Tanzania to Rwanda: Border Crossing Guide via Benaco-Rusumo

The border crossing from Tanzania to Rwanda is not a popular tourist route. Usually, tourists use the Uganda-Rwanda border so they can use their East Africa Tourist Visa. If by any chance you are crossing the border from Tanzania to Rwanda, this border crossing guide is for you.

Tanzania to Rwanda: Border Crossing Guide via Benaco-Rusumo

Departing from Mwanza

There is no direct bus from Mwanza, Tanzania to Kigali, Rwanda so your only option is to take a bus to the border town of Benaco then take a taxi to the border and another bus to Kigali. There are a couple of buses with a daily schedule from Mwanza to Benaco but I took the Nyehunge bus.

I purchased my bus ticket at the Buzaruga bus station a day before my travel so I can choose a seat. It’s an 8-hour journey so I want to be as comfortable as I can be. It’s a non-airconditioned bus so getting a window seat means a lot.

The bus was scheduled to leave at 6:00 AM so I left my hotel at around 5:00 AM. I arrived at the new bus station in Nyegezi at around 5:30. The new terminal is quite far from the city so you need to leave at least an hour before your trip so you will not miss the bus.

The bus left at exactly 6:00 AM as scheduled. I was kinda surprised to learn that the bus actually leaves on time. After around 30 minutes, we arrived at the ferry station. We got off the bus and pay the ferry ticket of TZS1,000. The ferry ride was short and is only about 40 minutes.

We continued our journey and the bus made several stops to pick up and drop off passengers. In about 8 hours, we arrived in Benaco. The journey was fine but the road was rough and a little bit uncomfortable.

Bismarck Rock, Mwanza, Tanzania
Bismarck Rock, Mwanza, Tanzania

Arrival in Benaco

The bus was supposed to drop us off at Benaco bus terminal since it’s not the last stop. Instead, the bus driver dropped us in a junction about 5 minutes away from Benaco bus terminal. The good thing is, there were taxi drivers waiting for us at the junction. It was a shared taxi and we’re like 6 passengers plus the driver cramped in a small sedan car. It was uncomfortable but one passenger got off at Benaco bus terminal and the remaining 5 passengers including myself continued our journey to the border town of Rusumo in Rwanda.

The taxi ride from Benaco bus terminal to Rusumo was about 30 minutes. The fare was only TZS4,000. The taxi driver will drop you directly at the border control office so do NOT get down before the bridge. If you alight before the bridge you will have to ride a boda-boda or walk your way to the border control office. I almost got down before the bridge because that is what I read in one blog but when I noticed that only one passenger got off the taxi, I asked the remaining passengers if they would cross the border. When they said yes, I just remained in the taxi.

Rusumo Border Control Office

Just like in Kenya-Uganda and Uganda-Tanzania border, the immigration officers of Tanzania and Rwanda sit side by side. After the x-ray scanner, you will see the Tanzanian immigration officer. You will get an exit stamp and proceed to the next counter beside him to get an entry stamp for Rwanda. All citizens are now allowed to get a visa on arrival. Some nationalities like Philippine passport holders do NOT require a visa to enter Rwanda.

After clearing the immigration, you will have to walk about 5 minutes to the bus terminal. Along the way, you will pass a security check where they will open your bag manually to see the content.

Rwandan Coffee

The journey from Rusumo border to Kigali

The bus ride from Rusumo border to Kigali was around 4.5 hours. The fare is RWF3,500 or roughly around USD4. The bus was more comfortable than the bus from Tanzania. It has several stops to drop off passengers and take new passengers along the way.

Have further questions? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d be glad to answer them.

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