Kigali is one of the best east African cities to spend a vacation. For two decades after the Rwanda genocide against Tutsi in 1994, Kigali city has managed to attract visitors due to several landmarks and genocide museums that are worth visiting. Mount Kigali offers exclusive view of the city. Kigali is the capital city of the republic of Rwanda popular as the land of a thousand hills with a tropical all year round climate. Destination Rwanda is most known for its mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park. While Kigali is becoming a great tourist destination for MICE and was ranked Africa’s best city 2nd best after Cape Town for meeting and conventions by the International Congress Convention Association.
Located in the center of Rwanda, Kigali spans across hills and valleys and is home to 1 million people. The government and its citizens are very keen on the eco-friendly strategies, therefore Kigali has also become a tourist spot because of its cleanliness.
Founded in 1907 by Richard Kandt, the Rwandan capital experienced slow growth but today is growing rapidly due to modern infrastructure including public services and world class facilities such as Kigali Convention Center.
Rwanda is aiming to become the hub of east African region with the construction of 1.8 million passenger capacity Bugesera airport which is aimed to support long haul flights from USA, Europe and Asia.
It’s hard to believe the ongoing development in Kigali for a country like Rwanda that lost nearly a million people during the Rwandan genocide against Tutsi in 1994. Rebuilding the country and the minds of people has been difficult but through a number of campaigns such as never again, it has been possible to achieve such level of economic development.
Thanks to the government policy for prioritizing things like natural environment, public service and transport, recreation, economic development among others. This has led to development of outdoor and recreational centers including cycling, golfing, and birding watching places right in the central business district. Here you can enjoy 24 hours of excitement such as shopping in Rwanda. Some of the sites include Kigali city tower, Nyarutarama Valley golf course, Nyabarango wetland and Hotel Rwanda also known as Mille Collines.
Kigali city tour allows visitors to discover a lot about Rwanda history and culture including arts and handicrafts, museums, local community tours like Nyamirambo and the infamous Kigali genocide museum among others.
Popular attractions in Kigali are the genocide memorials dedicated to more than 1 million victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against tutsi. The thing that Rwanda and the world at large must never forget is to honor the scars of the country’s tormenting past while educating and promoting peace and reconciliation for the coming generations. Some of the memorials include Kigali memorial center, presidential palace museum, Rebero memorial, Nyamata and Ntarama memorials among others.
Top attractions and activities to do in Kigali city
Taking a tour of Kigali city lets you experience the traditional and modern culture of Rwanda. It can be half or full day tour that allows you to select what you wish to see including markets, genocide museums, walking tours in the central business or in the five neighborhoods.
Visit the Genocide memorials
The Rwanda genocide memorials are a bone terrifying reminder of Rwanda’s tragic past. Almost 1 million people were killed during the Rwanda genocide against Tutsi in 1994 that lasted for 100 days. 24 years later, today there are still people who survived the genocide. Rwandan government built genocide museums and memorials so that the victims are never forgotten and to embrace peace and reconcile to those who survived. Never again is the ideology dedicated to fight genocide.
There are several memorials such as the Kigali also known as Gisozi genocide memorial, Ntarama and Nyamata churches, Rebero memorial, camp Kigali among others which are tributes to the victims.
If you can’t manage to visit all of them, at least visit Gisozi which is the main genocide memorial
Kigali genocide memorial
Located in Gisozi about 10 minutes’ drive from Kigali center, Kigali genocide memorial is a resting place for over 25000 victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against tutsi. Half day Kigali city tours to this memorial feature informative audio guides as well as testimony from the survivor or one of the staff.
Natural history Museum
The natural history museum was formerly a residence of a German colonial governor and explorer Richard kandt before it was turned into a museum. Richard established Kigali a center of German East Africa in 1897 during his journey to discover the source of the Nile in Rwanda. An essential site while visiting Kigali city, natural history museum displays Rwandan life in all aspects social-economic, political to nature and wildlife. In doubt, this museum will give you food for thought about Rwanda.
The natural history museum however isn’t the only museum worth visiting; there are several museums to visit as well during Kigali city tour.
Presidential Palace Museum
The presidential palace museum was a residence of the former president of Rwanda Habyarimana Juvenile. It is now open to the public offering the glimpse into the history of Rwanda. On 6th April 1994, the president Habywatimana was assassinated when his jet was shot down. The tragic incident is one of the factors that sparked off the genocide against Tutsi because Habyarimana was a Hutu. Visitors to this site experience historical and political based Kigali tour that explores the remains of the presidential jet and gardens.
Nyamirambo community walking tour
Nyamirambo is one of the multi-cultural districts and a Muslim quarter of Kigali offering authentic experiences. Founded by the g adventure’s social tourism enterprise Planaterra, Nyamirambo tour offers such quality interactions with the local Rwandans. This tour takes visitors around local markets, Gaddafi Mosque-Kigali’s most prominent mosque music studios, arts and craft centers, coffee shops and eating spots.
Kigali Art centers
In a city like Kigali that is growing so fast and dynamic, the art scene is booming too. From African arts and handicraft markets, art studios, to contemporary galleries, it is fun to visit art spaces in Kigali. Here are some of the best art markets, shops and galleries you should visit on Kigali city tour. Caplaki handicrafts Co-operative is a great craft market with 30 stalls making and selling handicrafts such as Imigongo paintings, Agaseke baskets, jewelry, wood carvings and more. Other art centers include Inema art center, Inganzo Gallery, Ivuka arts Kigali Yego art studio, Africa gift among other