Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, gets often overlooked by travellers. This has to change. Not only is Kigali one of the most beautiful cities in Africa, it is also one of the safest and cleanest capital cities in the continent. This already says a lot. In addition, Kigali is very green and its stunning hills only add to the aesthetic allure of the urban space.

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In the light of all these facts, it is no surprise then that Kigali is considered to be one of the most liveable cities in Africa. It is also worth noting that the implementation of urban development plans has been so impressive in recent years that it is hard to picture that there was a genocide there in 1994. Kigali has risen from the ashes in the most remarkable way to become a structured and well organised city which can welcome guests in an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
Today, every morning when I wake up and have my coffee on the front porch, I get reminded of how lucky I am to live there. Indeed, nothing beats the stunning Kigali views from the top of the many breathtaking hills!

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So if you are in Rwanda to go gorilla trekking or to relax by Lake Kivu, don’t just spend a day in the capital visiting genocide memorial sites. There is so much more to this place than its dark past. I will go into more details on some of my favourite immersive cultural experiences to have in Kigali over the next few weeks. Until then, here are a couple of things I would highly recommend travellers to do;

 

  • Woodworking with Irenee; Irenee welcomes travellers in his workshop in Kicukiro to teach them about the art of woodworking. He is very enthusiastic about creating high quality local products and sharing his skills and techniques with the Rwandan youth, who he believes, can use these as a means of overcoming poverty by creating their own jobs. Travellers get to make their own attractive wooden objects in just a couple of hours.

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You can book this experience online via Vayando

•Rate: $28 per person

•Duration: 3-4 Hours

•Available: Monday – Sun

•Location: Magic Hands, Kicukiro

•Payments are made by credit/debit card upon booking

 

  • Taking traditional cooking classes: These classes can be organised by the Nyamirambo Women’s Center. Travellers first head to the local market to buy ingredients, then they get to take part to a very hands-on cooking class in the most vibrant neighbourhood of Kigali known for its cheap and tasty local cuisine.

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You can book via email or on the phone:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +250 782 111 860

 

•Rate: 15,000 RWF

•Group rates apply

•Duration: 2,5 hours + lunch

•Available: Monday – Sun

•Location: Nyamirambo Women’s Center, Nyamirambo

•Payments are made at the centre

You can also book online via Vayando

•Rate: $24 per person

•Payments are made by credit/debit card upon booking

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  • Wandering around town in search of street art: Kigali’s street art might not yet be booming but it is growing, fascinating and gaining in popularity. Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga, a public arts social enterprise, is there to make it happen using art as a tool for social change.
  • Shopping ‘Made in Rwanda’: You can buy fabric in a local market, such as Kimironko for example, then head to a small tailor shop to get your outfit custom-made! Or you can head to some of the designer shops who offer stunning modern clothing and accessories with a Rwandan touch.

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Whatever it is that you are looking for, Kigali has something special to offer to every curious traveller; this can come in the form of an olfactory and visual experience, a captivating local insight, tasty local flavours and what not!