Kigali, the vibrant capital of Rwanda, offers a plethora of enriching experiences for travelers. From historic sites to culturally significant landmarks, lush natural beauty to eclectic boutique shopping, there’s something for every explorer in this dynamic city. Here’s a guide to the top things to do and see in Kigali, Rwanda.
A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial is essential to understanding the profound historical significance of Rwanda. It serves as a poignant reminder of the darkest chapter in the nation’s history—the 1994 genocide. Spending a minimum of two hours here is recommended to immerse yourself in the exhibits and audio guide recordings that provide a comprehensive perspective on this tragic event.
Exploring Kimironko Market offers valuable insights into Rwandan daily life. Witness how people shop for items and discover the rich tapestry of Rwandan culture through the products and produce available. Strolling through the market is one of the most authentic ways to connect with local farmers and artisans.
Milk bars are an intriguing aspect of Rwandan culture and a must-try experience. As you journey across the country, whether to Akagera or the gorilla parks, you’ll often encounter locals transporting milk on the back of their bikes. This milk is destined for the Milk Bar, where it undergoes pasteurization. Visiting one of these milk bars provides a fascinating glimpse into this unique practice.
While not necessarily an activity in itself, the Kigali Convention Centre is a stunning architectural marvel that deserves admiration. Illuminated by night in a mesmerizing fashion, the building’s design, resembling a beehive, is a sight to behold. Take a brief detour to appreciate its uniqueness, and don’t miss the opportunity to explore the convention center’s surroundings.
Embarking on a Go Kigali tour is an excellent way to uncover the hidden gems and local secrets of the city. Guided by a knowledgeable local, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Kigali’s history, culture, and vibrant present. Exploring the city with a local guide provides a richer perspective on its history and contemporary life.
The Presidential Palace in Kigali holds historical significance as the former residence of Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu, who served Rwanda during the 1970s to the 1990s. This site witnessed a pivotal moment in Rwandan history when President Habyarimana’s plane, Falcon 50, was shot down on April 6, 1994. The wreckage of the presidential plane is still accessible for visitors to explore.
Kigali today is a vibrant hub of creativity, reflected in its local designer shops, art galleries, and chic dining establishments. The Inema Arts Center is a testament to this burgeoning artistic scene. Explore the center and witness the explosion of color and artistic expression that defines modern Kigali.
Take a piece of Rwanda home with you by purchasing traditional woven baskets known as “agaseke” in the local language. These intricately crafted baskets, often with high covers, carry a rich historical tradition in Rwanda. Owning one of these baskets will serve as a lasting reminder of your journey to Kigali and Rwanda.
Delve into Rwandan fashion and jewelry by visiting local brands selling clothing, accessories, bags, and more at dedicated stalls. This is not just a souvenir shopping experience; it’s an opportunity to discover unique, locally made items all under one roof. Support local designers and artists while acquiring distinctive pieces to cherish.
Embrace the essence of East African culture with a ride on a motorbike, known as a Boda-boda in local parlance. The term “Boda-boda” traces its origins to “border-border” and its role in transporting people across borders, a function it served in the past when buffer zones existed. Riding a Boda-boda is a quintessential East African experience.
While Rwandan cuisine may not be as defined as that of some other countries, “brochette” is a culinary treat worth savoring. Brochettes are skewered and grilled pieces of meat, often served with spicy accompaniments. These delectable bites are a delightful way to explore Rwandan flavors.
For those with a taste for spirits, a visit to the 1000 Hills Distillery is a must. Established in 2014 by an American expatriate, this distillery is Rwanda’s sole establishment of its kind. It offers a unique opportunity to delve into the world of craft distillation in Rwanda. Explore the brewing process, learn about the industry’s evolution in the country, and savor some exceptional spirits.
In collaboration with Trek Africa Tours, you can plan your visit to Kigali and explore these top tourist attractions while embarking on unforgettable adventures, including gorilla tracking safaris in Volcanoes National Park. Kigali is not just a city; it’s a gateway to a world of captivating experiences in Rwanda.