Thursday, 14 February 2019

An Overview of Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the countries that I have wanted to visit from 2015 but every time I made plans something always had to come up . However , in 2018 it was mandatory like I did not have an option thanks to my good friend Stella who motivated me and we ended up being travel buddies. If you have not been to Rwanda yet I will advice you to add it on your bucket list. There is a lot to learn plus the country is very beautiful.

We are all aware of what happened in Rwanda in 1994 and I must agree that the country has done a lot to where it is right now.  Kigali which is the capital city of Rwanda reminded me of Morocco due to the organization of palm trees all over. Then it hit me that both Morocco and Rwanda had bilateral relations with the French.

Requirements of getting to Rwanda 
Rwanda has the visa on arrival policy. However , for East African nationalities we do not require a visa to go to Rwanda. All you need is your passport or a national identification card and your yellow fever card. I traveled by bus but I guess it is not a hustle as well if you opt to travel by flight. As of now Rwanda Air  flies from Nairobi to Kigali. If you want to travel by bus then I will highly recommend you travel using Modern Coast.

Rwandan Patriotic Front Headquarters

Katuna border
At the border you will notice the difference between Uganda and Rwanda. The Rwandan police officers uniform is black from head to toe whereas for Ugandans the officers are dressed in white uniforms. The officers will then ask you to show them your passport or identification card and from there you will move towards the immigration office. Depending on what time you reach at the border there is always a queue but it moves pretty fast.

What to expect at the border :
  • Do not take photos at the immigration point or the border because it is forbidden.
  • All your luggage's will be checked due to the plastic ban in Rwanda. Since we also have the ban in Kenya it is not a big deal.
  • There is a public toilet at the border and you can pay in Kenya shillings , Uganda shillings or Rwanda franc.
  • You can opt to change your money at the border but you really need to be careful. Be updated on the currency so that you are not conned.
  • Be careful with your luggage so as to avoid a mix up with other peoples luggage especially when travelling using public transport.

The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali and it exceeded my expectations. I am sure that you have heard that Rwanda is the cleanest country in Africa . Well you should go there and judge for yourself if you have not been to Rwanda everything looked so organized and in order. There are motorbikes almost everywhere but they are so organized that all the motorists have the same reflectors which is red in color as well as the helmets and it is a norm for every  passenger to wear a helmet.

For the entire one week that I spent in Kigali traffic was not that bad like in other countries. It was bearable and the security is also very tight both during the day and at night as well. Thus Rwanda is also one of the safe countries in Africa. I even asked a Rwandan friend of mine if people get mugged in the streets and his response was that the crime rate is very low.

Just like Morocco the public transport system has been managed in a way that every citizen has to debit money into their transport card and that serves as the transport fare depending on the route and charges. Hence , if you are a tourist and you do not have any Rwandan friend then it is better to move around using a taxi or the motorbikes. The drivers drive on the left as compared to Kenya where we drive on the right.

One thing that I loved about the country was the food. It was very affordable hence, if you are on a bed and breakfast basis you do not need to be worried or stressed on buying food from the hotel that you are staying if you are on a budget. They're  many restaurants in town which basically charge 300 Kenya shillings 3($) for a buffet and trust you me the food is a lot .

I got the chance to stay at the Mirror Hotel and I can totally recommend it because it is was very close to most of the social amenities. Thanks to foreign and local investors, you can get to stay in a budget or luxury hotel and there are various hotels that you can get to choose from As a way of furthering development the Rwanda Development Board is open to investors where you can register your business and get a license in 24 hours. Thus if your interested in investing in Rwanda click here .

Places to visit 
Rwanda is a very beautiful country surrounded by many hills and I will totally go back soon. Below are places you should visit :

Kigali Genocide Memorial 
Inema Art Center 
Nyamata Church 
National Museum of Rwanda
Kigali Art Center
Akagera National Park
Gorilla trekking

Well that is it for Rwanda , as citizens of various states we have the responsibility to love each other despite ethnicity , race , ideologies and political class.  The same way your life is sacred is the same way your neighbor's life is important as well . Love peace and unity should be everyone core values. Asides from the tourism sector travelling to Rwanda impacted me in various ways and changed my perception especially when it comes to politics.
Uzagerageze gusura Rwanda! 

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