Kigali City is the capital city of Rwanda and is the main entry point for all travelers who are flying into Rwanda and is a major economic town. Rwanda is known to the world as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ mainly because it is geographically dominated by mountains and hills in the western part of the country, numerous lakes throughout the country and savanna in the eastern part of the country. Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with its capital city being Kigali.
Kigali City is at the heart of Rwanda and clad with clean streets and modern infrastructure. The city is scattered over several hills with plenty of activities to keep visitors occupied for a few days. It is easy and safe for visitors to walk within the city during the day and at night.
Kigali City has plenty of hot spots for visitors to hang out such as bars, cafes, and restaurants for sustenance. The city’s cleanliness can be attributed to the law enforcing government which banned the use of plastic bags in Rwanda; and also to community service, ‘Umuganda’ which is done everyone on the last Saturday morning of every month. During this time, all shops and businesses are closed for the morning activities.
Kigali City has relatively few tourists but those that take the time to explore the city are rewarded by a friendly response from locals and a more rounded insight into the country as a whole.
Accommodation Facilities in Rwanda-Kigali City
Kigali city has a number of accommodation options which are widespread around the city and range from low budget to high- end and luxurious lodges and hotels and characterized by three-star, four-star, and five-star hotel ratings. Some of the stylish and luxurious hotels include; Heaven Retreat, Kigali Serena Hotel and the famous Hotel des Mille Collines, which was a shooting site for the 2004 Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda.
Although service can sometimes be slow in local bars and restaurants that should not be cause for alarm and it most currently should not deter you from enjoying yourself while relaxing and having fun.
Heaven Boutique Hotel: Heaven Boutique Hotel is located at the heart of downtown Kigali City. The hotel has a total of 22 rooms and sits on one of Rwanda’s many hills. The Heaven Boutique Hotel offers its guests great views of the city. It is often used by many visitors as a stopover before or after heading to Kigali International Airport. It offers guests an opportunity to carry out some activities such as community walks, city tours and swimming at the Hotels pool.
Hotel Des Milles Collines: Hotel des Milles Collines is a four-star hotel located in Kigali City. The hotel gained popularity after featuring in the film Hotel Rwanda and makes a great base for touring the Rwandan capital. The hotel is a relatively standard hotel with 112 well air-conditioned rooms.
The hotel Des Milles Collines offers guests free Wi-Fi, a cozy bar and a restaurant the serves both local and some continental delicacies. Tourists can also enjoy swimming activities in the Hotels’ pool and also take a tour of the Kigali Convention Centre, Union Trade Centre and explore the city’s nightlife.
Kigali Serena Hotel: Kigali Serena Hotel which was formerly known as Kigali InterContinental Hotel is located in Kigali City. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Kigali International Airport. It has plenty of modern facilities with spacious and air-conditioned rooms, large swimming pool, free Wi-Fi for its guests and an elegant, themed restaurant.
Heaven Retreat: The Heaven Retreat is a luxury hotel located in Kiyovu district in Kigali City. The hotel has a modern gym, spa, restaurant, and bar, as well as a serene swimming pool.
Tourists visiting Kigali and staying at Heaven Retreat can engage in some activities like; swimming, yoga, gym and spa activities.
Kigali Marriott Hotel: Kigali Marriott Hotel is located in Kigali and has 254 guest rooms. The hotel is a high- end luxurious hotel that meets international standards. The hotel has a well-stocked bar and a fine restaurant. The hotel acts as a great venue for weddings, business conferences, and exhibitions. Guests can enjoy activities like swimming, gym, wine and dine in the hotel’s restaurant as well as take a tour of Kigali City.
Kigali City is a beautiful city filled with blissful and breath-taking sites and filled with hospitable people. Any tourists visiting Rwanda must take time to explore this beautiful African city.
What can one do in Kigali City?
Shopping: Kigali City has a number of shopping malls, with chic boutiques, coffee shops and art galleries such as Inema art center, Niyo art gallery, Ivuka Arts Centre, Go Kigali boutique, Caplaki Craft Village, Rwanda clothing store and Union Trade Centre to mention but a few.
Kigali City also has a local market where visitors can buy foodstuffs and other souvenirs at relatively low prices. These include the Kimironko market, Nyabugogo market, Nyarugenge market which is also known as the Kigali City market.
The Nyamirambo area of Kigali is known to be a lively and vibrant part of the city. The area has expert tailors and hair salons, bars and cafes. Nyamirambo has a women’s Centre which offers visitors walking tours around their neighborhood, craft shop, the local market as well as offering visitors a typical Rwandan meal.
Kigali Museums and Genocide Memorial: Kigali City has museums which include the Natural History Museum and the State House Museum. These sites are a must-visit for any tourist visiting Rwanda.
Kigali City’s popular landmark is the Kigali Genocide Memorial which stands amidst beautiful rose gardens and fountains. The memorial tells of the history leading to the genocide in Rwanda and also explains other genocides that have happened around the world in the past. The increased number of tourists visiting the site have made it a number one spot for dark tourism on the African continent.
Kigali Genocide Memorial includes heart-rending pictures of victims and their belongings which brings a visitor to the reality of the atrocities to the people of Rwanda. The Kigali Genocide Memorial plays a vital role in educating not just the people of Rwanda, but also visitors, about the genocide and to appreciate how far the country has moved on together to date.