’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As Rwanda looks to the future, we will continue to put in place the infrastructure and policy frameworks that accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies to transform people’s lives.

The dry season, from June to mid-September, sees light cloud cover and occasional light rainfall. The roads and paths tend to be easier to navigate in this period.

WEATHER

Fractionally south of the Equator and with much of the country lying at altitude, Rwanda enjoys an agreeable tropical highland climate. Temperatures vary considerably between locations, but vary little from month to month.

Peak temperatures rarely exceed 30°C (86°F) in the daytime or drop below 15°C (59°F) at night. Akagera is generally the warmest and the Virunga mountains the coolest. The average daily temperature in Kigali is 21°C (70°F). There are two rainy seasons in a year, from mid-February to May and mid-September to mid-December.

TERRAIN

Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda has five volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers. The country covers 10,169 square miles or 26,338 square kilometers. Much of the country lies at elevations between 1,500m and 2,500m. The highest peak is Mount Karisimbi at 4,507m and the lowest point is the Rusizi river at 950m above sea level. The terrain is often uneven and sensible shoes are essential.