We went to Rwanda in March 2015, during a complete trip,
8 months, through Southern and Eastern Africa.
8 months, through Southern and Eastern Africa.
If you are planning a budget trip in Rwanda, here we share some information for low-cost travellers.
Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, looks organised with avenues, lighting, beautiful gardens (but it´s forbidden to go inside). There are even sidewalks, so for once, you can walk safely. Spread out over many hills and neighbourhoods, there are not too many things to stop you in Kigali for too long. And beyond the avenues, there are also many poor slums.
There´s a big expat and volunteer community in Kigali. There are so many NGO´s there. You will see the signs everywhere in the rich and beautiful neghborhoods.
There are many pubs and restaurants for expats... but even more expensive than in Europe...
Public Transport in Kigali
At Nyabugogo bus station (around 3 km northwest of the center), you will find minibuses going to all the main towns of Rwanda, all day long. It´s big and crowded. Just ask people, they are freindly. It´s quite organised.
Local transport in Kigali:
- Minibuses, vans and buses (new ones), but only on the main avenues. The minibuses routes are not always too usefull, so probably you will need to transit.
Prices: 150 - 250 F (0.25 €) in average, 400 F for long routes.
There are numbered routes. There are bus stops, you can find the routes and avenues, but not too easy to understand, better ask around.
The most direct and quicker transport is by moto-taxis, price around 500 F (less than 1 €) in average. There are everywhere.
Also a few taxis, but more expensive (around 3.000 F in average).
The city is very spread out and it´s all up and down but pleasant to walk as there are sidewalks.
Cheap accommodation in Kigali
Problem!!! It´s not too easy to find good and cheap accommodation in Kigali, as the city is mainly business oriented.
Near Nyabugogo bus station, we saw a couple of guesthouses. They should be cheap... just ask... Noisy area but well connected for a short stay.
Spread out around Kigali, in different neighborhoods, there are a few options... and maybe new coming soon...But expect to pay around 15 €/pp! And not many places where you can camp for less.
- St Paul´s (Presbyterian), very central, just east of the big roundabout (KN1 roudabout). It´s famous in Kigali, many volunteers around, so maybe not easy to find a bed and hard to book... Prices are getting higher and higher: 15.000 F (20 €) single room, 20.000 F (30 €) double room.
- In Nyamirambo, a neighbourhood south of the city center, you may find some cheap lodges, like Kigali Guesthouse and La Vedette.
- In Remera, around 8 km east of Kigali´s center, it seems that there are cheap options too. There´s a big taxi-park around.
- Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel (in Kacyiru).
Dorm around 13.000 F (16-20 €), double room 45 €.
- Mamba Rwanda Club House (in Kimihurura)
Dorm around 13-15 €, double room 30-40 €.
Big. There´s a bowling there too.
- TR Companion (in Kimihurura)
Camping or overland truck: 15$/site
Double room 50 $, single 40$.
- You can also try www.airbnb.com. Interesting option for Kigali. It could be cheaper than staying in an hostel in this case.
Couchsurfing in Kigali:
The CS community is quite limited, very few people are really active in Kigali. Most of them are foreigners. We stayed with Ainhoa, a Basque-Puerto Rico doctor. Very nice! Gracias!
Services, Food & drinks in Kigali
In Kigali you find everything, banks, internet, pharmacies. Also a few embassies.
RDB (Rwanda Development Board): www.rdb.rw or www.rwandatourism.com
Now in a new building in Kimihurura, on the airport road. Not anymore in the center.
They have maps of Rwanda by regions, Kigali, etc. You can obtain here the permits for gorilla tracking (super-expensive, 750$!!!).
Small restaurants all over Kigali. Small shops in the center and neighbourhoods.
Also a small shopping mal with a big Nakumatt supermarket, just near the roundabout in the center (quite expensive).
Things to do in Kigali
Not too many things to do.
You can have a look at www.mapofkigali.com. Very good and complete map with information. Great!
And also www.livinginkigali.com.
If you are around the center, you can go to the Hotel des Milles Colines (remember the movie Hotel Rwanda). It´s just a modern building with a big swimming pool, just a symbolic spot, more for the feeling... but nothing special to see ther.
The main thing to do in Kigali as a tourist is visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, at Gisozi (around 3.5 km north from the center).Free, there´s a museum with good explanations about the1994 genocide and a garden with tombs. We learned a lot.