Dangers & Annoyances

By African standards Kigali is an exceptionally safe place. You have nothing to worry about walking around the city during the daytime. Even at night you'll normally be absolutely fine walking the streets, although do exercise basic precautions such as avoiding dark streets on your own or walking through shanty towns unaccompanied.

Emergency & Important Numbers

Rwanda's country code250
Police (emergency)113
SAMU Ambulance Service912

LGBT Travellers

There is no real gay scene in Kigali, though the city is far more tolerant than other East African cities and there are several queer-friendly establishments where gay people will feel welcome. As with nearly everywhere else in Africa, the majority of gay and lesbian interaction takes place online and discretion is always sensible.

Internet Access

Internet access is widespread and very cheap in Kigali. All but the cheapest hotels offer free wi-fi, as do many of the more upmarket cafes and restaurants. The Rwandan government is halfway through implementing a plan to provide free wi-fi in all public spaces across the city (and eventually across the country), but for most travellers the easiest option will be to purchase a SIM card with a data package from a local mobile phone provider such as MTN or Airtel.

Money

Money is easy to get and easy to change throughout Rwanda and particularly in Kigali. There are ATMs at virtually every bank, most of which accept foreign credit cards, as well as foreign-exchange bureaus.

Changing Money

Euros and US dollars can be changed at any of the numerous banks in town or at any of the foreign-exchange bureaus near the main shopping malls. Most exchange bureaus give slightly better rates than the banks.

Opening Hours

The following are standard opening hours.

Banks 8am–5pm Monday to Friday

Restaurants noon–3pm and 6.30–11pm

Cafes 7am–7pm

Bars and Clubs 9pm–2am

Shops 8am–10pm Monday to Saturday

Post

DHL Expensive but necessary if you need to send anything internationally.

Main Post Office In the centre.

Tourist Information

Rwanda Tourism Information Centre – RDB Rwanda's tourist authority has friendly staff who can help travellers make reservations to track the gorillas and golden monkeys at Volcanoes National Park as well as chimps at Nyungwe Forest National Park and various other activities around the country. Also runs Kigali city tours (from US$20 per person).

Travel with Children

So many of Kigali's sights are connected to the genocide that occurred here in 1994 and much of what is on the traditional tourist itinerary in the city is definitely unsuitable for younger children. That said, Kigali is clean and safe and many expats live here with their kids, so this needn't put you off travelling with children to Kigali.

Travel Agencies

The helpful teams at Shadows of Africa and Thousand Hills have years of experience in the travel business. Shadows of Africa can arrange virtually any kind of trip around Rwanda while Thousand Hills sells tickets for all airlines serving Rwanda.

Accessible Travel

Kigali is a tricky spot for less mobile travellers; it's a very hilly place and, though the roads and pavements are of very good quality by East African standards, there are always going to be issues moving about within the city. On the upside, taxis are cheap and plentiful. Very few hotels have lifts, though several of Kigali's better sleeping options do.