Unlike other African cities, Kigali, the capital of Rwanda is generally remembered only for the brutal genocide that occurred in the early 90s. These days, however, Kigali is among the more relaxed, orderly, peaceful and visitor-friendly cities in Africa.
By abolishing tribal classifications and requesting that all citizens be regarded as Rwandans alone, tribalism has been curtailed through certain policies enforced by the president of the country, Paul Kagame. As a result of this, the country has become more secure and prosperous than anyone ever expected.
Kigali, will this week play host to the Global Africa Forum on Communications (SpeakForAfrica); the first of its kind in the country and continent. The conference will hold from August 21 to 23 at the Kigali Convention Center. GAFCOMM will bring together more than 1,000 Corporate Communications, PR, Advertising, Media and Marketing executives from Corporations, Startups, government institutions and other organizations around Africa. Led by more than 50 global industry leaders in communications and marketing as panellists, the forum will reflect on Africa’s image and explore new frontiers to position African entities for global growth.
The event themed Speak For Africa: New communications frontier for Africa’s growth story, will feature comprehensive and insightful panel sessions, keynotes, case studies and exclusive fire side-chats with selected industry pioneers from our line-up of world-class speakers.
If you are in Kigali for GAFCOMM or planning a holiday, below are some of the exciting things to see and do while in Rwanda:
- Pay a visit to Hôtel des Milles Collines by Kempinski
Hôtel des Milles Collines is probably the most popular site in Rwanda thanks to Hollywood filmmakers. It’s the site where the famous movie “Hotel Rwanda” was shot. Despite its appearance in the movie, these days it is a classy hotel and with a wonderful restaurant. If you don’t end up staying here, you can stop by for some food or a drink.
2. A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center
The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre gives you a peek into one of the most brutal genocides in recent history. Emotions will be compounded by the fact that you’ll be viewing these horrors right next to the people who actually suffered through them as they mourn one of the worst tragedies of humanity as well as the loss of some of their closest friends and relatives.
3. Take a walking tour of Nyamirambo
Nyamirambo has proven to be a tourist favourite in Kigali time and time again. It’s filled with character and the streets are almost always bustling with people. It is home to many Muslims and somehow also where some of the cities liveliest bars are located. There is also the Nyamirambo Women’s Center where a group of ladies have created a walking tour of their neighbourhood. Some of the highlights of the tour include visiting a hair salon, tailor and a local house to help make lunch!
4. Go Souvenir Shopping
Kigali isn’t like shopping in Dubai but as a visitor, you’ll probably want to pick up some souvenirs. If you visit the city and want to grab something to remind you of the time you spent there, you can visit any of the cooperatives. They are a great place to grab baskets, paintings and carvings which are all unique to Rwanda and its people. One of the most well-known souvenir areas in Kigali is called the Caplaki Craft Village. If you’re looking for really nice items that are a bit more upscale, unique and crafted by talented local artisans then check out the Azizi Life Boutique located at Heaven Restaurant.
5. Eat Brochettes
Getting a bit adventurous and wandering into local restaurants in Kigali should be on your mind. Just look out for any bar with ‘Primus’ or ‘Mutzig’ painted on the walls and they should serve brochettes. They come in goat, beef, fish and sometimes chicken with bananas, chips or potatoes. Ordering might be an adventure but, be prepared to wait an hour or more as service is rarely ever fast. If you want yours prepared in a more formal setting then try the restaurants for the added bonus of large half carafes of wine, good music and the benefit of more pleasant ambience.
6. Go for Nyama Choma
Nyama choma is a famous type of grilled goat meat in Rwanda. It isn’t found in every local bar and you may need to find one by asking people who know the town, although the Car Wash and Sundowner restaurants are the more popular places to get this mouth-watering local delicacy. It is usually served with Kachumbari salad, an awesome salsa-like sauce and is often washed down with a criminally cold bottle of beer.
7. Climb Mount Kigali
There are several paths to the top of the mountain, it’s more of a hill but it’s still impressive and makes for a really nice few hours of hiking. There is also a bar at the top of one of the steeper parts so you can stop in for a cold beer before continuing on your journey to the summit.
8. Go Horseback Riding
While you are up on Mount Kigali it wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit Fazenda Sengha, the horse riding school, and trot around while taking in a really amazing view. You can either take a lesson in their horse ring overlooking the city below or you can do a trail ride through the trees.