Rwanda also known as the “Land of a thousand hills” is so famous for Gorilla trekking that most tourists to the country just bypass the capital – Kigali, and head to the outskirts of the country where they get to trek through the forest and see Gorillas and other big apes in their natural habitat.
Rwanda’s Capital, Kigali is fast becoming one of the most cosmopolitan cities in East Africa and maybe Africa as a whole.
If you peruse our blog, you will find that most of our travels have been to cities like Amsterdam or Dubai. This time we have instead compiled a list of things to do in an African city. So the next time you decide to see Rwanda’s Gorillas make sure you also take some time to explore Kigali.
Top Things to Do in Kigali Rwanda
1. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial
If you would like to see human behavior at its most primal and also get a lesson in forgiveness and continuity. A stop at this memorial which chronicles the events of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is well worth it.
2. Visit the Inema Arts Center
The Inema Arts Center is a great destination for anyone who loves African art. The gallery contains carefully curated works of Rwandan artists. There are currently 10 artists in residence and their artwork deserves the accolades and acclaim it receives from organizations that follow the art scene world over.
3. Get some coffee while overlooking the Kigali skyline at Inzora Café
Inzora rooftop café is a great place to relax and get a view of the Kigali skyline. Once in the building that houses the coffee shop, you will find a bookstore. Walk through the bookstore to get to the café. Once you order, ask to be led to the rooftop where you can get a proper glimpse of the entire city while sipping on your coffee.
4. Go Bowling at Mamba Café
The Mamba café has a pool table, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a volleyball court. It is a great place to have a beer with friends and play some sports. They also have a kitchen that serves some amazing dishes. My favorite was their fried fish and chips with an amazing side of pepper sauce.
5. Visit the kimironko Market
A great place to buy Rwandan textiles and African wares, in general, is the Kimironko market. Exploring all the stalls might take a while but it is worth the trek. Remember to put on your bargaining hat when you enter the market as the listed prices are not final.
6. Stop by Hotel des Mille Collines
If your budget allows it you can stay at the many 5-star hotels that Rwanda offers but your visit to the city would not be complete unless you stop by Hotel Des Mille Collines The hotel was built by the Belgian airline Sabena in 1973 and is also the subject of Terry George’s 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.
7. Dance the night away at People Nightclub
One thing a visitor to Kigali will find is how safe the city is. This, in turn, makes it ripe for exploration at night. While there are many bars and nightclubs spread throughout the city, I only got to visit People Nightclub. The door fee is 15,000 Rwandan Francs and once you are in, you will be welcomed by a world-class DJ and tunes to match.
8. Marvel at the Magnificent Architecture On Display At the Kigali Convention Center
The Kigali convention center was built in 2007 and is a major landmark in Kigali. The center has four major components. i. The Radisson Blu Hotel ii. The conference center itself which seats 2,600 people iii. An information technology park iv. A museum on the bottom floor of the IT office park. While the above listed is not comprehensive it should give you an idea of things you can do while in Kigali.
In 2022, we will be returning to Kigali, Rwanda with the Danieles Kubuwaje Olumofin Foundation to do some charity work in the country.