Rwanda is front and centre when it comes to development in Africa, from placing a ban on plastic bags to ranking 6th on the World’s Economic Forum Gender Gap Report. It is evident that Rwanda is making a name for itself across different platforms, including tourism.
Although Kigali and wider Rwanda had a turbulent history, strides are being made to reclaim the narrative as progressive and the hub for innovation. Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, it the country’s economic, and cultural hub. It sits in the middle of the mountains and provides spectacular views from every standpoint. Let’s see how you might spend 24 hours in Kigali.
7:00 AM Arrive from Nairobi
The sunrise flight into Kigali is short and sweet, approximately only two hours. We were landing in the middle of lush green mountain ranges, it was clear why Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills. The airport is small and generally very easy to navigate. From the moment you step into the terminal, it is clear there is a big military presence in Rwanda, but nothing you need to worry about.
9:00 AM Earn Your Breakfast
We headed to Question Coffee, a cafe in Kigali which prides itself in the best-tasting java in Rwanda. Rwanda’s climate and the soil’s volcanic makeup makes it ideal for coffee growing. At Question Coffee, they offer a master class which takes you through the process of coffee production from growing the beans to brewing. After the master class, we treated ourselves to some coffee and were on our way to the next attraction.
11:00 PM Treat Yourself
Would it really be a vacation if you didn’t treat yourself to some pampering? Heaven Rwanda is a series of Instagramable moments waiting to happen. The decor was my dream house manifested, and the food had me singing and craving more. However, the real reason why we went to Heaven was for its spa treatments. They offer different kinds of massages, which range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. I opted for the 90-minute deep tissue massage, which was perfect for our next stop.
2:00 PM Hit the Streets
It would have been odd to visit Kigali and not explore downtown Kigali. It may not be clear right away, but most of the city grew outward from the city centre. As a result, it can be very easy to come to Kigali and never set in the city centre, but that would be a grave mistake. It is really in the city centre that you get a feel of Kigali. The city is bustling with retailers and life. We came across multiple local fashion retailers and art galleries, highlights of the trip. Some tour companies offer a city tour, including the historical sites located near Kigali.
4:00 PM A Sundowner
The views of Kigali are breathtaking, and the Inoroza Rooftop is the perfect place to end our brief but worthwhile trip to Kigali. I had researched it, as it can be difficult to find. The hidden gem inside Ikirez bookshop, cocktails are served on the rooftop patio. The drinks have interesting and unique flavours like hibiscus and jasmine. After a few drinks, we headed to enjoy the nightlife before heading to the airport for the last flight back to Nairobi.