4-Day Thrilling Adventure Itinerary in Rwanda

Rwanda

4 days

Animals in the Akagera National Park
Lake Kivu
Wooden tourist lodges on the shores of lake Kivu
View of the Virunga mountain
Kigali skyline

About Rwanda

Rwanda, the "Land of a Thousand Hills," offers a captivating blend of scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, and cultural richness. This East African gem is renowned for its mountain gorillas, found in the misty highlands of Volcanoes National Park. The vibrant city of Kigali, with its bustling markets and modern infrastructure, serves as a gateway to the country's numerous attractions. Rwanda's rich history is evident in sites like the Kigali Genocide Memorial, while its commitment to conservation is showcased in Akagera National Park, home to the Big Five. The tranquil shores of Lake Kivu offer relaxation and water activities. Experience the unique culture through traditional music and dance, local cuisine, and interacting with the friendly locals. Rwanda's compact size allows for easy travel, making it an ideal destination for an unforgettable African adventure.

4-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Kigali

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a moving tribute to the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. This is a sobering but important part of Rwanda's history.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Rwandan lunch. Try dishes like matoke (plantain stew), brochettes (skewered meat), and ugali (cornmeal staple).

Afternoon

Explore the vibrant Kimironko Market, where you can buy everything from fresh produce to traditional crafts. Don't forget to haggle!

Dinner

Have dinner at a local restaurant, where you can try more Rwandan cuisine.

Evening

Take a leisurely stroll around the city, enjoying the cool evening air and city lights.

Morning

Head to Volcanoes National Park for a day of gorilla trekking. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won't want to miss.

Lunch

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park. Don't forget to bring plenty of water!

Afternoon

Continue your gorilla trekking adventure. Keep an eye out for other wildlife, like golden monkeys and a variety of bird species.

Dinner

Dine at a lodge near the park, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and delicious food.

Evening

Relax at your lodge, perhaps enjoying a drink by the fire and reflecting on the day's adventures.

Morning

Visit the King's Palace in Nyanza, a replica of the traditional royal residence. Learn about Rwanda's royal history and culture.

Lunch

Enjoy a local lunch in Nyanza. Try dishes like isombe (cassava leaves with eggplant and spinach) and tilapia.

Afternoon

Head to the Ethnographic Museum, one of Africa's finest ethnographic collections. Explore seven galleries displaying historical, ethnographic, artistic and archaeological artifacts.

Dinner

Have dinner at a local restaurant in Huye, trying more local cuisine.

Evening

Take a leisurely stroll around Huye, enjoying the evening air and local atmosphere.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to Akagera National Park, where you can see wildlife like elephants, lions, and giraffes.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch in the park, surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Afternoon

Take a boat tour on Lake Ihema, where you can see hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species.

Dinner

Dine at a lodge near the park, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and delicious food.

Evening

Relax at your lodge, perhaps enjoying a drink by the fire and reflecting on your Rwandan adventure.

Attractions in Itinerary (7)

Kigali Genocide Memorial

1
Kigali Genocide Memorial

A poignant reminder of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, this memorial is a place of remembrance and learning. It houses an exhibition that tells the history of the genocide and pays tribute to its victims.

Museums
Monuments
Cultural Experiences
Kimironko Market

2
Kimironko Market

This bustling market is a great place to experience local life, with stalls selling everything from fresh produce and spices to traditional crafts and textiles.

Shopping
Cultural Experiences
Volcanoes National Park

3
Volcanoes National Park

Home to the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, this park offers stunning views of five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains.

Parks
Attractions
Tours
King's Palace in Nyanza

4
King's Palace in Nyanza

A reconstruction of the traditional royal residence, the King's Palace is a beautifully-crafted thatched dwelling shaped like a beehive.

Monuments
Cultural Experiences
Architecture
Ethnographic Museum

5
Ethnographic Museum

One of the six museums that make up the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda, it offers a deep dive into the country's rich history and culture.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Akagera National Park

6
Akagera National Park

This park is a haven for wildlife, with its diverse ecosystems of savannah, woodland, wetland and lakes. It's home to many animals including elephants, lions, giraffes, and a variety of bird species.

