Rwanda, popularly known as the land of a thousand hills, is a country of classic contrasts and dramatic extremes. Extraordinary biodiversity, incredible wildlife, sweeping plains, and lush environments. The warm climate and friendly people will welcome and assist you discover Rwanda to your fullest.
It is possible to explore the entire country in one week just by driving, thanks to its relatively smaller size. The magnificent gorillas have been a top tourist attraction in Rwanda, yet there is so much to experience.
The capital city lies in the heart of Rwanda and sprawls across numerous valleys, hills and ridges, making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Kigali deserves more than a one-night stopover, no matter how much time you have.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
This memorial shed light on the advents that lead to the Rwandan 1994 genocide that resulted in the killing of nearly a million people, majorly Tutsis.
Visiting this place requires courage and emotional preparation. And it is only after visiting the Kigali genocide memorial that you’ll understand better the complex history of the small nation and appreciate its achievements.
Among the markets in Kigali, Kimironko is the largest and busiest. The market brings together customers from all over the world and numerous vendors selling different items from second-hand clothes, fresh fruits and vegetables, fabrics, fish, and baskets.
In this busy market, you walk in single files along the tiny corridors interacting with numerous vendors and women carrying large baskets on their heads and many more. Make sure to spend enough time taking nice photos before buying gifts for your loved ones.
Inema Arts Center
Since its establishment in 2012, Inema Arts Center has continued to tap the untapped potential of Rwanda’s contemporary art.
From its extraordinary exteriors decked in colourful murals, its stunning interiors to the gallery, visitors see and learn more about the traditional African Crafts, African lives, culture, and music, both modern and traditional.
The centre also hosts weekly gallery tours, dance performances, concerts, and yoga classes for dancers and music lovers.
Best Restaurants and Hotels in Kigali
Hôtel des Mille Collines
This hotel is not only famous in Kigali but the entire country. During the genocide, it sheltered and protected hundreds of people from slaughter. For visitors, this is the best place to stay, even if you book your rooms elsewhere. The nightlife is amazing, especially on Fridays when the luxurious hotel hosts live performances to celebrate the Rwandan culture. These events are accompanied by meals and drinks flavoured by the local and international tastes.
Radisson Blue Hotel
A strategically located a 3-minute drive from Kigali International Airport, the stylish 5-star hotel remains a perfect choice for many travellers. It offers modern and spacious accommodation services, all-day dining, bar, outdoor swimming, lobby lounge, and convention facilities.
Kigali Serena Hotel
The elegant hotel features sophisticated rooms and lavish suites and is considered best for a business stay or gorilla safaris. The hotel offers a wonderful selection of breakfast and dining options featuring the flavours of your choice.
Repub Lounge Restaurant
An upscale of Rwandan cuisine, Repub Lounge creates some of the best dishes in the city. Here, you will try anything starting with a banana-leaf-cooked meal which is their trademark to Liboke fish or chicken. It is also a good place to sample and taste sweet plantains, brochettes and grilled meat.
Excellent for healthy food fanatics and vegetarians alongside sandwich and fresh salad offerings. The Turambe’s lettuce allows visitors to choose between crunch, roasted garlic hummus, and chopped Asian salad.
Four Things to Do in Kigali
Amahoro is the largest stadium located in the neighbourhood. It hosts different football matches, both local leagues and international, regularly and attracts fans countrywide. With a capacity exceeding 30000, the games are loud, rowdy, and fun
Eat a Big Tilapia Fish in Nyamirambo
Nyamirambo is known for its fish and is one of the city’s finest arena for bar and restaurant. Tilapia grilled with local spices and onions is one of its specialities and loved by many. Grab a few friends and share the big fish. It can feed several people — like it did in the Bible.
Drink Coffee in Question Coffee Café
Rwanda is globally known for high-quality coffee, which is critical to its economy. Despite producing some finest beans, it exports most of it due to low local coffee culture. Question Coffee Café is working hard in conjunction with farmers to change this. Their coffee taste is one opportunity you never want to miss. A good date can accompany the drinking escapade.
Ride a Bike Around the City
The Rwandese are slowly adopting the bike riding culture. Apart from its positive health implications, biking is good for sightseeing in the beautiful city.
Attraction Sites in Rwanda
Volcano National Park
Without a doubt, gorilla trekking at the volcano national park is a top priority for most visitors, if not all. The park is home to hundreds of highly endangered mountain gorilla species.
Trekking experience largely involves hiking and requires you to obtain a permit from the park management, which is easy through tour companies. You will observe and interact with the amazing creatures in they graze and care for their babies.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe is Africa’s remaining high-altitude tropical rainforest and home to hundreds of species of plants and birds, an attraction that attracts nature lovers worldwide.
Other than hanging out with chimpanzees and gorillas, trips are common in the forest. And any trip includes a high canopy walk along the 91-meter-long bridge suspended 50 meters above the forest. You’ll get a stunning aerial view of the forest in its majesty.
Fear gravity? The park got 15 hiking trails that you can choose from if not comfortable with the canopy tour.
Nyanza is steeped in the country’s tradition and history. Ancestral Rwanda’s monarchs lived in the thatched ancient palace and the great bulbous domes.
Come and learn the incredible story of the country’s leadership, unravelling the heart-breaking stories of the genocide, and touring the museum collection.
Of the eight Virunga volcanoes, Mount Kasirimbi is the tallest (4705m high). The volcanic mountain got many trails connecting to the neighbouring parks.
The jungle sceneries are really incredible, and tourists take up to two days to hike the mountain, spending a night camping before reaching the peak.
The Twin Lakes
Lakes Burera and Ruhondo (popularly known as the twin lakes) are surrounded by green mountains and protected by mighty volcanoes.
Common scenes here are bird-watching, boating and sightseeing. As your boat or canoe cruises near the next island, the villagers will run to the lakeside to welcome you with traditional songs and dances.
Key take away
For a unique and long-lasting experience, your journey to discover Rwanda should begin in Kigali because that’s where you’ll land. From Kigali, tour the rest of the country.
Be sure to allocate at least one week, and you shall have explored the entire country.