All began with my first Kigali walk. Stop!!! You don’t know where Kigali is? It’s the capital of the small central African country, called Rwanda. Plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes everywhere. A lot of passion fruits. I got surprised by the roads – most of them in very good condition. It’s very safe and clean. You can walk during the night, being sure no one will touch you or bother you.
Everyone compares Rwanda with the neighbour country of Kenya, where the case is opposite – dirty, dangerous and insecure. You cannot find many typical Rwandans, living in Kigali. Most of the citizens came back from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Congo after the genocide forced resettlement in 1994. A colourful mix. People here speak French, English, Swahili and some local strange language, called Rwandan, having nothing in common with Swahili, commonly spread in the neighbouring Kenya. I even can drive in Rwanda 🙂 It’s right hand driving and no need to adjust at all.
As it’s obvious above, I am completely amazed by Rwanda. While was exploring it, I found by myself
10 curious facts about Rwanda
1.The cheapest and the most popular taxi ride in Kigali is provided …by motorcycles. It sounds good and thrilling, right, but only when there is no rain. The rain comes in Rwanda suddenly, usually lie heavy showers and makes you wet for seconds.
It’s easy to stop a taxi motorcycle by simply lifting your hand directly in the street. There are plenty of motor taxies, but it’s necessary to negotiate the price, which varies between 400 and 700 Rwandan Franks ( 700 RF= 1 USD) for a city ride.
And here comes another surprise – you should share the helmet with other clients. The communal helmet cannot be denied, because it’s mandatory by law. Also, don’t be shocked when just sitting on the motorbike, the driver stops at the fuel station. Usually all tanks are intentionally kept empty and are getting filled only if the client confirms the ride. Make sure your driver understands the address and agrees the price. Most of them speak French and Rwandan, but very very basic English.
2. The plastic bags are prohibited by law and the Rwandans are allowed to use only paper ones. It’s a part of the government strategy for bio and eco development of the country. I was kindly requested upon my arrival at the airport to remove my plastic suitcase cover, as I am not allowed to enter the country with it. It’s impossible to find any plastic bags all over Rwanda. If somehow you import them and used them, even dare to throw them like some rubbish away, immediately will be punished by paying a serious fine.
3. Rwanda is named to have the best quality asphalt roads in Africa, with no holes on the surface. In the capital Kigali, there are really well done streets. Out of it, mostly in the junctions, could be seen how the original paths looked before- red soil tracks or red ashes tracks. The local people are proud of them and don’t mind it, because even after heavy rain showers , those red natural roads won’t get muddy.
4. “The king of the road” is the pedestrian. If someone hits by car a pedestrian, the driver is going directly to the jail, no matter of circumstances. It’s completely understandable, because only 10% or Rwandans owe a car. There is no traffic, but to protect the crowd of pedestrians, walking on both sides of the city streets or out of the city roads, they have been declared as majority. If 90% of the nation moves by feet, it’s reasonable if they have advantage in the traffic.
5. Rwanda is called IT paradise, popular with its best 4G net in Africa. But it’s unlikely to find speedy Wi Fi, even in Kigali. Most of the expacts, living or just visiting the country, quickly learn how and where to find working internet connection.
The most popular place, where you can get it, are some famous cafes in the capital. One of them, checked and proved, is the Public library top roof cafe. But make sure you will find a seat next to the router, which means close to the bar. Otherwise, sitting in the corners, away of the router, you will get no connection at all. To use it free of charge, it’s recommended to order at least a cup of tea or coffee.
6. If you have a car, no matter what kind of ( even a business car), then you can earn a good extra income. Many walking workers are looking for a lift daily, offering a small payment. There are spots in Kigali, where you can patiently wait for a car driver who stops to collect some potential clients. Never free of charge, but you can negotiate the price, depending on the distance and number of people in your group. All this above is completely illegal, but both sides find it very useful, cheap and normal. So, it’s commonly practiced.