Get immersed in the Rwanda Cultural Homestay and heritage of the Rwandan people. Find out what it is like to meet local people in Rwanda.
A Rwanda Cultural Homestay experience concept is a unique Msafiri tours idea that involves the host Rwandese community and the discerning traveller. It involves a guest staying with a family in their home which allows the visitor a unique insight into the lifestyles and Rwandan culture of host people.
The aim of the Rwanda cultural homestay experience is to bring people of different cultures and social backgrounds together to learn from one another and share their experiences to the mutual benefit of the community. It is a safe way to meet Rwandan people and make friends easily. Staying with your Rwandan hosts will be in a sense like having personal guides and through them, you will get to see and learn about the traditional Rwandan activities you might not get to see otherwise on a typical tourist itinerary.
Visitors on the Rwandan cultural homestay experience expect treatment like a member of the family and are included in the day-to-day life of the people in the home and the Rwandan community.
Responsible and authentic Rwanda Cultural Homestay insights
Imagine waking up to the sound of a rooster in a Rwandan village, or sitting around a kitchen fire with a Tutsi family to enjoy a homemade meal.
Are you sick of sterile hotel rooms and you’d like to get a closer look at the local culture on your next trip in Rwanda, you may want to consider a Rwanda homestay?
Staying in the home of a local family in a village in Rwanda can offer an intimate glimpse of what life is truly like in Africa.
These are some of the experiences from your Rwanda home stays & cultural exchange.
There are a variety of ways through which the community benefits from our Rwanda home stays & cultural exchange, such as:
Rent for traditional housing provides a regular source of income for the home
We work to encourage the formation of complementary businesses such as:
- Locally brewed Rwanda beer
- Performing traditional Rwanda dancing produced by the local people
- Selling local Rwanda craftwork produced by the community In Addition…
- The kids at the local Rwanda village school have an opportunity to meet their guests
- Then they can learn about where the guests come from and practice some English (Visitors have an opportunity to teach at the school for 1 hour)
- Tourists may donate anything at will such as; pens, clothing, books, money etc. (Donations must be arranged via the Msafiri tours guide).
- The families that we visit receive payment in a number of ways (e.g. transport, favours, goods, market produce or money).
- We work to maintain the natural beauty of the Villages and are committed to environmental sustainability
Rwanda Homestay Tours are a great way of getting to know a bit about the local Rwanda tribal cultures of the country. The people that offer homestays have a spare room which will be simply furnished, but comfortable. There will be washing facilities of some kind and a toilet.
The Rwanda home stays & cultural exchange is good for the local communities in Rwanda as it brings in an income to people who struggle to otherwise bring in funds without leaving their homes.
We aim to make sure that the scheme works for our visitors too. Of course, some families are chattier than others and often due to different cultural beliefs, customs and upbringing, but you will find that your host is very welcoming and they will make your stay as good as possible.
Rwanda Cultural Homestay tips;
Before you arrive for your stay in Rwanda, we will send information to your hosts and introduce you to them. We will tell them about who you are and where you’re from. If you have any food allergies or other special needs let us know. We will establish a relationship with your hosts before your arrival in Rwanda, this will help ease the transition once you arrive.
If possible, try to learn a few key phrases in the tribal language of the host family before you arrive in Rwanda — it will please your hosts, and they’ll appreciate your effort to reach out to them.
Bring a thank-you gift for your hosts. Things to consider include food items, postcards or souvenirs from your hometown. Wine and other alcoholic beverages may not be appropriate gifts in the Rwanda tribal cultures.
As soon as you arrive our Rwanda Msafiri tours guide will help you discuss any ground rules, curfews, meals and other aspects of your stay. Do quiet hours apply at a certain time of night once family members have gone to bed? Will you be responsible for cooking your own meals or will you be eating some meals with your hosts? What chores, if any, will you be expected to help with? And such.
When in Rwanda if your meals are not catered for by Msafiri tours, use your hosts’ resources sparingly.
Attune yourself to the local customs and try to fit in as best you can. Some adjustments may be simple, like remembering to take off your shoes as soon as you enter the house.
