Kigali Attractions And Activities : Top 12 Things To Do And Places To Visit In Kigali : The Rwanda ultimate Safari adventure—tracking down mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park—deserves more time in a traveler’s itinerary than a one-night layover in Kigali. Rwanda’s lush, hilly capital has transformed over the past 20 years into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city brimming with art, culture, and cuisine. This charming city is also one of the safest and cleanest in all of Africa.

 Whatever amount of time you have in Kigali, you should schedule at least a few hours to spend at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The somber museum explains the circumstances that led to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and provides some crucial context for the decades of peace and development that followed.

After that, tour Kigali’s charming neighborhoods and landmarks. Visit the Question Coffee Cafe to sip strong, ethical coffee. At the Nyamirambo Women’s Center, you can purchase souvenirs made in the area. Visit the Rwanda Art Museum to lose yourself in contemporary art. Don’t forget to include the capital city of Rwanda in your travel plans so you can experience all it has to offer. Here is the Achieve Global Safaris’s complete guide of the list of top things to do and see in Kigali, Rwanda:

  1. Kigali Genocide Memorial

Understanding the causes of the devastating Rwandan genocide—a conflict that killed about 800,000 people in just 100 days, the majority of whom belonged to the Tutsi ethnic minority—is essential to appreciating everything Rwanda has become. The Kigali Genocide Memorial illuminates the historical circumstances that gave rise to the genocide and the horrifying realities that Rwandans had to deal with in 1994.

 Make yourself ready. The memorial, where 250,000 victims are buried, is emotionally taxing to visit, but it provides visitors with a framework for understanding this complicated nation. After viewing a brief documentary about the genocide in Rwanda, you’ll move on to three permanent exhibitions that are packed with artifacts, timelines, facts, and pictures.

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus is the main topic of the exhibit. It explains how Hutu and Tutsi divisions that did not previously exist in Rwandan society were brought about by colonization. The exhibit then reveals the events that led to the genocide, what transpired during those 100 brutal days, heartbreaking stories of survival, and daring acts of rescue from both locals and outsiders through displays of potent photographs, artifacts, and audio-visual displays in dark, circular halls. The moving space is dotted with sculptures and stained-glass windows, giving it a holy atmosphere.

The Children’s Room, which features a gallery of life-size portraits of the youngest genocide victims, some of whom were infants, will eventually be reached. By including information on the kids’ preferred games, activities, foods, songs, and more, it preserves their memories. The museum concludes with a display on other mass killings and genocides around the globe, placing the Rwandan genocide in perspective and looking at potential preventative and intervention strategies.

 After your visit, go outside to the Gardens of Reflection to pay your respects to the victims. The park-like setting provides the ideal ambiance for introspection on everything you have just seen.

  1. Inema Arts Center

The Inema Arts Center was established in 2012 by two brothers who are both self-taught painters with the goal of “taping the untapped potential of art in Rwanda,” and since then, it has developed into the go-to location for viewing contemporary art in Kigali. The building’s colorful exterior murals make it impossible to miss it from a distance.

 Ten resident artists are provided with gallery space within the Inema Arts Center. Depending on the mix of artists on display while they are there, visitors may see contemporary interpretations of traditional African crafts, abstract and expressive portraits, mixed-media works depicting scenes of African life, and some of the best artwork in Rwanda.

There is no pressure to buy anything when you visit to admire the art, but if you do want to take something home, the center can assist with shipping.

 The Inema Arts Center offers weekly dance performances, yoga classes with a creative theme, gallery tours, and concerts in addition to visual art. To find out what activities are available during your visit, get in touch with the center directly.

  1. Rwanda Art Museum

There are other places in Kigali besides the Inema Arts Center where you can see art. Additionally, visitors can visit the Rwanda Art Museum, a facility located in the former Presidential Palace outside of Kigali. One of the eight national museums in the nation

The only museum of contemporary art in Rwanda is the Rwanda Art Museum, which debuted in May 2018. It exhibits both works by international artists and a wide range of locally produced creativity. More than 100 pieces of art, including ceramics, sculptures, paintings, and experimental works created in a range of media, are on display in the vast space.

 Surprisingly, the museum’s grounds also have the remains of the presidential plane that went down on April 6, 1994. Pinnacle-like fragments of the Falcon 50 aircraft jolted up from the grass.

  1. Kimironko Market

The largest and busiest market in Kigali, Kimironko Market, is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon exploring. In the vast warehouse complex, hundreds of vendors have set up shop, hustling everything from bed sheets and carved masks to an abundance of produce sourced from all over East Africa. You’ll have to move in single file through narrow hallways, duck under hanging t-shirts, and share the space with women who are toting heavy baskets.

Bespoke clothing is the one item from this market you absolutely must bring home. Shop owners here will assist you in selecting colorful, patterned fabrics from among the thousands of options available. You can choose from a variety of garment styles, such as tank tops, wide-leg pants, leggings, and dresses, before getting measured and giving the order to a local tailor.

 You’ll have uniquely tailored clothing to wear for the remainder of your explorations of Kigali in about an hour, along with a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring home. Before leaving the store, make sure you try them on in case you need to make any adjustments.

It makes sense to want to take pictures of this fascinating glimpse into Kigali life. However, many of the shop owners here are camera-shy and would rather not be captured on camera. When taking pictures, exercise caution and always get someone’s permission.