Parks
Attractions
Tours
Lake Ihema

7
Lake Ihema

Lake Ihema is the second largest lake in Rwanda, located in the eastern province. It is a popular destination for boat tours, bird watching, and wildlife spotting, with hippos and crocodiles being common sights.

Attractions
Parks
Tours

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Ugali

Ugali

A dense, filling dish made from maize or cassava flour, Ugali is a staple food in Rwanda and is often served with a side of vegetables or meat.

Isombe

Isombe is made from cassava leaves, peanuts, and sometimes eggplant and spinach. It's a traditional Rwandan dish that's often served on special occasions.

Matoke

Matoke

Matoke is a dish made from plantains, which are cooked in a pot with some water, oil, and lemon juice. It's a staple food in Rwanda and is often served with a side of beans or meat.

Brochettes

Brochettes

Brochettes are a popular street food in Rwanda. They are skewers of grilled meat, usually goat, but can also be beef or chicken.

Agatogo

Agatogo is a traditional Rwandan dish made with green bananas and often served with a side of beans or peas.

Ikivuguto

Ikivuguto

Ikivuguto is a traditional Rwandan fermented milk drink. It's often consumed after meals and is known for its probiotic health benefits.

Urwagwa

Urwagwa

Urwagwa is a traditional Rwandan banana beer. It's made from ripe bananas and sorghum flour and is often served at social gatherings and celebrations.

Imigati

Imigati is a type of bread made from cassava flour. It's a staple food in Rwanda and is often served with a side of beans or meat.

Kachumbari

Kachumbari

Kachumbari is a fresh tomato and onion salad that's often served as a side dish in Rwanda. It's known for its refreshing taste and health benefits.

Beans and Cassava

Beans and Cassava is a staple dish in Rwanda. The beans are cooked until soft and the cassava is boiled and mashed. It's a hearty and filling meal.

Ubugari

Ubugari is a traditional Rwandan dish made from cassava or maize flour. It's a dense, filling dish that's often served with a side of beans or meat.

Amateke

Amateke is a traditional Rwandan dish made from mushrooms. It's often served as a side dish and is known for its rich flavor and health benefits.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Rwanda as a tourist is during the dry seasons, which are from June to September and December to February. These periods offer the best conditions for trekking and wildlife viewing. However, it's important to note that Rwanda's equatorial climate makes it a year-round destination. The wet seasons, from March to May and October to November, are also beautiful with lush, green landscapes and are perfect for bird watching.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year

January 2

Tue

Day After New Year's Day

February 1

Thu

National Heroes' Day

March 29

Fri

Good Friday

April 1

Mon

Easter Monday

April 7

Sun

Tutsi Genocide Memorial Day

April 10

Wed

Eid al-Fitr

May 1

Wed

Labor Day

June 17

Mon

Eid al-Adha

July 1

Mon

Independence Day

July 4

Thu

Liberation Day

August 2

Fri

Umuganura Day

August 15

Thu

Assumption of Mary

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

December 26

Thu

Boxing Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Renting a car is a popular option for getting around Rwanda. You can hire a car with or without a driver. However, keep in mind that driving in Rwanda can be challenging due to the hilly terrain and sometimes unpredictable road conditions.

Public buses are a common and affordable way to travel around Rwanda. They operate on fixed routes and schedules. The buses are generally safe and reliable, but can be crowded during peak hours.

Motorcycle taxis, locally known as 'moto-taxis', are a quick and convenient way to get around, especially in cities like Kigali. Helmets are provided and are mandatory to wear.

In smaller towns and rural areas, bicycle taxis are a common form of transport. They are an affordable and eco-friendly way to get around, but may not be suitable for long distances or hilly terrains.

Ridesharing services, such as YegoMoto and SafeMotos, are available in Rwanda. These services offer a convenient and safe way to get around, and can be booked and paid for via smartphone apps.

