You can visit a crafts shop in town for a souvenir.
By Nasra Bishumba
About 3,000 delegates are expected in Kigali for the African Union Summit. There are also other visitors in the City for the regional energy conference. Amidst the meetings and busy schedules, you are advised to make time for winding down.
We put together a list of activities to help you relax, enjoy your stay and your visit to Kigali memorable.
1. Enjoy some Brochettes
The juicy, succulent grilled pieces of meat on a skewer are a must have for every visitor in Kigali. One of the greatest things about brochettes is that they are easily found in practically every bar and restaurant. Do not forget to ask for a charcoal-grilled potato and avocado as accompaniments.
2. Pick up a souvenir
What is the best way to keep memories alive? A souvenir. You can buy a basket, a painting, and a wood carving at any of the cooperatives in the city. The recommended places to pick a souvenir include ‘Caplaki’ located in Kiyovu just around Cercle Sportif. Ivuka, Inema and Uburanga Art Galleries arguably have the best pieces of art you will find. In addition to owning a souvenir or buying a gift for a loved one, you would be supporting the cooperatives whose member are vulnerable members of society who have said NO to poverty.
3. Take a City Tour
You must have a story to tell when you go back home and the best way to get one is to take a Kigali City Tour. You can get on the Kigali City Bus Tour which will give you an up-close and action-packed personal view of the city. For those looking for a knack for an adventure, you can take a motorcycle taxi and move through traffic faster and easier and explore at your own pace.
4. Visit a memorial site
The history of the Genocide against, Tutsi is documented in some of the memorial sites that are located in different areas in the country but, in the city, the guides at the Kigali Memorial Centre will take you through the history, the planning and the execution of the Genocide. You will also learn about the compelling stories of forgiveness and resilience of the Rwandan people.
5. Take a late-night walk or early-morning run
One of the highlights of being in Kigali is to finally leave your indoor gym and take your sports regimen to the gorgeous city’s sidewalks for an open-air energy boost. If you are up for a good challenge, take on one of Kigali’s hills and your reward in form of one of the best views sits up there. You can also try any of the city’s well-lit and crime-free streets where you are guaranteed to be joined by other sports fans. You can hit the side-walks late-evening or early-morning, whatever time you choose the fresh air is guaranteed.
6. Visit a museum
For the museum lovers, we recommend three choices. One is the former Natural History Museum (now Kandt House), which is interestingly based in the first modern house built in Kigali in 1907 by Dr Richard Kandt, a German explorer who came to Rwanda in search of the source of the River Nile. The other option is visiting is the Campaign Against Genocide Museum which is located at the Parliamentary building and depicts in details how the Campaign Against Genocide plan was executed by RPF/A following the withdrawal of UN troops leaving the targeted Tutsi under the mercy of the Genocidaires. The Parliament itself has a story of its own. Then there is the Presidential Palace Museum which is close to the airport.
7. Watch a movie
It has been a month of Wakanda! You can visit the Cinema at the Kigali City Tower and catch a glimpse of the “Black Panther” fever. Alternatively, you can opt for Tomb Raider, Red Sparrow, Game Night or Strong all which are showing this week.
8. Enjoy the taste of live music or Karaoke
Strategically located, Kigali enjoys a variety of live music from different nations. Get a blend of Congolese Zumba, reggae or the local Rwandan flavor – Igisope. Fuscia Lounge or Hotel de Mille Collines every evening. For the Karaoke lovers, they know no better way to loosen up. Grab that microphone and join the locals to try out a few songs of your choice. The best venue for Karaoke is 514 Club every Wednesday and the show kicks off at 7 p.m., till late.
9. Meat off the grill
There is no doubt we Africans love our Nyama Choma. We are proud of it. If you want something different from the hotel style buffets, there are a number of places where you can get your fix for well-marinated ribs or Barbecues done to your perfection. Pocket-friendly joints include Chama’d, Car-wash and Sundowner. These go down well with local beers Primus, Skol, and Mutziig which has a light version as well.
10.Tour of the Distillery
The making of alcohol is a fascinating process. The 1000 Hills distillery offers guided tours to learn about their processes and taste their whiskey, gin, rum, and vodka. The distillery that is 20 km from the city center also has the option of sampling their cocktails. The Distillery has outdoor and indoor dining with a variety of meal options.