Rwanda trip cost can be determined by different factors although many people generally believe that Rwanda is an expensive destination compared to its East African counterparts which is both correct and wrong!
To establish the cost of a trip to Rwanda, we need to first determine the purpose of your visit; are you visiting Rwanda as a tourist, visiting family/friends, or coming for a conference (short stay)? The purpose of your visit defines how long you need to stay and thus, how much money you will need.
Today, we will concentrate more on the cost of visiting Rwanda as a tourist which in turn provides useful insights for those planning to visit for different purposes. The major factors that determine the price of your trip to Rwanda mainly include;
- Price of the Gorilla Permit; a Gorilla permit in Rwanda currently costs $1,500 which is more than twice the price in Uganda at $700 and $400 for DR Congo although trekking in Congo can only be done at Kahuzi-Biega National Park to see the Lowland Gorillas. Therefore, if the purpose of your trip to Rwanda is to see mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in Volcanoes National Park, prepare to part with $1,500 for the Gorilla permit before anything else. Other popular tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park include Golden Monkey trekking at $100 per person and the Dian Fossey Trek at $75 per person.
- Cost of the Chimpanzee permit in Nyungwe; The cost of a Chimpanzee permit in Nyungwe Forest National Park currently is $150 and that is on top of the $100 entry fee. Other activities in Nyungwe Forest include the canopy walk at $60 and nature walks and hikes which range between $30 to $60 per person for the different trails.
- Park entrance fees and activities; this is mainly in reference to Akagera National Park which is the major destination for wildlife safaris/tours for game viewing and boat safari. The entrance fee is $100 per person, per day for 1 night, $150 for 2 nights, and $200 for 3 nights. Children ages 6 to 12 years pay $50 for 1 night, $75 for 2 nights, and $100 for 3 nights respectively. The scheduled one-hour boat trip is charged $35 per person for the morning and $45 for the sunset boat cruise. Children pay $20 and $30 respectively. These are the popular activities for many visitors to Akagera Park but there are several other activities that can be done here including behind-the-scenes experiences, walking the line (fence), and community cultural experiences among others.
The above are the key destinations for tourists visiting Rwanda and the prices above are levied by the Government or those in charge of the parks. They are therefore fixed and non-negotiable.
We will now dive into the other factors that affect the cost of a trip to Rwanda for both tourists and non-tourists alike!
Accommodation; the cost of accommodation in Rwanda varies depending on the location. It is easier to get clean and affordable accommodation in Kigali compared to farther destinations like Akagera, Nyungwe, and Musanze. Budget accommodation in Kigali ranges between $25 to $60 per room, per night on a bed and breakfast basis, $70 to $180 for mid-range, and $200 on-wards for luxury facilities.
Outside Kigali, accommodation is a challenge as it is hard to find a decent facility on a low-end budget. Accommodation near the National Parks ranges between $60 to $100 for budget, $150 to $250 for mid-range, and $300 plus for luxury accommodation.
Most facilities inside the parks are Luxury facilities. The other option inside the park is to camp. Camping ranges between $15 to $25 per person with your own tent.
Transportation; the cost of hiring a car in Rwanda ranges between $60 and $300 per day, depending on the type of vehicle without fuel and the driver. Fuel is relatively more costly but still less than what it costs in the US and many other places in Europe and the advantage is that being a small country, the distance between destinations is shorter and you do not need a lot of fuel.
When on budget, public transport is the best option; public transport in Rwanda is quite organized but do not expect a lot of comfort as the vehicles are usually crowded with both humans and animals. So, you have to keep an open mind when using public transport. The average cost of public transportation between major towns is RWF800 ($1).
Cost of food in Rwanda; when booking accommodation in Rwanda, you will notice that most hotels and lodges do offer bed and breakfast only and not half-board or full-board options. This is because most menus are a la carte and food is charged separately. Food at comfortable hotels and lodges costs $15 to $45 but for the frugal ones, you can find decent meals at city restaurants for $2 to $10.
Flights; different carriers are flying into Rwanda from the US, UK, and Europe which gives you the advantage to compare and get a fair rate. RwandAir operates direct flights from London and other destinations in Europe to Kigali. Other popular carriers include KLM, Brussels Airlines, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, and Kenya Airways among others.
All the above combined, greatly affect your Rwanda trip cost and determine how much money you will need. And then, other questions pop up!
Is Rwanda safe to visit; is it safe for tourists?
The answer is absolutely YES; Rwanda is very safe to visit for everyone. Tourists, business people, diplomats, sports personalities, famous musicians, and world celebrities visit Rwanda every year without any safety challenges or compromises. It is in fact one of the safest countries in Africa.
Why is the Gorilla permit so expensive in Rwanda?
It is important to note that Gorilla trekking is the most sought-after activity for most visitors to Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park where the Mountain Gorillas live is a small park. The high permit price therefore is more of a conservation effort to limit the numbers that visit them each day. Gorillas are highly endangered and the park needs to be protected from mass tourism which can affect it in the end.
There are several other activities that can be done in Rwanda and you can contact us for guidance and travel tips.