Best Places To Go in Kigali

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Trekking Gorillas in Rwanda's National Park starts in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.

 Rwanda has also made its name as one of the most business fliendly countries in Africa making Kigali Life enjoyable. Kigali is now  home of international companies and world class hotels. With so much going on in Kigali City, Investors and travellers are rushing to the most ambitious city in Africa, Kigali. This guide will help those living in Kigali and the newcomers moving to Kigali to settle or keep pace with Kigali Life once they are in.

Checking out the city!

Rwanda is named land of thousand hills for a reason.  Once you are inside Rwanda, you are surrounded by green hills and mountains almost everywhere. Kigali city, Rwanda’s capital city with the same pattern, is sprawling over numerous hills and valleys, with roads which wind crazily around and across the contours, Kigali can be a confusing city to navigate. 

Although the geography of the city is confusing making Kigali Life a bit hard, you can nearly always spot a landmark to help you find your way to your destination.  Public transport is plentiful and cheap, and if you get lost or exhausted, or it starts to rain, you will never be far from a moto (motorbike taxi) which would get you back to the starting point in no time.

 Many buildings offer great views across Kigali, so if you plan to explore on foot you will do well to start by getting to grips with the geography, map in hand, from one of these:  the panoramic top floor bar of the Top Towers  Hotel  in Kacyiru;  Bourbon Coffee in the MTN building in Nyarutarama;   the upper floors of the Bank of Kigali; the terrace of the Museum of Natural History or and Bourbon Coffee in the UTC building.  And now, there is a new 20 storey skyscraper, the city tower in the heart of the city, the bar is its 20th floor with a view over all directions of Kigali.

Exploring the city from the hilltop of one of Kigali hills offers spectacular views over the capital of Rwanda. You could start your walk by taking a minibus taxi from the centre of town (near the main roundabout with the fountain). Minibus taxis are very cheap and are all labelled with their eventual destination.

Mt Kigali can be reached by heading for Nyamirambo. You will pass a mosque and a stadium before the cobbled road eventually peters out to dirt. There are many routes up – follow your nose or ask locals to direct you. The top comprises a path along a wooded ridge, with very few people about.

 Kigali Hills

The hills above Gikondo and Kicukiro can be reached by taking a taxi to Gikondo - Stade.  Get off at the last stop, and then keep walking uphill. When you reach the ridge, veering left will bring you to Park Juru,  a laid-back outdoor restaurant with pleasant gardens and views over the city. There are numerous roads and tracks all over this ridge, many with spectacular views in all directions to Kigali City. One leads to Kicukiro, where you can find transport back to the city centre.

Closer to the city centre, in the valley above the golf course and between the ridges of Nyarutarama and Kacyiru,  lies a man made lake called Nyagahene and area of woodland and scrub. You should see a wonderful variety of birds – pelicans, egrets, ducks, eagles, jacana and many more. The lake can be reached by walking down behind the Novotel or King Faisal Hospital, or from the MTN centre or the Nyarutarama tennis club. While the heat, the hills and the traffic mean that cycling in Kigali is not for the faint-hearted, it can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience.

 


 

Money Exchange and ATM cash withdrawals in Kigali:

 

The best bureau de change (forex bureau) in Kigali is probably ICYIZERE Forex Bureau. ( Icyizere means Trust in local language and so far I do believe they just deserve that ).  Icyizere is a great place to change money in Kigali as they give top rates and the service is friendly and quick. There is no paperwork to do and the receipt takes seconds for them to produce. They do give a lower rate than their outside board for small notes, but don’t shy away of negocitating a better rate for small notes.  Icyizere Forex bureau is located in Union Trade Centre ( same as Nakumatt) in the lower car park and are open 24h a day.  Another trustful bureau de change is known as 'God is Able' Forex Bureau. Both forex bureaux have the best competitive rates in the city.

 

 

 

The first ATM / cash machine you will encounter when arriving in Rwanda is at Kigali airport just after leaving the luggage claiming area. The Ecobank ATM accepts only visa affiliate bank cards (credit and debit).  In Kigali city the best place to get your money withdrawn using an international bank card is with the bank of Kigali, BK.  By 2011, BK ATM gives option of currency. Going smart in Kigali:Bank of Kigali ATM gives option of currency You get to choose to withdraw your money in Rwandan francs or dollars. Currently bank of Kigali has 3 ATM machines accepting Visa and Mastercard. They are located at bank of Kigali headquarters in Town, bank of Kigali at Kimironko branch and bank of Kigali at Remera Branch. If for any reason you are unable to withdraw  money with ATM, you can get the money inside the bank with the bank staff help, provided you have your card and your passport with you.  In the town centre this is done at the counter on the first floor.  You will be charged a fee for this service.

