Are you traveling to Rwanda and flying to Kigali Airport and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival? This is your ultimate guide with all info you need to know about buying a local prepaid sim card for traveling in Rwanda at Kigali International Airport.
Find out where to buy a sim card at Kigali Airport, up to date prices as per January 2024, my recommendation, info about e-sim cards for Rwanda, a vlog about my experiences arriving at Kigali Airport and more.
Rwanda counted as country no. 126 on my journey to visit every country in the world! Being a full time nomadic world traveler since 2012 I have made it to many countries and cities and everywhere I go I either buy a local prepaid sim card or order an e-sim card on the internet to stay connected.
Therefore on Traveltomtom you can find almost 200 local prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: UK, London, Amsterdam, Europe, Dubai, Istanbul, Turkey, USA, New York, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Douala, Germany, Berlin, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and many more.
So next time when planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark me and I will help you save money for traveling.
There is only one sim card store at Kigali Airport so it is an easy recommendation: MTN. For around $9 USD you can get 10 GB data for 1 week.
The MTN sim card store is pretty much open for every incoming international flight. However, may you want to order an e-sim card for Rwanda then you can do so via Airalo.
A great alternative for buying a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card is getting a travel sim card with worldwide coverage. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024 and find a travel sim card for Rwanda. The Orange Holiday World sim card with 10 GB data for $49.90 USD. You can order this international prepaid sim card via SimOptions.
Best e-sim cards for Rwanda
When traveling to Rwanda in 2024 an e-sim card is the easiest way to stay connected. More expensive than a local prepaid sim card, but you can arrange it all only in a couple simple steps. No need to visit a sim card store or swap a physical sim card anymore.
You order an e-sim card for Rwanda on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Rwanda e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Rwanda it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Rwanda.
Airalo is a recommended e-sim provider and also one of the very few that actually offer e-sim cards for traveling to Rwanda.
These are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Rwanda in 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $8 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $15 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $21.50 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD
Click here for more info or to directly order an e-sim card for Rwanda via Airalo.
Where to buy a sim card at Kigali Airport
This is the international hub for visiting Rwanda yet Kigali International Airport is a very small airport and easy to navigate. There is no sim card store inside the airport itself. So you pick up your luggage and walk through the customs check first.
You then arrive outside and follow the covered pathway for 50 meter until you hit the parking lot. Right in front of you will see a couple shops: a tour agency, a money exchange that is open 24h, several ATM's, EuropCar and an MTN shop.
MTN store Kigali Airport
The store is very small but great thing is that it is almost open 24h. The opening hours for the MTN Kigali Airport are 06.00 am till 01.00 am. That means it is open for 19 hours a day.
Unfortunately you can not pay by credit card as they only accept cash payments. However, The door next to you is an ATM. I withdrew money from the Ecobank ATM and with my European bank card they did NOT charge an extra ATM fee. WINNER!
Prices for an MTN Rwanda sim card at Kigali Airport
The MTN sim card itself costs 500 RWF which is just $0.5 USD. This fee you pay for the registration basically, so there is no credit on the sim card. Meaning you can not make any calls or use data until you top up.
For calls and data you will have to add credit on your account and then convert it into a package. See the above photo for all the MTN Rwanda prepaid data packages. Below are mentioned the most common ones:
- 5 GB data for 1 week = 5,000 RWF - $4 USD
- 7.5 GB data for 1 week = 7,000 RWF
- 3 GB data for 30 days = 5,000 RWF
- 10 GB data for 30 days = 10,000 RWF - $8 USD
Buying a prepaid sim card for Rwanda online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you can always order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling to Rwanda on the internet.
Arrive prepared in Rwanda with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Rwanda, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.
Via SimOptions you can order the Orange Holiday World sim card, valid in 124 countries, including Rwanda.
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here for more info or to directly order an international prepaid sim card for Rwanda via SimOptions.
Another option to stay connected is an e-sim card for Rwanda. You can order them via Airalo.
My experience buying a sim card for Rwanda at Kigali Airport
After a Rwandair flight that felt like a sauna I touched down in Rwanda for the first time. Traveltomtom made it to country no. 126 and after almost 5 weeks in French speaking Central Africa it felt good to be easily understood in the English speaking part of Africa.
When I located the MTN shop just opposite the airport building I made my way over to buy a sim card for Rwanda. The girl was very helpful and friendly and answered all my questions politely. Thanks again for that, so I could put everything in this blog post to help you in return.
I had to use the ATM first before I could pay for my sim card, but the lady was already processing my Rwanda sim card in the meantime. It was pretty late in the evening and she warned me before buying the sim card that the registration process would take around 10-15 minutes. I had no problem waiting a little bit while she copied my passport and filled out the necessary information in her system and took a photo of me with her webcam.
About 10 minutes later we put my new Rwanda sim card in my phone and it instantly connected to the MTN Rwanda network. The lady added 10,000 RWF credit to my account as requested and activated my data bundle of 10 GB data for 7 days.
When everything was confirmed 2 minutes later she also smiled and said that she arranged me an extra 6 GB data bonus! Well, MTN Rwanda, your employee at Kigali Airport is a legend!
Before I left I quickly asked what the code was for checking my remaining data balance: *345*5#
Below you can see all my experiences buying a sim card for Rwanda at Kigali Airport in a vlog.
I hope all these tips for buying a sim card for Rwanda at Kigali Airport were helpful. Let me know if you have any further questions and I am more than happy to help you in the comments below.
If you are interested what it looks like traveling to every country in the world then check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world, so many more to go in the next years.
Enjoy your trip to Rwanda!