Living In Rwanda Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Rwanda is the Land of a thousand hills that has many foreigners living a good life. It is green with a great climate year-round, and it also consists of four regions. Many celebrities have even made the country a popular tourist destination. You wouldn’t want to travel to Africa without visiting this country today.
While relocating to Rwanda can be challenging for expatriates, you need to know what it takes to travel. Depending on whether you’re relocating for a job or just visiting the country, you should see the lifestyle in this country. Do you really want to experience living in Rwanda and enjoy different activities?
Often referred to as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is dominated by volcanoes, lakes, mountains, and rainforests. Beautiful weather prevails here, and this has made the country a pleasant spot to call home. The locals are friendly, and they welcome new expats just as their family members.
Have you ever been surfing the internet to get the right information about living in Rwanda? O, you’ve been wondering why this place remains the best destination for celebrities. Worry less, as we’ve compiled all the information needed in this article. Would you like to know what we’ve unleashed?
If that sounds like a yes, this is the right platform. We will walk you through the pros and cons of living in Rwanda as an expat. Not only is that, but we have compiled this article to explain some of the unknown facts about the country. So, be rest assured that you’ll know what living in Rwanda entails as of today.
Why Living in Rwanda is Great?
Perhaps you never thought of relocating to Africa throughout your entire life. Or you don’t know where exactly Rwanda holds among the wealthiest countries in Africa? Well, here we‘ve come to tell you that living in Rwanda is one of the best for expatriates. Without further ado, below are the reasons people live in this country.
1. Home to Cleanest Country in Africa
Well, we can still tell you that Rwanda could compete to be among the cleanest countries in the world. Having known to be among Africa’s leaders regarding cleanliness and environmental awareness, the benefits of living in this country cannot be overemphasized.
In addition, you’ll notice a very good hygiene level at any restaurant in the country. Other than that, most cafes in Rwanda can stop individuals from using plastic straws, and generally, everyone tries to keep their country clean. Again, you might not be allowed to fly in Rwanda with plastic bags in your suitcase.
2. Safest Country in Africa
Another reason to tell you that living in Rwanda is great is absolutely that it’s the safest country. The locals are the warmest, kindest, and they’ll give you the help you need as an expat. In fact, you might even be surprised to know that Rwanda ranks every year among the ten countries in the world with the smallest gender gap.
Another thing to tell you is that female orgasm is considered necessary in sexual relationships and is praised in traditional songs and myths. Besides, if you enjoy going for a run at night with music in your ear, Rwanda’s capital should be your favorite destination.
3. Best Weather in Africa
Have you ever wanted to experience the life of cool weather? Research disclosed that Rwanda still has the best weather ever. More so, it’s never too hot and never too drops below 16°C and has never risen above 28°C. Also, in this country, there are rainy days and dry seasons.
So, you should prepare for hot days and dry ones. However, you may need a hat if you don’t have one. On the other hand, you may need to prepare for the kind of life to expect while living in this country as an expat. Meanwhile, nights in Rwanda have that magical tropical breeze, and you might need a blanket to cover up.
4. Home to fresh Water Beaches
Don’t be surprised to find some holiday-worthy beaches resorts along the shores of Lake Kivu. If you’re sure that the weather is nice, you could easily spend a few relaxing days sitting under a beach. Here, you’ll enjoy sunsets, boating, fishing, and many others, to mention a few.
5. Incredible Lifestyle and Cultures
Unlike Kenya or South Africa, for example, Rwanda has a lot of quality arts and crafts. Just about every town we went through in this country had an arts and crafts cooperative where expats could purchase handmade imigongo cow dung art, traditional artwork, ceramics, paintings, carvings, and many others.
10 Interesting Facts about Living in Rwanda
Rwanda is a small country whose name is often associated with the horrific genocide that happened in 1994, as history disclosed. And this was one of the tragic events that have ever happened in the country’s history. But, below are some interesting facts about Rwanda that will spark your curiosity and put the country on your bucket list.
1. Plastic Bags are banned in Rwanda
As an expat, don’t be surprised if you find it challenging to see plastic bags in the country. And what you might not expect to see is having Rwanda as one of the cleanliness countries in Africa. Moreover, its public spaces are always remarkably clean, and there is normally not a single piece of trash around.
2. Highest Percent of Women in Parliaments
Another surprising fact is to see Rwanda women participating in politics. With over 60 percent of the country’s parliament members being female, Rwanda has the highest percentage of women in the parliament in the world. And this is because; the government encourages their women to participate in politics, unlike other African countries and the rest of the world.
3. Home to Endangered Mountain Gorillas
If you want to explore African gorillas, Rwanda is one of the best countries to visit. As research disclosed, about 60 percent of the population of this endangered species can be found in the Virunga Massif – which the Volcanoes National Park in the country is part of.
