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KIGALI HUB

The green city of Kigali, built on Mt Kigali, is the largest city in Rwanda, known for its clean andsafe environment.

It was chosen over the established cultural city of Butare as the capital in 1962 when Rwanda gained

its independence from Belgium. Kigali has grown very quickly and is now the major political centre of Rwanda as well as the economic and transport hub of the country. Situated centrally within the country it provides a convenient gateway to the country by road or air.

Mt Kigali has an elevation of an impressive 1 850m, the highest in the area, the surrounding mountainsaveraging just 1 600m.

The commercial centre of the city is on Nyarugende Hill, while the Government and administrative centre is further east on Kacyiru Hill. Kigali offers a healthy concentration of hotels and conference facilities, look out for the new conference centre.

Thanks to its altitude, Kigali enjoys a moderate climate, despite its tropical location.

It is also known to be one of the safest and cleanest African capitals.

Centrally located within Rwanda, the Kigali Hub is a convenient location from which to access all tourism sites and provinces.

 

 

Getting around

To explore the city’s main attractions take the Karibu Rwanda Kigali City Tour which makes use of the City Guided Bus Toursand organized through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Thistour includes stops at places of interest such as TheMuseum of Natural History, Nyamirambo, CaplakiHandicrafts Co-operative, Gisozi Genocide Memorialand the Heroes’ Cemetery, the Parliament Buildingand Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

The fastest and most popular way to get around town are the thrilling Motorcycle taxis, also known as ‘moto-taxis’. It can be a little scary balanced on the back of a motorcycle, but the undeniable advantage is being able to manoeuvre more easily through traffic. Avoid mototaxis without valid permits. Riders with permits are easily recognised by the numbers on their green helmets and jackets. They are registered as transport providers.

Also note that wearing a helmet is compulsory and are provided as part of the service. ‘Special hire' or 'taxi voiture' allow you more privacy to see the city at your own pace. They are usually white with an orange stripe down the side. Prior negotiation of taxi fares is always advisable.

Matatus (minibuses), provide transport along all major routes and are the cheapest way to get around the city.

Minibuses wait to fill up before leaving from the terminus, then pick up and drop off frequently en route so they are probably not the best option if you are in a hurry to get somewhere.

 

Handicrafts and Shopping

A wide range of handicrafts are produced in rural Rwanda, ranging from ceramics and basketry to traditional woodcarvings and contemporary paintings. Rwanda’s traditional Agaseke baskets have become famous around the world. You will find a good selection of painted and handcrafted artefacts in craft villages, shops and art galleries around Kigali.

 

Rwanda Nziza was created to allow artists to access the local market and give them direct exposure on the tourist market. Also known as The Rwandan Fair Trade Artist’s Association, the RFTAA offers a variety of high quality products that are 100% Rwandan. The artisans, from all over Rwanda, have direct access to the customer and earn 100% of the profits. On arrival at the store, you will hear local music, and enjoy complimentary coffee and a relaxed retail experience.

Every product comes with a member biography as well as a description of the product and its cultural significance.

 

Ivuka Arts Kigali is a group of established artists trying to introduce Rwandan contemporary art to the International scene by discovering and nurturing young talent.

 

RwaMakondera (Rwandan Horns) Children’s Dance Troupe is a programme integrated in Ivuka Art Kigali. The troupe aims to empower disadvantaged children by teaching them Rwandan traditional dances and performing for International audiences.

 

Caplaki Handicrafts Co-operative, situated near the CercleSportif, was created as a result of the relocation of street shops that had to move away from the city centre.

Some of these craftsmen were granted a piece of land by the Kigali City Council near the Gikondo/Nyenyeri minibus-taxi route and before long some 30 stalls emerged. Other excellent places to view and purchase traditional and modern art work in Kigali are CAPLAKI Craft Village, Inganzo Gallery, African Gift Corner, ATRAC Craft Village and Uburanga Art Studio.

You will find other souvenirs at shops like Africa Gift Corner and Mode Savane. More artists, exhibitions and music performances can be found at places like Bushayija and Inganzo Art Galleries, Shokola and Laico Umubano Hotel.

As for shopping, try to visit the area covered by Boulevard de la Revolution, Avenue des Milles Collines, Rue de l’Epargne and Avenue du Commerce. If you are looking foran African Market then your best bets will be the Kimironkomarket, the Gakinjiro market or the Nyabugogo market. Thelast is the largest market in Rwanda.

And if you are looking for a mall experience, head for the biggest mall in Kigali: the Union Trade Centre, situated at the eastern side of Boulevard de la Revolution. Also referred as the Nakumatt Centre, it offers a wide range of imported goods, bakeries, coffee shops and banks.

 

Gahaya Links Gifted Hands was founded in 2004 by Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana. This company was the first traditional handicrafts export company. It was initially started in the remote village of Gitarama where the sisters recruited about 20 women and taught them to weave or improve their skills with new techniques. Today the company manages a network of over 4 000 weavers across the country. Their

belief is that women’s economic empowerment provides the foundation for achieving sustainable peace and development in Rwanda.

Entertainment

The city centre offers a variety places to get something to eat or drink. There are a few spots in Kigali where it is possible to dance the night away.

Enjoy live entertainment and salsa dancing at Pasadena, VIP, the Intercontinental or the Milles Collines, or put on your dancing shoes and head for New Cadillac or Planet, which are vibey places to spend a Friday or Saturday night.

