Kigali City Tour – Things to see in Kigali – Primate Safari Experiences
Kigali City Tour takes you for an amazing discovery of Rwanda’s capital. Kigali is the commercial center of Rwanda with most of the important political offices in the country. Kigali is also one of the cleanest and safest cities in Africa. The roads and general transport system is one of the best in Africa. Walk around the city center will lead to impressive 5 star hotels, high-end restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Because of the modern structures, clean streets, safety and good governance, Kigali has been chosen as host to many important international conferences. As I write this, it is about to host the 2020 commonwealth conference. All these achievements are remarkable given that Rwanda was devastated by the 1994 genocide. The new government headed by the president Paul Kagame has rebuilt the country to become a magnet for investors and tourists.
Places to visit on a Kigali City Tour
Mount Kigali: This will probably be the first place you will visit. It is not actually a mountain but the tallest of the many hills in Kigali. Mount Kigali has the highest point in the city enabling visitors to get amazing views of the city, the countryside and beautiful hills. On top the hill is a restaurant and a company organizing horseback safaris.
The Natural History Museum: The Natural History Museum (Formerly known as the Kandt House) is a Museum of history and former house of Doctor Richard Kandt. Kandt is the one who came up with the name Kigali. The Museum is found between Mount Kigali and Mount Jali. Kandt was a famous German explorer who built the very first modern building in Rwanda. The Natural History Museum is the place to go to if one is interested in learning more about the history of Kigali and the era of colonization in Rwanda. It is the oldest modern building in Rwanda. Through the Museum exhibitions and information from the resident Guides, you will learn that Kigali begun as a colonial outpost in 1907.
Kigali Convention Center: This is where all the major conferences, meetings and exhibitions are held. The center is close to Kigali International Airport and can accommodate 2,500 people. The center is also home to a five-star accommodation facility known as the Radisson blue hotel with 292 rooms. Other facilities at the Kigali Convention Centre include shopping malls, arcades, small business and offices. It is the perfect place to go to if one wants to visit a modern shopping arena, find good accommodation or mingle with Rwanda’s affluent class.
The Presidential Museum: After visiting the Kandt House, the next stop is the Presidential Museum. This Museum was the state house or residence of Rwanda’s two former presidents. The Presidential museum is connected the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in many ways. When President Habyiramana’s plane was short, it landed straight in the compound of presidential house. A larger part of the tour is centered on the life of president Habyarimana. It was the shooting of the presidential jet and death of Habyarimana in April 1994 that triggered a genocide that had been planned for a long time but not put in effect. You will also get to learn about other events leading to and after the Rwanda genocide after visiting this Museum.
Campaign against Genocide museum: This relatively new museum helps inform visitors about the role of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in ending the 1994 genocide. The Museum is found at the Parliament House.
Kigali Genocide Memorial Site: This site is one of the many built around the country to remember over 800,000 people who lost their lives during the 1994 genocide. This particular genocide memorial site is found in Gisozi were about 2500 people are buried. The Site has three main exhibitions – One focuses on general information about the 1994 genocide while another is a memorial of the innocent children who died during the same genocide. The third exhibition covers genocides that occurred in the different parts of the world. As a visitor, you will learn about the situation before, during and after the genocide through documentaries, videos or personal presentations. The whole experience can be very touching but nevertheless important to educate people about the horrors of genocides so that it never happens anywhere else again.
Craft Centers: After visiting the Kigali Genocide Center, the driver/Guide will take you to visit the best artisan shops in Kigali where you can buy souvenirs and take back home as a memory of your time in Kigali. The best artisan centers are Inema Art Center, Ivuka Arts studios and Caplaki. Buying souvenirs in centers like the Caplaki Handcrafts Co-operatives is a good way of supporting the local population and especially the women who are involved in making the art pieces.
A major City Restaurant: This tour involves visiting one of the top city restaurants to taste local Rwandan food during lunch. If you want the more international cuisines, you are free to choose them over the local food. Dining at a local restaurant offers opportunities to meet the local people. Lunch may instead be taken at the Hotel des mille collines depending on how the tour goes.
Kimironko Market: The best place to learn about the culture of a new place is in their markets. Kigali has many local markets where residents go to shop for local items and food stuffs. Kimironko is one of the most popular for shopping spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits, salt, meat and fish. You will also find individuals selling different art pieces and more.
Nyamata church: This is one of the many genocide sites found in the different parts of the country and one of the most prominent in Kigali. About 50,000 people were killed inside this church. They had sought shelter in this church hoping that they would be spared by the interahamwe. Unfortunately, the church turned out to be a death trap as the killers spared no one. On a visit one can still see skulls, bones, blood-stained clothes, national identity cards and machetes that were used by the interahamwe. A mass grave can be seen outside the church were most of the victims were buried.
Lake Nyarutarama: If you want to mingle with the local people and communities living outside the main city center, the driver can arrange to take you to this lake. Some of the city residents go swimming and fishing in this lake. Lake Nyarutarama is one of the birding destinations in Rwanda and you can catch sight of species like the African Hobby, Bat Hawk, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Cisticolas, Little Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike, Red-chested Cuckoo, Spot-flanked Barbet, Squacco Heron, Sunbirds, Swamp Flycatcher, and Yellow-billed Duck
The order of activities and places to visit in Kigali depends on the time you start the tour or point of pickup. If you wish to discover more about the nightlife, we can make a separate arrangement for you to visit the nightclubs, theaters and concert halls.
Although Kigali can be traversed by bike or simple walking, we will use a vehicle in order to visit as many sites as possible. The number of places to visit will depend on your preference, general interests and budget. You can request to exclude some landmarks or to be taken to points of interest that are not listed in this itinerary as long as they are within Kigali.