Kigali is the capital and the biggest city of Rwanda. It is an administrative center of Rwanda, most famous as the cleanest and one of the beautiful cities with fully maintained streets unlike most African cities. Kigali is located at the center of Rwanda and stretches to cover many spectacular valleys and hills.
Compared to most cities in Africa, Kigali city is a bit new. It began as an administrative outpost in 1907 and in 1962, it became the capital city of Rwanda. Today, Kigali city is a vibrant economic, cultural and transport hub.
To visitors on Rwanda safaris, Kigali city is one of the 5 (five) Rwanda provinces worth visiting. It is comprised of 3 districts- Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo. It is in the heart of Kigali city where the offices, main residence of Rwanda president are located plus several ministries. The service sector is interestingly the main economic contributor to the growth of Kigali capital, though some people engage in farming activities especially small-scale subsistence farming.
Kigali boasts of its unique attractions, attracting most visitors worldwide who come for leisure tourism, exhibitions and conference. It is one of the rapidly growing cities in Africa with new shopping malls, convention centers, offices and more.
Kigali is one of the affected areas during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. With return of peace and stability, a lot of transformation has taken place in this beautiful city making it one of the most visited cities in Africa.
Tourism in Kigali
Kigali is a remarkable tourist destination of its own. It is a home to significant genocide memorial centers such as the Kigali genocide memorial. Over 500,000 to 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus were murdered during the 1994 war. A visit to Kigali is considered incomplete without a tour in the Kigali genocide site. This is educational and peace-building center with 3 permanent exhibitions and burial gardens which make up part of the significant tribute to the victims who lost their lives at the time of the war. This makes it a powerful educational center for tourists to have deep insight into what occurred during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Other Historical Sites in Kigali
Hotel Mille des Collines- Also referred to as Hotel Rwanda, The Hotel Mille des Collines featured in the Hotel Rwanda movie which showcased the hotel. Hotel Rwanda was a hiding spot for the Tutsis during the Rwanda genocide and most lives were saved with assistance of Mr. Paul Rusesabagina who served as in charge of the hotel.
The Presidential Palace Museum
The Presidential Palace Museum showcases the wrecked President Habyarimana’s plane. Habyarimana died from plane crash and this is one of the factors that sparked the 1994 Rwanda genocide. It created deep hatred between the Hutus and Tutsis.
Kandt House museum
This is where the first Belgian colonial governor of Rwanda “Richard Kandt” lived. It was previously called the Kandt house museum of natural history.
Nyanza genocide memorial center
The Nyanza memorial center comprises of 4 mass graves of Tutsis and converged at Ecole Technique Officielle grounds for safety. They were protected by Belgian soldiers who unfortunately were also murdered.
Sainte Famille Church
Majority of the Hutus and Tutsis gathered at Sainte Famille Church for protection. Due to the war, they were forced to convert to Islam because the priest assisted arming the Hutu men who later murdered the innocent people.
The gorilla statue is one of the amazing resources in the tourism sector in Rwanda. It is located right at the city center of Kigali and consists of male and female gorilla representing the significant value gorillas have.
Kigali is also famous for its unique arts and craft centers located at the city. These include Kigali Arts Center, Inema Art Center, etc.
Shopping centers- these are many and they include House of Tayo, Kimironko Market, Haute Baso, Kigali cultural village, and more.
In order to have a taste of Rwandan cuisines and learning more about them, how they are prepared, visit Heaven Restaurants, Fusion, Repub Lounge, Meze fresh, Poivre Noir, Fantastic Restaurant.
To have fun, the best spots include Question Coffee, Hotel Mille des Collines, Inzora rooftop café, Ikirezi bookshop, etc or visit Kacyiru, Nyarugenge Hill, etc.