Some cultural differences may be more challenging to adapt to, such as gender roles that are less egalitarian than you’re used to at home. Use your homestay as an opportunity to learn more about Rwandan tribal local practices and perhaps discuss them (in a respectful way) with your hosts
Take advantage of your Rwanda tribal host family’s local knowledge. Go beyond your guidebook and ask them for recommendations about what to see in the area. If you’re lucky, they may even give you a personal tour of their village or community.
At the end of your stay, consider leaving your Rwanda host family a memento — perhaps a photo of yourself with them. And do write a thank-you message and send it through Msafiri tours after you return home.
The Rwanda Cultural Homestay & cultural exchange can be done as a single travel activity or as an addition to an already planned safari or volunteering programs in Rwanda, talk to us so we advise on best options for you.
How to prepare for your visit:
- There will be a translator with you the whole time; feel free to ask as many questions as you wish.
- For daytime attire, men may wear trousers or shorts. Women should wear trousers or a skirt that covers the knees, as Rwandan women usually don’t show their knees. For women, sleepwear should include pyjamas bottoms which cover at least to the knee.
- Pack a waterproof jacket during the rainy season (February-June & September-November).
- We recommend that you wear closed-toed shoes: Walking shoes are useful on the paths, which can be steep and slippery. You might want to bring a spare pair of shoes, as one pair may get muddy if you work in the fields. For the evening and morning time, you might be more comfortable with a pair of sandals or flip-flops. If you’re travelling light and would like to borrow a pair, just let us know!
- Be prepared to spend time in the sun.
- Feel free to bring a camera or video camera; the artisans and their families won’t mind you photographing your Experience. (Okay, maybe not photos of everyone in their pyjamas!)
- Please let us know in advance if you have any food allergies. Food served may contain nuts.
- Ensure that you have health insurance to cover your visit. We do all we can to ensure your safety during your visit. In the case of an accident, we will ensure you get appropriate medical attention. However, you must cover the costs through your insurance.
What to expect during your Rwanda Cultural Homestay?
- Your bed will be made traditionally out of valley grass covered by a mat, with normal bed sheets, blankets and Rwandan pillows. The bed may be on a bed frame or maybe on the floor.
- Typically, all guests share one room. If you would like a different arrangement, please let us know.
- A mosquito net will be provided for your bed. We also advise you to bring some insect repellent or spray as it may be needed in the evening.
- Your overnight hosts don’t have electricity in their home. Like their neighbours, they use oil lanterns or solar lamps.
- Your host home has a pit latrine, and we will supply you with hand sanitiser and toilet paper.
- Soap and water will also be available for washing your hands.
- For bathing, your host family uses water in a bucket or basin to bathe in the bathing outhouse. You of course are welcome to also take a bucket bath. Your hosts may even heat your bath water for you!
- Although many rural families go without food in the morning, a simple breakfast of black tea with bread and local fruit will be served for you to share with your hosts.
You should also know that:
- You will be supplied with plenty of bottled drinking water.
- The dinnertime food is well cooked: no previous visitors have become ill after eating it. However, if you prefer not to eat, or to eat just a little, you will not offend your host.
- We will also bring a first aid kit, just in case.
- Some of the paths are steep and can be slippery after rain, but you will be given a hand if you need it.
- Your hosts are a lovely group of women, young and older. They and their families will make you feel welcome, without making a fuss. They know that you are coming to gain an understanding of what rural life is like in Rwanda and will encourage you to join in with their daily routine.
- Sometimes other members of the community come and stare at white visitors for a while, as white people are seldom seen in rural communities. They are simply curious.
- Very occasionally, in the community, a neighbour may ask you for money.
People often ask each other for money here and are not offended by a refusal. They are all the more likely to ask a white visitor, as Rwandans often think that white people are fabulously rich.
If asked for money, it is best to say no. Your visit is already benefiting the community: the artisan group earns a fair wage for your visit, often saving their payment in a joint account and then spending it on something substantial such as a cow. Their families benefit directly, and so does the wider community. This is because a host will often pay a neighbour to work her fields while she is busy hosting your visit.