Ecobank has a reliable ATM machine in Kigali. You can withdraw cash with your international visa card at ecobank in Kigali and in other main town including  Butare and Ruhengeri. The maximum amount allowed by day is RWF 200 000. For americans you bank back home will charge around $ 5 for every transaction.

Fina bank has an ATM machine for international withdraw at its head office in Kigali located at 20 Boulevard de la Révolution. The daily maximum amount is set to RWF 150 000.

Access bank has ATM in town at UTC building in second floor for international debit and credit cards withdrawal. Make sure you have your passport with you to be able to access your cash at this place.

 

 


 

Eating out in Kigali: Best Restaurants and Coffee Shops in Kigali

For People living in Kigali or visiting kigali City, there is a good selection of cafes and restaurants in Kigali city to choose from. Find  here the best cafe and best  best restaurants in Kigali- Rwanda.

 

 

Bourbon Coffee Shops

Bourbon coffee has become legendary for travellers to Kigali. Formerly located at 3 locations in the city, in the Union Trade Centre (UTC), MTN Centre in Nyarutarama and at Kigali Airport,  Bourbon coffee is now opening its 4th  coffee shop at the heart of Kigali, at the new state of the art -  Kigali City Tower.  All produce at bourbon coffee  is sourced within Rwanda, including a wide range of coffee and tea as well as delicious ice-cold fruit smoothers and mouth-watering cakes. It’s good for hot snacks too with paninis, sandwiches and chips all available.

It’s a little on the pricey-side and you can happily part with FRW 6000-8,000 ( about £6-8/$12-15) on drinks and food.  However, it’s one of the few places in the city with a good wireless internet connection and you   get free connection pass with each coffee you buy.  A lovely place to be and be seen on afternoons sitting on the balcony watching the world go by.  Bourbon coffee shops are open every day except -  before 11:00 on Umuganda’s  day usually the last Saturday of every month. >> Review Bourbon Coffee Shops 

Shokola Lite Cafe:  

Shokola Lite  is a cafe and a restaurant with a charming and a romantic décor as a fine  art gallery is mixed with a library. Oh yes ! it is an intricate fusion of African  and Mediterranean flavours, textures, sights, sounds and aromas. Some of Shokola’s specialties include exotic Moroccan tagines, freshly made hummus, huge range of mouth-watering salads, fresh fruit smoothies and juices, coffee and teas as well as draft beer and a good list of wines.  Main dishes go up to around RWF 10 000 and desserts  RFW 4000. There is Indoor as well as outdoor seating.

 It is located in Kacyiru on boulevard de l’Umuganda on the ground floor of Prester House.  it is in same building as Ikirezi , opposite the Top Tower Hotel and right after the former American Club. >> Review Chocola Lite Cafe

 

Camellia Tea House:

This affordable café is located in heart of Kigali Centre, just opposite Kenya commercial Bank and not far from the bank of Kigali. Its opening hours are  9am to 10pm. What makes the tea house special is variety of pastries, sandwiches, salads, coffee, snacks, burgers and pizzas all at reasonable prices.  No one feels robbed at camellia Tea house as their prices are very competitive. You can even take away the tea and coffee in cups for just 300 RWF.  This place is an ideal for business meetings for budget travellers and middle class locals. The elegant interior and prices and attentive staff make camellia Tea house a budget friendly café in Kigali Centre. >> Review Camellia Tea House

 

Heaven Restaurant and Bar :

Heaven is the newest addition to Kigali's limited roster of high-quality restaurants. It features an extensive menu of American and Continental cuisine, with a good selection of vegetarian dishes, a children's menu, and an ever-changing dessert list. It's located 1/2 kilometer from the Union Trade Center in central Kigali and a few streets away from Hotel des Mille Collines. >> Review Heaven Restaurant

 

Republica Restaurant & Bar :

is situated in on Rue de l’Akanyaru in Kiyovu side. It is about a ten-fifteen minute walk down the hill from the Mille Collines Hotel.  This is a bar and a restaurant and deservedly regarded by many as one of Kigali's finest bar/restaurants is the city. It has  a range of comfortable sofas inside and an outside the terrace.  Republica stands out as the most stylishly designed and, hmmnn… Let me puti it this was… It is by far the coolest among the city's nightspots. Tastefully decorated East African-style, with a gorgeous veranda overlooking the city, not to mention the excellent choice in music,  Republica is certainly a great place to unwind after work, the ambience is unparalleled. The excellent menu caters to both meat eaters and vegetarians, specializing in brochettes, steak, chicken and fish, and a number of flavorful local dishes. However,  do not expect bargain prices or particularly attentive service (and be prepared to wait for your food!).  But if you are looking for genuine, authentic, and great-tasting African cuisine,  Republica is the place to go. >> Review Republica Restaurant & Bar

 

 

Khana Khazana Restaurant:

Khana Khazana has the reputation as the best Indian restaurant in Kigali. Khana Khazana and Sakae restaurant (see below Sakae: Korean and Japanese cuisine in Kigali) are two the most complete but also expensive restaurants in Kigali with prices ranging from RWF 6000 - 12000, but they both do justice to their high prices as their food  and service are awesome.

 If you love and indian food and it happens you are in Kigali while money is not an issue then the only place to go is Khana Khazana Restaurant. It is located in Kiyovu,  10 minutes walk from Milles Collines hotel.  Going down towards Banque National Rwanda, Khana Khazana restaurant is second second left on Kajangwe Avenue.

 

Zen restaurant:

 Zen Restaurant in Kigali specializes in Oriental cuisine mainly from China, Thailand and Japan. It is the only restaurant in Kigali to introduce Dim Sum and Sushi on their menu. Zen offers not only Japanese food but have amazing Thai curries, and Tom Yum soup , the delicious Chinese dumplings— as dipping sauces they come with among others.

The only downside to the food at Zen, are the prices as they serve really small portions and prices are from RWF 5000 to 8000. Zen Restaurant is in Nyarutarama. An alternative to Zen Restaurant is Sakae Restaurant as it is located in the same area of Nyarutarama. >> Review Zen Restaurant

 

Sakae Restaurant :

Sakae restaurant is situated along the main road heading to the MTN Centre in Nyarutarama and specialises  in Korean and Japanese food. Sakae opened fairly recently, but has already gained popularity among expats living in Kigali and other Kigalians. Though it’s slightly pricey, the food is delicious and totally worth it as they serve big portions. They have plenty of sushi options (including a mix plate for Rwf 12,000 and Sashimi set for Rwf 11,000).

 For a great lunch alternative try their Lunch Box (Rwf 7,000) with tempura, sushi, beef/chicken, and marinated tofu, and octopus. Sakae’s every food order has  complementary Miso soup and little avocado salad they give you as starters. Although this could just be part of the lunch deals. The chicken teryaki dish cost Rwf 7,000 and with the rice, soup and salad might have been enough for two people to share. If you really feel eating big, I highly recommend sakae Restaurant in Nyarutarama. >> Review Sakae Restaurant

 

 Africa Bite:

It is on the same road as the Flamingo Chinese Restaurant in Kimihurura. The road is a turning on the left as you travel down the hill from Sundowners to Papyrus.  African Bite is well known for its buffet made of Motoke,  sweet potatoes,  ugali,  and rice  with a good selection of vegetables at RFW 3 000 including a fresh juice. The meat is well cooked and tasty. >> Review Africa Bite Restaurant

 

Karibu :

It is located in the heart of the city centre right on "Boulevard de la paix" road, near the Belgian private school known as Ecole Belge.

Despite its central location and increasingly touristy clientele, Karibu maintains their low prices (soda and water for Rwf 500; goat brochette for Rwf 700) and has attentive and professional staff, which i beleive gives Karibu an edge over its rivals. With plenty of outdoor seating – Karibu is a wonderful place to enjoy a sunny lunch or an afternoon drink in the shade. The Menu at karibu is more of traditional food same as Africa Bite. >> Review Karibu Restaurant

 

Great Wall chinese Restaurant :

Great wall is in Kacyiru on Boulevard de la revolution.  It has a good view over Nyarutarama hills and the city centre and is probably the best chinese restaurant in Kigali.

 

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant:

Located in Kimihurura on same road as Papyrus night Bar, Lalibela offers a quite impressive Ethiopian buffet at reasonable price. The menu features both vegetarian and other Ethiopian dishes featuring  ethiopian injera, lamb, poultry and beef. Their friendly wait staff comes in traditional clothing and are really friendly.  Their décor include an outdoor fireplace.  For an extra special night out, you can ask them to arrange a traditional Ethiopian coffee ritual. This is only available at the weekends, and costs Rwf 10,000.

