Kigali is a city of 1 million spread out over a handful of steep hills. Unlike some of our other homes abroad, it is not feasible to navigate the city on foot. As such we’ve been forced to educate ourselves on the varied modes of Kigali city transport.
At 5000 Rwandan Francs (RWF) for a cross-town ride, taxis occupy the top spot in the food chain of transport. No real difference from those at home, assuming your stateside taxi has mirrors held on by zip ties and worn springs that bottom the car out on every bump. Jen normally takes the front seat because of her superior French, however, most of the drivers only speak Kinyarwanda, so the ride often devolves into frustrated pointing at a phone map.
If 5000 RWF is too much the moto-taxi is an exhilarating option. For 1000 RWF (helmet included) you can hop on the back of one of these motorcycle taxis and zip across town, weaving in and out of traffic, in an affront to local traffic laws and every nuanced clause of your travel insurance policy. Arriving at your destination vibrating from adrenaline and itching from the community helmet are just part of the experience.
Cheap, scenic and likely a bit more safe than Moto-taxis are the bicycle taxis. It’s just what it sounds like, a padded seat behind your driver pumping the pedals. By far these are my favorite because no one can look serious riding shotgun on the back of a bike, legs held out to the sides in a tin-man pose. It’s like trying to look mad while sipping out of a straw.
Finally, there is the city bus. At 100-200 RWF, this is the cheapest way to get across town. Overcrowded, smelly, with cryptic routes and stops that change like the stairs of Hogwarts, the kids refuse to take the bus with me. The rugby scrum getting on and off is intimidating.
Plus, a family motorcycle race across town is loads more fun.