by Chris Walker Bush
November 29, 2015

Rwanda’s capital is a green, clean, and cosmopolitan city – one of the safest and most vibrant you’ll find in all of East Africa.

With its dark past as one of the main sites of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Kigali today is a city that has rebuilt itself from the ashes of that terrible time without ever forgetting it. Visitors to the city are encouraged not only to dine in its fine restaurants and see its modern sights, but also to pay their respects at numerous genocide memorials in and around the city.

As the site of the nation’s largest international airport, Kigali is likely to be the start and/or finish point for any trek into the Volcanoes National Park to see Rwanda’s iconic mountain gorillas.

Do

While seen as a transit point for those visiting Volcanoes National Park or Nyungwe National Park, Kigali is a city not to be missed. One of Africa’s most modern and developed centres, Kigali boasts a wealth of historic and cultural sights worth visiting.

Most Shadows of Africa itineraries that feature Kigali can be made to include a half-day or full-day city tour that features sites such as the Genocide Memorial, the Presidential Palace Museum, and Richard Kandt Natural History Museum.

Longer stays can learn more about the 1994 Genocide with visits to massacre sites such as Nyamata and Ntarama, as well as the Millennium Village where survivors and perpetrators of the massacre have learned to live side by side.

  • Genocide Memorial: No visit to Rwanda would be complete without paying a visit to the Genocide Memorial. Part heartfelt tribute and part educational experience, this memorial recounts the tale of the infamous 1994 Rwandan Genocide, discusses the work being done to heal the country today, and offers a window into the people whose lives were irreversibly changed by the Genocide.
  • Presidential Palace Museum: The former home of Habyarimana Juvenal, the Presidential Palace today offers visitors a chance to see how the president lived and died – as his plane crashed into his own compound in the hours before the 1994 Genocide.
  • Kandt House Natural History Museum: Built by German explorer, Richard Kandt, the Kandt House Museum of Natural History has special significance as the first modern house built in what is today Rwanda.This historic home is also home to an exhibition that aims to document the natural beauty of Rwanda from its geology all the way to its flora and fauna.
  • Millennium Village: For those wanting a window into the 1994 Genocide and the repercussions of the tragic event, a visit to the Millennium Village offers a window into both Rwanda’s past an present.You’ll start your day paying a visit to the Nyamata and Ntaima Churches, both of which were sites of true horror during the Genocide.You’ll then visit the Reconciliation Village, where the perpetrators and victims of the 1994 Genocide live side by side as a part of the healing process. You’ll not only speak with these brave individuals, but also learn about how they manage to co-exist despite their tortured pasts.
  • Food & Craft Market Tour: Learn more about contemporary life in Rwanda by taking a tour of the local food and craft markets. You’ll see local produce as residents practice their bartering skills.The Kigali Craft Markets are an excellent way to familiarize yourself with traditional Rwandan arts and crafts, as well as being a great place to do some souvenir shopping.

Eat

As a modern and multicultural city, Rwanda’s capital boasts an impressive array of restaurants serving up both international and local cuisine. While the below is by no means an exhaustive list, you’ll find a few of the Shadows of Africa team’s favourites.

  • Miles Collins Hotel: Perhaps better known as ‘Hotel Rwanda’, Miles Collins (or Hotel Des Mille Collines in French) offers a remarkably affordable and diverse lunch buffet that can be combined with a visit to the historic hotel.
  • Khana Kazana: Featuring authentic Indian cuisine in a spacious setting, Khana Kazana offers spicy delights in a setting that can be tailored to fit intimate dinners or large group affairs.
  • Republika: One of Kigali’s best known restaurants, Republika offers up a mix of western and African cuisine with a unique touch. The personal favourite of Shadows of Africa team member, Natasa.

You can consult TripAdvisor or your Rwanda guide for more restaurant recommendations.

Sleep

Kigali offers up a diverse range of accommodations for those visiting, from backpacker friendly hostels to trendy guesthouses and from business hotels to luxurious lodges.

Shadows of Africa can provide recommendations to suit almost any budget, but we’ve highlighted a few of the more notable hotels below as a sample.

  • Flame Tree Inn: One of Kigali’s newer and trendier guest houses, Flame Trees is a stylish lodge by the people behind the popular Mountain Gorilla View in Musanze. With a stunning view of the city, a pool, and chic outdoor bar and restaurant, Flame Trees is the favourite hotel of Shadows of Africa’s Aussie rep, Chris.
  • Iris Budget Hotel: If you’re on a budget, you can’t do much better than the Iris. While its rooms are no frills, its location at the heart of the city’s embassy district means you’ll be hard pressed to find a safer, quieter part of the city. While it an attached restaurant serving up both African and European cuisine, it's also walking distance from many of Kigali’s best restaurants.
  • Miles Collins: The world-famous Hotel Rwanda is under the auspices of the Kempinski umbrella now, but is still offering world class food and accommodations at the heart of the Rwandan capital. When you’re not out in the city, you can lounge in a poolside hammock and enjoy a cocktail.
This entry was posted in Rwanda Attractions, What to do, Rwanda.
← Previous Post Next Post →