If you love Ethiopian food and looking for a tranquil ambiance or a perfect place for a laid-back date or a relaxed night out,  Lalibela restaurant in Kigali is the best option. >> Review Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

Ever been to one of the listed restaurants? You can review any of Kigali restaurants in the directory for the world to see!

 


Go Shopping in Kigali: Best Supermarkets and Shops in Kigali

If you are living in Kigali or just travelling to Kigali you would want to know the best places to go for shopping.

The shopping hotspots in Kigali city are no doubt  the Union Trade Center (UTC), the MTN center in Nyarutama and  the new City Tower in the heart of the city. The UTC which dominates the eastern side of Boulevard de la revolution between Place de d'unite Nationale and Place de la constitution. The centrepiece of 2 storey mall is a huge 24 hour branch of the kenyan chain Nakumatt supermakett, by far the best stocked shop of its kind in the city. In addition to a wide range of imported goods, electricals and other household items it has an excellet bakery (freshly baked bread, croissants and other pastries, meat and cheese). The nakumatt is which nakumat is located at has several fast-food outlets, a bourbon coffee for coffee and light meals, a forex bureau, a fast internet cafe, a Rwandair booking office, fashion shops and boutiques, Access bank ATM machine for international Visa/ mastercard withdrawals and  clean public toilets.

Nyarutarama MTN centre has equally fine shopping facilities including a bookshop, a butchery similar to the one in the la galette, a sports bar, a bourbon coffee shop branch, an MTN shop and several other shops and boutiques.

The New City Tower is Kigali's tallest building ; a 20-floor complex in the City's Central Business District of Nyarugenge. The complex houses high tech supermarkets, modern shops, restaurants, cinemas , banks and offices of all sorts. The new Kigali City Tower complex is set on a prime location, designed by acclaimed architects and fitted with the highest standards in building technology.

Holdings, East Africa's largest retail chain recently opened a second outlet in the heart of this stunning building, targeting the city's rising capitalists and travellers. The outlet dubbed Nakumatt City Tower covers 45,000 square feet spread on almost two complete floors. This adds to the retailer's first store in Kigali opened in August 2008 at Union Trade Centre (UTC) complex. The second Nakumatt store offers a range of products ranging from costly fruits and vegetables, clothes and books, chicken ware, candies, furniture and electronic consumer goods such as fridges and microwaves. At the new Nakumatt Kigali Tower, shoppers will enjoy the renowned Nakumatt You need it, they have got it packaged at the most competitive prices.  A wider range of household, furniture, clothing and electronics will be on sale at Nakumatt Kigali Tower and will also feature state of the art tills with Nakumatt Smart Card loyalty program and gift voucher systems.  Shoppers will accumulate points for all their purchases which they will in turn be able to redeem for shopping and other exciting offers.

 Kigali Nakumatt supermarket

In the same area tough, two other kigali heavyweight supermarkets are in place.  Simba supermarket, an Ethiopian owned retailer and Mr Price. Both Simba and Mr Price are popular with affordable but high quality goods including fresh bakery, butchery, cheese, produce, housewares, wine/spirits, cleaners, sweets, sauces and tinned food.  Simba has also also an electrical/appliance area, some furniture and a few clothes. They also have an ATM machine and a very good and affordable café for a meal or take-away pizza and a cold drink.  Simba is a great option for middle budget travellers and it is located across the road from the Nakumatt Supermarket and 2 blocks away from the Centre du Frais Alimentation Generale (another supermarket).

Other major supermarkets in Kigali:

Although, the trio Nakumatt, Simba and Mr Price are making   their names in the heart of the city, there are

alternative shops and supermarket across Kigali.

Ronie Supermarket:

BCK (Boucherie et  Charcuterie de Kigali):

 They have good selection of cheese, but don’t sell soft drinks. Their meat selection is decent and their bread is always nice and fresh, but the rest of the food they have on offer seems to be getting crowded out by household cleaning products and diapers. I’ll go in here if I want something specific that I know they’ll have, but if I’m looking to do a thorough grocery shopping session, I’ll probably just leave this place feeling frustrated.

