two giraffes standing neck and neck in Rwanda

Published: 10/3/2019 October 3rd, 2019

Within this guest publish, Alicia Erickson offers some handy tips about the best way to visit Rwanda on a tight budget! She spent a while living there and, today, is discussing her tips about the nation (one I haven&#8217t reached yet!). She&#8217s an independent author and so i don&#8217t possess a blog to link too! Listed here are her tips:

Rwanda, a small nation nestled between Tanzania, Uganda, and also the Democratic Republic from the Congo (DRC) in the heart of photography equipment, is filled towards the brim with rainforests, wildlife, ponds, and volcanoes. It’s aptly nicknamed “the land of the 1000 hillsides.”

Rwanda also is actually among the safest and easiest nations to navigate in East Africa. Sure, this nation may have a status that proceeds itself. However the genocide that ravaged the nation ended greater than twenty five years ago. In the last 2 decades, innovation, ecological sustainability, and women’s legal rights happen to be the main thing on Rwanda’s rapid development.

You may question, is Rwanda budget-friendly? Sub-Saharan Africa generally could be a tricky spot to travel cheaply, because it is frequently regarded as a higher-finish safari destination. Rwanda isn’t any exception. A lot of its recent tourism development continues to be aimed toward high-finish luxury lodges and trekking using the coveted mountain gorillas, that amounted to a high $1,500 for any permit.

However, don’t allow the hefty cost tags connected with gorillas and luxury lodges put you off experiencing and enjoying the quiet magic that Rwanda exudes. Getting resided and traveled there off and on from 2015 to the current, I’ve discovered numerous methods to save money and exploring lesser-known destinations which are inexpensive and often free! Certainly, Rwanda on a tight budget is completely possible, should you not mind forgoing a few of the greater-finish tourist options.

This is how to save cash and visit Rwanda on a tight budget:

Table of Contents

  1. How to save cash on Accommodation
  2. How to save cash on Transportation
  3. How to save cash on Food
  4. Suggeted Budgets for Rwanda
  5. 9 Worthwhile Strategies for Rwanda
  6. A Fast Note on Visas
  7. Recommended Budget Sources


How to save cash on Accommodation

Views over the twin lakes in Musanze and the Virunga Mountain Range

Although there are lots of high-finish hotels and lodges, there’s also a number of hostels, affordable guesthouses, as well as some Airbnbs, as well as camping. I’ve used each one of these options both in Kigali and destinations across the nation.

Budget options are usually simple but clean. Remember that water and electricity reliability fluctuates, though they tend to be consistent compared to neighboring countries.

  • Hostels: Hostels are relatively recent to Rwanda, but there’s a couple of to select from. Dorms room inside a hostel for example Uncover Rwanda Kigali or Mamba Guesthouse runs $10–15 USD/night.
  • Guesthouses: Hotels and lodges have a tendency to cost more than $100 USD/night. However, there’s also several that provide private rooms for around $20-45 USD/night. The Nest in Kigali is a superb bed-and-breakfast option, with private rooms costing about $50 USD/night.
  • Airbnbs: Airbnbs are more and more famous Kigali, Lake Kivu, and Musanze. Prices for any private room start at $20 USD/night.
  • Camping: Camping is prevalent in nature for example Nyungwe Forest and Akagera and frequently on the websites of numerous guesthouses. Bear in mind that nights could possibly get awesome which camping is a little challenging during wet season. Costs run $8–15 USD/person/night. Akagera Park, Red Rocks in Musanze, and Kitabi Eco-Center in Nyungwe all offer camping tents for rental.

How to save cash on Transportation

Views over the hills of Kigali

  • Motorbikes: I discovered public motorcycles is the fastest and least expensive method of getting around within metropolitan areas. Motorbike journeys within Kigali cost 300-1,000 RWF ($.40–1.10 USD).
  • Taxis: Taxis tend to be more costly and harder to locate. However, if this rains, motorbikes don’t drive, by which situation taxis are the most useful alternative. A typical ride within Kigali costs 2,500-5,000 RWF ($2.70–5.40 USD).
  • Buses: When venturing on vacation, public buses are cheap, safe, and comparatively reliable through the country. The main bus station in Kigali is Nyabugogo. Countrywide buses cost 2,000-4,000 RWF ($2.20–4.30 USD).
  • Vehicle rentals: There are a few destinations, like the nature, which are better explored by vehicle or motorbike, each of which are for sale to rent. Renting a vehicle starts at $50 USD/day, based on kind of vehicle.

How to save cash on Food

a man in Rwanda standing in a supermarket surrounded by fresh fruit

Kigali is wealthy in worldwide food, though eating at restaurants could possibly get costly rapidly. Expect costs to be componen with European or American restaurants.

