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Travel Insurance Rwanda


Rwanda County Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Republic of Rwanda
Capital City: Kigali
Language Spoken: Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers

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Geographic data

2 00 S, 30 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m

Land boundaries

total: 893 km border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km

Natural hazards

periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo

Natural resources

gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land

Land use

arable land: 45.56% permanent crops: 10.25% other: 44.19% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching


Despite its proximity to the Equator, the climate in Rwanda is cooled by the high altitude. It is warm throughout most of the country but cooler in the mountains. There are two rainy seasons: mid-January to April and mid-October to mid-December. Required clothing Lightweights are required for most of the year with warmer clothes for cooler upland evenings. Rainwear is advisable.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+2


8,648,248 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,817,998/female 1,802,134) 15-64 years: 55.6% (male 2,392,778/female 2,417,467) 65 years and over: 2.5% (male 87,325/female 130,546) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 18.6 years male: 18.4 years female: 18.8 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.43% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

40.37 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

16.09 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 47.3 years male: 46.26 years female: 48.38 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

5.43 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Lightweight suits are advised for business meetings and appointments are usually necessary. Knowledge of French is useful as only a few executives speak English. Office hours are typically 0800-1230 and 1330-1700 Monday to Friday.


Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. During daytime hours, Kigali is generally safe, though pick-pocketing, purse-snatchng and thefts from parked cars occur, especially in crowded areas. Armed residential robberies have occurred in the past; and car thefts and carhjackings have happened. Visitors to Kigali are strongly advised to take common sense precautions to prevent pick pocketing, purse-snatching, hotel room thefts and thefts from parked vehicles: be wary in crowds; don't leave valuables in parked vehicles; secure valuables in hotel safes; avoid traveling at night because of poor lighting and road conditions. Travelers should also be aware of a marked increase in prostitution at or near Kigali hotels and nightclubs, and the high incidence of aids in Rwanda.


Hotels are found mostly in Kigali and they are expensive. Credit cards are acceptable at only a few hotels in Kigali and travelers should expect to handle most expenses in cash. Missions with dormitory accommodation are recommended, particularly in remote districts and smaller towns. Ruhengeri and Gisenye mission station hotels are excellent.


The country code is 250. There are no area codes. When the service is operating, outgoing international calls must go through the operator. Telegram facilities are available in Kigali and main hotels. In Kigali post offices open 0800-1200 and 1400-1700 Monday to Friday and 0800-1200 Saturday.


is 220 volts AC, 50Hz, but can be unreliable. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types


Food And Dining

Hotels generally serve a reasonable choice of European dishes, while there are Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern restaurants. Some restaurants also serve Franco-Belgian cuisine and African dishes. A fairly good selection of beers, spirits and wines is available. Beer is also brewed locally.

10 per cent is normal.

Apart from the many small bars, there is little in the way of nightlife. There are a few cinemas in Kigali. The Rwanda National Ballet is famous for its traditional dancing and singing and can be seen either at national ceremonies or sometimes on request in the villages. There are now several nightclubs, with African, Congolese and Western music; there are also some live music bars with food and dancing available. The French Cultural Center runs a variety of activities.

Entry departure requirements

* please see visa section

Visa immigration information


Passports valid for at least six months required by all.


Required by all except transit passengers continuing their journey within 24 hours by the same or first connecting aircraft, provided holding onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

Note: (a) 1. nationals of Canada, Congo (Dem Rep), Germany, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, the UK and the USA can receive a visa free of charge upon arrival for stays of up to three months. (b) nationals of Burundi and China (PR) (only if holding a Hong Kong (SAR) passport) receive a visa free of charge for stays up to one month upon arrival.

Types of visa and cost

Single-entry/Multiple-entry: US$86


Three months.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) Two passport-size photos. (c) Two completed application forms. (d) Company letters or guarantee for business trips. (e) Fee, payable by company certified cheque, postal order or cash. (f) A stamped, self-addressed registered envelope with all postal applications.

Working days required

24 hours.

Temporary residence

Visas can be extended at the Immigration Office in Kigali.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax



Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the UK

120-22 Seymour Place, London W1H 1NR, UK
Tel: (020) 7224 9832.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1730; 0930-1300 (visa section)

Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the USA

1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tel: (202) 232 2882-4.

Travelers are advised against all but essential travel to rural areas bordering Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There remains a risk of indiscriminate attacks on Rwanda from rebel groups operating outside the country in the border regions with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Travelers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office


US Department of State



Rwanda Franc (RWF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of RWF5000, 1000, 500 and 100. Coins are in denominations of RWF50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to RWF5000. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, provided declared on arrival.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1400-1800, Sat 0800-1300.

Currency exchange


Credit cards

Accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali. MasterCard is most widely accepted, with more limited use of Diners Club. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services that may be available.

Travellers cheques

Generally not recommended although banks accept traveller's cheques by the holder. It may be difficult to change traveller's cheques outside Kigali.


  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available is often out of date or heat damaged.

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers generally bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. A missionary hospital run by Americans is located in Kibogora, in the southwest of Rwanda, and it has some surgical facilities.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

Press reports indicate that the incidences of various diseases, including cholera and dysentery, have increased due to contamination of water supplies. AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. (According to WHO, the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to affect developing countries disproportionately, especially in southern and central Africa; heterosexual transmission has become a primary mode in both urban and rural areas.)


Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Yellow fever: Vaccination is recommended for travelers over 9 months of age going outside of urban areas. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases, including yellow fever, are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks. Dengue fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Malaria - prevalent Onchocerciasis (river blindness) - prevalent Relapsing fever - occurs Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) - occurs (human type - mainly in small, isolated areas - is reported) Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Cholera - occurs Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Rabies - occurs Trachoma - prevalent

Entry requirements

Cholera: None. (Contrary to published requirements, the U.S. Embassy reports that cholera vaccination may at times be required for all travelers. At times, officials insist that all travelers show proof of vaccination. At other times they do not require vaccination. Travelers arriving without a current cholera vaccination will most likely have their tickets for forward travel impounded until such time as they report to the authorities with proof of vaccination. In order to receive a vaccination, travelers must usually buy their own needle and syringe and go to a local hospital for the shot.) Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from all countries.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

King Faycal HospitalP.O. Box 2534 Kigali


Press: There is a growing number of English-language newspapers such as The New Times, Rwanda Herald and Rwanda Newsline. Umesco is a Kinyarwanda-language publication. Publications in French or Kinyarwanda are fortnightly or quarterly.
TV: Television Rwandaise (TVR) is state-owned.
Radio: Radio Rwanda is state-owned and operates in English, French, Kinyarwanda and Swahili. Priate radio stations include Radio 10, Flash FM, Contact FM, City Radio, Radio Izuba and Radio Maria.