Rwanda Tourist Visa & Customs Regulations
Nearly all visitors require a Rwanda visa, and as of January 2018 all nationalities can get one on arrival.
From January 2018 citizens from all nations (no longer just those from Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA) can automatically receive visas on arrival at Kigali International airport and all land borders.
The cost of the 30-day tourist visa depends on your nationality. Citizens of Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA will pay US$30, while many others may need to hand over US$50.
Another option is to apply for your visa online before you travel by registering at Rwanda Immigration (www.migration.gov.rw). Single-entry (V1) and conference visas (T6) take three days to process (both are valid for 30 days). You have the option to pay online or upon arrival.
To extend your stay or apply for any other type of visa, you must do so at Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration in Kigali’s Kacyiru district, about 7km northeast of the city centre near the US Embassy. For extensions you’ll need to bring the appropriate form (available online), a passport-sized photo, your passport, a letter of introduction or a letter addressed to the Director of Immigration explaining why you require a visa, and RFr 30,000. Extensions take five days to issue.
East Africa Tourist Visa
Rwanda is one of the countries covered by the East Africa Tourist Visa, and for those also visiting Kenya and Uganda on the same trip it is a cheaper alternative. The visa costs US$100, is valid for 90 days and is multiple entry (if staying within the three countries) – it is available online (www.migration.gov.rw), upon arrival or from embassies abroad. If acquiring the visa before travel, your first port-of-call must be the country through which you applied for the visa. These visas can not be extended.
Yellow-fever vaccination certificates are compulsory for entry or exit, although they are not always asked for. Don’t risk it though, better to have it on you than regret.
Customs in Rwanda has one particular peculiarity: a total ban on bringing plastic bags into the country. While this is enormously progressive (and was designed to stop the disfiguring of the countryside), it’s not enforced with any great rigour and suitcases are rarely searched. Otherwise, customs in Rwanda is fairly relaxed.
Tourist Activities To Do in Rwanda
Gorillas in The Mist
This unique experience is available all year round, but due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the jungles in which these gorillas stay, June to September is the best time.
Safari Game Drive
Tacked away between Uganda, Tanzania and Congo, this tiny country gives away more than you expect. Untill recently you can drive through Akagera National park and see all the big 5 game animals.
Culture & Community Tourism
Rwanda is bubbling over with culture rich and diverse culture which spans centuries: 4 languages, countless customs and traditions, uplifting music and dance can be encountered all around the country.
Cities & Historical Sites
Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide left a lot of wounds to nurse for the Rwanda people but have healed amazingly building structures and sites for those that want to come have a revisionist history. We take you there.
Responsible Travel in Rwanda
Surrounded by phenomenal volcanic landscapes, wildlife that many of you grew up dreaming of seeing with your own eyes, and some of the continent’s most friendly, welcoming people making you feel like a VIP wherever you go – being in Rwanda can feel like such a privilege. Rwanda really gives visitors all it can, and as guests we really should try to repay this kindness in some way.
Most tourism in Rwanda takes place in its national parks with official guides – which shuts local residents and businesses out. But by looking beyond the parks, even for just a couple of days of your holiday, your money will go much further, and you’ll completely shift your opinion of Rwanda as a place to see wildlife. Rwanda’s people are every bit as fascinating.
Best Time to Visit Rwanda
Equatorial Rwanda has a blissful springlike climate – a 25oC with cooling night time breezes perfect for an African Safari night.
Rwanda sits squarely a few kilometers bellow the equator with an average altitude of around 1,000m, which tempers the heat and means this really is a year-round African safari destination. March-May and Oct-Nov see the highest rainfall, but gorillas are still lurking in the mist – although trekking to find them will be slippery and slower. However, accommodation can be much cheaper at this time. The best time to visit Rwanda is June-Sep, which is the peak season – but Uganda remains happily oblivious to mass tourism and you won’t need to worry about crowds.