Gorillas are fascinating animals, and seeing them in their natural habitat is a unique experience, especially keeping in mind that people share over 97 percent of their genetic code. That’s why you see Rwanda takes its conservation very seriously. This means less than 100 tourists a day are allowed to take part in the gorilla tracking, the costs for which are more than $1000.
4. Home to Four Official Language
When you see people speaking English in the country, don’t be surprised to see another set of folks communicating in French. This is because; the country is home to four official languages. The official languages of this country include; Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, French, and English language.
5. Home to a car-free Holiday
Have you ever come across a country celebrating a car-free day? Well, maybe you need to travel to Rwanda and see the wonders. As the government made it known, a car-free day is implemented each month to promote healthy living and sustainability in the country. On these days, the streets of Rwanda are filled up with people running, biking, roller skating, or any other type of outdoor sports.
6. Home to Producer of Tea and Coffee
It’s no doubt that Rwanda is a major producer of coffee and tea. In fact, the coffee I experienced the first day I visited the country was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. People often prepare it for visitors in a way they’d enjoy. Also, a food staple is a fish in Rwanda, particularly tilapia and simbaza. Other popular food items in the country include; brochette, samosas, chapatti, and many others, to mention a few.
7. Rwanda is known as a Birdwatcher’s Paradise
Of the 23 bird species in the world, we can tell you that Rwanda is home to seven of them, including many rare species. The Nyungwe forest, in particular, is famous for its diverse beauty and number of birds. More so, the Gold Crested Crane is the national bird, and people can see it at the Akagera National Park, that’s home to the elusive Shoebill.
8. Last Saturday and community Service
If your visitation to this country happens to fall on the last Saturday of the month, don’t be surprised when you see people cleaning their environment. In Rwanda, Umuganda is the Kinyarwanda word for community work.
It also means coming together to perform or achieve a common purpose or an outcome. So, everyone is expected to contribute during that day in whatever way they can, perhaps cleaning up a local space, assisting a neighbor with gardening needs, repairing public facilities, and more.
9. Conservation and Honey are Huge in Rwanda
Another thing to put into consideration why visiting this country is to know that honey and conservation are huge. In fact, the area surrounding Akagera National Park is the main source of the nation’s honey. In the later, a buffer zone around the park was created to discourage poaching.
Not only is that, but the best bees and honey farms were set up to replace the income previously earned through poaching. This, however, seems to be an effective way to encourage conservation and to protect the many species inside Akagera while also supporting a sustainable livelihood.
10. Listed in the Ninth safest Country
Another interesting fact about living in Rwanda is because of its safety and security measures. In Africa, the country is known as the ninth safest country in the world by the world economic forum and the 11th safest country in the world by a 2017 Gallup poll. This way, the country is incredibly safe and easy to visit.
Best Places for Expats in Rwanda
Since we all know that Rwanda is a country in East Africa, which borders other countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, and Burundi, as it’s landlocked, its small size doesn’t stop it from having a good number of interesting cities to visit. Without further ado, below are the best places for expats.
Known as the country’s capital, Kigali is among the most populated cities in the country. With more than 700,000 inhabitants, this place is a relatively new city since it was established in 1907 under the German rule of Rwanda. However, it’s been the country’s capital since 1962, when it gained independence from Germany. This process, however, has led to a significant increase in the city’s population.
The ancient capital of Rwanda is undoubtedly known today by the name of Huye. With just about 100,000 inhabitants, it’s the educational center of the country since it brings together most of the universities in the country. In addition, this wonderful city is home to a Catholic diocese, and there you can visit the National Museum of Rwanda.
This city is known as the third most populous city in Rwanda. This city is not far from the country’s capital, Kigali. As history disclosed, it was the city where the political center of the country was located during the events of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. As of today, this city hosts several administrations of its district.
Ruhengeri, located in the north of the country, is linked to tourism, as it is close to one of Rwanda’s biggest natural attractions. In addition to this fact, the city’s spectacular topography houses five volcanoes out of a total of eight that exist in the Virunga Mountains. Here, you can see the first national park that was created in all of Africa, and it borders two other important parks on the continent.
Top Tourist Attractions & Things to do in Rwanda
When it comes to things to do in Rwanda, there is a countless number of things. We can only tell you a few and the notable ones. But, when you visit this country, you’ll see that there are many things to explore. In this section, we have compiled some of the best places to visit while living in this country; check it out now.
a) Exploring the Volcanoes National Park
You might have been wondering why people keep telling you about the national park in Rwanda. Well, it’s not that you’ll only see a mountain gorilla, but there are many things you can do. Without a doubt, the number one thing you’d think about while living in Rwanda is gorilla trekking at volcanoes national Park.
