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Get to know the Rwandan franc: The Rwanda Currency

by Ana Sofía Teresita | July 24, 2019
Rwanda currency Rwanda franc currency in rwanda

Nestled in the heart of East Africa, Rwanda is a nation of captivating beauty and compelling resilience. It is known as the "Land of a Thousand Hills", and it is a country landlocked with lush green landscapes, incredible volcanic peaks, and serene lakes. Are you travelling there? Then you must learn all about Rwanda currency: the Rwandan Franc.

What is the Rwanda currency?

The Rwanda currency is the Rwandan franc, which appears with the abbreviation RWF, although it is true that in many tourist places the dollar is also accepted as currency. Also, there are hotels or safaris where it might be better to pay in dollars to get a better price. The Rwandan francs are issued by the Bank of Rwanda and we can find 100; 200; 500; 1,000; 2,000 and 5,000 franc notes and coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Rwandan francs.

USD to Rwanda Francs

You can expect to find a conversion of USD to Rwanda francs as it follows:  1USD= 1,189 RWF.

You can check how the value from the Rwandan currency to USD changes over time here.

Are USD accepted in Rwanda?

The Rwandan franc is not listed like other currencies are, so officially we cannot exchange Rwandan francs out of the country. We will buy our currency for the country when we arrive in Rwanda.

We can exchange Rwandan francs at the airport, at currency exchanges, in banks or in hotels, although normally the best exchange rate is found at currency exchanges. If you withdraw Rwandan francs at a bank, another commission can be added to the commission applied by your bank, so the rate will be much worse.

There should be no problems when changing euros, dollars or pounds, and getting the Rwanda currency, but if you travel with dollars to Rwanda make sure they have been issued after 2003. In addition, the notes must be in perfect condition, and with 50 and 100 dollar notes we get a better rate. 

Rwanda currency

Can I use my bank card in Rwanda?

Rwandan society mainly manages Rwanda currency in cash. Nevertheless, the tourism industry usually accepts Visa credit or debit cards and, to a lesser extent, MasterCard. So, we can pay by card in hotels, safaris or some restaurants and shops, although it is preferable to pay in cash than with a card. Cards like Discovery or Amercian Express are not accepted. In addition, some European governments, such as the British, discourage the use of a bank card in Rwanda due to the risk of fraud.

Is Rwanda expensive?

Although Rwanda is a cheap country in itself, we can haggle and get a better price, especially in shops or on transport. If we are going to travel by taxi, the ideal thing to do is to agree on the price before getting into the taxi, but a kilometre will cost us around 2,000 RWF, which is less than €2. A 1.5 litre water bottle costs 600 RWF (less than €0.60), a price similar to a 33 cl soft drink can.

At mealtime, it depends on your tastes. For just over 1,000 (less than €1) Rwandan francs we can eat in a normal restaurant, while a menu in a good restaurant with three courses and a drink can cost us 15,000 RWF per person (about €14). Remember that the key is to change money in the country, but to buy the Rwandan francs bit by bit so as not to have to sell a lot when leaving. If you leave a tip, it is better if it is in Rwandan francs than in dollars.