Kigali is a city that has had a lot more to recover and come back from than any other city on the African continent. Over the last 25 years, and mostly the last decade, we have seen the city being transformed into the most inviting city in Africa. A lot has led to the booming development and solid infrastructure growth but the strict laws and policies, the people, and the organizing of the Umuganda have contributed much. This has kept Kigali clean and a social city.
From the city center, roads radiate outwards like spokes and most of our trips to Rwanda start here and we usually encourage our clients to spend e night here before exploring the parks. The city is scattered over several hills and has enough to keep one occupied for a day or days. Here are some of the sites or attractions to consider while in Kigali city.
Kigali Genocide memorial
This is a place of remembrance and learning. It is Kigali’s best-known landmark and most insightful. It sets out the story of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, displays skulls and pictures of victims bringing the reality of the atrocities to life. It is important for educating the world about peace and preserving the country’s history.
This is Kigali’s busiest and largest market. Here, you meet hundreds of vendors that sell everything from all over East Africa from fabrics, food, and other produce. Get to choose from the vibrant patterned fabric from hundreds of options at the sale and also capture the exciting part of Kigali life in Photos.
Camp Kigali Memorial
The site has 10 stone columns to mark the spot where Belgian UN Peacekeepers were murdered during the start of the 1994 Genocide. These were killed to avoid them from stopping the genocide. Originally, they were deployed to protect the home of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. There is a bullet sprayed building from where the soldiers died that now houses an exhibition on the genocide.
It is called a mountain but it is more of a hill. It is populated with houses and is not exactly remote. The hike through the narrow path to the top is a nice little walk through villages that rewards with views of Kigali city. You can hike to the top to picnic and have a 360o view of the city.
Visit Milk Bars
Milk bars are a very interesting feature and experience in Rwanda. These can be identified by the traffic of locals carrying the milk on bikes to the bars for pasteurization. There are hundreds of bards at Karuhimbi. There is only one thing here to tap, and it’s Milk.
Check out the recent changes
Kigali city is growing and receiving a lot of investment in infrastructure. New buildings, restaurants, hotels, and Roads. The Kacyiru Roundabout near the Kigali convention center demonstrates everything. The multi-colored convention center building is Kigali’s most interesting building. It is an attachment to the Radisson Hotel.
Hotel des Milles Collines
This is one of the most famous sites/hotels in Kigali. The hotel hosted hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide and these used to survive on water from the hotel’s pool. The story of the Hotel is famous to many because of its appearance in the 2004 film, Hotel Rwanda. The luxury hotel is still functional and every Friday weekly, they hold a culture night to celebrate Rwandan Culture. You can have dinner here or overnight.
Inema Art Centre
Inema Arts Centre was opened in 2012 by self-taught painters to tap into the potential of Art in Rwanda. Tourists can visit to have a glance at the colorful murals on African traditions, mixed works depicting the scenes of African Lifestyle among others. You can also engage in Painting or enjoy the weekly dance performances, yoga classes, and other events that happen here.
Kigali city has a good choice of spots for nightlife. Enjoy a night out, perhaps starting with a drink from Choma’D, a trendy bar with views, or Pili Pili Boutique Hotel before hitting Nyamirambo or Kimihurura neighborhood that has expat crowds.
Kigali has a lot to offer during a stay we cannot have it all here. But some of the other sites include the Presidential Palace Museum, Gaddafi Mosque, you can question about coffee, Visit Afrika Bite for local foods, Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, among others depending on what you would like to experience. It might not yet be Dar es Salaam, or Kampala but is becoming a city in East Africa to reckon with. Visit Rwanda