My Dad was the first person who sold Rwanda to me. As a tour operator/travel enthusiast, he’s had his fair share traversing the African continent and beyond so I sometimes find his recommendations useful. He visited Kigali for two nights in 2015 and had been hammering me since then to visit.
“Go to Rwanda, You’ll like it.”
That was how he would start the conversation and follow it up with other reasons to back up his statement. On one hand, I was a little convinced by his justifications, On the other hand, I was wondering if two nights was enough for him to have gotten a hang of the whole country.
Boy was I wrong.
Two nights was enough for my Dad to be convinced about Rwanda. After I finally made it down there, I clearly understood why he had been insisting on me getting my silly ass down to this sick (in a good way) country. If you’re still wondering why you should do the same, here a few pointers to convince you;
It Is Super Clean
Rwanda is soooooooo damn CLEEEEAAAAANNNNN!!! Like it’s unimaginable. I couldn’t find one single piece of paper on the streets wherever I visited in Kigali. You could literally sleep on the streets and not worry about your clothes getting dirty. Gisenyi was also equally as clean and for that, I give a big thumbs up to the government and the people for all their efforts in keeping the country that way.
This country has some of the best landscapes I’ve seen. Not only is it clean, it is also very green and lush. The three hour dive to Lake Kivu was pure bliss of scenic beauty. Infinite rolling hills and plains with endless greenery of farmlands and tea plantations. It is truly the land of a thousand hills.
This was the best part about Rwanda for me. Thanks to rising exchange rate in Nigeria, it’s been difficult to plan a trip that won’t break the bank. Fortunately for me, Rwanda was the breakthrough. An average flight to Rwanda is about $500-$550 which is pretty decent if you ask me. Food is also generally affordable and except for the Gorilla Trekking tour, every other tour was reasonably priced.
Though Rwanda is a landlocked country, it still overs a bit of diversity similar to a coastal country. You can bask in the sun by the beach at Gisenyi (or any other town by Lake Kivu) or go on a safari at the Akagera National Park where you can spot the Big Five. Kigali its capital also has its fair share of attractions especially museums and memorials.
What You Should Know
Food: Food is generally affordable in Rwanda. Breakfast will set you about about 2,500-4,000RWF ($3-$4.80) depending on your location. In Kimihurura where I stayed, I spotted a couple of restaurants offering Lunch Buffets for as low as 2,500RWF. If you’re willing to splurge in a fancy restaurant, that can set you back about 10,000-12,000RWF ($12.04-$14.46).
Transport: The best way to move around in town is by “Moto Taxi” aka Okada. They are very safe. They always indicate before they turn and you are given a safety helmet you must wear. Depending on the distance, a 5 minute ride can cost about 300-400RWF ($0.36-$0.48). Longer distances (20-30minutes) can go for about 800-1,000RWF ($0.96-$1.20) depending on your negotiation skills. Airport Transfer can range from $10-$30 depending on the area you’ll be staying.
Language: The language widely spoken is Kinyarwanda but a few people understand English/French. They started using English to teach in schools in 2010 so chances are that more than half of the people you’ll bump into either don’t understand or are still trying to get a hang of it.
Currency: Rwandan Franc (RWF). 1USD=830RWF
Others: I got an MTN sin card for 1,500RWF ($1.81). Plastic bags are not allowed into the country (they only use paper bags).
So what are you waiting for! Start Packing your Bags!!!
Have you ever been to Rwanda? Would you like to visit Rwanda? Please share your thoughts and comments.