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Holidays in Rwanda

Understanding Rwanda

It's been over a decade since the civil war and genocide of 1994 that devastated this tiny country, and it's come a long way Shake off your memories of war and expect a warm and friendly welcome to a beautiful country




Talking in Rwanda

Kinyarwanda is the chief spoken language in Rwanda It is also spoken in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the south of Uganda Bufumbira-area Kinyarwanda is a tonal language of the Bantu language family Guthrie D61 Kinyarwanda is closely related to Kirundi spoken in the neighboring country Burundi and to Giha of western Tanzania

English and French are also official languages, and many residents particularly in urban areas will speak one or the other in addition to Kinyarwanda

Due to the mass movement of people over the past fifty years, a result of the country's war torn history, you will likely encounter several people who speak a handful of other languages spoken in the East African region Kiswahili, Lingala, Luganda, Most traders in Rwanda will speak enough Kiswahili to make a sale!

What to see in Rwanda

  • National Museum of Butare in Butare –
  • Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda – a large lake bordering the DRC, it's a nice place to relax for a week or so
  • The Genocide Memorial in Kigali – fantastic insight into one of the world's greatest tragedies
  • The Nyamata Genocide Memorial is a worthwhile complement to the Gisozi Memorial Centre in Kigali Located in the town of Nyamata, 40 minutes south of Kigali on a newly paved road, the memorial is in a church where over 5000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide Visitors take a short tour and see the evidence of the genocide that remains there today - victims' clothing piled on benches, the roof pockmarked with bullet holes, and the open crypts behind the church that hold the remains of over 40,000 people from the area An extremely moving look into one of the places where the genocide was carried out
  • The Ntarama Genocide Memorial, just 20 minutes away from the Nyamata memorial, is also worth visiting Like the Nyamata memorial, this site was a church before the genocide, and was nationalized to serve as a memorial after thousands of people were killed within its walls The church itself is similar to Nyamata, with victims' clothing and remains visible to offer proof of what happened there, but Ntarama also has a peaceful memorial garden and wall of names in the back of its compound Ask the resident guide for a tour in English or French, and remember to give them a donation for the site afterwards; it gets almost no support from the government To get there, take the highway from Kigali to Nyamata and follow the signs for the Ntarama memorial, before you reach Nyamata

What to do in Rwanda

  • Parc National des Volcans, home of the mountain gorillas, and the setting for Gorillas in the Mist author Dian Fossey's research If you can afford it it's an excellent experience even possible as a daytrip from Kigali Enquire at the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks ORTPN, Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1, Kigali, +250 576514 or 573396, reservation@rwandatourismcom, 3 It cost 500 US dollars per person Besides that you will have to take an official taxi which costs you another 50 USD Prices are rising constantly, and you should really consider if you want them to get away with these rip-off prices, because as long as there are people who pay them, they will continue to rise them

Buying stuff in Rwanda

The currency is the Rwandan Franc RWF, which can be divided into 100 centimes As of January 2010, 1 USD = 5677 RWF, 1 EUR = 8015 RWF, and 1 GBP = 9245 RWF

Food and eating in Rwanda

The local "Brochettes" goat kebabs are delicious and are available in most bars and restaurants Many restaurants also serve grilled fish and chicken, and frites and frites-banane fried plantain are ubiquitous

In urban areas a local buffet known as "Melange" is sold at lunchtime This consists of a buffet of mostly carbohydrates such as potatoes, bananas, beans, rice, cassava accompanied with some vegetables and a small amount of meat or fish with sauce Note that Rwandan buffets are not all you can eat! You may fill your plate only once, and with practice you'll be able to stack your plate high like the locals do Prices range from just over a USD$1 to USD$5 or even USD$10 depending on the grade of the eatery and the variety of food available Most of the upper segment buffets $3 and above offer a salad buffet too Note that many of the cheaper Melange places are unmarked

Kigali has a much better range of restaurants than the rest of the country Here you can find several Indian and Chinese restaurants, as well as Italian, Greek, French and multi-cuisine establishments charging around $10 for dinner

Drinking in Rwanda

Bralirwa in the north of the Rwanda produces most of the beer and soft drinks available in Rwanda In most bars the choice is limited to their offering of about 5 different sodas and 3 different beers, Primus, Mützig and Amstel Primus and Mützig are available in small and large sizes, wheras Amstel is available only in 330ml bottles Note that Rwandans are known for their fondness for large beers and when you order Amstel, it is common for a server to bring out 2 bottles at a time

There are also local banana beer preparations called Urgwagwa, normally brewed at home and available only in unappetising plastic containers but now also sold in bottles at some shops and bars

Accommodation in Rwanda

Accommodation is usually fairly basic and significantly more expensive than neighboring Uganda and Tanzania Very basic accommodation will cost $8-$20

A few nice hotels can be found in Kigali - including the famous "Hotel des Milles Collines" as featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda Movie buffs hoping to stay in the film set will be disappointed though, as the film was produced in South Africa Note: as of October 2008, the Mille Collines is temporarily closed for renovation Reopening date currently unknown Most hotels in Kigali are in the $50 and above range although there are a few bargains to be had if you look around

Cities in Rwanda

butare  byumba  cyangugu  gikongoro  gisenyi  gitarama  kibungo  kibuye  kigali  nyanza  nyanza  ruhengeri  rwamagana  

What do you think about Rwanda?

How expensive is Rwanda?
(1 RWF = 0 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant2.21 RWF
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)22.08 RWF
McDonalds meal7.74 RWF
Local beer (0.5 draft)909.64 RWF
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 1.11 RWF
Cappuccino0.98 RWF
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)332.37 RWF
Water (0.33 bottle)319.84 RWF
Milk (1l)813.38 RWF
Fresh bread (500g)949.71 RWF
White Rice (1kg)944.27 RWF
Eggs (12) 1.1 RWF
Local Cheese (1kg) 3.31 RWF
Chicken Breast (1kg) 3.31 RWF
Apples (1kg) 1.1 RWF
Oranges (1kg) 697.69 RWF
Tomato (1kg) 509.76 RWF
Potato (1kg) 223.76 RWF
Lettuce (1 head) 300.24 RWF
Water (1.5l)647.56 RWF
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 8.85 RWF
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)703.54 RWF
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 1.11 RWF
Cigarettes0.97 RWF
One way local bus ticket228.07 RWF
Monthly pass for bus8.86 RWF
Taxi start2.97 RWF
Taxi 1km828 RWF
Taxi 1hour waiting4.95 RWF
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.11 RWF
Utilities for a "normal" apartment27.9 RWF
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 3.92 RWF
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 394.25 RWF
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 258.4 RWF
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 648.49 RWF
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 566.78 RWF, your travel companion

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