In Nyarutarama you will find the very chic B-Club. If you don’t fancy dancing, but you still want to go out for a drink in the evening, head to Karibu near the city centre or to Papyrus Lounge.

Grab a cup of coffee or a meal (ikawaccino) at Bourbon Café, the trendy coffee shop at the Union Trade Centre and the MTN Centre. With 8 million coffee trees in Rwanda, coffee is something of an institution

in Rwanda. Arabica coffee specifically Maraba is one of Rwanda biggest exports.

Rwanda Bourbon Coffee is even used by international franchise Starbucks. There are many other coffee types in town.

Historical sites

Camp Kigali commemorates the massacre of 10 Belgian UN Blue Berets on the first day of the genocide in 1994. Today, the camp hosts a small museum and a memorial which displays one stone pillar for each soldier with their age marked as a line.

 

The former State House of President Juvenal Havyarimana’s regime is one of the new museums inKigali. About 4km from Kanombe Airport. It gives visitorsa chance to visit the former state house as well as get anoverview of Rwanda’s history.

 

The National History Museum, also known as ‘Kandt House’, is dedicated to Richard Kandt a German doctor and explorer who embarked on an exploration of Rwanda in 1897, searching for the source of the Nile. The museum aims to explain the interdependency between living beings and their environment. The idea being that it is only through the knowledge of the environment we live in that our behaviour will change. This museum showcases his work and many natural wonders of the country.

 

Librarie Ikirezi is the first public library in Rwanda and aims to become the ‘sanctuary for knowledge and a forum for the free exchange of ideas’. It also houses the largest selection of books written on the Rwandan genocide.

 

Nyamata and Ntarama Genocide Memorials are the scenes of some of the most brutal massacres in Rwanda. Both are located about 30km south of Kigali, in the Bugasera region, but are easily reachable by a newly paved road. These churches and their contents are a reminder of the violence that took place during Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

 

The Gisozi / Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre was inaugurated in April 2004, for the 10th anniversary of the beginning of Rwanda’s Genocide. The centre in Kigali was created by a joint partnership between the Kigali city council and the Aegis Trust, an UK based genocide prevention organization. The Centre presents three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. There is also a children's memorial, and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. The Centre is built on a site where over 250 000 people are buried.

 

Remera Heroes’ Cemetery is another site connected to the genocide in Rwanda. Three particularly noteworthy graves populate this cemetery on Kimironko Road, past the Amahoro Stadium. The first is the grave of the cofounder and leader of the RPF, Fred Gisa Rwigyema, who was killed on 2 October 1990 trying to invade Rwanda. The second grave is that of Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Prime Minister at the time, assassinated on 7 April 1994. The third is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which stands as a memorial to all the victims of the genocide.

 

Nyanza Genocide Memorial commemorates the killing of 10 000 Rwandans that took place at the Ecole Technique Officielle. The museum documents the massacre and emphasizes the desertion of the international community.

Activities

Enjoy bird watching at Nyarutarama Lake. Nyarutarama is an affluent area. "Lover's Lake" in the "Nyarutarama" valley, at the border of Kigali Golf Course, is most attractive. The lake is surrounded by a track which offers excellent nature walks and bird watching opportunities.

 

The Nyabarongo Wetlands have remained untouched by tourism, but also offer walking paths and good bird watching. This protected area covers 142.62km2 with two lakes – Lake Mirayi and Lake Rumira.

 

Practice your swing at Nyarutarama Golf Course; this challenging course offers an invigorating golf experience over a topographically rich landscape. Book an afternoon of pampering at one of the five spa’s

the city has to offer. Cool down or go for a swim at the Mille Collines Hotel. This famous hotel was a refugee centre during the genocide and also the setting for the famous novel ‘Undimanche à la piscine à Kigali’, by Quebecer Gil Courtemanche, and its movie adaptation, Hotel Rwanda.

 

Go mountain biking in or out of town. The fine road network, of dirt track around the city with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for bicycle trips. shops to be found in the city centre, like Cafe Torero, where

they also have arts performances, or La Galette and Blues. If you are looking proper restaurants, then head to Serena et Milles Collines Hotels in the city centre, Heaven Restaurant, or Republika Lounge on the outskirts of the city in the leafy suburb of Kiyovu.

 

You can discover everyday life in the Muslim quarter of Nyamirambo. Habari Travels, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. offers the “This is AfricaExperience” in the bustling commercial area. The experiencewill introduce you to the vibrant culture of the city’s mostmulti-cultural suburb and plunge you right into the heart ofthe sights, sounds and smells of urban Rwanda. In associationwith the Nyamirambo Women’s Centre (NWC), you will beguided through their home area. Among others, you willexperience the Muslim quarterwith its Arab influences, themarket, the hair salons, therecording studio with its local

rap music, the butcher, the health centre and the primary school. Your hosts will also invite you to one of their homes, where you will learn how to cook a Rwandan meal.

You can book this tour through one of the private operators represented by Rwanda Tour and Travel Association.

Rwanda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
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Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
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Uganda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
Tel: +256-392.897.704
Mob: +256-782-014-207
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
Uganda Office: Suite 3, Pioneer House
Plot 28 Jinja Road
Kampala, East Africa

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87 Caernarvon Close, Mitcham, Surrey
CR4 1XE, United Kingdom

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