Private taxis are available in major cities and tourist areas. They are more expensive than public buses or motorcycle taxis, but offer a comfortable and convenient way to travel, especially for longer distances.

For long distances, domestic flights are available. Rwanda's national carrier, RwandAir, operates flights between Kigali and other major cities.

Boats are used to get around Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. They offer a scenic and relaxing way to travel between towns and cities located along the lake's shores.

Walking is a common way to get around in Rwanda, especially in rural areas and small towns. Many locals walk to work, school, and other destinations. It's also a great way to explore and experience the local culture and scenery.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

CurrencyFr RWF

Time zoneUTC+2

Driving sideRight

Emergency phoneLocal numbers only

Drinking waterOpt for bottled water

Power sockets

Power socket type CPower socket type J

Voltage230 V

Things to know about Rwanda as a first time visitor

1

Rwanda is a landlocked country located in East Africa, known as the 'Land of a Thousand Hills'.

2

The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French, and English. However, English is widely spoken in urban areas and by government officials.

3

The currency used in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF). Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants, but it's advisable to carry some cash for local markets and smaller establishments.

4

Rwanda is in the Central Africa Time Zone (CAT), which is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

5

Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than typical for equatorial countries due to its high elevation. Average daily temperatures range between 50°F (10°C) and 75°F (24°C).

6

Rwanda is generally safe for tourists. However, like any other place, it's advisable to take basic precautions such as not displaying expensive items and avoiding isolated areas at night.

7

Rwanda has a strict ban on plastic bags. It's illegal to import, produce, use or sell plastic bags and plastic packaging.

8

Rwanda's cuisine is based on local staple foods like bananas, plantains, pulses, sweet potatoes, beans, and cassava.

9

Rwanda has a well-developed public transportation system. You can travel around the country using buses, taxis, and motorcycle taxis, known as 'moto-taxis'.

10

Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa where a visit to the gorillas is possible. However, a permit is required and should be booked well in advance.

11

Rwanda has a strong cultural heritage with traditional music, dance, and arts and crafts. The 'Intore', a traditional dance, is a highlight of cultural performances.

12

Rwanda has a dress code that is generally conservative. It's advisable to avoid revealing clothes.

13

Rwanda has a good healthcare system in comparison to other African countries. However, it's recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical evacuation.

14

Rwanda is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). There is no daylight saving time.

15

Rwanda has a strong emphasis on cleanliness. The last Saturday of every month is a national clean-up day known as 'Umuganda'.

16

Tipping is not a common practice in Rwanda, but it is appreciated. A 5-10% tip is sufficient in restaurants and hotels.

17

The Rwandan Genocide, a tragic event in the country's history, is commemorated every year in April. It's important to be respectful during this period.

18

Rwanda's electricity runs on 230 volts and the plug type is Type C or Type J. It's advisable to bring a universal adapter.

19

Internet access is widely available in Rwanda, especially in urban areas. Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi.

20

Rwanda requires a visa for most foreign visitors. It's advisable to check the visa requirements before your trip.

Basic Kinyarwanda, French, English, Swahili to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase

Pronunciation

When to use it

Hello

Muraho

Moo-rah-ho

Greeting someone

Goodbye

Murabeho

Moo-rah-be-ho

Leaving someone

Please

Mwihanganye

Mwee-han-gan-ye

Making a request

Thank you

Murakoze

Moo-rah-koh-zeh

Expressing gratitude

Yes

Yego

Yeh-go

Agreeing with someone

No

Oya

Oh-ya

Disagreeing with someone

Excuse me

Mbabarira

Mbah-bah-ree-rah

Getting someone's attention

I'm sorry

Ndababarira

Nda-bah-bah-ree-rah

Apologizing

Do you speak English?

Uvuga icyongereza?

Oo-voo-gah ee-chohn-geh-reh-zah?

Asking if someone speaks English

I don't understand

Simbyumva

See-mbyoom-vah

When you don't understand something

Help

Ubufasha

Oo-boo-fah-shah

When you need assistance

Where is the bathroom?

