Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, is situated in the country’s geographic center. The city is situated in latitude 10o58′ S and longitude 30o07′ E, covering a 730km2 area.
The three Districts of Gasabo, Kicukiro, and Nyarugenge make up the City of Kigali. Gasabo, with a total area of 429.3 km2, is the largest district, followed by Kicukiro (166.7 km2) and Nyarugenge (134 km2). In 2023, there will be 1,248,000 people living in the City of Kigali.
Around 15 kilometers to the east of the city, a new international airport at Bugesera is being built to serve Kigali. Over the past 25 years, Kigali’s population has grown quickly. With an urbanization annual growth rate of 4%, it is one of Africa’s fastest expanding cities, and its contribution to the national GDP of over 41% shows the importance of Kigali to the Rwandan economy.
This development has been fueled by Rwanda’s visionary leadership, which has assisted in transforming the nation from a small, rural economy into a significant participant in the regional economy. Rwanda’s transition has been centered around Kigali, which is also poised for significant economic expansion.
Activities to do in Kigali
Climb Mount Kigali: Climbing Mount Kigali can be precisely what you need if you enjoy adventure. It is not a mountain per such, but rather Kigali’s tallest hill, rising to 6,000 feet. The Sun City Hotel is close to the starting site in Nyamirambo. Overall, the mountain’s mild slopes make climbing to the peak simple. Amazing city views are available from Mount Kigali’s summit, and there are also opportunities to shoot stunning pictures there. You can visit the Mera Neza pub on Mount Kigali’s summit for food and drinks or the Fazenda Sengha horse ranch for horseback riding.
Take a Motorcycle Taxi: This is possibly the most efficient and affordable way to explore the city and its surrounds. The motorbikes offer freedom to halt at points of interest and are ideal for navigating through traffic. Anyone can rent the bikes, but if you are unsure how to use them, it is recommended to travel with a reliable Guide. Use caution when utilizing them during the wet season, and always use the guide’s provided helmet.
Volunteering: If you strongly believe in the volunteerism ethic, you should be aware that Kigali will offer you possibilities to get engaged in worthwhile causes. You can apply to assist patients in hospitals, teach English in a school, coach a new sport, or create a website for one of the many non-governmental groups in need of dedicated and knowledgeable foreign volunteers.
Visit a bowling alley: The Mamba Club was the first location in Kigali to have a bowling alley. The club, which is based in Kimihurura, has contributed to the sport’s increased acceptance among Rwandans. The club organizes additional indoor athletic events that are experienced in a friendly environment with good international and local cuisines on offer, and it boasts high-quality imported bowling equipment.
Visit Art Centers, Crafts Shops and art galleries: If you want proof that Rwandans appreciate art, go into one of their homes or living areas. The Inema Art Center is Kigali’s top art gallery. Innocent Nkurunziza and Emmanuel Nkuranga founded this center in the year 2012. About 13 of the top artists in the nation and foreign guest artists are now being housed at the Center. If you want to see exquisite African sculptures and paintings, this is the location to visit. One can see the artists at work or pick up dancing and drumming techniques. A bar that opens on Thursday allows visitors to enjoy music while admiring the art collections, and the facility also organizes yoga courses for guests. Visit the well-known Abraham Konga Collections for the best jewelry selection. Konga makes exquisite earrings and necklaces out of recycled materials.
Go for Sauna and Massage: You won’t run out of places to visit in Kigali that offer pedicures, facials, or manicures. Not only do upscale hotels offer massage and sauna services, but there are also specialist businesses dotted throughout the city center.
Visit one of the large shopping malls: The Union Trade Centre’s Nakumatt supermarket may currently be the biggest supermarket in the town center. Nearly everything can be found there.
Skydiving: Despite just being recently introduced, this activity has already gained enormous popularity in Kigali. Your excitement will shoot through the roof when you jump from a little plane to the earth. Anyone can participate in the exercise, although it requires significant mental preparation. The instructors provide a safety orientation that covers all relevant topics, including how to set up the parachute. All the way to the ground, the teacher will fly beside you or close by.
Ride a Horse: Horseback riding is available in Kigali through the lovely countryside and around Mount Kigali, which gives breathtaking city views. At the Fazenda Sengha on Mount Kigali and at Rugende Park, horseback riding is offered. Participation in horseback riding is open to everybody. Participants are taken for a practice ride around a corral or tree before the long ride begins to teach them the fundamentals of horse handling.
Skating: This is one of the most recent outdoor activities that Kigali has adopted. The SOS School in Kacyiru has an outdoor skating rink. The SOS School provides opportunities for novice skaters to master the basics of skating while also teaching more expert skaters new techniques.
Golfing: The Kigali Golf Club in Nyarutarama allows non-members to play for a small fee while also providing golfing equipment and bags. The club has a well maintained and beautiful 18-hole course.
Play Tennis: The top tennis courts in Kigali can be located at the Amahoro stadium, Cercle Sportif, Hotel Des Attractions in KigaliMilles Collines, Nyarutarama Sports Club, Umubano Hotel, and Nyarutarama Sports Club. Since many of the other courts are still composed of clay, playing on them for an extended period of time may cause foot stress.
Go Fishing: In Kigali, Lake Muhazi is the ideal location for fishing. The road trip from Kigali to the lake takes around an hour. There are various fishing locations in the 32 km wide lake where you can cast a line from a canoe or a motorboat. Amazing beauty in the area surrounding the lake enhances the action.
The Kigali Convention Center: The renowned Radisson Blu Hotel and The Center are both nearby. One of the well-known locations in Kigali is the convention center. It has lovely lights that look wonderful at night and was constructed in the form of a beehive. It is reported that the King’s palace in Nyanza, which has a comparable design, served as the architect’s source of inspiration.
