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Exploring Rwanda: how to get around with transport in Rwanda

by Alicia Mora | October 13, 2022
Man driving a pickup truck with mattresses transport in Rwanda how to travel rwanda

Rwanda is a small country in East Africa. It is named “The Land of a Thousand Hills” and with good reason, as it is full of magical misty mountains and dormant volcanoes. 

Some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas live in the forests on the hills of Rwanda, and apart from seeing them there are many more things to do in Rwanda. So if you're planning on visiting this gem of a country and you're not sure how you're going to get around, read this article to help you. Here are all the options when it comes to transport in Rwanda.

Airport Transfers

Kigali International Airport is the biggest airport in Rwanda and serves as a hub for flights in the country. 

A new airport is being built in Bugesera District, Eastern Province of Rwanda. It is due to become the biggest international airport in the country and should be completed by 2024/25. 

When you arrive at Kigali airport there are a few options that you can use to get to your destination: 

Taxi

There are plenty of taxis around at the airport waiting for you. If you decide to get a taxi you’ll probably have to haggle and reach a fixed price for the journey, as many taxis don’t have meters. This haggling could be harder as a tourist as drivers are often out to scam and overprice you. 

Hotel Transfer 

You can also speak to your hotel before you arrive as there are many shuttles that can pick you up from the airport. If you are traveling in a group this could be a good and easy option.

Shuttle bus

Another option is the Kigali airport also has direct trips from the airport to the city center, which cost 1000 RWF. 

Car rental

If you feel like driving, another popular transport in Rwanda is to rent a car at the airport. There are many different car rental companies in the airport, but it's always better to book ahead to avoid surprises and to ensure they have the car you want. 

people taking photos of elephants in a safari transport in Rwanda

Getting around in Rwanda: transport in Rwanda

Car 

Kigali has a huge road network, and usually it is easy to get around the city by car, except during rush hour in the morning, from 7:30-8:00 am and 5:30-7 pm.

If you want to rent a car in Rwanda you must present your driving license and also an international driving permit. The cost of renting a car in Rwanda is around  $70 a day depending on the model of the car. If the driver is under 26, there will be an extra charge of around $15 a day. 

If you are planning on driving around rural areas, the roads could be in poor condition as well as being poorly lit and could get muddy during the rainy season. If you want to hire a 4x4, it is best to hire a driver too, as driving in rural areas can be dangerous. 

If you are going to drive around Kigali, be vigilant as driving regulations are very much enforced. 

It is best not to drive around at night, as there is a risk of being hijacked. 

Motorbike taxis

There are motorbike taxis called “motos” in Rwanda. They are a quick, convenient and one of the most popular transport in Rwanda. There are “stations” where drivers wait. If you want to ride a moto-taxi, the driver will have a helmet available for you, however, due to covid-19 rules you will have to cover your face with a scarf underneath the helmet. 

There are fixed fares to get to specific points around the city, between 500-2,000 RWF. Many mototaxis have meters, so request it to the driver. 

Air 

You can travel around Rwanda and neighboring countries by plane if you are short on time and want to get around the country quickly. If you want to travel around East Africa, you can also apply for the East African visa which gives you access to visit Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. There are flights from the two main cities in Rwanda; Cyangugu and Kigali. 

Travel tips in Rwanda

  • You will need to get a SIM card for Rwanda.
  • Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa. The crime rate is very low, apart from some sporadic pickpocketing. To avoid being mugged, some travel tips for Rwanda are not going out at night alone, or carrying valuables.
  • When you find a good driver, keep their contact details and ask them to pick you up. It’s better than having a different driver every time. 
  • If you’re looking to visit Rwanda to go on a gorilla trekking Rwanda make sure you book ahead especially in the high season as it can get very busy. 
  • Rwanda currency is the Rwandan Franc, but it can be useful to take US Dollars with you as credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere. 
  • Make sure you acquire some form of health insurance Rwanda before visiting Rwanda: it's a mandatory requirement.