Travel Tips

Rwanda

Climate

Rwanda’s tropical location, just south of the Equator, combined with high altitude ensure a pleasant, temperate year-round climate. Temperatures therefore hardly vary throughout the season, with an average of 25°C during the day and slightly cooler at night.

However, exceptions can be experienced in the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains and lower Akagera National Park.

Generally, the long rainy season takes place from March till June and there is a short rainy season around October-November. Also during the drier periods you may experience light rain showers occasionally.

Best time to visit

Rwanda can perfectly be visited during all season. Please keep in mind though that July and August are peak season for tracking the mountain gorillas and therefore gorilla permits are more difficult to obtain.

Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest is recommendable during the rainy seasons, since the chimps will be able to find food relatively easily and are therefore easier to locate.

Visa

The costs for a single entry visa for Rwanda is US $50 per person.

Visas have to be applied for online via the Rwanda Immigration website, at least two weeks prior to your arrival. A copy of the approved application has to be presented at the entry point where the visa will then be issued and paid for. Kindly note that citizens from the following countries are required to pay visa fees but are allowed to obtain their visa upon arrival without prior online application: Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA.

If you are planning to combine Rwanda with a visit to Uganda and/or Kenya it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa. This special tourist visa costs US $100 per person and allows 90 days multiple entry to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this arrangement.

The East African Tourist Visa can be requested in the same way as the single entry visa, but make sure to select this option when completing the form on the Rwanda Immigration website.

Language

Rwanda’s national language is Kinyarwanda, but also English and French are widely spoken throughout the country.

Electricity

In Rwanda the voltage is 220-240 volts. A 2 pin European adaptor is requested. Keep in mind that power cuts are common in Rwanda so it is recommended to carry a torch with you and always recharge appliances when the power is available.

Money

The national currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RFW)

US dollar notes but also euros and British sterling are widely accepted and can be exchanged at the airport or any Forex bureau or bank. Also a number of ATM’s are available in Kigali and accessible to visitors. When bringing US dollars ensure that the notes are printed in/after 2006, since older notes may be refused or attract a less favorable exchange rate.

Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.

Health

A certificate of yellow fever is required for entry into Rwanda. In addition it is advisable to take malaria prophylactic as malaria is particularly widespread throughout lowland Rwanda.

Kindly always consult your travel doctor for the latest health advice before travelling to Rwanda.

Tanzania

Climate

Generally, Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate but with significant regional variations due to the countries large size and change in altitude. Temperatures vary between 20 and 30°C during the day, with a cooler period from June till September.

There are two rainy seasons with the long rains from mid March till early June and shorter rains around November. The coastal area is significantly more humid and hot then the northern circuit. Especially at Mount Kilimanjaro it can be much colder due to the high altitude.

Best time to visit

Generally, game viewing in Tanzanian parks is at its best during the dry season, although the northern circuit can perfectly be visited all year throughout. But you are specifically coming to see the Great Migration make sure to be in the right place at the right time:

  • From December till February: Ndutu (southern Serengeti/Ngorongoro Conservation Area)
  • In March the migration will start moving towards central and western Serengeti
  • From July/August till October: Northern Serengeti
  • From November the migration will return to the south.

The best period to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is between July and October or December to March (dry season). Also if you are planning to stay at the beach then it’s better to avoid the (long) rainy season.

Visa

The costs for a single entry visa for Tanzania is US $50 per person.

Visas can be obtained at any official entry point or from a Tanzanian Embassy or High Commission.

Regretfully Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore the East African Visa does not apply for this country.

Language

Tanzania’s national language is Swahili, with many local dialects. English is widely spoken as well, especially in the tourism industry.

Electricity

Voltage in Tanzania is 220-240 volts and you will need a rectangular 3-square pin adapter (British style). Keep in mind that power cuts are common in Tanzania so it is recommended to carry a torch with you and always recharge appliances when the power is available.

Money

The national currency in Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling (TSh).

US dollar notes but also euros and British sterling are widely accepted and can be exchanged at banks, bureau the changes and a number of hotels. ATM’s are available in major cities such as Dar es Salaam and Arusha. When bringing US dollars ensure that the notes are printed in/after 2006, since older notes may be refused.

Credit cards are accepted at some of the major hotels but usually a 5-10% surcharge will be added.

Health

A certificate of yellow fever is required for entry into Tanzania. In addition it is advisable to take malaria prophylactic as malaria is present almost everywhere in the country.

Kindly always consult your travel doctor for the latest health advice before travelling to Tanzania.

Kenya

Climate

 Kenya’s climate is very similar to its neighboring country Tanzania, with two rainy seasons taking place from (mid) March till June and around October-November. The European summer as well as winter period is good for wildlife viewing since its generally dry then, but keep in mind that it’s a very popular, and thus busy, time to travel.

The coastal areas have a higher average temperature and humidity, while in the mountainous area near Mount Kenya it can be much colder because of its altitude.

Best time to visit

Also in Kenya the game parks are best visited during the dry season, especially between January and March. This is also the most ideal period to enjoy Kenya’s amazing birdlife.

The wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve can be witnessed in the period from July till October.

If you are planning to stay at the coastal area then it’s better to avoid the (long) rainy season.

Visa

The costs for a single entry visa for Kenya is US $50 per person, plus US $1 for service charge and handling fee.

Visas have to be applied and paid for online via the eCitizen portal prior to your arrival. A copy of the eVisa has to be presented upon immigration. Please take into account that the approval of your visa application may take up to one full week.

If you are planning to combine Kenya with a visit to Rwanda and/or Uganda it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa. This special tourist visa costs US $100 per person and allows 90 days multiple entry to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this arrangement.

At the moment the East African Tourist Visa is only available directly upon arrival but soon via the eCitizen portal as well.

Language

Kenya’s national language is Kiswahili, while English is the official language and widely spoken.

Electricity

In Kenya the voltage is 220-240 volts. You will need a rectangular 3-square pin adapter (British style). Keep in mind that power cuts are common in Kenya so it is recommended to carry a torch with you and always recharge appliances when the power is available.

Money

The national currency in Kenya is the Kenya Shilling (KSh).

US dollar notes but also euros and British sterling are widely accepted and can be exchanged at banks, bureau the changes and a number of hotels. ATM’s can be found in major towns and most accept international (Visa) cards.

Similar to other (East) African countries, US dollars notes that are printed in/after 2003 are not welcome, so ensure that you carry new notes.

Credit cards are accepted at some of the major hotels but usually a 5-10% surcharge will be added.

Health

A certificate of yellow fever is required for entry into Kenya. In addition it is advisable to take malaria prophylactic as malaria is present almost everywhere in the country.

Kindly always consult your travel doctor for the latest health advice before travelling to Tanzania.

Uganda

Visit our Ugandan website:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SAFARIS IN UGANDA

Uganda travel advice from Great Lakes Safaris – Uganda