WHAT TO PACK
We're often asked 'when is the best time to go to Rwanda?', and the answer is usually complex. It will depend on many things including your interests, where you want to visit and why you're travelling. One person's best time is another's worst!
In the heart of Africa, fractionally south of the equator, Rwanda's relatively high altitude provides it with a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate, albeit also with plenty of rain. Temperatures vary considerably between locations depending on their altitude, but very little from month to month in the same place. In the capital, Kigali, the average daily temperature is about 21°C.
Rwanda's long rainy season lasts from about March to May, when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice.
October to November is a shorter rainy season and it's followed by a short dry season from December to February.
During both of Rwanda's dry seasons, there is often light cloud cover. This helps to moderate the temperatures, but also occasionally brings light rain showers.
Modest clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Uganda, however in the lodges and camps and on the beaches at the lakeshore, it is perfectly fine to wear shorts and shirts or beach wear. Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! Dark colours such as navy or black can attract tstese fllies and are best avoided, as are bright colours like yellow, red and purple if you are going on safari.
What to pack
Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
A warm fleece or jumper
A lightweight waterproof jacket
Comfortable but sturdy shoes
A hat or baseball cap
Sunscreen – a must!
Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
A small torch
Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
Camera and a good pair of binoculars
Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time
For gorilla trekking:
Good sturdy hiking boots which have been well worn-in
Good thick socks (to be worn with boots when wearing boots in)
Garden gloves - to protect your hands from nettles
Cameras and extra batteries
Hat and sunglasses
Pair of binoculars
Hiking day pack
PLEASE NOTE: Plastic bags are banned and carry a fine if brought into the country. Make sure you leave your bags on the aeroplane upon arrival.
Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20 kgs or more per person, but please check this with your individual airline. Please be advised that on domestic flights, luggage is limited to one soft sided bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg. No hardshell bags are permitted.
Rwanda's currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF). You can convert money at a bank or Forex Bureau, or withdraw from an ATM, all found in the larger airports and towns. Please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and establishments however there may be a surcharge levied. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and stalls. Banks are available in the major cities, operating business hours of 9am – 3pm, Monday to Friday
We must stress that tipping is not compulsory or expected; rather it is an extra reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff in the various lodges and camps. As a guideline for tipping your guide and the staff , you can leave between USD 10 to 15 per traveller per day. Tipping is usually done at the end of your safari and most lodges and camps have a tip box in the main area. You may tip the staff individually, place a tip for all the staff in the box or do both. Tips can be made in Rwandan Francs or US Dollars.