Go to the local markets: The local markets are the ideal places to find information about a country’s culture. You can learn about their preferred foods and social interactions from the market. Possibly Kigali’s biggest local market is Kimironko Market. The best selection of fresh vegetables, fruits, species, and flours are found there, and it is situated outside of the city center. The market also contains a number of electronics, clothing, and other craft shops in addition to food stalls. Brightly colored indigenous Rwandan textiles are available for purchase and can be sewn into a skirt, top, or dress for a nominal charge.
The Nyamirambo market is the other significant marketplace. Since this market is larger, you may interact with the people while learning about their goods. French and Kinyarwanda are the two main languages in Rwanda. When visiting these markets, it is crucial to travel with a guide who can assist you with translation when necessary.
Watching Movies or visiting the Night Clubs: There is a lot going on in Kigali at night. The primary movie theater in Kigali is the Century Cinema, which is located in the heart of the city. The newest blockbusters are shown there in 3-D and 5-D with fantastic motion, special effects, and surround sound (some even before their official US release).
It would be ideal for those who enjoy dancing, partying, and meeting new people to go to one of the nightclubs. All social strata of people who are eager to have fun and have a good time throughout the weekend frequent these nightclubs. You can take dance lessons from a local studio, such Chillax Lounge for Salsa dancing, before storming one of the clubs.
Watch Soccer at the Amahoro Stadium: The largest soccer stadium in Rwanda, Amahoro Stadium in the Remera region, can hold 30,000 spectators. Rwandans are huge fans of soccer, and every time the top teams play, the stadium is packed. Rayon Sports FC, Police FC, and Armée Patriotique Rwandaise FC are the top and most well-liked league teams in Rwanda. The cost of the match tickets is affordable. Therefore, go and cheer for one of the teams while mingling with the locals to have fun and meet new people.
The Kigali Public Library: The new Kigali public library is a location you should go if you enjoy reading and learning. The library offers a calm setting with both physical and electronic book collections. While sipping Rwanda coffee offered by the Shokola Storytellers Cafe on one of the floors, people are welcome to use the library computers, browse the internet, or view documentaries on a huge projector. One must be a member in order to take a book home. Visit the Ikirezi bookshop if you’re interested in buying books on Rwanda.
Visit restaurants: Try local specialties like akabenz (cooked pig), brochettes (roasted meat with fries), nyama choma (roasted beef), ibirayi (goat combined with potatoes), and enormous fried fish while you’re in Kigali. These delectable dishes are made in hotels like Hotel des Mille Collines or in specialty eateries located across the city. Brachetto is the first location to check out. This upscale establishment is run by an Italian chef and is well-known for its delicious Italian fare, including pasta, grills, risotto, sandwiches, and gourmet.
In addition to Brachetto, Kigali is home to many other restaurants that provide top-notch services. International aid workers, businessmen, and expats frequent the Heaven restaurant, which serves dishes from across the globe and many other restaurants not mentioned.
The Nyamirambo Women’s Centre: The Nyamirambo Women’s Center is located in a Kigali suburb. In 2007, a group of local Rwandan women who had previously experienced gender abuse founded this center and training. The Nyamirambo Women’s Center is a non-governmental organization that works to prevent gender-based violence while simultaneously providing victims with English language instruction and computer literacy workshops. The sewing center gives the women access to contemporary sewing machines, which they use to make local clothing, bags, and other accessories from local materials. The finished result is of excellent quality, and you may help the center by purchasing some of the nicest, most vibrant Kitenge (a native cloth) from their boutique. The Nyamirambo Women’s Center arranges walking tours in Kigali to introduce tourists about rural life there. The two-hour walking excursions include stops at the State House Museum, Natural History Museum, neighborhood hair salons, neighborhood residences, local markets, and local stores.
The Gaddafi Mosque: In Nyamirambo, the Gaddafi Mosque is a striking building. Although it wasn’t created by the previous Libyan leader, he is mentioned by name in honor of a road he constructed that passes past the mosque. Although the mosque’s actual name is the Islamic Cultural Center, no one in Rwanda calls it that. The mosque also houses a community center, a school, and a clinic for Nyamirambo’s residents.
Go jogging or walking: Walking or jogging can be used to explore a lovely city like Kigali’s hills. Both during the day and at night, one can take the walk. Kigali’s streets are well-lit and uninhabited by criminals. The Nyarutarama and Kacyiru valleys, as well as the area behind MTN’s main office close to Kibagabaga, are all good places to hike. You can travel to Nyamirambo to walk if you wish to do so in a populated region. For those who enjoy jogging, Kigali’s hills may be challenging, but if you can persevere and make it to the summit, you can expect to be rewarded with stunning city views. Other walkers and joggers choose to use the more level ground near the Kimihurura roundabout.
The Belgium UN Troop Memorial: The memorial was constructed in memory of the 10 Belgian UN troops who died while defending Prime Minister Agathe Uwiligiyimana and her family, and it was dedicated in 2000. Together with her husband, the prime minister was also murdered. After a protracted standoff, the Belgian soldiers made an effort to counterattack but ran out of ammunition.
Visit Hotel des Mille Collines: One of the top hotels in Kigali is Hotel des Mille Collines. The hotel that appeared in the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” is this one. The hotel served as a haven for many people during the 2004 genocide. By hiding them in hotel rooms, the hotel administrators were able to save over a thousand individuals. With 112 rooms, Hotel des Mille Collines is a sizable luxury hotel. It has a gym, a pool, and a restaurant that serves international cuisine. You are still welcome to visit the hotel even if you are not a guest there.