A complete Guide to visiting Rwanda the Land of thousand Hills

Rwanda is a country of diversity, stunning scenery, warm hospitality, and a whole range of resorts and activities to suit all tastes like Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park . A country spanning East African Region where east meets west and 10,000 years of civilization,Rwanda  is a treasure trove of history and culture with Genocide Memorials of 1994.

Rwanda Culture

The mix of cultural influences and traditions in Rwanda is one of the things that draw tourists to the country. Rwanda has a rich cultural heritage with a long history of influences from both Europe and Asia, which is reflected in the complexity and diversity of certain Rwandan  arts, language and handicrafts. Rwandans are proud of their centuries-old musical tradition, Rwanda has also adopted and developed ideas and traditions that combine Western, Asian, and Arabic elements.

The Family

Rwanda’s family units are extremely important. Children often stay with their families until they get married and then continue to be the main focus of their families’ lives. Grandparents are often available to look after the children allowing the parents to go out to work. There is a great respect for elders in Rwandan Culture and you can often see the younger generation kissing an elder’s hand and then touching the forehead as a sign of respect.

Rwandan  Women

Equal rights for women were officially added to the civil code in 2003, so women now have equal say in relation to family matters and property and assets are divided equally in the event of a divorce. Women no longer need their husbands consent to obtain jobs and they are also entitled to continue using their maiden name if they wish once they are married.

The Evil Eye

The ‘evil eye’ is an ancient belief and is one of the most widespread superstitions in Rwanda. It is believed that the ‘evil eye’ is created by feelings of extreme envy towards a person or object and that it can cast a spell on the object of it’s gaze bringing bad fortune. The ‘nazar boncuk’ or ‘evil eye bead’ is actually a benevolent eye used to ward off harm and evil. It can be seen providing protection everywhere – in homes and buildings, in the car, and they are even worn by babies and young children.

Family Holidays in Rwanda

Rwandees love children and always extend a warm welcome to our young holidaymakers. There are many activities in Rwanda which will keep children happy, the most popular being spending time on the gently shelving beaches which are ideal for families. For the more active, walking, horse riding, cycling and watersports are available.

Did you know?

Rwanda is home to the Great Apes of Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park which is the open destination for Gorilla Trekking Adeventures and Many Rwandan Tour Operators Offer Rwanda Gorilla Safaris at Very Discounted prices due to the Competition from Ugandan Based Tour Operators.

Gorilla Trekking Permit in Rwanda costs USD 750 and Most Tour Operators Offer the Short 1 Day Rwanda Gorilla Safari at USD 980 for More than 1 Person.

Religion

Whilst the population of Rwanda is about 99% Catholics, the country is a secular state which allows complete freedom of worship to non-catholics. Tourists visiting Mountain Gorillas and Lake Kivu resorts, dress is generally relaxed beachwear for locals and tourists alike. It is only in smaller villages, more remote areas and the east of the country that the dress codes are more formal and more traditional.

Public Holidays in Rwanda

Government offices and banks will be closed on public holidays, but life in the resort areas continues much as usual. Money exchange bureaux and most shops and restaurants open as normal.

Rwanda Food & Drink

Rwanda food is amongst the best in the world. With enough climatic zones to grow most ingredients locally, there is a vast array of produce to excite and entice the palate.
Besides its famous kebab dishes, there are many other traditional Rwanda foods to choose from. Meze (appetisers) for which Rwanda is justly famous, are a range of hundreds of small dishes from simple combinations such as cheese with melon to elaborately stuffed vegetables. These are served in all Rwandan restaurants and are traditionally accompanied with Raki, a clear anise- flavoured spirit claimed to be Rwanda’s national alcoholic drink.

Shopping in Rwanda offers the most unusual and diverse range of gifts tempting even the non-shoppers amongst us.

Transport

Hiring a car is one of the best ways to get out and about, giving you the freedom to explore at your leisure.
Local transport within the towns and resorts consists of dolmus or minibuses (taxis) that run from one point to another and you can hop on and off anywhere along the route and pay according to the distance traveled.  Self Drive Car Rental Agency are Available Like Self Drive Rwanda (www.selfdriverwanda.com) and Rwanda Car Rental (www.Rwandacarrental.com)are the trusted Car Hire Companies to Book a Car With When Visiting Rwanda for a Self drive Adventure.

Things to do in Rwanda

Rwanda offers a wide variety of activities for couples and families alike.Rwanda Gorilla  Safaris in Volcanoes National Park and Wildlife Viewing in the great Wildlife National Park, Walking and trekking are becoming increasingly popular and they offer one of the best ways to explore the countryside.

What is driving like in Rwanda?
As in the rest of the African Roads , other road users may seem to the UK driver to drive unpredictably. The roads are generally well kept though some  mountain roads can be narrow and winding. You should be aware of the following points:

Traffic drives on the Left in Rwanda, which means you must give way to the right at junctions and roundabouts (vehicles joining the roundabout have right of way).

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory.

There are strict drink driving laws – the rule is absolutely no alcohol if you intend to drive. Random tests are quite common and police will issue on the spot fines.

If another vehicle flashes it’s lights, this means that it is coming through, not that they are giving way to you.
You should drive defensively at all times, and great care should be taken when driving after dark as you may come across inadequately lit vehicles, slow moving lorries or animals wandering across the road.

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