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Rwanda

Rwanda Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

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

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.

Rwanda Film Locations

Rwanda, 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.

Agricultural film locations of interest include coffee, tea, corn, and banana plantations. Industrial locations include tin, tantalum, coltan, and tungsten mines. Energy locations include hydroelectric dams and gas-fired power plants.

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:

Municipality of Kigali

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. 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.

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 Film Location 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. 

When To Shoot?

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.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in 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.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Rwanda’s local costs such as talent, supporting crew and locations are inexpensive. Imported goods can be expensive. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Kenya is the closest major production centre. Our Rwandan fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Rwanda.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Rwanda has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Most key crew must be brought in from abroad. Kenya is the closest place to bring in experienced key crew. Local supporting crews can help with basic projects.

Contact us if you are looking for a 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. 

The Hutu are the largest ethnic group. The Tutsi people another are a significant group. The Twa minority are an indigenous pygmy people. All other talent looks need to be cast abroad.

Rwanda Film Equipment

Equipment. Very little camera, grip and lighting equipment exists locally. Bringing in gear is a simple process. The closest place that has all of the standard gear is Nairobi, Kenya.

Communication. Slow and limited internet. Our Rwandan fixer will organise 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.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. Art department is best sourced from abroad as there is no sophisticated depth in this field in Rwanda.

Studios and Backlots. None exist at present.

Visas & Work Permits

Rwanda requires Press Accreditation for each crew member from the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Sports & Culture. This usually takes a minimum of three weeks to process. Our fixer can arrange for all accreditations. Passport scans and passport size photos as well as other documents are required to obtain authorization. 

Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Some Western passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival. The rest need to apply for visas prior to travel. US passport holders see here for more information. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Rwanda. Contact your local Rwandan embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads between Kigali and other major towns are generally in good condition. Rural areas have dirt roads which can affect travel times especially in wet weather. During the rainy season, some roads become impassable. Our Rwandan fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Kigali.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kigali include:

Kigali Serena Hotel
Lemigo Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. See here for vaccinations required for Rwanda.

Down Time. Visit Hôtel des Mille Collines.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Rwanda, please see below:

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.