Rwanda, a country known for its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, is also known for having a unique set of social customs and manners. Understanding the etiquette of the country can greatly enhance your experience and show respect to the local community. Here are a few tips on Rwandan etiquette to keep in mind while visiting the country.
- Greetings: In Rwanda, greetings are taken very seriously and can be a way to show respect. When meeting someone for the first time, it is customary to shake hands and say “Muraho” (hello in Kinyarwanda). For close friends and family members, hugs and cheek kisses are also common.
- Dress Code: Rwandans generally dress modestly, with most women wearing skirts or dresses that reach the knee or below, and men wearing trousers or long shorts. Visitors to religious sites and government buildings are expected to dress conservatively and remove their hats and sunglasses.
- Body Language: In Rwanda, pointing with your feet or showing the soles of your shoes is considered impolite. Also, be mindful of your hand gestures as they may have different meanings than in your home country.
- Table Manners: If you’re invited to a Rwandan home for a meal, it’s customary to bring a small gift, such as a bottle of wine or flowers. It is also important to be polite and wait for the host to start eating before beginning your meal.
- Respect for Authority: Rwandans generally have a strong sense of respect for authority and tradition. Visitors should show respect to elders, religious leaders, and government officials.
By following these simple tips, you can show respect for Rwandan culture and customs and have a more enjoyable and authentic experience while visiting the country.