Serving as the capital of Rwanda, Kigali lies amidst rolling hills near the geographical heart of the country. It was founded in 1907 by the German explorer Richard Kandt and has evolved into a vibrant modern city, with outstanding art museums, bustling markets and an enticing restaurant scene.
Things to do in Kigali
Your first port of call should be the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which sheds light on the devastating events of 1994. After watching a short documentary about Rwanda’s tumultuous past, explore the exhibitions filled with personal artefacts and photographs of the hundreds of thousands of Hutu and Tutsi victims. The museum also houses displays dedicated to genocides around the globe and the contemplative Gardens of Reflection.
Occupying the former Presidential Palace on the outskirts of Kigali is the Rwanda Art Museum, which showcases contemporary paintings, sculptures and ceramics by both local and international artists. Also not to miss is the Inema Arts Center, a mural-adorned building that exhibits abstract portraits, mixed-media works and modern African crafts. In addition to visual art, the centre also hosts dance performances and concerts.
For a retail fix, head to Kigali’s largest market, Kimironko, where you’ll find fresh produce, made-to-measure clothing and traditional souvenirs. Alternatively, visit the Nyamirambo Women's Center, which specialises in ethically made goods such as hand-woven baskets, beaded jewellery and Rwandan-inspired clothing. Coincide your visit with one of the centre’s African cooking classes and weaving workshops or join a guided walking tour to meet the people of Nyamirambo.
Getting around Kigali
Kigali International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the city centre and has flights to destinations across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Long-distance buses connect to Kigali from towns and villages across Rwanda while public buses travel throughout the city.