Sharma:

Located a bit up the hill in front of the UTC Centre, this place is located well and makes an easy stop if you can’t find what you’re after at Nakumatt or Simba. They’re small but have a good selection of dried beans and peas. They seem to be about half food and half random plastic stuff like plastic food containers, plastic tubs and buckets, and various other pastic-y items. They have a small selection of fruit and eggs at the front of the store but that’s about it for fresh produce. They don’t do baguettes but they do have a few other cooked goodies and their vegetable samosas are the best in

T2000:

T 2000 (say it in French as T deux mille or the locals won’t know what you are asking for) doesn’t sell general groceries but it is probably the cheapest supermarket in town.  Cheapest?  Yes because it sells all kind of chinese  products such as washing tubs, plastic laundry baskets, and shelves.  They have got children Clothing, shoes, blankets and bed sheets or cheap dishes galore and a lot more.

Ndoli’s Joint:

Ndoli’s Joint is in Kisimeti. They have a small produce section in the back corner next to a stall that seems to be dedicated to selling various hunks of cow. They combine food, a random array of household items, booze, chocolate and dairy products nicely. They’ve got a decent selection and you could probably throw a decent meal together but it’s not the best place to do a weekly shopping as some items seem to be really expensive.

La Galette:

La Gallette has two stores for your shopping pleasure (one in Muhima down the road from Simba and another in the MTN Centre in Nyarutarama).  La Galette Muhima stocks a good selection of fresh and imported groceries, In town, there is a good snack-bar attached to this fine supermarket right on bottom of Rue du Marche. The snack bar serves serves fress filled baguette at under RWF 1000 and light meals under RFW 3000, pastries and good coffee.

Both  stores are quite pricey but they have also got plenty of things on offer that you can’t usually find in your average grocery store.

La sierra:

Same as la Galette, La sierra combines a good supermarket and a terrace snack- bar on Boulevard de la revolution,  the snack bar offers burgers, sandwiches and light meals.  At Luchtime, they serve indian influenced buffet at RFW 6500 much pricier compared to its breakfast (usually RWF 2000 or less)

Flulep:

Flulep is in Kicukiro. It’s a smallish supermarket with all of the basics, some fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy. They don’t sell bread but there’s a bakery next door. Although I bought a baguette there once and it had dirt on it.

Woodlands:

Woodlands is in Nyarutarama out a few minutes drive past the MTN Centre on a hill. It’s a nicely laid out place with a good variety of stuff including fresh fruit and veggies (that looked like they were good quality), some cakes and cookies, cheese, alcohol, and the usual stuff you can find in every supermarket. Strangely, they also had a selection of refrigerators for sale in case you happened to walk in there with Rwf 400,000 to spare.

There more restaurants in the Directory. For bars and nightclubs in Kigali, go to Kigali nightlife and Rwanda cuisine sections.


 


 

 

 

 

Sports and Swimming:


1.   Nyarutarama Tennis Club and Swimming Pool

Billed locally as Olympic Sports Centre, Nyarutarama Club is ideal for fitness related activities in Nyarutarama suburb. The swimming pool is rather short of Olympic-sized but pleasant and confortable.  It costs around FRW 2,000 (£2/$4) for a swim, including towel, which makes it five time cheaper than  swimming at Kigali Serena. The pool with shaded seating and green grass to sprawl out on, is also far nicer than most of the hotels in Kigali. It also hosts a fully-stocked bar and café area with a range of good grub, from burgers to spaghetti, to fill you up after your swim.

 

The best time to arrive for a swim is after 10:00am as they clean the pool before then.  Alternative swimming pools are at Manor hotel, Hotel des Mille Collines,  Lemigo Hotel and Kigali Serena hotel.

 

2.   Cercle Sportif de Kigali

The Cercle Sporti in Kiyovu hosts complete facilities for tennis, squash, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, and riding. The Club also provides bar and restaurant service. Anyone can join the club, which offers membership at varying lengths of time and according to the facilities you want to use.

 

3.   Nyarutarama Golf course

Kigali has a challenging 9-hole golf course complete with club facilities. Membership is US $500 a year. It is also located in Nyarutarama suburb. You need to bring  your own equipment, including balls, tees, gloves, etc.

 

4.   The Hash House Harriers

The Hash House Harriers is a popular Saturday event, with trails set for runners and walkers . It takes place every Sunday afternoon. The Hash House Harriers began amongst some British in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as a group of people coming together to run-walk - and make friendships on weekends. It has since become a worldwide phenomenon.  In Kigali, you can send a text and receive instructions on how to join the weekly hash run- walk. The Kigali Hash has routes for runners and walkers so if you’re not up to tackling those Kigali hills at speed, you can still come along for a nice, leisurely stroll. Drinking beer is a definite part of the Hash tradition but not required of course. The Hash will usually finish either at someone’s house or at a local bar where beers and brochettes are consumed. Hashing has a whole ritual thing behind it with some frat party, hazing type elements mixed in with random dirty songs.

