Though Rwanda’s history is greatly linked to the Rwandese genocide that claimed the lives of local Rwandese, its capital city Kigali is one of the developed and fastest growing capital cities on the African continent. A visit to the city today makes one appreciate the mega developments Rwanda has gone through compared to the way it was after the genocide.
City tourism is one of the growing forms of tourism in Rwanda and Kigali has many tourist attraction sites that one can visit without even going to the various national parks Rwanda has. These include
Kigali genocide memorial center
Located in Gisozi, this memorial center has modern well-designed buildings plus gardens. The Kigali genocide memorial tour begins with Rwanda’s history before the colonialists when the Hutus and Tutsis still lived in harmony, as you go a head, the film and audio footage shows the colonial period and the major historical events that triggered the 1994 Rwandese genocide.
As you go ahead, the footage unveils the times of terror; killings and chaos where you will see rooms full of human skeletons and the various killing weapons that were used. The Kigali memorial leaves most of the visitors heart broken and its one of the dark tourism sites one can visit while in Kigali.
Restaurants and eateries
The restaurants in Kigali serve different kinds of local and international cuisines and snacks from the French fries locally known as chips to the Belgian brochettes frites and kebabs, peanut chicken, grilled fish and many other delicacies. The most famous hotels and restaurants in Kigali include hotel colline des Milles, Kigali Serena hotel, Africa bite restaurant, city by blue hotel and many others.
Located in the city center, Kimironko is the largest market in Kigali that sells a lot of locally grown foodstuffs and other agricultural products. Avocados, beans, yellow bananas, dried fish, rice and bananas are among the commonly sold foodstuffs in the market. Though the market is something usual to the local Rwandese, it attracts many foreign tourists especially those from the western world seeking to experience the Rwandan culture.
The Nyamirambo Muslim quarters
This is Kigali’s multi cultural center with people from different parts of the world. Being a multi cultural area, Nyamirambo offers a variety of attractions ranging from the culinary of the different people in the area to the hand made crafts and art pieces. There are also many beauty salons around the area with many Congolese and Senegalese stylists who can easily transform some one using simple makeup.
Nyamirambo is the best place for homestays around Kigali because it gives one an opportunity to fully explore the city either on guided foot tours or bike tours.
The hills around the city
Kigali is surrounded by gently sloping hills that provides great panoramic views of the city. These hills can be well explored on a bike through the Nyamirambo suburbs. On the Kigali hills bike expeditions can be made through the various small towns surrounding the city. These towns are full of very social and welcoming Rwandese who can entertain the tourists especially around bars and drinking areas.
Ivuka art center
This is a stop center in Kigali where one can get various east African art pieces and hand crafts made by local Rwandese. Today, Ivuka center’s gallery has modern art pieces and all those interested are very welcome. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am in the morning to 7:00 pm in the evening.
This is one of the birding destinations in the city center. Kingfishers, white pelicans and kites are the major birds that can be easily sighted around the lake. The lake is just a few meters from the city center and all those interested can sit along the shore and enjoy the cool lake breezes.