Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, after it acquired independence from Belgium in 1962, is located at the country’s geographical center. It’s a great gateway for tourists and also an amazing base for exploring Rwanda’s best attractions.
If you plan to spend some days in this city rather than simply passing through, there are many ways to keep yourself engaged and entertained.
Packed with skyscrapers and start-up companies, you get to see lush scenery of the surrounding hills while contemporary art galleries, coffeehouses, and restaurants add to Kigali’s cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Here are the top 5 attractions in Kigali, Rwanda
1. Nyamata Church
For more detailed learning about the events of the Rwandan Genocide, visit the memorial at Nyamata Church.
Here, nearly 10,000 Tutsi sought refuge within the church compound but were massacred when Hutu extremists used grenades to blast open the church’s locked doors. Here the remains of more than 50,000 victims are buried at Nyamata.
You can see the original bullet holes in the ceiling and walls, and the bloodstained clothing of the victims (as well as their items and some of their bones) are also kept inside the church as a heartbreaking reminder of the events of 1994.
2. Nyamirambo Women’s Center
Situated in Kigali’s multicultural Nyamirambo district, the Nyamirambo Women’s Center is a non-profit initiative offering Rwandan women with the education and training to help them find employment.
The women working here use their skills to create high-end children’s clothing, accessories, and home decor articles making amazing souvenirs while funding the center’s community programs.
You may join one of their popular walking tours, too. After a traditional snack and a lesson in Kinyarwanda, you can join a local guide on a tour of Nyamirambo’s houses, independent businesses, and mosques. Then enjoy a traditional lunch at one of the ladies’ homes.
3. Inzora Rooftop Café
Located at the back of the Ikirezi book shop, Inzora Rooftop Café is a great example of Kigali’s flourishing café culture. You can have spectacular views of the city and the surrounding hills from its rooftop terrace special.
In the menu, you would find macadamia and chia seed granola followed by gluten-free brownies. All the ingredients to the furnitures are locally sourced. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.
4. Inema Art Center
Started in 2012 by two brothers to support and display emerging Rwandan artists, Inema Art Center is now one of the best galleries in the city. It features the work of ten local artists working across a broad spectrum of different mediums.
It also organizes workshops and training programs for the new generation of Rwandan creatives, including weekly workshops for orphans, traditional dance programs for children and a crafts program for women.
You can peruse and purchase the artworks in the gallery, or shop for jewelry, linens, and leatherwork made by the center’s students at the gift shop. You may also keep an eye for regular music and dance performances.
5. Repub Lounge
Repub lounge is a place to unwind after a busy day with a loyal following in Kigali. The African interiors of this lounge are made of kitenge fabrics and hand-crafted furniture to create a convivial ambiance while the outside deck impresses with mesmerizing views of the city lights.
The menu here is packed with Rwandan and East African cuisine with a focus on grilled meats. The brochettes are the specialty and are great for sharing dishes and also perfect for larger groups.
You can opt for a glass of wine or a cocktail from the extensive drinks list here to relax whilst listening to Afro-inspired live music. With reasonable prices, the staff here is also popular for being attentive.