 

Gyms  - Fitness clubs in Kigali:


1.   Amahoro Stadium

Cost: Rwf 15,000 to 20,000 (per month)

There’s an affordable gym in the bowels of Amahoro Stadium. It is probably the best deal in town if you’re in Remera side. It’s Rwf 2000 for a day pass and up 20,000 monthly. . The gym is found inside the stadium entrance nearest to Sports View hotel. Semi-functioning weight equipment and 4 old spinning bikes are jammed into the back corner while most of the space is used for aerobics classes between 5:30 and 8:30 pm. It’s worth going once to see a class in action, with pumping music, hooting and hollering, and sweaty heat in a small space.

 

 

2.    Lemigo Hotel

Cost: Rwf 30,000 (per month)

The Lemigo Hotel’s gym is priced pretty competitively but it’s so small and the price doesn’t include the pool or the spa (sauna etc). For those extras you’ll need to pay US$150 per month or if you just want to swim, It would cost you an additionnal $100. The gym itself is a bunch of equipment crammed very close together in a small room right in front of the reception area. 

 

3.   Manor Hotel

Cost: Rwf 35,000 (per month)

 

The Manor Hotel gym is well stocked with very shiny and new looking gym equipment. The boxing area complete with punching bag and also a dummy to hit are also a nice touch. The gym was empty when I visited at about 5pm on a Monday except for one guy puttering around on the weights. It feels slightly claustrophobic as it’s located in the basement of the building without any windows to speak of and there are a lot of machines crammed into a reasonably small space.

The Manor has a what looks like a top quality gym at an ok price for Kigali, especially if you buy several months in advance. The monthly price is Rwf 35,000, three-monthly is 100,000, and a year is 380,000. The price is a good one considering it also includes the swimming pool. The pool isn’t huge and you’re probably not going to be able to do laps due to it being filled with hotel patrons, but it’s got probably the best pool view in Kigali and it makes for a great place to relax after a workout.

 

4.    Laico Umubano Hotel (aka Novotel)

 

The Novotel gym is also small, but the equipment is of good quality and new. It’s a popular workout spot and may see a lot of people from the expat community if you’ve spent a decent amount of time in Kigali. The changing rooms aren’t as nice as the Serena but they’re adequate and good for the price you pay. There’s also a sauna which is included in the price. 

 

Cinemas:

The main cinema Hall, Planet Cinema is in Kigali Business Centre on Avenue du Lac Muhazi.

International movies are showed every day in afternoons and evenings. The movies are often in English with French subtitles or vice versa.  Alongside the Planet Cinema, the planet snack Bar and Planet nightclub are also in the same building, so you can enjoy a whole afternoon of entertainment at this place.

Saturday night is a movie night at Heaven Restaurant & Bar. You can also watch live sporting events like English premiership football and tennis at this venue.  Heaven is located a few minutes away from the Union Trade Centre in central Kigali and a few streets away from Hotel des Mille Collines.

 

Music and Dance:

Perfomances of traditional dancing and salsa dancing take place in various locations in Kigali and are normally publicised on local radios. In Kigali, two events stand out:

1.  Pasadena Salsa dancing:

Salsa is big thing in Kigali, whether you are a beginner or experienced salsa dancer, you are welcome at Pasadena building in Gikondo. So get your dancing shoes on and swing by for a free beginners or advanced class. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never salsa- danced before, the first half of the evening takes you through the very basics from scratch whilst the second half is devoted to those who want to flaunt their abilities. Salsa takes place at the Pasadena building in Gikondo every Thursday from 7:00pm.  Food and drink are available, Pasadena Salsa dancing club is a great way to meet new people and other travellers and it is very popular among Kigali expats.

 

2.   Rwamakondera children dance Troupe:

Rwamakondera is a traditional dancing group formed by Colin Sekajugo, a talented artist who also owns Ivuka arts studios. The group is makes by young children aged between 8 and 12. In 2008, after realising he could help children begging on the streets of Kigali, colin brought them to Ivuka studios and trart teaching them how to dance.

