Filming in Rwanda

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for filming in Rwanda or photography production support or shooting crew in Rwanda? Contact us for trusted film fixers in Rwanda, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project in Rwanda.

Filming in Rwanda

For an introduction to shooting in Rwanda see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Filming Locations in Rwanda

Rwanda also called The Land of a Thousand Hills, is a landlocked country best known for its breathtaking scenery of lush mountains, green valleys, wildlife parks, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

Since banning plastic bags and packaging Rwanda has become one of the cleanest nations in Africa. Rwanda has hosted productions including Hotel Rwanda (2004), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), and Life on Earth (1979-).

Film locations can be divided into the following provinces:

Kigali City

The centrally located city of Kigali is the capital and largest population centre. The city sits sprawled over ridges, hills and valleys, with beautiful views of cultivated and terraced countryside. Kigali was damaged in the civil war of 1994 but significant rebuilding has taken place since. Government buildings of note include the Parliament Building, and Kigali City Hall. Hôtel des Mille Collines was immortalised in Hotel Rwanda (2004). Kigali Genocide Memorial commemorates the victims. Kimironko Market is a colourful Kigali film location. Kigali City Tower is a modern office building. Venues of note include Amahoro Stadium, Kigali Pele Stadium, Kigali Arena, and the Kigali Convention Centre. The Nyamirambo neighborhood is the city’s Muslim Quarter known for its small stores, nightlife, and the Green Mosque. Gitarama Prison is one of the world’s toughest prisons. Kigali International Airport is the main airport.

Northern Province

Rwanda’s best known film location is the stunning Volcanoes National Park, home to the mountain gorillas. Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Bisoke are dormant volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. Lakes of note in this province include Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera.

Western Province

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to mountain gorillas. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to one of Africa’s largest concentration of chimpanzees. The park has a canopy walkway for tree top photography. Gishwati Forest National Park is home to chimpanzees, monkeys, and a diversity of birdlife. Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. Bisesero Genocide Memorial Centre is located near Karongi-Kibuye.

Southern Province

The King’s Palace Museum is a reconstruction of the traditional thatched royal residence. Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre is located in Murambi. Our Lady of Wisdom Cathedral is located in Butare.

Eastern Province

Akagera National Park is known for its woodland, swamps, low mountains and savannah as well as the zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and hundreds of bird species that live there. Lakes of note in this province include Lake Mihindi, Lake Hago, and Lake Ihema. The Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial and Ntarama Genocide Memorial are located near Kinazi. Rusumo Falls is a waterfall located on the Kagera river.

Rwanda Filming Permits

Film location permits to shoot in public locations around Rwanda are generally quick and easy to get. Unauthorised photography of military sites, government buildings, airports, and public monuments is prohibited. Penalties may include arrest, fines and confiscation of equipment. Please contact us for location specific information.

Best time to film in Rwanda?

Rwanda’s high altitude gives it a temperate climate despite its close proximity to the equator. The dry season runs from June to September. This is the best time for gorilla tracking. Rwanda has two wet seasons, one from March to May, and the other from October to December. The wet season turns the landscape green and verdant. This is the best time to see chimpanzees in their natural environment. Rains are heavier and more frequent in the northeast, where the volcanoes are covered by rainforest. The summit of Karisimbi, the highest peak in Rwanda, is often covered in snow. For monthly weather statistics please see here. Christianity is the main religion so those holidays are widely observed. Festivals and events of interest include the Gorilla Naming Ceremony in June, and KigaliUp! Rwandan Music Festival in September.

Rwanda Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters. If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas. If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Rwanda Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Rwanda has a small but good pool of professional internationally experienced directors, directors of photography and stills photographers most of whom have their own gear. Crews are very capable, professional and experienced in servicing visiting productions. Rwandan crews are non-union and speak fluent English. There is enough depth to crew several shoots. For most projects it’s unnecessary to bring in heads of department from abroad. Contact us if you are looking for a Rwanda based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Rwanda. Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. English and Swahili are the official languages.

Rwanda Filming Equipment

Equipment. Rwanda houses all of the modern grip and gaffer equipment you would find in any major production center. Aerial rigs are not typically housed in Rwanda so they would need to come in from Europe, Dubai, India or South Africa. Camera equipment including RED Epic, Scarlet, multiple HD kits and lenses are available locally.

Communication. We organize local cell phones and online communications to help you avoid the high roaming costs of calling to and from Africa. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot. Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. There are some very qualified art department heads of department in Kigali. There are many skilled craftsmen in Rwanda who can deliver tremendous set builds given enough lead time.

Rwanda Visas & Work Permits

Foreign crew typically enter Rwanda on a tourist visa which most nationalities can pick up on arrival. Proof of yellow fever vaccination may be asked for on entry to Kenya. The Rwandan fixer / service producer will organize Special Passes for each visiting crew member which will serve as temporary work permits. These take approximately two weeks to a month to process so the applications must be filed well in advance of crew arrival.

Hire Rwanda Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Rwanda, please contact us. If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Rwanda, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us. We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.