Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Senior travel and product specialist
"The heart-stopping moment you experience when you come face to face with a gorilla is one of the most unforgettable wildlife experiences to be had anywhere in the world."

Rwanda FAQ

Our Frequently Asked Questions sections are intended to help you decide if a particuar destination is right for you. Here Derek Schuurman and Chania Hemsley-Smith answer questions about Rwanda. They both have some great stories about their experiences gorilla trekking and exploring the culture and history of this small East African country. Ring them on 020 7666 1250 if you'd like to find out more.

What’s so special about Rwanda?

Most people come to Rwanda see the gorillas... Rwanda is a country of contrasts and visiting it is a profound, humbling experience. We've both seen a vast array of incredible wildlife throughout Africa, but few wildlife experiences are as moving as visiting a family of mountain gorillas.

How do we get there?

Kenya Airways operates daily flights via Nairobi to Kigali.

How do we travel around the country?

Travel is by four-wheel drive safari vehicles. Some vehicles have flexible tops so that visitors can stand up and get an even better sense of the scenery.

If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss in Rwanda, what would you recommend?

Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park is an absolute must do - you couldn't come here and not do that!

Is Rwanda safe?

Whilst there is petty crime in all large cities Rwanda is considered to be a safe tourist destination.

Can I drink the tap water?

Tap water is not safe to drink. Make sure all water has been boiled before you drink it. We advise people to treated water with iodine or a water purification tablet and add vitamin C tablets to hide the taste. However bottled water is widely available and your vehicles will come stocked with supplies.

Is English widely spoken?

Yes, but not to the extent that it is in Uganda for example.

Should I expect very basic facilities in all Rwandan hotels and lodges?

Not necessarily. At all of the main tourist sites there are now good quality lodges and hotels, so there's a range of options depending on what level of facilities are important to you.

What is the local food like?

The local cusine is pretty good for the most part. There's a strong English /European influence in many local foods as is the case in Uganda. Meat is expensive and not widely available to the locals so there are lots of options for vegetarians.

How much of a culture shock is travelling to Rwanda?

Given the country’s turbulent history, visitors inevitably learn about (and usually visit) a genocide memorial site. It is both an intensely moving and harrowing experience – but it is something people always say they are glad they did.

How can I contribute to the local economy and conservation programmes?

We can help you to make donations to reputable local charities. We would recommend contributing to gorilla conservation, or to a UK based charity such as SURF (Survivors Fund).The World Jewish Relief Fund also does ongoing work in Rwanda with victims of the genocide. Ask us for more details - we've always very happy to talk through options and how together we can all make a positive difference.

Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?

A yellow fever immunisation is a requirement and the country is malarial. See your doctor at least six weeks before travelling as they will have all the up to date advice on what you need.

I am pregnant, can I travel to Rwanda?

It is not advisable to travel to malarial countries during pregnancy. Always take advice from your doctor before travelling.

Next Steps

Email Chania or Derek directly if you'd like to start planning your trip or ring 020 7666 1250.

Read more about Chania
Red more about Derek

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