After only a few years training at Ivuka studios Rwamakondera has become hugely successful.  In 2009 the children travelled to Holland where they performed in Via Mondo Festival in Tilburg. they had been selected to represent Africa in the worldwide event.  Rwamakondera Children's Dance Troupe performs Rwandan Traditional Dances and they practice at Ivuka Arts Studios every Saturday and Sunday.  You are welcome to visit and enjoy the group's rehearsals on weekends from 2:00PM until the sun goes down.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Cheap guesthouses and hostels in Kigali

 

While cheap accommodation and hotels are rare in the booming Kigali city, there are still quite a good selection of guesthouses and hostels, some located in heart of the city and offering incredibly good value for money for budget travellers and backpackers to Rwanda.  Most of the cheapest options on the following list are located in the popular suburb of Nyamirambo easily accessible by public transport.  I have also added low cost hotels in Kigali on bottom of this article giving travellers more options.

 

 

1.      Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel:

The Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel is a project initiated to support the work of Aegis Trust in Rwanda, a British NGO and charity

who established the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in partnership with the Kigali City Council.

 

The Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel is located just off the Boulevard de l'Umuganda, opposite the Top Tower Hotel and next to Great Wall Chinese Restaurant.  It is a good option for backpackers travelling to Kigali. The hostel has excellent transport links by foot, bus, car or motorbike. They  have  very nice rooms, hot water for showers and internet available. There is a bar where you can buy drinks and are able to cater for meals at an affordable rate.

The Kacyiru area where the hostel is located is populated by many of the Rwandan Government's Ministries, different hotels, banks, restaurants, and nightclubs. The property has a large garden with views overlooking the green hills of Rwanda at the end of the golf course and views of the city. Kacyiru is also home to many of the high commissions and embassies in Rwanda.

Prices:

  • 6 Bed Dorm - Rwf 9,000
  • 8 Bed Dorm (Ensuite) - Rwf 9,000
  • 4 Bed Dorm - Rwf 12,000
  • Twin Room - Rwf 24,000
  • Double Room - Rwf 24,000
  • Camping - Rwf 6,000

To book a room, call Uwera Egidia on + 250 782 265 679

 

2.      Centre National de Pastoral Saint Paul

This guesthouse is run by church nuns and is located alongside the Eglise Sainte Famille about only 200m from the place de l’Unite nationale, the main roundabout in the city centre. It offers good accommodation in twin rooms with mosquito nets,  a dest, towels and soap.

It is a religious institution but guests staying there can come home any time in the night.

To book a room call 00252 576 371/00250788644468

Prices:

  • Twin rooms with shared facilities – RWF 6 000
  • En suite Twin – RWF 10 000

 

3.      Auberge de Nyamirambo

This homely 2 storey guesthouse is one of the best options in Kigali offering clean  en-suite rooms in convenient location. Auberge de nyamirambo is located on the main road out of the city centre towards the Islamic centre and the city soccer stadium. 6 rooms are in the main building some of which are en-suite and some using common showers. 3 more rooms , all en-suite are in a little street side annexe. These rooms in the annexe look more cleaner but probably less secure as you don’t have to pass through the reception to reach them. There is an internet café next door.

Auberge de Nyamirambo has no in house restaurant or bar. But there are  decent restaurants and bars within 500 metres.  Furthermore,  the  Green corner café Bar famous for its tilapia fish is in the same area. It is located on Nyakabanda road (the road starting from opposite of  Nyamirambo district court) leading to Nyabugogo. The best way of getting to Green corner from the guesthouse is by moto taxi as it can take only 5 minutes.  There is a 10 minutes’ walk shortcut from the guesthouse to Green Corner Bar passing through the Nyamirambo market if you can ask the locals.

Prices:

  • Double room @ RWF 7 000

 

4.      La Vedette Motel

La vedette guesthouse is around the corner of Auberge de Nyamirambo and it  now incorporates the former home Saint Bernard.  La vedette guest house has 14 confortable large rooms, some en-suite and others with with sinks and common showers. Rooms are all clean and good value for money.

Prices:

  • Singe room: RWF 5000
  • Double room: RWF 6000
  • Double occupany: RWF 8000

 

5.      Logement Ikaze

Logement  Ikaze (Ikaze guesthouse) has 8 spacious rooms and common showers, it is located in Nyamirambo suburb right on the main road connecting the town centre and the stadium or the Islamic main centre.

Prices:

Single: RWF 4 000

Double: RWF 7 000

 

6.      Episcopale church guesthouse

Episcopale church gueshouse is part of of Saint Etienne church located on Avenue Paul VI,  the bottom side of Avenue Paul VI has iryts shares of luxuly houses and diplomatic offices but it ends in Biryogo, a very modest suburb. The guesthouse is just  500 m from the Biryogo mosque.

