Shopping in Rwanda

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Kigali is equipped with a fair selection of well-stocked (but often quite pricey) western-style supermarkets and malls. Shops in smaller towns are less varied and more poorly stocked, but most everyday goods likely to be required by tourists will be available.

A wide range of handicrafts is sold countrywide and there’s great scope for browsing, especially in Kigali. The city’s biggest craft market is the Caplaki handicrafts co-operative, which comprises at least 30 wooden huts and stalls that collectively sell a huge variety of goods - from hand-carvings, weaved items, batik cloth, pottery and the like to semi-precious stones, musical instruments and various novelties. Other Kigali galleries and outlets worth checking out include the Inema Arts Centre, Ivuka Arts, Niyo Cultural Centre, Association des Artistes Rwanda (ASAR), Amahoro ava Hejuru and the Abien Arts Collective. Throughout the city, you’ll also find street vendors selling most kinds of small handicrafts. Other towns that have a good selection of handicraft outlets include Musanze, Rubavu and to a lesser extent Huye and Karongi.

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Changing money in Rwanda

The Rwandan franc (RWF) trades against most international currencies at a favourable rate. Major international credit/debit cards (for instance Master and Visa) can be used to draw local currency at 24-hour ATMs in most cities and towns, but not in the national parks. Many vendors do not accept cards, however, so it’s a good idea to carry a few hundred dollars’ worth of hard currency cash as a fall back. The Euro is the most readily accepted hard currency bit US dollars and to a…

Food and tipping in Rwanda

Kigali Serena Hotel Tipping is not standard at eateries or bars catering mainly to a local clientele, but that doesn’t mean a small something won’t be appreciated by the recipient. Tourist-oriented restaurants operate on a similar basis to those in Europe. A 10% tip to the waiter is standard, depending on the quality of service. Hotel porters usually expect a tip equivalent to around US$1 per item of luggage. Tip in local currency where possible; it may be quite difficult for…

Foodie holiday in Rwanda

Rwanda is not a dedicated foodie destination, but there are plenty of opportunities to eat well in Kigali, and to a lesser extent Rubavu. French- and Belgian-influenced cuisine tends to dominate, but there are also plenty of good Indian, Italian, Chinese, fusion and even Ethiopian restaurants in Kigali. Elsewhere, upmarket tourists will tend to eat most meals at their lodge or camp, where standards vary from mediocre at to world-class. Throughout Rwanda, local restaurants serve…

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