  1. Nyamirambo Women’s Center

Visit the Nyamirambo Women’s Center if you want to buy some genuinely heartwarming trinkets. The organization, which was founded by women, was established in late 2007 with the goal of addressing gender inequality and empowering women.

It provides free education and vocational training in addition to hiring women at fair wages to stock its cozy boutique with products made ethically. Visitors can purchase gorgeously printed totes, hand-woven baskets of all sizes and shapes, patterned placemats, crocheted rugs, beaded jewelry, and clothing with local influences.

The Nyamiramo Women’s Center’s community immersions make a visit there one of the top things to do in Kigali, if some of the best local shopping isn’t incentive enough. With tour guides who were either raised in the area or currently reside there, the group offers enlightening strolls through Nyamirambo that take visitors past neighborhood barbershops, mosques, tailors, and agricultural establishments.

 The center also offers workshops on basket weaving and traditional cooking to tourists. Through these experiences, you will gain an insider’s view of Rwandan culture.

  1. Amahoro Stadium

The best venue in Rwanda to watch sports and other entertainment is Amahoro Stadium. An unforgettable experience that immerses visitors in the passion for soccer in Rwanda is watching Rayon Sports Football Club and Armee Patriotique Rwandaise Football Club play opponents while sitting in the stands with up to 25,000 other ecstatic spectators.

Kigali Attractions And Activities
Amahoro Stadium

 Rugby games, live performances, marathons, and other events are also held at the stadium. For information on upcoming events during your stay, check the local newspaper event listings or speak with the concierge at your hotel.

A historical site, Amahoro, whose name means “peace,” is more than just a sports complex. During the Rwandan genocide, approximately 12,000 people sought refuge at the stadium for several weeks while attempting to survive under the open sky with only the clothes on their backs. The stadium honors this significant period of history with commemorative activities on the anniversary of the genocide.

  1. Hotel des Mille Collines

The Hotel des Mille Collines is one of Kigali’s best-known landmarks, if not the most famous in all of Rwanda. The hotel, which is in the Central Business District, provided refuge to hundreds of people during the genocide in Rwanda. They took refuge in unnumbered rooms in groups of up to ten people, and they drank water from the pool. The fictional 2004 film Hotel Rwanda may be the source of the story’s familiarity with tourists.

One of the best places to stay in Kigali right now is this opulent hotel that is still operational. But even if you decide to stay somewhere else, you can still get a taste of this special location at the hotel’s weekly Culture Night, which is held every Friday. With live music and dance performances, as well as meals made almost entirely of local ingredients, it celebrates Rwandan culture.

Hot tip: Looking for a breathtaking view of Kigali? Prepare to have your breath taken away by visiting the appropriately named Le Panorama Restaurant, located on the fourth floor of the Hotel des Mille Collines.

  1. Camp Kigali Memorial

The Camp Kigali Memorial is a serene, revered place where ten Belgian soldiers became some of the first casualties of the Rwandan genocide. It is only a few steps away from the Kigali Serena Hotel and the Kigali Marriott Hotel. General Dallaire had dispatched them to protect the home of the moderate Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. The Belgians were apprehended by members of the Presidential Guard, who took their weapons and brought them to this location in Kigali, where they were killed.

Ten solemn stone pillars that rise in a circle from a platform of pebbles form the Camp Kigali Memorial, which now pays respect to each of these victims. Look closely at the horizontal cuts that have been made into each column; they stand for each soldier’s age. The pillars’ tops are broken, signifying the soldiers’ cruel demise. You can see the initials of each soldier at the bottom of each stone. A small museum, littered with bullet holes from this significant day, is located right outside the memorial.

The Camp Kigali Memorial is a sobering place to comprehend the horrors of what Rwandans went through in 1994 and is more than just a grim tourist attraction. It enables tourists to grasp the genocide more deeply and to appreciate the eventual unification of all Rwandans.

  1. Niyo Arts Gallery

Visitors can view even more works by regional artists after leaving the Rwanda Art Museum by going to the Niyo Arts Gallery. For its 17 resident artists, who are skilled in everything from oil painting and graffiti art to Rwandan drumming and dancing, it provides a creative workspace. Visitors can enjoy meet-and-greets with the artists, take in sporadic performances, and view colorful works on display in various rooms throughout the gallery.

 Niyo is more than just an art gallery; it is also a global poverty-reduction initiative. It contributes a portion of its earnings to neighborhood orphanages.

  1. Mount Kigali

You can probably see Mount Kigali, the city’s most prominent natural landmark, from anywhere in the area. Visitors can hike this easy slope from close to Nyamirambo Stadium in an hour or two (follow the signs for Fazenda Sengha) and enjoy breathtaking city views from a number of vantage points. You’ll also pass through a lovely eucalyptus forest, a coffee plantation, and a number of undeveloped neighborhoods on the quick hike.

 For your first trip, it is advised to hire a guide because the trail can be challenging to navigate. Think about asking the hotel concierge to put you in touch with a local authority.

  1. Kimironko Market.

The largest and one of the best markets in Kigali is Kimironko Market. In this covered complex, you can buy used clothing, fruit and vegetables, fish, fabric, and baskets. Spend some time bartering for avocados before purchasing gifts for everyone on your list. Agaseke baskets are exquisite, distinctive to Rwanda, and available by the dozen at Kimironko.

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