Filming on location in Rwanda, East Africa




When planning a film production in Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Tanzania and Zanzibar it is crucial that you engage the services of local film fixers to handle the applications of film permits, location permits, press accreditation (temporary work permits for international film crew), assistance with visa application and temporary import of film gear. The local film fixers will also handle budget negotiation with local suppliers to ensure that costs come in at local prices. Then there is a list of do’s and don’ts when filming on location. In this article Hoodlum Film Fixers with share these insights and very important tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable film experience in this region.


Rwanda, with its vibrant culture, rich history, and diverse landscape, is one of the film locations in East Africa worth looking at. Film makers flock to the country to film the endangered mountain gorillas, the towering volcanoes, and the effervescent Lake Kivu. In order to have the best film production possible, and not flout local custom, check out our guide to the some things film producers should never do in Rwanda.

Say “Africa” instead of “Rwanda”

Yes, Rwanda is located on the continent of Africa. However, tourists come to Rwanda and talk about how great traveling in “Africa” truly is, instead of focusing on Rwanda itself. Rwanda is its own place – also Africa is not a country. Rolling hills, rows of volcanoes, colorful markets, and idyllic lakes make Rwanda one of the most beautiful and unique countries on earth. And Rwandan customs, culture, and historical context are specific to the country itself.

Take photos of Rwandans without asking

Film the gorillas you track, the food you eat, and the scenery for your B Roll, but don’t film Rwandans – both adults and children – without asking for permission first. Many people will find it offensive to have random film makers take uninvited pictures, and some might ask for money in exchange

Eat in public

Eating in public, even if it’s a cookie, an apple, or energy bar, is frowned upon in Rwanda. Visiting film makers might be able to get away with it a bit more in Kigali, but outside of the city it would be considered fairly disrespectful. Instead, eat meals in the privacy of a restaurant or a hotel room.

Bring plastic bags into the country

Rwanda is incredibly clean. Litter is rarely found on the streets, and huge country-wide efforts are made to promote environmental activism, programming, and awareness. The Rwandan government, in order to curb landfills and promote sustainable living, banned plastic bags country-wide. Don’t be that visitor who tries to sneak one in – not only will it likely be confiscated at the airport, but you’ll also be going against one of the coolest and impactful environmental laws on the continent.

Expect everyone to speak English

To be fair, a lot of people in Rwanda do speak English. Rwanda is an incredible multicultural and multilingual country, with Kinyarwanda, French, and English spoken widely. However, English is not as common outside of larger cities, so don’t assume that the local shopkeeper in a rural town far outside of Kigali will be fluent in English, and then get frustrated when they are not.

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Hoodlum Films is a production service facility with its main focus on providing fixing and location scouting services.