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Rwanda Gay Travel

Gay travellers are warming up to the Land of a Thousand Hills.

The Land of a Thousand Hills, laden with coffee and tea plantations, is emerging from the mist as a hot new destination for adventure travel. It’s surprisingly safe, is neat and tidy, and – while there’s work to be done – it’s the most LGBTQ+ friendly country in East Africa. Following a tragic genocide in 1994, the country is flourishing and progressing quickly. Tribal divisions have turned to unity. There’s mandatory education and universal healthcare. And as of 2022, Rwanda’s parliament boasts the highest percentage of women in the world at 61.3%.


Quick Facts

  • Capital City: Kigali
  • Currency: Rwandan franc (RWF)
  • Languages: Kinyarwanda, French, English, Swahili
  • Best Time of Year to Visit: Located just south of the equator, Rwanda has two rainy seasons. The long rainy season lasts from about March to May, then again in October and November. The best time to visit is typically during the long dry season from June to mid-September, or during the short dry season between December and February.

LGBT Rights in Rwanda

Gay Rwanda Travel

Best Places to Visit in Rwanda

More Info

While same sex relations are legal, and there’s an equal age of consent in Rwanda, these are the only rights queer people enjoy in the country, and it’s the only country in East Africa to do so. Homosexuality remains a taboo subject. Locals have – albeit rarely – been harassed, blackmailed and even arrested by the police. On a more promising note, it’s one of the few African countries to sign the United Nations joint statement condemning violence against LGBTQ+ people. Rest assured that your crew, staff, and accommodations with Out Adventures will be very welcoming.

Gay Activity: Legal
Lesbian Activity: Legal
Same-Sex Marriage: Not Recognized
Right to Change Gender: Not Legal
Same-Sex Adoption: Not Legal
LGBTQ+ Discrimination: No Protections

Rwanda isn’t the most obvious place for a gay or LGBTQ+ vacation, but you can travel freely and feel safe here. You can even hire local gay tour guides that understand the culture and climate to show you around. Public displays of affection (LGBTQ+ or otherwise) are discouraged, but paradoxically, you may see straight men holding hands.

5. Lake Kivu

One of the Great African Lakes, Kivu is the largest in Rwanda and lies on the border of Congo. There are plenty of luxe resorts here to soak in the emerald green waters and views.

4. Kigali Genocide Museum

Honouring more than a million victims from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi people, this memorial is a somber but worthy visit. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome.

3. Kimironko Market

The easiest way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to visit their local market. In Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, Kimironko is the place to buy everything from vegetables to fabrics to household essentials.

2. Gorilla Guardians Village

Formerly known as Ibyiwacu Cultural Village, here’s where you can learn about life in rural Rwandan villages, with emphasis on accommodations, dancing, fashion and food.

1. Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world, and most of them await in this national park. There are about 600 gorillas here (up from 240 in 1981). The best way to check out these primates is on a gorilla safari.

Electricity: Type C & J Sockets

Time Zone: Central Africa Time ( UTC+2)

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements: We’re dedicated to ensuring our tours are safe for everyone, but it is our belief that each traveler has a responsibility to protect themselves and their fellow travellers from COVID-19. As of May 1, 2023, Out Adventures no longer requires guests to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination on most of our tours. If vaccination is a requirement for entry, or on select cruises, this will be communicated at the time a trip is confirmed to depart. Before booking, we recommend that you read our COVID-19 Information Page and our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to understand what we’re doing to minimize risk, and what will happen if you contract COVID-19 before or during an Out Adventures tour.

Other Vaccinations: We recommend routine and measles vaccines, but to determine if you should take further measures, talk to your doctor or a travel medical clinic.

Visas: Citizens of Canada, the USA, and Europe need a visa to enter Rwanda, but can obtain one upon arrival. You may also obtain a visa online (eVisa) – it will be processed within three working days and valid for a single entry for the next thirty days. Your passport must be valid for six months after entry, and have at least one empty page. Click here for more info.

LGBT Rights in Rwanda

While same sex relations are legal, and there’s an equal age of consent in Rwanda, these are the only rights queer people enjoy in the country, and it’s the only country in East Africa to do so. Homosexuality remains a taboo subject. Locals have – albeit rarely – been harassed, blackmailed and even arrested by the police. On a more promising note, it’s one of the few African countries to sign the United Nations joint statement condemning violence against LGBTQ+ people. Rest assured that your crew, staff, and accommodations with Out Adventures will be very welcoming.

Gay Activity: Legal
Lesbian Activity: Legal
Same-Sex Marriage: Not Recognized
Right to Change Gender: Not Legal
Same-Sex Adoption: Not Legal
LGBTQ+ Discrimination: No Protections

Gay Rwanda Travel

Rwanda isn’t the most obvious place for a gay or LGBTQ+ vacation, but you can travel freely and feel safe here. You can even hire local gay tour guides that understand the culture and climate to show you around. Public displays of affection (LGBTQ+ or otherwise) are discouraged, but paradoxically, you may see straight men holding hands.

Best Places to Visit in Rwanda

5. Lake Kivu

One of the Great African Lakes, Kivu is the largest in Rwanda and lies on the border of Congo. There are plenty of luxe resorts here to soak in the emerald green waters and views.

4. Kigali Genocide Museum

Honouring more than a million victims from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi people, this memorial is a somber but worthy visit. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome.

3. Kimironko Market

The easiest way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to visit their local market. In Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, Kimironko is the place to buy everything from vegetables to fabrics to household essentials.

2. Gorilla Guardians Village

Formerly known as Ibyiwacu Cultural Village, here’s where you can learn about life in rural Rwandan villages, with emphasis on accommodations, dancing, fashion and food.

1. Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world, and most of them await in this national park. There are about 600 gorillas here (up from 240 in 1981). The best way to check out these primates is on a gorilla safari.

More Info

Electricity: Type C & J Sockets

Time Zone: Central Africa Time ( UTC+2)

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements: We’re dedicated to ensuring our tours are safe for everyone, but it is our belief that each traveler has a responsibility to protect themselves and their fellow travellers from COVID-19. As of May 1, 2023, Out Adventures no longer requires guests to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination on most of our tours. If vaccination is a requirement for entry, or on select cruises, this will be communicated at the time a trip is confirmed to depart. Before booking, we recommend that you read our COVID-19 Information Page and our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to understand what we’re doing to minimize risk, and what will happen if you contract COVID-19 before or during an Out Adventures tour.

Other Vaccinations: We recommend routine and measles vaccines, but to determine if you should take further measures, talk to your doctor or a travel medical clinic.

Visas: Citizens of Canada, the USA, and Europe need a visa to enter Rwanda, but can obtain one upon arrival. You may also obtain a visa online (eVisa) – it will be processed within three working days and valid for a single entry for the next thirty days. Your passport must be valid for six months after entry, and have at least one empty page. Click here for more info.



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