Getting Around Rwanda
Flying to Rwanda
Over 10 international airlines now fly into Rwanda. Award-winning Rwandan Air, the national carrier, flies to destinations all over Africa and is connected to major international air routes.
The Rwanda civil aviation Authority operates the major and principal airports. You’ll most likely fly directly into Kigali International Airport in Kigali city-Rwanda, or increasingly, there are direct flights into other regional International Airports of Bugesera and Kamembe.
Principal domestic airports include Bugesera International Airport in Nyamata, as well as Kamembe international airport in Cyangugu-Western province.
There are also scheduled flights which serves the National Parks in Rwanda. Visitors to the parks can also fly to the nearby airfields. Several up market game lodges are located near airstrips and provide easy access for charter direct flights from Kigali and other airports. Individual lodges will provide details of flights.
If you are heading off on safari, on a guided tour, or on your own in Rwanda, you might wish to break your journey in Kigali or Lake Kivu to catch your breath, do some sightseeing and adjust to the new time zone before flying to your next destination.
Domestic Air Travel
Depending on your next stop while on Rwanda’s holiday, a domestic flight might well be your best option if you have limited time, given the size of the country. It is always worth checking ticket prices and schedules across the airlines, as these can differ, especially if you are making online bookings. Airlines serving the domestic market include:
Sun Air charter
SA alliance Air express
Transfer services in Rwanda range from scheduled shuttles to pre-arranged pick-ups and even luxury cars. These services are run by experienced, professional providers who will see you safely from the airport to your destination.
If you are touring Rwanda in a large or small group, your local ground operator will have arranged transport for you. This will usually be in 10-seater micro buses or 48- to 60-seater coaches, depending on the group size. Many hotels in Rwanda also offer free guest shuttle services to and from the airport (inquire in advance about this).
In Rwanda, You will also find approved metered taxi and shuttle operators located outside the arrivals terminals. If you have not pre-arranged a transfer, Rwanda civil aviation authority (RCAA) advises that you make use of an approved operator. If you need help in arranging a transfer, go to the RCAA information desk at the airport terminal.
Who to Contact
Kigali Airport, Rwanda, Regie des Aeroports du Rwanda,
PO Box 1122, Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: +250 (0)85791, +250 (0)83441, +250 (0)85845
Fax: +250 (0)82609
Many major international car-hire companies operate in Rwanda, offering anything from small, budget-friendly cars to luxurious sedans. It’s best to book car-hire vehicles in advance, especially if you are coming to Rwanda in high season (during Rwanda’s pick season, from July to August). Some companies also offer 4×4 vehicles if you are planning to visit places off the beaten track. If you want to hire a 4×4, then get a quote from a specialized off- road rental provider. They may also assist with caravan, camper van and trailer hire.
Popular Tourist Attractions
Tourism is the country’s leading foreign exchange earner and many tourists from allover the world fly into Rwanda for different purposes and the main attraction are the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council report, Rwanda in the year 2013 generated RWF233.9bn in visitor exports. In 2014, this was expected to grow by 2.9 per cent, and the country was expected to attract approximately 1,097,000 international visitor arrivals. Such tourists area attracted and choose from the many Rwanda gorilla tour packages advertised online by different tour and travel companies, and among other tourist attractions include chimpanzees and other primates in Nyungwe National Park, Akagera wildlife, Historical and cultural museums as well as genocide memorial sites among others.
TRAVEL TIP: If you are visiting a national park, you may wish to hire safari Van for comfort and to give you height advantage when game viewing. That said, most national parks have excellent roads and a sedan is just as adequate. For more information visit www.rwandacarrental.com or www.europcar.com/location/rwanda
Rwanda is a Mecca for self-drive enthusiasts. Although distances can be daunting, the roads are well signposted, the majority is well maintained and the scenery is spectacular. There is a wide variety of accommodation options for different classes and different prices, ranging from budget / basic lodges/hotels to deluxe and luxury / high-end lodges / hotels. Such accommodation options include lodges, hotels, camps, Inn, Guest house and motels.
Rwanda drives on the Right-hand side of the road. Seatbelts are compulsory and you may not talk on your mobile phone while driving. All speed limits in Rwanda are in kilometers per hour. Generally, the speed limit for urban areas is 40km/h and on national highways its 60km/h. Always keep an eye out for the designated speed limit as these may vary depending on road conditions and law enforcement does take place next to the road.
You may use a valid driver’s license issued in your own country while in Rwanda as long as it has a photograph, the signature of the holder and is in English. Otherwise, it’s best to obtain an international driving license before you leave home. You should always have your driver’s license with you when you are driving as you will be asked to produce it if you are pulled over for any reason. It’s wise to travel with a current road map or GPS system to help you find your way around. You can hire a GPS with your car or pick up a road atlas at most bookshops and convenience stores located at fuel stations.
When you refuel, be sure to establish what kind of fuel your vehicle uses (diesel or petrol) before filling up, as a mistake could be disastrous. Most fuel stations in Rwanda don’t accept cards. At the fuel station, a petrol attendant will fill your car, check tyres, oil and water and clean your windows if you ask. It’s customary to give a small tip of around $5 to the petrol attendant. Carry extra cash to pay for toll roads as many of the national roads are tolled. Similarly, when you park in cities or towns, a parking attendant in a luminous bib might approach you in exchange for keeping an eye on your car. Once again, a tip is customary.
It’s best to keep your fuel tank topped up and to carry extra water in the event of a breakdown as distances between towns can be quite long, especially along major roads crossing the interior of the country.
The cheapest way to travel around Rwanda is by bus, making it a popular mode of transport for locals and visitors on a budget. Be sure to book with a reputable service, though, as not all bus companies have an equally good reputation. There are a number of bus operators, offering both economy and luxury rides. If you want to travel in Eastern Africa, some of these companies also offer cross-border journeys into neighboring states like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.