Regrettably, street meals are basically nonexistent since it is viewed as dirty. Rather, look for hole-in-the-wall local restaurants serving grain and beans, ugali (a thick, maize-based porridge), brochettes (grilled meat), and taters. Wine and cocktails are very costly and therefore are average quality at the best, so local beers are the best choice to quench your thirst.

Here are a few average drink and food costs:

  • Lunch buffet of local food: all you are able eat for just two,000 RWF ($2.20 USD).
  • Dinner at local restaurant: 3,000–8,000 RWF ($3.25–10 USD). In Kigali, mind to Vehicle Wash for brochettes and Panorama Ten to 2 for grilled lake fish.
  • Produce at local market: 100-1,000 RWF ($.11–1.10 USD), with respect to the product. Fruits for example mangoes, passion fruit, and tree tomato plants are cheap and scrumptious. Always bargain!
  • Your meal in an average-priced Western restaurant: 4,000-6,000 RWF ($4.50–6.50 USD). Try Meze Fresh, Borneo, Now Now Rolex, and Baso Patisserie for tasty and filling worldwide cuisine that won’t break your budget.
  • Dinner in an worldwide restaurant: 12,000-18,000 RWF ($13–20 USD). If you are likely to splurge, Kigali has some phenomenal Indian food (Khana Kazana) and French food (Poivre Noir).
  • Local beer: 1,000 RWF ($1.10) for Mutzig or any other local beer
  • Wine/cocktail: 5,000-10,000 RWF ($5.50–11 USD)

Suggeted Budgets for Rwanda

two zebras in Rwanda

It can save you lots of money by traveling gradually and individually on and on a little from the beaten track. While lots of activities and extras aren’t excruciatingly costly, they are able to certainly mess up a regular budget.

On the day when you are camping or remaining inside a dorm, eating at markets or local restaurants, and doing free activities using public transit, you will get by with $25 USD/day.

Should you rent a vehicle for any couple of days, possess the periodic evening out, and budget inside a couple excursions, for example game drives in Akagera or hiking Mt. Bisoke, your everyday costs, averaged out over two days approximately, increases close to $50–75 USD/day.

9 Worthwhile Strategies for Rwanda

three women on the road in Akagera, Rwanda

Rwanda is fairly cheap to go to however that doesn&#8217t mean you are able to&#8217t find ways to reduce your vacation. Here are a few insider tips about how to cut costs in Rwanda without losing the truly amazing experience:

  1. Take local transportation whenever we can: Buses can get you to many major destinations, from which you’ll take public motorbikes for your final destination. Buses not just go to destinations within Rwanda but towards the borders using the DRC, Uganda, and Tanzania, in addition to major East African metropolitan areas, for example Kampala. The primary bus station in Kigali is Nyabugogo. If you wish to explore Rwanda more individually and cheaply compared to vehicle, opt to rent a bike or bicycle in Kigali, based on where you need to go.
  2. Motorbikes versus. taxis: Motorbikes are cheap, fast, and efficient. Public motorbike motorists put on red vests and bear an additional helmet for passengers. The typical cost ought to be 100 RWF ($.11 USD) per kilometer, but always make certain to bargain. Motorists don’t always know exact locations, so it’s useful to understand neighborhoods and reference points, like a major hotel. Observe that motorbikes usually don’t drive while it is raining, by which situation taxis or walking are usually your best option. Taxis tend to be more costly and fewer convenient in many other situations, unless of course transporting lots of luggage.
  3. Consider walking: Walking isn’t always the quickest option in Kigali, because of the hillsides, the fair distances between neighborhoods, cheap the town sits in an elevation well over 5,000 ft. However, it’s also very safe, and walking is a terrific way to cut costs and also to uncover neighborhoods and side roads you would not have otherwise.
  4. Eat local: Western restaurants could possibly get costly. Get your meals at local buffets for a quick, filling, affordable meal, and frequent local markets and roadside means a good amount of cheap, fresh tropical fruits, that are always negotiable on price.
  5. Bring a multiple-use water bottle: Water isn’t safe to consume in the tap, however, many hotels and houses have filtered water to refill your bottle instead of buying new bottles.
  6. Set off the beaten path: Sure, Rwanda might be noted for gorilla trekking and hiking Mt. Karisimbi, the greatest peak within the Virunga range, however these come at expense. Search for free activities, find off-the-beaten-path trails through small villages for endless times of hiking and exploration, and relax at the sea.
  7. Options to popular activities: Named “the land of the 1000 hills” for any reason, Rwanda is rich in eco-friendly hillsides and mountain tops that are perfect for hiking and biking. Trails extend through the country, dipping lower into valleys of blueberry plantations or more around mountainous passes. If you are feeling adventurous, look for a motorbike or bicycle and perform some exploring! If you are aching for any volcano or primate experience, trek with chimpanzees in Nyungwe, observe golden apes in Volcanoes Park, or perform a day hike up Mt. Bisoke, that are cheaper but nonetheless fulfilling alternatives.
  8. Avoid tour companies: Pre-booked activities and tours could possibly get costly, and traveling without one is easy. Because of the country’s small size and comparatively well-developed transport system and infrastructure, it’s pretty simple to travel individually. Make use of a few of the sources I’ve provided below to assist answer further questions.
  9. Travel during wet season: Although traveling throughout the heart of wet season might not initially seem ideal, it may possess some perks too. Treks, park entrance charges, and lodging frequently offer significantly lower rates throughout the off-season, in addition crowds are smaller sized. Rwanda’s landscape is actually especially luscious this season too. Also, it rarely rains all day long — it’s probably that you will possess a heavy rain within the mid-day, with sunshine and blue skies all of those other day.

