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Known as the Book a flight to Kigali with Qatar Airways and visit the capital city of the 'Land of Eternal Spring.' The capital and commercial centre of Rwanda Kigali is home to one million inhabitants, including many long-term expats. Considered one of Africa’s rising cities, Kigali is on the move, focusing on its future as it shakes off its troubled past.
There are plenty of attractions here to keep you busy, including the Virunga Mountains, Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest and the King’s Palace at Nyanza. The government has also embarked on an ambitious project to develop more attractions and convert the sprawling metropolis into a tourist magnet.
Fly to Kigali and experience an alluring, peaceful holiday destination, and an ideal base to discover Rwanda.
Soak up the natural wonder of Kigali and commune with wildlife at Akagera National Park; or to fully immerse yourself in Rwandan culture, visit Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and the Presidential Palace Museum.
The city's relatively compact geography means tourist attractions are within easy reach of one another. One of the must-see attractions is Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which opened in 2004 and documents one of the darker periods in Rwanda’s history. The Presidential Palace Museum, on the city's outskirts, was once home to President Juvénal Habyarimana, who died in a plane crash in 1994. The museum offers a fascinating insight into his life.
Whether or not you have seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, you should visit the Hôtel des Mille Collines, the inspiration for the film. Also of interest in the city centre is the small yet fascinating Museum of Natural History, supposedly Kigali's first building and once home to German explorer Dr Richard Kandt.
If you want to see some of Rwanda’s wildlife, head for the Akagera National Park, which is about two hours from Kigali city centre. The savanna is home to elephants, baboons, giraffes, antelopes, buffaloes, zebras and more.
Travel to Kigali and you are within easy reach of Rwanda’s extensive natural beauty. People come from across the globe to see the area's wildlife, including mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. A visit to this city is often combined with a tour of Queen Elizabeth National Park in neighbouring Uganda.
Early risers will enjoy a morning run on the 10km Gisozi running circuit, which snakes through Kigali's suburbs. This track offers stunning views over the rice paddies and surrounding countryside.
Families can experience 10-pin bowling with a difference at Mamba Club, where there are no machines, so the pins are reset by hand. You'll also find plenty of cultural activities in Kigali; take a ballet class at Ballet Rwanda or visit the Dancing Pots Craft Centre.
Many restaurants in Kigali are perched atop the hills, offering splendid views of the city. Rwandan dishes usually take a bit longer to prepare, but when they arrive at your table you will find that the food is well worth the wait. An abundance of fresh fish and vegetables, combined with Belgian influences, ensure the city's food is among the best in the country, yet prices are surprisingly affordable.
Traditional dishes include matoke (steamed plantain), ugali (maize porridge) and ibihaza (pumpkin with beans). As Kigali opens up to the world, so does its culinary scene. There are restaurants across the city serving international cuisine, such as Italian, Japanese, American, Indian, and Thai. Eateries range from fast-food stands to fine-dining establishments.
Because most goods are imported, shopping hereis a little on the pricey side and it is rare to find a bargain. If you want the best prices when you travel to kigali, purchase local, community goods instead. Haggling is acceptable at market stalls and in some smaller shops.
Rwandan coffee is one of Kigali’s most sought-after products, while local tea and honey are also worth purchasing. Try Nyungwe Highlands honey and you will not ’t be disappointed. But before you make a purchase, check first with your country’s customs agency for which food items you are allowed to bring home.
For an authentic experience of Rwandan life, head to Kimironko market. Its second-hand clothing section is always worth browsing, while colourful West African fabrics and Rwandan handicrafts make great gifts.
Essential facts about Kigali
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip