An obvious reason to visit Kigali is its role during in the infamous genocide of 1994, and there are numerous sites within the city to commemorate the darkest days in the nation’s history including the Genocide Memorial Centre and a number of massacre sites.
There’s so much more to Rwanda’s capital than its dark past however, from its diverse selection of galleries to bustling markets and its growing Muslim quarter.
World class restaurants, quaint cafes, walking tours, and the all-important wheels of government can also be experienced. A perfect place from which to launch day tours to nearby towns or even Akagera National Park, Kigali is a charming city with a lot to love about it.
Spread across mountains and valleys, Kigali forms the centre of Rwanda’s booming economy. The capital has a reputation for environmental sustainability – roads are clean, plastic bags are banned, parks are tidy and widespread.
It’s all thanks to an obligatory community cleanup called ‘Umuganda’, taking place every month. Every Rwandan living in Kigali – including the president himself – gets involved, helping to keep the city’s grand Kigali Masterplan 2040 on track.
This forward-looking focus does not shroud Rwanda’s tragic past. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre honours the estimated 250,000 people that were killed and buried here during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. You can take the audio-guided tour for a better understanding of the event.
Few people leave Kigali unimpressed by its strength of character, and being at the centre of the country, it’s not far from Rwanda’s most spectacular attraction: the Volcanoes National Park – famous for its wild troops of mountain gorillas.