Peacefully nestled along picturesque hilltops, Kigali is a thriving African city immediately notable for its cleanliness, orderliness, and hospitality.
Kigali is a great place to begin or end any Rwanda journey as it’s conveniently located in the geographic center of the country. The city is clean and safe, with extremely welcoming people. Travelers will enjoy exploring the great cultural activities – including several award-winning museums, burgeoning music scene, and some of East Africa’s most memorable dining experiences.
Genocide Memorial Kigali Genocide Memorial The people of Rwanda embrace peace and reconciliation. They are committed to fight the ideology of genocide. The memorials found throughout the country are moving testimonies in memory of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the people who lost their lives. Inaugurated on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi is where 259,000 victims have been buried. This memorial also serves to educate about how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi took shape and examines genocide in the 20th century. Click here for more information.
Camp Kigali Belgian Monument A small museum in Kigali City lies at the site of the massacre of 10 Belgian UN Blue Beret. At the onset of Genocide under the command of General Dallaire, they were deployed to guard the house of Prime Minister Agatha Uwilingimana. When the genocide began, Presidential Guard soldiers invaded the home, disarmed the Belgians and transported them to Camp Kigali where they killed them. The ten stone pillars memorialize the ten soldiers killed. Contact RDB to arrange a tour.
National History Museum Dr. Richard Kandt was the German explorer who embarked on an exploration of Rwanda in 1897 searching for the source of the Nile. He founded Kigali in 1908 as the centre for administration for German East Africa. In 2008 his historic residence was converted into the Natural History Museum which houses some really interesting information on Rwanda’s flora, fauna, geology and biological history, along with a stuffed skeleton of a massive crocodile that terrorized a village in Lake Muhaze; a pair of shoes was found in its stomach.
The Presidential Palace, residence of the former president of Rwanda, President J. Habyarimana – is near the airport on the eastern outskirts of Kigali. Habyarimana was the president whose plane was shot down on the 6th April 1994, the event that some say triggered the Rwandan Genocide. The former state house is now a museum that gives an overview of Rwanda’s history and a visit to the remains of the Falcon 60 presidential jet that are housed in a walled garden on the property.
Nyamirambo Walking Tour Nyamirambo is a bustling multi-cultural commercial district in Kigali. This unique experience brings you right into the heart of the colours, noises and smells of urban Rwanda. Guided by the charming women of the Nyamirambo Women’s Center (NWC), the tour allows visitors to experience the local market, West African tailors, hair salons, a recording studio with its local rap music, butcher and the Muslim quarter with its Arab influences. A delightful traditional Rwandan lunch in a home of one of your hosts is an optional extra. Click here for more information.
Bwiza Village Bwiza is a small village in the neighborhood of Ndara. During this visit you can see how the government has helped to bring new housing to this community along with their local arts and crafts. This is a community of potters, basket makers and wonderful dancers.
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village An independently funded boarding school, in the Eastern Province where they house and educate 500 children aged 15 to 21 who come from all over Rwanda. You will visit the school and farm then enjoy time interacting with students over lunch. Click here for more information.
Arts and Crafts
There is an array of wonderful offerings of contemporary art studios; fashion; handcraft production and cooperative centres where you can watch Rwandans weaving and beading – and where you will be lost for choice in the many fabulous products on offer to purchase.