Ishuri ni hehe?

Ee-shoo-ree nee heh-heh?

When you need to find a bathroom

How much does this cost?

Nanga iyi ni ihe?

Nan-gah ee-yee nee ee-heh?

When you want to know the price of something

I would like...

Nshaka...

Nshah-kah...

When you want something

Food

Ibiryo

Ee-bee-ryo

When you're talking about food

Water

Amazi

Ah-mah-zee

When you're talking about water

Good

Meza

Meh-zah

Describing something as good

Bad

Bibi

Bee-bee

Describing something as bad

Beautiful

Byiza

Bee-za

Describing something as beautiful

Today

Uyu munsi

Oo-yoo moon-see

Talking about the current day

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Lightweight clothing

  • Long-sleeved shirts

  • Trousers

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Sleepwear

  • Swimwear

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Sandals

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Rain jacket

  • Warm sweater for cool evenings

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent

  • First-aid kit

  • Prescription medications

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Travel-sized laundry detergent

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Visa

  • Driver's license

  • Health insurance card

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and tour confirmations

  • Emergency contacts and addresses

  • Local currency

  • Credit cards

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Power bank

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Memory cards for camera

  • Travel adapter

  • Laptop and charger

  • E-reader or tablet

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Snacks

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Books or magazines

  • Travel guide for Rwanda

  • Map of Rwanda

  • Notebook and pen

  • Travel-sized umbrella

  • Backpack or daypack

Weather Conditions

Rwanda, often referred to as the "Land of a Thousand Hills," is a country with a temperate tropical highland climate, which means it experiences cooler temperatures than typical tropical countries. The average daytime temperature is around 75°F (24°C), while at night, it can drop to around 54°F (12°C). Rwanda has four seasons: long dry season (June to September), short rainy season (October to November), short dry season (December to January), and long rainy season (February to May). However, it's important to note that Rwanda's weather can be quite unpredictable, and rain showers can occur even during the dry seasons. If you're planning to visit Rwanda's famous mountain gorillas, the best time to do so is during the dry seasons, when the hiking paths are less muddy and the visibility is better. However, these are also the peak tourist seasons, so expect higher prices and more crowded conditions. If you're visiting during the rainy seasons, pack a waterproof jacket, sturdy waterproof shoes, and an umbrella. Even during the dry seasons, it's a good idea to carry a light rain jacket, as rain showers can occur unexpectedly. Despite the occasional rain, Rwanda's weather is generally pleasant and mild, making it a great destination to visit year-round. Just remember to pack accordingly and stay updated on the current weather conditions during your trip.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

25° / 15°

January is a dry month in Rwanda, making it a great time to visit for wildlife viewing and gorilla trekking.

February

26° / 15°

February is also a dry month, with slightly warmer temperatures, perfect for outdoor activities.

March

26° / 16°

March marks the start of the long rainy season, but it's still a good time to visit as the rain usually falls in short bursts.

April

25° / 16°

April is the wettest month in Rwanda, but the rain brings lush landscapes and fewer tourists.

May

25° / 16°

May sees the end of the long rainy season, with the weather starting to dry up towards the end of the month.

June

25° / 15°

June is the start of the dry season, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures, ideal for wildlife viewing.

July

25° / 15°

July is one of the driest and coolest months, making it a popular time for tourists to visit.

August

25° / 15°

August continues the dry season, with great wildlife viewing conditions and comfortable temperatures.

September

25° / 15°

September is a dry month, with warm days and cool nights, perfect for outdoor activities.

October

26° / 15°

October marks the start of the short rainy season, but the rain is usually light and won't affect your travel plans much.

November

26° / 16°

November is a rainy month, but it's a great time to visit for birdwatchers as migratory birds arrive.

December

25° / 15°

December is a dry month, making it a great time to visit for wildlife viewing and gorilla trekking.

Did you know?

Did you know that Rwanda is known as the 'Land of a Thousand Hills' due to its stunning mountainous landscape?

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