Rwanda on the Internet
I try to keep Living in Kigali updated with super fantastic information about all things related to the city, but man oh man, it’s hard to keep up! Luckily there are a variety of online resources at our disposal that aim to inform people about this great city on a variety of topics. Facebook groups are active, Rwandan services and government are very responsive on Twitter, and there are a plenty of informative and useful sites out there that will be helpful to Kigali residents.
I had a little brainstorming session and the lists below are the result. I’m sure I’ve missed some useful pages, Twitter accounts, bloggers, and websites. If you can think of something that’s super useful and think it should be added, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or let me know in the comments below!
Facebook Groups & Pages
- Expats in Rwanda – This group should be your first stop on Facebook for any questions about moving to Rwanda. It’s popular and questions get answered promptly. You’ll find everything on here from things for sale, warnings about security issues, reviews of restaurants, questions about internet, and general rants and raves. There are a few people who post regularly who share very informative and interesting stuff and really make the group excellent. Posts can sometimes degenerate into chaos with people getting into arguments about stupid crap but it’s entertaining, at least. This group is for expats (man, I hate that word…) only.
- Living in Kigali – I started this group after a purge over at Expats in Rwanda left lots of people annoyed. This group is much smaller but it’s open to everyone in Rwanda or with an interest in coming here which, in theory, should mean some good tips and advice from Rwandans as well as foreigners. The reality is that most of the posts are the same as you’d find over on Expats in Rwanda which is a more active group, but there are also some interesting people who are only active in this group.
- Kigali Life – I’m not sure if this group is related to the Yahoo Group mentioned below, but it wouldn’t surprise me to know that they’ve expanded over to Facebook. This group’s focus is buy and sell and they’ve got almost 70,000 members. I only recently joined when I was doing research for this article so I haven’t used the group myself. There are over 200 posts per day which might be overwhelming but could also mean that it’s full of useful posts.
- Ask Annette – The owner of this page regularly posts interesting reviews and information and links to excellent Google docs with a variety of types of useful lists. She’s exploring Kigali and taking notes as she does and it’s fun to read.
- Kigali Gardens – A group for gardening enthusiasts to discuss all of the wonderfulness of growing in Rwanda’s beautiful soil. Seed swaps, general advice, and more. It’s not super active, but there’s some good info on here and knowledgeable people to answer your questions.
- Kigali Families – This group is tied in with the excellent Kigali Moms and Dads website and is the first place you should look for everything related to kids and family-oriented things in Kigali.
- Rwanda Birding Club – This friendly group is full of bird enthusiasts who share tips on birding in Rwanda and post photos to help identify birds. Even if you’re not into birding, the group is packed with beautiful nature photos.
- Kigali Hash House Harriers – If you’re looking for a place to meet friends while exploring Kigali’s nature and pubs, Hash House Harriers is for you. They describe themselves as a ‘Drinking group with a running problem’ and this Facebook group will tell you where they’ll meet each Saturday.
- Kigali Ultimate – If you’re into Ultimate Frisbee, join this group to find out about when the next pickup game/practice is. They also occasionally organise tournaments. This group will have all the contacts and details you’ll need to join in.
- Kigali PETS – If you have a furry friend in Kigali, this is a great page to follow. Everything from finding a home for stray animals to finding a vet to figuring out where to buy food. This is the place.
- Salsa in Kigali – This group isn’t super active but they seem to be the best place for information on where to go for dance lessons in Kigali. Salsa is very popular here and a few bars host regular nights with lessons and this is the place to ask about that.
- Kigali Life – A Yahoo group? Who the hell uses Yahoo Groups anymore? Well, since Facebook has burst onto the scene, not very many people. But I’m mentioning the Kigali Life Yahoo Group because it was the only Kigali resource for so long. The fact that a Yahoo Group was our only option for info made me sad and that’s actually what inspired me to start Living in Kigali. The number of posts have dropped off drastically since their heyday between 2010 and 2015, but if you’re looking for a house or can’t find an answer to a question elsewhere, it could be worth a look. The downside is having to have a Yahoo account.
- Rwandalicious – Ok so a photo website might not be so useful when it comes to actual information but the Rwandalicious Instagram account publishes such wonderful photos that I had to include them. Great for inspiration or if you’re having a bad day and need a reminder of what amazing beauty Rwanda has out there for us to explore.
- Rwanda Immigration – The Rwanda Immigration and Emigration website does a good job of answering questions related to paperwork for coming to Rwanda as a tourist or on business or as an employee. You can find every form you’ll need here as well as reasonably clear instructions on the application process for a variety of visas. They’re pretty responsive on their Facebook page and Twitter if you have more specific questions.
- City of Kigali – Their Twitter page will keep you informed (in a mix of English and Kinyarwanda) on things happening in Kigali related to infrastructure, urban development, road closures, and events. If you have a question about what’s happening in Kigali, they’re good at answering. I had a friendly exchange with them after they chopped down all of the beautiful trees on my (previously) favourite street. If you’re annoying like me and want to complain about tree-cutting, potholes etc or if you to be in-the-know about what’s happening construction-wise, this is the place.
- Rwanda Energy Group (REG) – These are the fine folks in charge of powering Kigali and the rest of Rwanda and you’ll want to check in with their Twitter page for info on planned outages. They’re also quite responsive for when the power is out in your area and you want to check in to see whether it’s a just you problem, or a neighbourhood-wide thing.
- WASAC – Your friendly water people in Kigali. As with REG, they’re pretty responsive on Twitter and it’s the best place for a quick check on whether a water outage is only a problem at your house or whether it’s the whole area. Notices about planned water outages are also posted here, though often only in Kinyarwanda.
- Government of Rwanda – The Twitter page for the Government of Rwanda is more about overarching things relating to Rwanda and what’s happening on a larger political scale, usually relating to African or the rest of the world. I’m not sure I’d ever want to Tweet them a question, but they post some interesting things. They also re-Tweet the Office of the President’s Twitter account a lot, so it’s a good place to come to get a summarised version of what PK is up to. Their website is also a good starting point for questions about Rwanda relating to government and politics.
Opinion, Society, and Culture
- Journal.rw – A gorgeous website showcasing Rwandan creatives across a variety of medium celebrating art, culture, innovation, and story telling.
- Rwandapedia.rw – This website acts as an online archive for images, documents, videos, and a few audio files. It’s packed with information and it’s an interesting website to explore, especially if you’re a researcher.
- The Kigalian – This website is very nicely done and has a back catalogue of interesting articles, news stories, and lists. I think it’s inspiring me to attempt to up my own game on Living in Kigali!
- Eric 1 Key – Eric is a slam poet who performs in Kinyarwanda, French, and English. His poems are always thought provoking and you’ll find the same in the few writings on his blog. He’s active on Twitter and Facebook, too, and is an all around interesting guy.
- Gatete Views – Gatete is a lawyer who’s had a blog for awhile now. He is a true supporter of Rwanda and approaches a variety of topics in a thoughtful way, often with strong and sometimes divisive opinions. I don’t always agree with him, but I always enjoy reading his stuff and feel like I come away each time having learned something new. You can also follow him on Twitter.