To put it bluntly, unless you’ve been somewhere for yourself, don’t believe the stereotypes of a place or pass judgement based on something you did not experience first hand! I recently visited several areas in Rwanda and I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s truly a remarkable place.
Perfectly nestled amidst picturesque hilltops and sprawling valleys, Kigali is the largest and capital city of Rwanda. Despite its horrid past, Kigali has transformed itself into a thriving city and now recognized for its safety, cleanliness and outstanding hospitality. Although my stay was brief, it was lovely spending the day with locals learning about their past, plans for the future with a few beers in-between.
If you have only 24 hours to spare in Kigali, here are 9 great things to enjoy!
Hike (or drive) up to the top of Mount Kigali and witness the transformation from busy neighborhood streets to deserted dirt roads before arriving at the top to see the sprawling valleys surrounding Kigali. After all, Rwanda is known as the “Country of a Thousand Hills.”
Kigali Genocide Memorial
We are no strangers to events that took place throughout Rwanda in 1994. This is one of the most heartbreaking sites in Kigali. Although it’s quite difficult to see the images and graphic letters from survivors, I was able to find some comfort in knowing that the country has been on a decent road to recovery.
Local State of Mind
Experience the city the way locals do by retracing a day in the life of a Kigali resident. Here are a few things to try:
Local Market Visit
Water Taxi Ride
Indulge in Banana Wine
Coffee Tasting – Some of the best coffee in the World!
Yes, this might sound a bit cliche, but it was a must for me to visit Hotel des Mille Collines. This is where a majority of the film Hotel Rwanda took place. Although I was not a guest at the hotel, I did have an amazing meal with views overlooking the city and enjoyed great conversation with the hotel staff.
For tour bookings, I highly recommend Go Kigali Tours – request Eric M. as your guide, he’s absolutely amazing!