Vayando Travel and Jacques Nkinzingabo
While in Rwanda we were so excited to learn of Vayando, a travel website connecting travelers with local micro-entrepreneurs for once in a lifetime experience. Currently, they are only operating in Rwanda and Costa Rica but are looking to branch out to other countries soon. When you are in either location, check out their website to find your local connection.
As luck would have it, we didn’t learn about Vayando until five days before our departure from Rwanda. We only had time to choose one adventure, and being the photographer fanatics, we are we chose the Street Photography Walk with Yakubu (we will be trying the others when we return in a year or two). We had already learned a bit about Jacques Nkinzingabo (aka Jack) through a friend who is collaborating on his Rwanda Unseen photography project, and another friend raved about the photography walk, which she had taken a few days before.
Jack is an uber talented photographer born in Rwanda and living in Kigali. His passion for photography and his eye for street life relationships and details in the every day is inspiring, to say the least. He has a composed and calm demeanor making it easy to feel instantly comfortable with him. In fact, his tours started only three weeks before our visit. We were his 4th clients and would have never guessed because of his level of professionalism and confidence.
Our walk started at the Kigali Center Tower and ended in the Nyamirambo neighborhood. We walked about 10 km’s in total. We began with a birds-eye view of the city, moved along to spectacular views of the hills, passed schools, businesses, stopped along the way to talk to locals, and he even had a perfect spot for me to capture some stride bys.
We kept our walk casual and were open to seeing and doing pretty much anything he had to show us. There were so many great moments during our time with Jack. He is professional and knowledgeable about the area and photography. He is open-minded which helps to keep the creative juices flowing. We enjoyed bouncing photo and project ideas back and forth with him.
Things to know before you go:
All date availabilities, bookings, and payments are done through the Vayando website. Once you have booked the local Vayando coordinator will immediately send you an email with things to know and contact information. If you need to change dates or cancel, please see their website FAQ for details.
Arrive with an idea of what types of photos you would like to capture (landscapes, architecture, people, nature, street art, etc.) and the places/things you may want to see. This will help Jack plan his walk designed to your tastes and interests. If you are unsure it’s ok, he will show you a taste of it all.
If you need motos or transportation, they are not included in the $25/3 hours price. Bring extra money if you want to reach places beyond walking distances.
Rwanda is a culture that is slowly adjusting to public photography. In the past, street/public photography was not accepted. During the walk, you will experience a range of people wanting to be photographed with you to people who will get quite indignant about photos taken anywhere near them. Be respectful and always ask before taking pictures of someone or someone’s property. Jack will guide you on where/when photos are or are not appropriate.
- May I take a photo? = Nagu fotora?
- Yes – Yego
- No – Oya
The walk starts at the “downtown” Kigali Center Tower, KCT KN 2 Street, either at 9 am for the day tour or 6 pm for the night tour.
- Jack is flexible.
- The route is not fixed.
- The walk is a full 3 hours.
- Bring your camera and an extra camera battery.
- Wear comfortable clothing & shoes appropriate to current weather conditions.
- Bring a hat if you are prone to overheat.
- Bring water & snacks.
There are places to stop and buy snacks or water along the way, but shopping cuts into your photo time.
If you have questions – ask! The staff at Vayando and Jack were happy to answer and help in any way.
Arrive with a great attitude and have fun. The walk is what YOU make of it.
Additional reviews of Street Photography with Yakubu and Vayando:
5 out of 5 High Fives – This photo walk quickly slid into our top 5 things to do when in Rwanda.
Type of traveler – adventure, historical, bucket lister