A Fast Note on Visas

traditional dancers in Rwanda

Visas can be found both on the internet and on arrival, determined by the kind and period of visa you are searching for. A 30-day, single-entry visa on arrival can be obtained for $30 USD. The East African Tourist Visa ($100 USD, apply online ahead of time) grants 3 months of multiple-entry use of Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Note: should you leave these 3 countries, the visa is canceled. Visa extensions are granted in the immigration office in Remera, even though this process is frequently complex and time-consuming.

Recommended Budget Sources

Expats in Rwanda &#8211 Before coming in Rwanda, join the Facebook group, “Expats in Rwanda,” an organization for expats travelling in and residing in Rwanda. The audience is definitely involved in discussions regarding recent news in the area, the outlet of recent restaurants and accommodation, and listings of products for purchase or rent. You’re prone to find cars, motorbikes, and camping gear for rental, sublets (short and lengthy-term) in houses, plus an entire network of individuals to inquire about questions regarding your approaching trip. If you are travelling by yourself, you may also connect along with other travelers/expats to participate in on the game drive to Akagera, a hiking weekend in Musanze, or perhaps a lake visit to Kivu, which could cut costs.

Residing in Kigali &#8211 An execllent resource resides in Kigali, that provides up-to-date info on the ever-altering Kigali when it comes to activities, occasions, food, and nightlife. Grab a duplicate from the highlighted “Kigali” map while in town, supplying a detailed layout of city by activities, restaurants, and neighborhoods.

Red Rocks Rwanda &#8211 Not just is Red Rocks an inexpensive accommodation option in Musanze, but it’s additionally a local travel agency and cooperative. They’ve fantastic info on activities within the Northern Province and will also help you interact with community-based tourism and volunteer possibilities too.

Nyamirambo Women’s Center &#8211 Found in the Muslim neighborhood famous because of its nightlife, Nyamirambo Women’s Center is definitely an artisan cooperative and local travel agency supporting residents of Nyamirambo. If you are thinking about seeing Nyamirambo via a local’s eyes, they provide city tours in addition to activities for example basket weaving.

Irembo &#8211 Irembo is really a tourism board for Rwanda. For info on available treks and permits, mind to Irembo’s tourism site, in which you can also directly book permits too.


There has not been a much better time for you to visit this small and proud nation. Rwanda has gotten immense attention around the travel radar in the last few years, but it’s not overrun with tourism. For time for you to get aquainted using its culture, people, and natural riches, Rwanda on a tight budget is much more than doable.

Hike and bike with the emerald hillsides and blueberry plantations, go swimming within the refreshing volcanic ponds, camp within the plant plus the Big 5 wildlife, explore a growing and innovative art scene, and permit Rwanda’s charm to seep beneath your skin.

Alicia Erickson increased as another-culture kid, developing a real love for travel in a youthful age. She is a digital nomad within the last five years, being employed as a political analyst, social entrepreneur, author, and yoga teacher while she explores the planet. She splits her time mainly between East and Southern Africa, India, and San antonio, where she seeks off-the-beaten-path locales and it is attracted to mountain tops and also the savannah, food, wine, and style culture.

Book Your Vacation to Rwanda: Logistical Tips and Methods

Book Your Flight

Look for a cheap flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favorite search engines like google simply because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know nothing remains unturned.

Book The Resort

You are able to book your hostel with Hostelworld because they possess the largest inventory. If you wish to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and economical hotels. I personally use them constantly.

Don&#8217t Forget Travel Cover

Travel cover will safeguard you from illness, injuries, thievery, and cancellations. It&#8217s comprehensive protection in situation anything goes completely wrong. Irrrve never use a trip without them when i&#8217ve had for doing things many occasions previously. I&#8217ve used World Nomads for 10 years. My personal favorite firms that provide the best service and cost are:

  • World Nomads (for everybody below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for individuals over 70)

Searching to find the best companies to save cash with?

Take a look at my resource page to find the best companies to make use of whenever you travel! I list all of the ones I personally use to save cash after i travel &#8211 which will help you save money and time too!

The publish How to save cash &#038 Visit Rwanda on a tight budget made an appearance first on Nomadic Matt&#039s Travel Site.

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