Common Kinyarwanda Words
Mwaramutse – Good morning
Mwirirwe – Good afternoon/evening
Muramuke – Good night
Amakuru yawe – How are you?
Ni Meza – Fine
Murakoze – Thank you
Cyane – Very much
Yego – Yes
Oya – No
Amafaranga – Money
Good Friday and Easter Monday, which fall on variable dates, are recognised in Rwanda. Other public holidays are:
1 January (New Year’s Day)
1 February (National Heroes Day)
7 April (Genocide Memorial Day)
1 May (Labour Day)
1 July (Independence Day)
4 July (National Liberation Day)
15 August (Assumption Day)
1 October (Patriotism Day)
25 December (Christmas Day)
26 December (Boxing Day)
When to Visit
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla trekking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Pala arctic migrants supplement resident species.
What to bring
Binoculars greatly enhance game drives, forest walks and bird watching. Bring a camera and an adequate stock of film. Print film is available but transparency film is not. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
What to Wear
Dress codes are informal. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings and heavier clothing for the Volcanic and Nyungwe National parks. When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
Rwanda has strict environmental laws. The use of plastic bags (polythene papers) has been banned. Beware not to carry such since they will not be allowed into the country at the border checkpoints. Kigali is a clean and green city. You are expected to throw your litter in rubbish cans which are fitted all over. Walk along the provided foot paths. Do not step on the grass.
Safety and Health
A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are located in all major towns.
Rwanda has an excellent cell phone network covering almost the entire country. International phone calls can be made easily. Appropriate SIM cards for the network are readily available everywhere, even in remote towns. Cell phones can be purchased or rented from major shops in Kigali. Most towns have several Internet cafes and computer centres.