What you need to know when planning to visit Rwanda
- Rwanda is the tiny heart of Africa
- Rwanda is a land of a thousand hills and endless opportunities
- However, Rwanda has more than a thousand hills
- The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali
- Kigali is about 5,000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level.
- Kigali is Africa’s cleanest city.
- The national language is Kinyarwanda. However, many people also speak English (younger generations) or French (older generations). Many people also understand Swahili
- The 2014 census estimates the population of Rwanda at 12.1 million.
- The president of the country is His Excellency President Paul Kagame.
- If you are a citizen of either Kenya or Uganda you only need you Identify Card for you to travel to Rwanda
- Some travelers can receive a visa upon arrival.
- The tourist visa is $30 USD for one month, single entry.
- The East African Tourist Visa, which is $100 USD grants you 90-day multiple entry access to Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.
- You can pay in cash or by credit card.
Things that you should never do in Rwanda
- Bring plastic bags into the country
- Expect everyone to speak English
- Eat in public
- Talk constantly and casually about the Genocide
- Engage in lousy political discussions
- Wear flip flops
- Throw litter around senselessly
- Credit cards are widely accepted in Kigali.
- The maximum amount of Rwandan Francs you can withdraw per transaction at an ATM is 200,000 RWF (about $240 USD) and most machines will allow two withdrawals of 200,000 RWF.
- You can withdraw USD from KCB ATMs scattered around town ($500 USD maximum per withdrawal).
- If you bring USD to use during travel make sure all bills are newer than 2006.
Phone & Internet
- There are three main telecom companies in Rwanda: MTN, Tigo and Airtel. Consensus seems to be that MTN is the best; however, expect connections to be weaker especially for data.
- You can purchase a 3g sim card for 1,000 RWF ($1.25 USD) as well as airtime scratch cards from street vendors all over town.
- You can also set up monthly post-paid plans to get data packages – for 1.5GB of data per day you pay around $25 USD per month; however, you’ll need to bring your passport with you to the telecoms shop.
- Kigali is a safe city but it is best to take some precautions. Please be aware of your belongings, especially when in public transportation, markets or in more downtown areas.
- The weather in Kigali is remarkably constant throughout the year. Days hover around 70 Fahrenheit (20 Celsius) and nighttime temperatures are only slightly colder.
- There is a rainy season from March until the end of May though the weather can certainly be beautiful during this time.
- The most common transportation in Kigali is motorcycle taxis (locally known as motos). Some of them have apps for Android and iOS where you can order a safe driver right to your door and also provide better helmets for their riders. That being said, we don’t recommend taking motos for safety reasons.
- The easiest place to find a taxi is in a hotel. Don’t rely on hailing a cab from the street if you’re in a hurry.
- For a taxi to or from the airport expect to pay between 10,000 and 15,000 RWF ($12 to $18 USD).
Rwanda education system
- Rwanda operates on a 6-3-3-4 school system, that is to say six (6) years for primary school, three (3) years for ordinary level (junior secondary school), three (3) years for advanced level (senior secondary school) and four (4) years for university bachelor’s degree.
- 3 official languages of instruction are used in the Rwandan education system: Kinyarwanda is used in primary school p1-p3 and English is used from p4 through university.
- French is taught as well but as a supplement subject in public primary and secondary schools.
- A few private schools have both Anglophone and Francophone systems that use English or French respectively as their languages of instruction.
- Those using the Anglophone system use French as an elective subject and those in the Francophone system use English as the elective subject.
Go Kigali Tours
- All tours must be booked in advance, either directly through our website using the “Book Now” or by visiting our Boutique in the Kigali Marriott Hotel.
- Once you book a tour you will automatically receive a booking confirmation email with directions and a map of the exact meeting place for the tour.
- Tours go rain or shine.
- We know that unexpected things come up when traveling, so there is no penalty and a full refund for cancellations made more than 7 days in advance. For cancellations made 7 days to 72 hours in advance there is a 50% cancellation fee. There are no refunds for cancellations made less than 72 hours in advance.
List of licensed banks-July 2018
- Commercial Banks
- Bank of Kigali Ltd
- I&M Bank Plc
- COGEBANQUE Plc
- KCB Bank Rwanda Ltd
- Ecobank Rwanda Ltd
- Banque Populaire Du Rwanda Ltd
- Equity Bank Rwanda Plc
- Access Bank (Rwanda) Plc
- Bank of Africa Rwanda Plc
- Guarantee Trust Bank (Rwanda) Plc
- Commercial Bank of Africa (Rwanda) Plc
- Microfinance banks
- Unguka Bank Ltd
- Urwego Bank Plc
- AB Bank Rwanda Ltd
III. Development Bank
- Development Bank of Rwanda Plc
- Cooperative Bank
- ZIGAMA CSS