Kigali - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We lived in an embassy provided house in Kagugu neighborhood. Most embassy families and expats live there. A few families are in Kiyovu, Kaciyru and Nyarutarama. Houses are large and nice with big beautiful yards. There are few apartments which also tend to be big. Depending where you live commute time can vary. Kigali is very widespread and hilly so a car is necessary and traffic can be tough. In a normal traffic day it might take 15 min by car to go to embassy in Kaciyru. - Oct 2023

Housing for most embassy personnel are spacious stand alone houses. Housing is one of the best aspects of this post. Homes are generally very large and have some nice outdoor garden space. Many expat homes are in the Kagugu neighborhood, which is very upscale for Kigali, and has nice residential streets and sidewalks. It's a nice friendly neighborhood and kids are able to play outside a lot, walk to each others homes, it's possible to jog and use strollers, etc. - Aug 2023

Houses are typically large with beautiful gardens. However, mold is an issue so be sure to inspect your home before you get your HHE. We had to move into temp housing and then got reassigned housing because our home had lots of black mold making us all sick. We were very happy with the newer home assigned to us which was mold-free. - Jan 2022

Almost everyone (including singles, couples and people with kids) lives in a big house, most with decent-sized yards. Age of housing varies widely, and many have problems like mold, faulty AC units, etc. Commute time from any neighborhood to the embassy is 10 minutes, and the commute time from pretty much any house to pretty much any restaurant or store is no more than 20 minutes. In short: Kigali is a small town. - Jul 2020

Some housing is available that mostly meets western standards at the same prices as big Western cities, but chances are you will have problems with something, maybe the electricity, maybe the water, maybe mold, etc. For travelers on a budget, cheaper options are also available, but it's not a particularly cheap city. - Sep 2019

We have a large open layout house on a double lot. Our house is not common, as most are very sectioned off and are on small parcels of land. Most houses are very large, and the ones in the housing pool tend to be newer construction. It is hard to drive 30 minutes and still be in Kigali; most commute times are 15 minutes. - Jun 2018

Our house is a single level detached family home. Most houses are fairly large and multi-leveled. Floors are always tile (usually of varying styles, sometimes varying styles in the same room!) - houses are not of the "open floor plan" design; they are very cut up often with unusable spaces, but this is typical in most places we've been. Most families are in Kagugu, which is a newer neighborhood with dirt roads, large houses, and smaller yards. Some families are in Kimihurura, Kacyiru, or Kiyovu...these neighborhoods mostly have smaller, older homes with larger yards (with some exceptions). - Dec 2017

I have a four bedroom, 3.5 bath house with a lovely garden. Most people have houses, although there are now also a few apartments in the housing pool. The apartments are small compared to the houses, but large compared to DC. Housing is located around the city.

I live about 10-15 minutes from work. Most people commute about that long, maybe a little more. The city isn't large, and traffic isn't terrible, but the roads are very winding, so movement from one side of the city to the other takes about 30 minutes. - Jan 2017

Commute is quite short - 10-15 mins max, and there's rarely what Americans would consider traffic. - Apr 2016

Housing is often oversized with nice yards for gardening. Typical commute is about 10 minutes driving. Most expats live in Kagugu, but the other neighborhoods each have wonderful offerings and expats as well. Everything is pretty close so you're never too far away from anyone. - Oct 2014

Most people live in single family homes and have a 15-minute commute to work. Traffic is nonexistent in Kigali. Houses are large with big yards. We really love our home here! Kimihurura is a fabulous neighborhood to live in! - Jul 2014

Large houses close to the embassy. Traffic on its worse day in Kigali is still not that bad. - Sep 2013

Houses are large and pretty, but of poor quality construction. Most have decent yards. You are never more than 20 minutes away from any destination in Kigali. - May 2012

Mostly single family homes, some apartments and a few duplexes where you'll share a wall with your neighbor. Housing size is usually oversized and many end up in housing way to big for their position - many times it is all about timing. The Embassy is centrally located to all the housing neighborhoods - commute time is anywhere from 5 minutes (in the Embassy's neighborhood) to 20 minutes in the outer neighborhoods. - Apr 2012

It varies. But no matter what house you get, it is a maintenance nightmare. There are no rules or regulations governing construction, so don't be surprised if things break immediately after moving in. - Jul 2011

Most of the housing is five to ten minutes away in the morning, and if you're lucky, you'll get the one of the houses less than a mile from the embassy. - Oct 2010

Everything is about 15 miutes from everywhere else. Traffic is near non-existant. Expat housing ranges from very large to condos. - Jan 2010

From small dumpy, but very cheap (10,000 Rwf/month) locals apartments to hugh homes for several thousand dollars a month. - Sep 2008

Housing is difficult to acquire in business and expat areas of the community. Regardless of accommodation, water, electricity, and waste disposal can be problematic. City water may not be available from hours to days. Electricity to various parts of Kigali is also problematic. - Aug 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More