By reputation, Kigali is dull: a place in which to land including aboard Rwandan’s new direct services from Gatwick and then leave, en route to wonderful wildlife. Rwanda’s capital thrills with its mix of expat-run coffee bars, feminist Muslim barrios and wacky nightspots.
Rwanda is indelibly associated with its terrible 1994 atrocities where the Hutu majority murdered around a million people. The Kigali Genocide Memorialmarks their loss, its rose gardens symbolising unity and reconciliation, and should be seen.
Kigali’s oldest and most multicultural district is labyrinthine Nyamirambo, to the south-west. You can tour it with the guides from the Women’s Centre (NWC) – which supports disadvantaged females – and enjoy its chapati-makers, mosques, markets and milk bars where cocoa-powdered lattes are served up.
Of course, one wouldn’t visit Rwanda and not see its magical mountain gorilla troops. Volcanoes National Park is the place; you’ll need permits and to book onto guided tours. Rwanda specialist Expert Africa can sort all this, as well as suggesting holiday itineraries including lions and elephants in Akagera National Park, chimps at Nyungwe Forest and, yes, time in Kigali.
Vox pop from various vistors.