Rwanda is amazingly a beautiful nation and a great travel destination in Africa. Its compact size is advantageous in the sense that visitors can explore the whole of it provided they have time. The best way to explore and experience what Rwanda has is by driving and it all requires adequate preparation to connect to every part of the country.
When driving in Rwanda, there are many laws and traffic road rules to be respected at all times to ensure that you have a smooth journey to and from your destination. These include;
- Drive on the right side of the road while in Rwanda.
- Persons above 18 years can drive for categories A & B, and above 20 years categories C,D,E & F.
- Don’t drive when drunk- it is fine for it. The legal blood alcohol level in Rwanda is 0.08%. Random breath testing can be carried out by police and this is legal.
- Use of a helmet is mandatory while on a motorcycle.
- Wearing seatbelts is recommended by all car occupants.
- 3rd party insurance is needed in Rwanda.
- Keep speed limit to 40kms/hr when driving in towns and while in provinces, 60kms/hr.
- For emergencies, don’t hesitate to reach out to the police on 112.
- The use of cell phones when driving is strongly prohibited except for phones that are equipped with a hands-free kit.
- When police stop you obey and you should have a valid driver’s license or international driving permit, car insurance certificates, and vehicle registration documents.
General information about Rwanda
Location: Rwanda is found in East-Central Africa and is known for its rolling hills, and breathtaking sceneries. Rwanda is among the 3 countries where some of the 1063 mountain gorillas left on earth can be spotted in the wild. These are endangered species with 98% DNA similar to that of humans.
Kigali is the capital city of the Republic of Rwanda and by size, Rwanda is small and ranked 46th largest in Africa. Kigali is centrally located and often a starting point for most safaris to the remotest parts of Rwanda – say national parks like Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, or Volcanoes National Park.
While in Rwanda, the commonest language spoken is Kinyarwanda although French and English have also been added. For any assistance when driving in Rwanda, you can interact in French or English, or better still hire a car with a local driver-guide in Rwanda who can speak the language to ease your interaction. We have several professional English-speaking driver guides or French drivers to lead you through your journey in Rwanda.
Hiring a car in Rwanda
Rwanda is a compact nation making it easier to explore/get around in a rental car. There are several established car hire companies offering the best rental cars for tourists to hire and get around Rwanda. The beauty about dealing with a car hire company like us is that you are guaranteed 27/7 roadside assistance and insurance is covered for the vehicle.
What is required of you to rent a car? A car hire agreement- a contract between you and the car hire agency. Some of the valuable documents you should have to rent a car and drive include a valid native driver’s license, international driver’s permits, and secondary proof of identity or passport.
The car types- Depending on the purpose of your road trip, there are plenty of vehicles to hire in Rwanda at affordable rates. They include luxury vehicles such as Mercedes AMG G63, 2 or 4-door sports cars, safari cars such as Toyota Land Cruisers, Super customs, safari vans, and more; family vehicles including coaster buses.
Car rental rates differ depending on the car type and car hire company. An average vehicle for hire can be booked at USD70 for a day. The prices keep hiking or decreasing depending on the car type you choose. The cheapest model and most popularly used is the 4×4 Toyota Rav4 rental car in Rwanda which you can get at USD50 per day. A safari Land Cruiser in Rwanda can be booked for a day at USD200.
Age requirements – the minimum age for driving in Rwanda is 18 years which is for category A and B cars and for categories C, D, E, and F, you should be 20 years. And those below 26 years who plan to hire a car in Rwanda will be required to pay a young driver surcharge of between USD12 and USD15 per day.
Insurance – rental cars usually come when fully insured, but better to consult with the local tour operator on the ground. This saves you from costs on insurance and in cases such as accidents.
What are the driver’s license requirements?
If you plan to drive in Rwanda, a valid driver’s license and international driver’s permits are needed that is for foreign travelers visiting for a vacation. Besides, you also need car insurance and vehicle registration certificates. Without these documents, you may fall trap of fines en route to your destination. The insurance and registration are usually with the local car rental agency or company in Rwanda.
Requirements for applying for an international driver’s license in Rwanda include a written document to the commissioner of road safety (a request letter) plus a copy of your native license and visa and making payment.
Places to visit
There are several tourist sites to visit in Rwanda and its compact size even makes it even easier to explore most of them even while on a short or long safari. The main areas of visitor interest on Rwanda safari tours include the 4 National Parks: Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park, and Volcanoes National Park.
The main activities to expect to be part of in Rwanda include game drives (only conducted in Akagera), chimpanzee tracking (Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park- these also protect a large number of primates including colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, baboons), mountain gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri.