Kigali - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find almost everything in Kigali. Last year lots of nice big supermarkets opened up and the variety of items has increased. Sawa city, Simba are the biggest ones. I was able to find everything in Kigali. However, Kigali is expensive as most of the products are imported. Local dairy products are good and cheaper as it is the produce. You can find cheap fresh produce in local markets. Many families grow veggies in their gardens too. - Oct 2023

Produce is inexpensive and of high quality. Anything imported is very expensive and likely poorer quality. - Aug 2023

There’s not much available in the meat and dairy department. There are a couple small stores that will sell imported cheeses, ice cream, and pantry goods for a steep price. Expect to pay between $12-$20 for one tub of Philadelphia cream cheese. Fruits and veggies are usually yummy and cheap. Local milk is good as long as you or your househelp pasteurizes it. Every time I would travel back to the US or a place with good food, I would bring meat, cheese, sausage, butter, etc with me in my suitcase. It’s worth it! - Jan 2022

The stores in Rwanda leave a lot to be desired. You can always find the bare bones (e.g., rice and pasta), but a lot of other items are hit or miss (like light soy sauce for said rice, and spaghetti sauce for said pasta). Local produce at the markets, especially Kimironko, is fantastic and basically free. Produce at any Simba is usually pretty low-quality--if available at all--but Frulep and Garden of Eden are good options for those who don't want to "brave" the local markets. A note on Kimironko: most people seem to be intimidated to regularly shop there, but there is nothing to be worried about. If you find your fruit guy/gal, your egg guy/gal, your produce guy/gal--which admittedly may take about four times of going once a week--it will actually be a good shopping experience for the rest of your time at post. Some people send their housekeepers to the market and avow that their housekeepers get lower prices than expats do, but if you find your people/stands and are loyal customers, you will pay local prices. You might even make a local acquaintance or two. - Jul 2020

Local products are limited, seasonal, but very affordable. Imported products often arrive via airplane from Europe, making for very expensive costs. We would often bring home meat, cheese, frozen items when on vacation in South Africa, Europe, or even Nairobi. - Sep 2019

If you buy locally food is less expensive, though meat is still close to American prices. Chicken is more expensive than beef, and beef tends to be the least expensive of the meats. This is likely cultural, as historically Rwandans used to only eat beef. - Jun 2018

Anything imported (ie cheese,yogurt, chocolate, non-tropical fruits, cured meats, etc) are quite expensive and not always available. Recently, the price of decent butter shot up significantly. Sometimes there will be weeks when butter and milk can't be found...but not too often. There are some good grocery delivery services (Get It, an American run business; Frank at Garden of Eden; GroceWheels to name a few) and produce is generally pretty good and not too expensive. I do feel like we spend a lot on groceries though. - Dec 2017

This is a landlocked, agricultural, African country. There is fresh produce, but quality is occasionally a miss. Any familiar food is imported, and you pay for it. A lot of items come from Kenya, and aren't terribly priced, but products/brands you are familiar with come from far away and cost a lot. - Jan 2017

Groceries that are for the Western market can be quite pricey so most people order their dry groceries from the pouch. Selection also varies and therefore it's better to plan your consumables shipment wisely, especially items like wine and olive oil. - Apr 2016

Local prices are not too bad, but imports are very expensive. Cream cheese can set you back US$10 or more. - Oct 2014

There are several grocery stores in the area, availability depends on the day. Items come and go. Produce is cheap and you get the best deal if your housekeeper gets the produce. Groceries cost a bit more as Rwanda is landlocked. - Jul 2014

We spend around US$150 a week on a family of four. It all depends on if you are buying and eating like a Rwandan, or if you are purchasing a lot of imported goods. Chicken breast cost about US$10 for 1 kilo, milk is about US$5 for 5 liters, and produce is reasonable at the market, but expensive at the grocery store. - Sep 2013

Household supplies are available, typically of the South African variety. Groceries have improved a lot in the past year, but items like cheese, butter, or chicken can disappear for months at a time. The produce is generally good, as is the beef. You can save money and add variety if you shop the local markets. - May 2012

Groceries are available but pricey. Items are grown and made here, but many are also imported from Uganda, Kenya, UAE, South Africa, Belgium. - Apr 2012

Food prices are increasing here. Inflation is hurting the average citizen. - Jul 2011

Get your consumable goods into the country asap. There is a small commissary at post, but that is only supported by using other peoples' consumables rate. If you don't bring it, it won't exist in your house. - Oct 2010

There is a lot of fresh produce, however as Rwanda is a landlocked country most imported things are expensive and American brands are scarce. Dairy and chicken are also very expensive. Unless you are willing to pasteurize your own milk long life is the only milk available. I think the long life milk is good. - Jan 2010

Imported items extremely expensive, maybe they will come down a bit when Nuki Mat (Kenyan grocery chain) opens. Local meats and produce was cheap. Don't bother buying the overpriced seafood that was always freezer burned. - Sep 2008

The majority of imported items originate from Europe and South Africa. The majority of expats who live in the community will buy fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish from the local markets or butcher shops. Sundry and toiletries can be costly. - Aug 2008

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