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Is Rwanda Cheap To Travel To?

Rwanda is fast becoming a popular travel destination, capturing the interest of many travellers. You may be asking yourself the question, is Rwanda cheap to travel to?

This post discusses how cheap Rwanda is which should help you budget for a trip to Rwanda and work out if Rwanda suits your travel budget.

Contents – Is Rwanda Cheap To Travel To?

Why Do People Visit Rwanda?

Rwanda is a small African nation situated centrally and bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. It is often considered to be one of the safest African countries and has really developed in recent years. 

Although a small country, it is filled with incredible things to see and do. In Rwanda, you’ll find rainforests, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, valleys and so much more. 

A popular reason for visiting Rwanda is to go gorilla trekking. This is where you go trekking in the endangered mountain gorillas natural habitat and observe them. It’s an incredible opportunity to see a rare species up close and also supports the local community and deters poaching. 

Other reasons why people visit Rwanda include volcano hiking (they have several dormant volcanoes) and epic safaris.

For more examples of things to do in Rwanda, check out my ultimate Rwanda bucket list which gives lots of ideas of things to do in Rwanda. 

How Expensive Is Rwanda?

This is a tricky question to answer as it really depends on what kind of traveller you are and what type of experiences you are looking to have in Rwanda. 

Generally speaking, you can get by in Rwanda on $25 per day. This allows you to eat in local restaurants, get around the country and do some activities. If you choose to do more high priced activities, then this will be more. 

The average nightly hotel price is around $30 per night. This can be significantly more if you choose to stay in luxury accommodation or lodges. 

How Expensive Is Accommodation in Rwanda?

Photo by Ivo Posthumus

There is a lot of luxury tourism in Rwanda. You can stay in luxury lodges within the rainforest or within a gorilla sanctuary. For example, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is located within a gorilla sanctuary and costs between $2,600 and $3,077 per night! 

There are also a lot of budget friendly options in Rwanda too. All across Rwanda, you’ll find reasonably priced guesthouses, hostels and Airbnbs. If your budget is smaller, avoid the luxury lodges and fancy hotels and you’ll definitely find a nice hotel to suit your budget. These lower cost options will be a lot simpler and will have much less amenities/facilities but should have everything you need.

You can find hostels that range in price from $10-$15 per night. These will definitely be the cheapest option but you will probably be staying in a dorm for this price. 

There are many hotels/guesthouses around the country that will charge between $20 and $50 per night. Some a little less and some a little more. 

Another fantastic and increasingly popular option is staying in an Airbnb. There are plenty of options on here and you can select if you’d like a private room, entire place etc. 

How Expensive Is Transport In Rwanda?

Transport in Rwanda is fairly cheap and there are a few different options to choose from.

One of the easiest options is using the bus. These run nationwide and you can expect to pay between $2.50 and $4.80 for this. Buses are best if you’re wanting to travel a longer distance. They are reliable, safe and comfortable. 

A good, and cheap, option for travelling within the city or town is by motorbike taxi. This is also one of the fastest ways to travel around the city. Expect to pay between $0.40 and $1.10 for a motorbike ride. 

Taxis are also accessible in Rwanda but these will cost significantly more. An average ride will cost you between $2.20 and $4.30 for short journeys. Longer journeys will cost more.  

How Expensive Are Activities In Rwanda?

Gorilla trekking is a very expensive activity, mainly due to the permit required to do it. For a 2 day gorilla trek, you can expect to pay around $2,000.

The majority of this cost is for the permit which currently costs $1,500. You won’t be able to go gorilla trekking without paying this fee so if your budget is tight and you really want to do this then Rwanda might not be the best place for you.

If gorilla trekking is your main reason for visiting, then why not look at Uganda instead where the permit is much cheaper at $600.

There are plenty of other activities in Rwanda that won’t break your budget. For example, safaris and visiting the National Parks such as Akagera National Park or Nyungwe Forest National Park which are much more reasonably priced. You can also visit other scenic places such as Lake Kivu or Mount Kigali for free (other than travel costs). 

If you really want to keep costs low then avoid the National Parks as they do charge a fee. Instead head out on your own and go exploring! Rwanda is filled with nature, valleys, hills, mountains and much more – get yourself some good walking boots and get lost in nature!

How Expensive Is Food In Rwanda?

Generally the cost of eating out at restaurants is fairly cheap in Rwanda. 

The cost to dine at a local restaurant will tend to be between $3.25 – $10 depending on the restaurant. You’d only pay more than this if you were going to a really high-end restaurant. Dining at a Western/international restaurant will be on the higher end between $8 – $15.

How Expensive Are Flights To Rwanda?

The cost of your flight will be one of the most significant costs of the trip. Of course, this will widely vary depending on where you are flying from.

The best way to work this out is using an online tool such as Skyscanner to find the average flight cost from your location. I’ve listed a few common starting points below with average prices.

Please note: flight prices also vary depending on when you travel and the airline you choose.

London – $460 – $600

New York – $500 – $700

Los Angeles – $670 – $900

Sydney – $900 – $1,200

Toronto – $520 – $650

If you’re already in Africa then the flight cost will be much less. 

Quick Tips For Saving Money In Rwanda

  1. Avoid tour companies as the activities/tours tend to be much more expensive.
  2. Dine in local restaurants rather than Western/international restaurants.
  3. Take public transport such as buses or public motorbikes rather than taxis.
  4. Avoid expensive activities such as gorilla trekking as the permit costs $1,500. 
  5. Try to walk whenever possible rather than taking transport. 
  6. Travel during the rainy season for cheaper travel and accommodation.

Thanks for reading this guide which answers the question: is Rwanda cheap to travel to. Hopefully it gave an insight into the costs of Rwanda and should help you budget your trip. 

Happy Travels!