Languages in Rwanda

Unusually for Africa, Rwanda is essentially a mono-linguistic state, with the first language of practically all citizens being Kinyarwanda. In addition, most Rwandans speak a little of at least one international language. Historically, French was the most widely recognised European language, thanks to almost 50 years of Belgian colonisation. These days, however, English probably has the greater presence, partly because so many long-term exiles who returned after the genocide were educated in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania, partly because it replaced French as the international language of education in 2009. In rural areas, KiSwahili, a coastal Bantu language that has come to serve as the lingua franca of East Africa, is still more widely understood than either English or French. From a visitor’s perspective, it is pretty easy to get around in either English or French, both of which are recognised as an official language alongside Kinyarwanda, but English is undoubtedly the primary language of the tourist industry.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 1

Entebbe, arrival
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 2

Your drive to Kibale is well worth it
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 3

Full day with the Chimps
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 4

Onwards to Queen Elizabeth
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 5 to 6

Witness the unusual tree climbing lions
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 7

Bwindi National Park all to yourself
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 8

Gorilla trekking, enjoy every minute
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 9

Buhoma Village walk
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 10

Drive via Kisoro to Rwanda
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 11

Visit the Dian Fossey Tomb
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)
  • Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

day 12

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

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Visa requirements for Rwanda

All visitors must present a passport upon arrival at their port of entry. This must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of their intended stay, and must have at least one full blank page available for entry and exit stamps. Technically, visitors should also have a return or onward ticket, and be able to demonstrate access to sufficient funds to cover day-to-day expenses for the…

Medical requirements for Rwanda

The biggest medical threat to visitors to Rwanda is malaria, with the risk of transmission being greatest at lower altitudes and during the rainy season. A variety of oral prophylactics against malaria is available, so before you travel, you should seek up-to-date advice about the most suitable option from a travel clinic or doctor. No prophylactic is completely effective, so try to…

Changing money in Rwanda

The Rwandan franc (RWF) trades against most international currencies at a favourable rate. Major international credit/debit cards (for instance Master and Visa) can be used to draw local currency at 24-hour ATMs in most cities and towns, but not in the national parks. Many vendors do not accept cards, however, so it’s a good idea to carry a few hundred dollars’ worth of hard…

Walking safari in Rwanda

Rwanda is well-suited to organised walking holidays as all the most popular and iconic activities are undertaken on foot. This includes gorilla tracking and hikes the 4,507m Mount Karisimbi and the 3,711m Mount Bisoke in the Virunga mountains, as well as chimp tracking and other forest walks in Nyungwe National Park. For dedicated walkers, the 227km Congo-Nile Trail, which runs roughly…

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu | Credit: myafritrip.com Shared between Rwanda and the DR Congo, beautiful Lake Kivu extends for 2,370km² across the floor of the Albertine Rift, and hemmed in by a steep terraced escarpment that rises up to 1.5km above its surface. Ranked among the world’s 20 deepest and 20 most voluminous freshwater bodies, it is lined with pretty fishing villages and a trio of larger…

Malaria-free safari in Rwanda

Malaria is prevalent in many parts of Rwanda and it would be difficult to holiday there without some risk of exposure. That said, Volcanoes National Park and the associated gorilla-tracking trailheads and lodges all lie at too high an altitude for malaria to be much of a risk, as does Nyungwe National Park, though in both cases you would need to pass through medium- to high-risk areas to…

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