Sharing a border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this national park is home to a growing number of critically endangered mountain gorillas. However, experts estimate that there are about 600 gorillas in the park, which is a significant increase from around 240-250 individuals in 1981.
b) Visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial
It’s always hard to imagine that just a couple of decades ago, Rwanda was amid a horrific genocide that would leave more than 800,000 people dead in just 100 days. Sequel to this, the country has come a long way from the devastating massacre, but the impact of this relatively recent history has left its mark on the lives of everyday people and generations to come.
On the other hand, tourists can learn about this horrific event at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Besides, the haunting museum dives into the timeline that led to the 1994 genocide, bringing the horrors to life through halls of beautiful photographs, artifacts, and information.
c) Exploring the Nyungwe Forest National Park
One of the most important forest conservation areas in all of Africa, Nyungwe Forest National Park contains a spectacular array of biodiversity, including 1,068 plant species, 322 species of birds, and 75 types of mammals. Moreover, most tourists come to this rainforest to track chimpanzees, which have been habituated to humans by park rangers since inception.
d) A visit to the King’s Palace Museum
When we tell you there are lots of things to do in Rwanda, you don’t have to doubt the fact. The star attractions at the museum are inyambo and their staggeringly large horns. Also, throughout the day, traditional singers lull the cows into a mellow state by belting poems.
Furthermore, tourists can explore the colonial-style home that was once the royal residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa in the mid-20th century. Not only is that, but the interior design here is particularly striking, blending Rwanda patterns with Europe-style furniture.
e) Exploring the Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is the same savannah and riparian swamp mosaic you’d expect to find in the super-famous game parks of the East African Rift today. And this is because; it’s about 1,200 square kilometers of land abut right up to the border with Tanzania, giving rise to roaming herds of giraffes.
Aside from these facts, the environment is beautiful too. With the meanders of the Kagera River giving way to shimmering Lake Shakani, oodles of papyrus swamps, and protected birding areas, the benefits of visiting this place cannot be overemphasized.
Ultimate Guide to Relocate to Rwanda
Relocating to a new country can be difficult, and as we’ve discussed earlier, Rwanda is not an exception. In this section, we will walk you through the things to know before moving to this country as an expat. It’s good to know the right thing to avoid deportation. Below are the things you should know.
Knowing the Culture is Essential
Not to avoid any cultural shock while moving to this country, it’s always better to go through their cultures and traditions and understand whether it’s what you can cope with as an expat. Well, no need to worry about any cultural shock in Rwanda because many of the locals are friendly and helpful.
Understand the Best Places to Live
If you’re moving to Rwanda, one first thing you should consider is the best places to live. Depending on your budget, you can see both rural and urban settlements, so check the ones mentioned above and select the one that could meet your lifestyle and budget.
Know the Factors that Affect Cost of Living
Getting to know the factors that affect the cost of living is also essential. For example, rent, transport, and internet bills should be highlighted so that you know the price of each in any city of your choice. While telecommunication companies will offer both limited 4G and 3G packages, you should get a glance at the average cost of living in each of the cities. This way, you’ll know the right one to pick.
Laws and Regulations in Rwanda
Laws and regulations are quite essential in this country. As we’ve mentioned earlier that the government is known to be among the cleanliness in Africa, you need to adhere to the rules and regulations. And for the cleanliness, this is achieved mainly due to strictly following laws and regulations.
Frequently Asked Questions about Living in Rwanda
Is there any living condition in Rwanda?
Of course, there are living conditions in Rwanda. In fact, half of the population still lives in poverty, and many children still drop out early from school. Meanwhile, advancement in education and agriculture, especially given the large rural population, will be essential for Rwanda’s continued development.
Is Rwanda rich or poor?
Even with the tradition and cultures, we can still classify Rwanda as a developing country. Aside from that, the 1994 war obliterated the country’s economy, human resource base, social fabric, and institutions. That being said, almost 90 percent of the population lives on less than USD2 per day, and a half of its population lives on less than USD1 per day.
Why you move to Rwanda?
There are many reasons to relocate to Rwanda. As mentioned earlier, the country is known as the Land of a Thousand hills. Besides, it is dominated by mountains, rainforests, lakes, and volcanoes. Locals are also some of the friendliest, making many foreigners want to relocate to the country.
Is Rwanda a peaceful nation?
Of course, yes, the country has been ranked 79th among the most peaceful country on the Global Peace Index. Recording the fifth-largest improvement in peace and moving up 25 places in the ranking over the year, Rwanda is a good place to visit.
If you’re planning to live and work in Rwanda, you’ll generally need to understand the pros and the guides mentioned above. Accommodation, budget, jobs, and many others should also be considered. Nonetheless, refer to this article for more about living in Rwanda as an expat.