Every traveller would wish to travel safely on the road wherever he/she moves. Car Rental Rwanda is committed to ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable safe self drive in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. Please take time to read through the road rules and information provided below to ensure you’re ready for the road while in Rwanda.
Rest Before Driving
If you are arriving on a long-haul flight, consider staying overnight in that destination. Even if it’s too late, their some accommodation facilities around the airport or a few kilometres from the airport. Do not assume you are saving on accommodation. That will ensure you are fresh and ready for the drive ahead instead of jumping directly on the wheel.
Take regular breaks
It’s easy to underestimate driving times in Rwanda. It’s a very big country with distant National parks and you should check the expected drive time before hitting the road. Take plenty of breaks along the way and give yourself additional travel time to rest, eat, and stretch your legs. Plan to drive for only 2-3 hours at a time to break up your journey especially those intending to visit the national parks.
Always drive on the right hand side of the road. If you drive on the left hand side of the road in your own country, please remember to keep right when pulling out onto the road while in Rwanda. Sometimes it’s easy to forget where you are! And you will end up in an accident.
Giving way at Intersections
In general, if you’re turning, give way to all vehicles that are not turning. Always use your indicator when turning. Rwanda has sharp corners so be very careful especially the new drivers on the road.
Mobile Phone usage
You must not use a hand-held mobile phone when driving in Rwanda, unless the device is completely hands-free or mounted securely to the vehicle and touched infrequently and briefly. Writing, reading or sending text messages on a mobile phone while driving is also illegal and you will be charged for that.
You should stay alert all the time while driving.
When you’re tired you’re much more likely to have a crash. Here are some tips to help you stay alert on Rwandan roads.
- Get plenty of rest before a long drive.
- Take a break from driving every two hours.
- If possible, share the driving with someone else.
- Avoid large meals and drink plenty of fluids.
- If you begin to feel sleepy, stop at a safe place and try to have a short sleep for up to 1 hour.
- If you’re feeling very tired, find a place to stay overnight to be fresh and ready for the next day
- Rwanda has beautiful, spectacular scenery. If you stop to view or photograph it never stop on the road. Always pull off the road to a safe area instead of parking directly on the road or near the road.
Sharing the Road with Cyclists
Cyclists have the same rights as drivers on the Rwandan roads. Always slow down near cyclists, pass slowly and only when safe, and try to leave a space of 1.5 metres. Indicate in plenty of time and respect cycle lanes.
Alcohol and Drugs
Don’t drink or use drugs and then drive – the laws against this are strictly enforced in Rwanda and penalties are severe. In Rwanda, you are not permitted to drive a car if your blood alcohol level is higher. If you hold a probationary or provisional driver’s licence, your blood alcohol level must be zero at all times. Driving after taking drugs that affect your ability to drive is illegal and penalties are severe.
Speed limit signs show the maximum speed you can travel. At times you may need to drive at a slower speed due to the road conditions, weather or traffic conditions. Speed limits are strictly enforced in Rwanda and you must not drive above the speed limit at any time. You should be especially careful in residential areas, National parks, in school zones and in the market areas..
By law in Rwanda, everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt or child restraint – whether they’re in the front or back. Children under seven years of age must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for the child’s size and weight. Children aged seven must be secured in a child restraint if such a restraint is available.
Driver License Requirements
You must have a current and valid full driver license to rent a car from Car Rental Rwanda. If you have an International Driving Permit you must also carry your current and valid driver licence. If your overseas driver license is not in English, you must also carry an accurate English translation to simplify work in the country you in intend to travel to.
Overtaking manoeuvres can be dangerous and should be made with extreme care. If you’re not sure it’s safe to overtake then wait until you have clear visibility ahead and enough clear roads to complete the manoeuvre.
Take note of the animals on the Road.
Watch out for farm animals on the road, particularly in rural areas. When you see them, slow down and do not sound your horn – it may startle them. You may need to stop and let the animals go past or move slowly behind and follow the farmer’s instructions. Also be alert for wildlife on the road, such as Impalas, kangaroos, Antelopes. You should always be travelling at a safe speed, so when required you can further reduce your speed.
Avoid unsealed roads if possible. If you need to drive on them, remember they can be very narrow. Reduce your speed and slow down even further when approaching oncoming traffic as dust could obscure your vision and loose stones could chip your windscreen.
It’s easy to underestimate travelling times in Rwanda. Distances may seem shorter on paper, but Rwanda is a vast country and you need to prepare carefully before time especially those intending to visit National parks.
I wish you a safe drive in Rwanda.