To start with, comfortable clothes with breathable fabrics are always a good choice. Nyungwe and Volcanoes National park can be chilly while Kigali, Lake Kivu, and Akagera are often warm. Hotels typically have a same-day laundry service for your convenience so you don’t need to over-pack clothes.
- Passport with validity beyond 6 months of your stay
- Long sleeve shirts, long pants, and good socks for hikes
- A swimsuit for hotel pools and Lake Kivu (a swim in the hotel pool after a long trek can feel marvelous)
- Hiking boots for treks in Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks. You may want to consider bringing blister prevention pads if you haven’t already broken in your boots. Hiking poles are available from the guides and porters.
- Gardening or hiking gloves for hikes in Nyungwe. Gloves with some grip are helpful and they can protect against nettles
- 3 pairs of shoes: Hiking boots, walking/street/sports shoes, and comfortable sandals (which feel great after a long hike)
- Binoculars (especially if you are going to Akagera and Nyungwe)
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Rain poncho for sudden downpours
- A protective rain cover for your camera equipment. You can also consider using a “dry bag” or “dry bag backpack”
- Insect repellent is useful on the treks. Additionally, you can consider spraying your clothes with permethrin which sometimes lasts through several washes
- Any medicines you normally take along with an anti malarial (like Malarone) for Akagera. My personal packing usually includes B vitamins and oral-rehydration tablets (especially for long flights) and something for stomach upset, anti-diarrhea, allergy medicine (in case of bee sting or other irritant), and pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. I also usually bring a prescribed antibiotic to treat severe diarrhea or other stomach illness just in case. If you have specific allergies, such as bee stings, and you normally carry epinephrine you should bring that, too.
- No need to over-pack regular grooming and sanitary items as they are fully stocked at supermarkets across the country
- Upmarket hotels have hair dryers in room or available at the front desk
- Remember – don’t pack any disposable plastic bags as they are not allowed in Rwanda