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Languages in Rwanda

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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Languages in Rwanda

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By Susan Swanepoel

Safari Travel Planner

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Unusually for Africa, Rwanda is essentially a mono-linguistic state, with the first language of practically all citizens being Kinyarwanda. In addition, most Rwandans speak a little of at least one international language. Historically, French was the most widely recognised European language, thanks to almost 50 years of Belgian colonisation. These days, however, English probably has the greater presence, partly because so many long-term exiles who returned after the genocide were educated in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania, partly because it replaced French as the international language of education in 2009. In rural areas, KiSwahili, a coastal Bantu language that has come to serve as the lingua franca of East Africa, is still more widely understood than either English or French. From a visitor’s perspective, it is pretty easy to get around in either English or French, both of which are recognised as an official language alongside Kinyarwanda, but English is undoubtedly the primary language of the tourist industry.

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What Our Guests Have to Say?

Read recent reviews from travellers who have planned and booked their trips with us
Knowledgeable, Supportive, and Excellent Communication

Big 5 Safari And Cape Town Adventure Review

Susan Domotor, Hungary
23 Mar 2024
Professional, knowledgeable, met all of our expectations resulting in a memorable experience

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Brian Evans, South Africa
27 Mar 2023
Megan is an expert- all her arrangements were perfect- she really listened...

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Lucy Rose, United States
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Superb trip, well arranged!

Kenya and Tanzania Safari Review

David Policansky , United States
13 Nov 2022
The travel arrangements and accommodation all worked as planned!

7-Day Tanzania Safari Review

Richard M, United Kingdom
05 Oct 2022
First class experience!

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Colin Duncan, United Kingdom
03 Jan 2018

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