Getting Around Rwanda
RwandAir (www.rwandair.com) offers internal flights connecting Kigali to Kamembe Airport, near the south-eastern town of Cyangugu. Akagera Aviation (www.akageraaviation.com) provides helicopter flights all over the country.
Roads connect all major towns and cities in Rwanda, and travelling by private car, bus or shared taxi is the most convenient way to explore the country. It's worth noting that it's common to hire a car with a driver.
Side of the roadRight
Rwanda has worked hard to improve the condition of its road network over the last two decades. However, while you are likely to find paved surfaces in major towns and cities, in very rural areas roads are often dirt tracks, some only passable with 4-wheel drive vehicles. Additionally, landslides often close major roads during annual rainfall in spring and autumn.
Route national, which can be a mixture of asphalt and gravel, links major towns and cities. Route District, often with gravel surfaces, connects smaller town and villages, while unclassified routes (usually dirt) cover the remaining rural roads and tracks in Rwanda.
Visitors can hire a car, with or without a driver, from Europcar (www.europcar.com), which has several outlets in Kigali, including one at the airport. There are also several local car hire companies based in Kigali, including Kigali Car Rentals (www.kigalicarrentals.com), 4x4 Car Rentals Rwanda (www.4x4carrentalrwanda.com), and Rent a car Rwanda (www.rentacarrwanda.com). Some of the 4x4 vehicles also have a rooftop tent for camping.
Taxis can be found in large towns and cities; look for the yellow stripe along the side of the vehicle. Fares are reasonable and should be on the meter, but some drivers are reluctant to use them, in which case make sure to agree the fare in advance. Tipping is at your discretion.
Cycling has been growing in popularity in Rwanda and more cycle lanes are springing up in Kigali and other major cities. Cycle touring, or so-called 'bikepacking', is also an increasingly popular holiday type in the country, with specialist operators like Rwanda Bike Tours (www.rwandabiketours.com) and Rwandan Adventures (www.rwandan-adventures.com) organising guided, multi-day bike tours around the country. Rwandan Adventures also offers shorter, one-day tours around Kigali.
Rwanda Interlink Transport Company or Ritco (www.ritco.rw; tel: +250 788 319 333), which is part-owned by the government, offers bus connections between major cities in Rwanda. Routes from Kigali span to Rusizi, Gatuna, Huye, Rubavu and Rusumo among others, with numerous buses leaving throughout the day. Other private companies also offer long-distance buses, though with less overall coverage. The busy Nyabugogo bus terminal, in Kigali, has offices for most major bus companies in Rwanda, with departure schedules and route information available.
Rwanda, which 20 years ago had one of the worst road safety records in the world, has done a lot to make its roads safer for drivers, notably by implementing punishments for speeding, not wearing seatbelts and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, all of which has brought down road accident levels. Beware that visitors who break these rules will receive hefty fines. Speed limits are 40kph (25mph) in the city and 60kph (37mph) outside the city.
Most car hire companies can provide you with a number to call in the event of a breakdown. In case of an accident on the road, dial 113, which is the dedicated traffic accidents line.
Drivers in Rwanda are required to have a valid driving licence, vehicle registration certificate, up to date car insurance certificate and log book. To rent a car in Rwanda, drivers require a passport, driving licence and a valid credit card in their name.
You can hire a boat to take you from Gisenyi to Kibuye if you ask at one of the lakeside hotels.