Kigali - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUV for sure especially if you will venture outside the city to the safari park or the gorillas. The roads that are unpaved can be quite a challenge to navigate with a low-clearance car. - Jan 2022

If you bring a car, definitely bring a 4WD vehicle. Toyota Rav 4s are the most common vehicles in Rwanda, so Toyota parts and service are readily available. If you bring a US or UK brand, bring plenty of spare parts. If you plan on doing safari driving in Akagera (highly recommended!), you can do so in a Rav 4, but your experience will be better in a more robust vehicle. - Jul 2020

A light 4v4 like a Rav4 will be good for the times you want to go to a National Park or your or your friends house is on a street that isn't paved yet. Major highways and urban roads are high quality. - Sep 2019

The cars that you can find, and fix relatively cheaply, are Toyota Rav 4 and Suzuki Grand Vitara. In general bring a Toyota, as many other vehicles cannot be serviced, or will be very expensive to fix. Kigali is paved, but if you want to go to Akagera, or hiking Mt. Bisoke, you will need something with higher clearance. No issues of burglary/carjacking, but small pieces of your car may go missing (e.g., lights and mirrors). - Jun 2018

4WD, with decent clearance. The roads in Rwanda are pretty good but if you do go off the paved roads they get bad in a hurry. Some neighborhoods aren't paved and get bad in the wet season. There are a few semi-reliable mechanics but stick with the usual brands for the region like Toyota, Nissan... Don't bring a sedan.

Burglary is pretty common. Don't leave anything of value in your car. People often have random exterior parts stolen (logos, mirrors, lights) if parked in an unsupervised area...don't bring a car you're super attached to! - Dec 2017

You'll want some variety of SUV. I have a Toyota RAV4 which I love. Public roads are paved, but even a lot of neighborhoods aren't and have deep potholes. Driving out of the city means a lot of rough road. Toyota is a good brand to have. No real risk of carjacking. - Jan 2017

Bring a 4 wheel drive for sure, extra tires, and whatever spare car parts you may need like air filters, an extra set of wipers, oil for oil changes. - Apr 2016

No restrictions on location, no issues with carjackings, but do lock your doors when you leave your vehicle. A high clearance vehicle is best as residential roads are generally not paved. - Oct 2014

You want a four-wheel drive with clearance so that you can go to Akagera. Bring parts! - Jul 2014

Small SUV is fine. The more exploring you wish to do the larger the vehicle you need. A sedan type car would not work here as only primary roads are paved. You will be living on a bumpy dirt road. - Sep 2013

Toyota SUV. Good luck getting any other brand repaired. All of the major roads in Rwanda are paved, but secondary and tertiary roads even in Kigali are unpaved dirt tracks that wash out in the rain. - May 2012

S-U-V.Some housing neighborhoods are on dirt roads and are a mess when it rains. You also need a car with some power - you'll need it when overtaking slow moving trucks on the hills. - Apr 2012

You can get by with a sedan as roads are nicely paved. The only place that I have needed an SUV is for the gorilla trekking. - Jul 2011

SUV all the way. You should get no smaller than a RAV4, but make sure to bring parts. Don't bring your brand new Humvee with titanium rims, you'll just get your feelings hurt. Saftey concern - Never stop for anyone at night. - Oct 2010

The best car to bring is come sort of SUV. Although most main roads are now paved or cobbled secondary roads are still dirt and driving on them can be quiet and experience. The rainy season does a number on them. Toyota is the most common car and so parts are more readily accessible as is repair. It is not allowed to import right hand drive cars (British style). In early 2006 there was a carjacking, it was quickly addressed, and since then there have been no carjackings. - Jan 2010

4-wheel drive, Toyota. No car jackings that I ever heard of. No driving on the last saturday of each month from 8am-12 because of Umaganda (national work day). - Sep 2008

The majority of roads in the city and/or in the country side are dirt roads, hilly, and in need of service. Thus good tires, gasoline efficient, and 4 wheel drive capabilities is a must. Older model toyota's with steering wheels on the left (driving on the ride side of the road) are recommended due to taxes, parts, repair, and the law. Gasoline purchase is in liters. Gasoline prices for a liter of gas is over US$2. - Aug 2008

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