The guesthouse is not convenient for public transport or for Nyamirambo atmosphere but with its clean and cheap rooms, it is an ideal stay for travellers on low budget.

Prices:

  • Twin rooms on B&B basis: RWF 7 000
  • Dorm  bed with no breakfast: RWF 2 500

 

Budget Hotels

 

The following selection of accommodation is still basic but with more amenities and suitable for travellers willing to stay in more comfortable environment but spend a little more.  For those looking for middle range and luxury hotels in Kigali should check our hotels in Kigali section in the directory.

In the following selection, Dream Inn Motel and Hilltop Hotel should be seen as best options both in services and location while Grace Hotel is very much suitable for those looking for longer-term stay.

 

1.      Dream Inn Motel

Dream Inn Motel is probably the best budge hotel in Kigali if the quality and value for money and location are all brought into play at once. Dream Inn Motel has fantastic tiled rooms and dorm which are super clean and confortable and modern looking type.  Each room has net, TV, WiFi and a fridge. There are also internet facilities on the ground floor along with a fine restaurant and a bar. The location of Dream Inn Motel also gives this leading budget hotel an edge as public transport passes by its door. There are also quality restaurants and shops on walking distance.

Uzaze Travels recommend Dream Inn as a leading budget hotel for travellers to Kigali.

Prices:

  • Single: RWF 15 000
  • Double: RWF 20 000
  • Suite: RWF 30 000
  • 4 Bed Dorm: RWF 25 000

 

2.      Hilltop Hotel

Conveniently located at 1 km from Kigali airport and right off the main road to the city centre, Hilltop Hotel is an ideal stay for travellers arriving late or just who want to be based near the airport for an easy departure. The hotel is reasonably priced and it lies on a large green grounds with a good garden bar and restaurant. 

Hilltop hotel rooms are super clean with nets, DsTV, phone line, lockable wardrobe and hot showers.

The staff  is very friendly and professional.  Highly recommended.

Prices:

  • Single: RWF 15 000
  • Double: RWF 20 000

Booking Info:

Email: info@uzaze.com

 

 

3.      Hotel Isimbi

Isimbi Hotel is the most central as it is located just a few meters from the main market, the post office, city restaurants and bars. The en-suite rooms are clean with hot water and indeed very good value of money but some rooms back rooms are not convenient due to nearby noise . So consider that when choosing/asking your room. Hotel isimbi has a good noin smoking snack bar and a restaurant.  A meal would cost you RWF 5 000.

Prices (excluding breakfast):

Single: $ 30

Double: $ 35

 

4.       Hotel Bethel One

Bethel one Hotel is a 3 storey building in Nyamirambo suburb. It has 20 rooms as confortable accommodation in form of singles and double with net and DsTV and en-suite with shower or tub. A restaurant and a sauna/message area are attached to the main building.

Prices:

Single: RWF 20 000

Double:  RWF 25 000

Suite:  RWF 30 000

 

5.       Auberge Beau sejour

Auberge Beau sejour is off the main road to the airport. This 19 rooms hotel has good reputation locally and its owner is envolved in everything to make sure the guests are well looked after. The rooms are clean and  all have TV and hot water. They have a very good garden.

Prices:

  • Single as B&B: RWF 20 000
  • Double as B&B: RWF 30 000

 

6.      Sky Hotel

Sky Hotel is located at Avenue de la justice, the main road to Nyamirambo from the city centre. It has 25 rooms all with queen size beds, hot water, a balcony and internet access available 24 hours. The back side of the hotel has a lovely view over the valley.  The restaurant is on the underground floor.

There is also an affordable nightclub at week end. The public transport is abundant as it is running past the main entrance.

Prices:

  • Single: RWF 20 000
  • Double: RWF 25 000
  • Suite: RWF 30 000

7.      Grace Hotel

Grace hotel is in Nyamirambo near the mosque at the top of Avenue de la justice. It is a 4 storey building. It does not look welcoming  for holiday makers and travellers as its the construction is unfinished but for people looking long term accommodation this maybe the best option is town.

Currently Grace Hotel does not have a restaurant nor a bar. En-suite rooms are comfortable with double bed,  hot water, mosquito nets and TV.

Prices:

Double room: RFW 15 000

Monthly rent: RFW 80 000