Visit Rwanda the land of a thousand hills and home to the majestic mountain gorilla !
Despite a recent history ravaged by civil war and genocide, Rwanda has flourished in its latter decades. Home to fantastic coffee, stunning natural beauty, and amazing animal species like the mountain gorilla, it offers a unique, spectacular experience! Most travel is focused on Rwanda safaris and Rwanda gorilla tours, and rightfully so, but there are plenty of other wonderful things to see and do. Immersing yourself in the local culture during any Rwanda tours is a must-do!
We cannot say it enough – do not shy away from the Rwandan culture during your road trip adventure! The Rwanda tours we feature are designed to immerse you in this vibrant culture. Embrace it, and experience the fascinating music and dance, which are an integral part of ceremonies, festivals, and other social gatherings. The most famous traditional dance consists of three separate components and is all highly choreographed. First is the “umushagiriro,” or cow dance, which is performed by women; the “intore,” or dance of heroes, is performed by men; and lastly, the drumming, which is also traditionally performed by men on drums known as “ingoma.” Also not to be missed, are the traditional arts and crafts produced throughout the country, such as “imigongo,” a unique art form produced from cow dung. Lastly, consider paying your respects to the Rwandan people by visiting the Ntarama, Nyamata, or Kigali Genocide Memorials to better understand one of the world’s greatest tragedies.
The cuisine in Rwanda is primarily based on local staple foods, such as bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, and cassava. One typical dish is Ubugari (or umutsima), which is a paste made from cassava and water to form a porridge-like dish. Another is isombe, which is also prepared from cassava (specifically the leaves) and served with dried fish. Meat is only eaten occasionally by most Rwandans, although fish might be more commonly by those living near a lake or river. A nearly ubiquitous dish is “brochettes,” which are skewers of meat, usually made from goat but sometimes tripe, beef, or fish.
Back to the topic of nature, a Rwanda gorilla safari absolutely should not be missed during your visit! Rwanda’s national parks are home to a significant portion of the entire mountain gorilla population, as well as several other rare or endangered species, hundreds of bird species, and various other flora and fauna. Planet Ride’s 4×4 Rwanda tours and other Rwanda safaris and road trips are carefully curated for these activities and will not disappoint. The geography itself will likely amaze you. While tiny and landlocked (Rwanda is the fourth smallest country in Africa), the entire country lies above 950 meters in elevation, and the landscape is dominated by mighty rivers, massive mountains, gently rolling hills, and grassy savannas. This high elevation leads to lower temperatures than are typical for other equatorial countries. There are also two rainy seasons each year that you should be aware of. The first runs from February to June and the second from September to December. We suggest timing your visit to coincide with the dry seasons, and our tours generally run from June through October.
There are a few key travel tips to remember when planning for any Rwanda safari tours. A passport, along with proof of a yellow fever vaccination, is required to enter Rwanda. A visa is also required, but as of January 1, 2018, nationals of all countries in the world may obtain visas on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. Air travel to Rwanda is quite simple with several direct flights to and from Kigali. Connections include Brussels (on Brussels Airlines), Istanbul (on Turkish Airlines), and Amsterdam (on KLM). The local airline, RwandAir, makes flights to Dubai (via Mombasa), and to Johannesburg, London, and Brussels several times a week.
While there are some places to avoid, tourists are usually welcomed quite warmly in Rwanda. Remain vigilant, exercise caution, and avoid demonstrations or other unruly gatherings. Make sure to use common sense and stay up to date on any travel warnings issued by your embassy! A few other safety tips including bringing your own supply of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, such as anti-malaria medication, as healthcare services can be limited. There are several other diseases and infections to be aware of, and it would be wise to consult with a healthcare professional prior to your trip.
What Planet Ride offers for adventures in Rwanda
Rwanda is perfect for a 4×4 adventure – getting off-road to get closer to nature and explore the beautiful scenery. Currently, we feature a couple of amazing Rwanda safari tours that offer the chance to mount up in a Toyota Land Cruiser and head off in search of gorillas and other wildlife. For any of our tours, you’ll be paired up with a reliable, professional, local guide. We partner with only the best guides to ensure you have nothing short of a magnificent trip. They will assist with navigating the local roads, as well as the local customs, and can even help with vehicle maintenance or other emergencies. Most of our partner guides have lived and worked in-country for years, or decades, and are a wealth of knowledge!
A great example of one of our current tours is a 5-day Rwanda gorilla safari. You’ll arrive in the capital of Kigali, and after a city tour, will head to Ruhengeri – the second largest city. At the wheel of your 4×4, you will venture into Virguna National Park in search of golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, and other rare wildlife. It will be a lengthy and somewhat tough trek through the forest, but highly rewarding. Witnessing these marvelous creatures is a mind-blowing experience you will never forget. Eventually, you’ll make your way back to Kigali to head home.