Getting Around in Kigali

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Kigali can be confusing to get around because most streets do not have posted names, and even if the street does have a name, no one seems to use it to give directions. People use landmarks (neighborhood/districts, then buildings, shops, hotels, churches etc) to describe to someone how to get to a location. This is probably why most businesses that you will see on the internet or in guide books have PO Boxes and no street address.

Another confusing aspect to Kigali's transportation is that the city is comprised of several hills, which each hill and valley looking very similar to the other when you first arrive.  Most streets go horizontally along the hills, and few go vertically, so although a location can appear nearby on the map, it can take a while to get from one place to the other while driving or walking.

One more thing to note is that pronunciation of a place can be either in English or French, but rarely both. So that means UTC (main downtown shopping mall) is pronounced in English, but the bar/club Papyrus is pronounced in French (pah-pee-rousse). The main hospital is an exception where Roi Faysal or King Faisal seems to be understood either way.

To get around there are 2 types of taxis (car and motorbike) as well as a limited bus system. The car taxis cost around 5 to 8 USD to use (in 2010), whereas the motorbikes cost around a dollar. You can hail either by raising your hand on the side of the road. Car taxis are mostly unmarked cars, and motorbike taxi drivers wear a green vest and green helmet, and are sanctioned by the state. Be careful when getting on a bike as the exhaust pipe will instantly burn exposed skin and not all bikes have proper protection on their exhaust pipes. Be sure to negotiate the price before getting in or getting on, as prices vary from driver to driver. Keep in mind that gasoline prices are probably higher in Rwanda than in your country.

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October 05, 2010 change by qaya

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