Rwanda is a country in the central part of Africa. Even by its small size, this country has captivated the world and rightfully earned the title of being called the “Phoenix” country of the continent. Rising from a dark history of the genocide which claimed millions of lives, Rwanda and in particular the Capital Kigali is now a marvel to visit and enjoy. Kigali is a beautiful city with gorgeous weather and its best experienced outdoors. Kigali has a number of things that new arrivals, tourists, or even folks who’ve lived here for years might want to check out.
The art scene in Kigali is small but growing. Each month sees new art shows and developments and the main reasons for this are the art studios which keep popping up. Spend an hour or two looking through their galleries, watching the artists and work, or just hanging out in their cool, friendly, spaces.
Live music can be enjoyed in Kigali. Tiamo in Kiyovu has a Congolese band that plays every Friday as well. It’s good music and a lively atmosphere. Serena Hotel will occasionally host bigger concerts (usually at a relatively high price) and Goethe-Institute often holds more cultural type music events like mandolin players and opera singers, usually for free.
Kigali isn’t exactly a shopping mecca but if you’re a visitor, you’ll probably want to pick up some souvenirs. Cooperatives are a good place to grab baskets, poo paintings, carvings and all things Rwandan-ish all at once. There’s one located near Simba Supermarket in town called ‘COOTRAC’ which is small but it has all of the usual stuff. People here tend to give good prices from the start but there’s room for a bit of negotiation.
Climbing Mount Kigali is something you don’t want to miss. While you’re up on the mighty Mount Kigali pay a visit to Fazenda Sengha, the horse riding school up there and trot around while taking in a really amazing view. You can either take a lesson in their horse ring overlooking the city below, or you can do a trail ride through the trees.
To better understand the history of this country, visit the Kigali Memorial Centre located in the northern Kisozi district of the capital. This memorial honours the estimated 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded. This is an intensely powerful and moving memorial for which you should dedicate at least half a day. After you’ve absorbed the museum displays take a rose (by donation) to leave on one of the vast concrete slabs outside that cover the mass graves. There’s also a wall of names, a rose garden and a pleasant cafe serving good coffee, lunch buffets (RFr3000), snacks and juices that is an ideal place to reflect and gather yourself before facing the outside world again.
Kigali is indeed a captivating city to visit.