Rwanda is one of the most vibrant destinations with rich history, heritage and breathtaking landscape. It is visitors’ dream destination, especially for magical encounters with the rare mountain gorillas, big five game, and leisure time at Lake Kivu. If it is your first time visiting Rwanda or even as a repeat travelers, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t do while on a Rwanda safari.
Below are some important things that you should know so that you cannot be on the wrong side of the law while on a Rwanda safari;
- Using plastic bags
By law, carrying or using plastic bags isn’t acceptable in Rwanda. Use of plastic bags was banned in order to promote sustainable living. Compared to most East African states, the Rwandan streets are rare littered and the country is committed to maintaining a clean city through its environmental activism, awareness and programming. Even if you are a tourist, don’t be tempted to sneak in some plastic bags otherwise, they will still be confiscated right on your arrival at Kigali Airport. In addition, it may come at a charge as you will be going against the country’s environmental laws.
- Expect to hear almost everyone speak English
Most of the Rwandese do speak English regardless of it being a multicultural country with Kinyarwanda. Other than English, French is also widely spoken –and unlike other languages, English is only common in urban/big cities. Once you get to rural area, don’t assume every local shopkeeper can speak English.
- Depend on only international cuisine
There is plenty to be enjoyed on Rwanda safari, especially local dishes. Throughout your trip, you will always come across pizzas, vegetables, brochettes, French food, and more. Don’t hesitate tasting some of the finest traditional dishes in Rwanda as it make up part of your experience.
- Visiting few places while in Kigali
Most often, visitors on Rwanda safari end up visiting fewer areas in the city center leaving out other interesting ones. Therefore get out of Kigali city and explore different area including Nyamirambo, Kimironko market, Kigali memorial center, hike Mount Kigali, craft centers and more.
- Taking pictures of people without asking
Unlike other countries, taking photos of Rwandese without asking permission isn’t acceptable behavior. Most people find it offensive, but feel free to take photos of mountain gorillas once you have the 1 hour of a magical encounter.
- Spending sometime outside
On Rwanda safaris, most visitors tend to spend most their time indoors. But there is opportunity to get of that classic lodge or hotel and you have a feel of its surrounding.
- Eating in public
Eating in public may seem normal in the city, but once you have exited Kigali capital for a trip in up country –Akagera National Park or Volcanoes NP, the residents may take it as being disrespectful. Instead, you will be having your meals in privacy.
- Wearing safari clothes daily
Depending on the location, if you are in Akagera/Volcanoes N/P for a safari, yes, you can grab your zip-off pants & safari hats. If you aren’t, let them have a rest but as you find something to wear, make sure it is comfortable and not disrespectful of local cultures.