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Getting Around Kigali City of Rwanda

Kigali, with population of more than 1 million (2012), is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is situated near the geographic centre of the nation. The city has been the economic, cultural, and transport hub of Rwanda since it became capital at independence in 1962.
As a clean, comfortable and ordered city, Kigali is very popular with long term expats, and the city is teeming with westerners, from young church or NGO volunteers having their first African ‘experience’ to career development workers enjoying a relaxed lifestyle where it is safe to bring up young children. This in turn means the city supports numerous restaurants, coffee shops and supermarkets that cater to this demographic. The downside of Kigali’s popularity with foreigners is that it is easy to forget you are in Africa.
Get in
By plane
Kigali International Airport

Kigali International is a small and organized airport, and it is rare to encounter any problems. Be aware that plastic bags are illegal in Rwanda for environmental reasons, so you should bring only reusable bags into the country.

KLM has flights to Kigali from Amsterdam

Brussels Airlines has flights to Kigali from Brussels

Kenya Airways has three flights a day from Nairobi

Ethiopian Airlines has daily flights from Addis Ababa

Rwandair the national carrier, has several flights a day to other African destinations, – tickets can be booked on their website.

South African Airways has flights to Kigali from Johannesburg.

Turkish Airlines has flights to Kigali from Istanbul.

‘Qatar airways. has flights from Kigali to Doha.

Fly Dubai. has flights to Dubai

On flying out of Kigali airport keep in mind the need for a Yellow Fever Certificate at your destination (e.g South Africa) – Airport officials will ask for this. Also be careful of waiting in the cafe for your flight – some flights (e.g Kenya Airways to Nairobi) are often overbooked and you won’t hear any announcement when they decide to start boarding early, and you could miss your flight.

Alternative: Entebbe, Uganda

Some international fliers find it much cheaper to fly into Entebbe in Uganda and then take the bus to Kigali. Depending an how long they stop you at the border, the bus trip takes about 9 hours.

By car
By bus

Buses arrive and depart to many parts of Rwanda regularly.

There are a couple of daily buses that run directly between Kigali and Kampala in Uganda. The bus is cramped and uncomfortable but is the cheapest choice.

There are a couple of daily buses that run directly between Kigali and Bujumbura in Burundi. Yahoo Car, New Yahoo, East African Car Express (big bus) and Belvedere have buses in the morning.

Get around

Motor Cyle taxis (motors) are the most popular and fastest way to get around town. The fare for the motorcycle ranges from 200 RFr-1000 RFr depending on distance, but most of the motor cyclists will ask for RFr 200-500. A trip to or from the airport should be around 1500-2000 RFr. Keep in mind that on the main road out to the airport they really put their foot down. It is however a good well sealed road, nice views over Kigali City and a thrilling ride.

Matatu’s/ city buses (minibuses) provide major routes throughout the city and are the cheapest way to get around. The Minibus in Rwanda is one of the best forms of transport in East Africa. Most of the buses are still new and are maintained well. There are several minibus companies which connect Kigali and the other cities in Rwanda. All of them give the same price depending on the distance. For short distance, such as to Ntarama, it costs only 600 RFr. The distance to Ruhungeri cost 2500 RFr and to Gisenyi 3000 RFr.

City buses in Kigali cost Rfr 240. bus number 105 goes from the Bus station where you get off the bus from Uganda to the Kigali Youth hostel.

There are several car rental agencies in Kigali.
Rwanda is a very small country but with very many tourism destinations that one would love to visit on his or her own while driving a private vehicle and companies like 4×4 Car Hire Rwanda offers 4×4 Car rental Rwanda to do self drive in Kigali and to the National Parks.

There are many taxis in Kigali, and in comparison with motors are expensive. A short 1km trip will cost Rwf 2,000 after haggling, going up to Rwf 10,000 for an airport run. Taxis are mainly of two types in Kigali – those operated by individuals (usually with some form of yellow stripe on the vehicle) and more professorially run services operated by a single large operator. The Kigali Airport Taxis and Kigali Taxi Service are the two major groups, there are others companies also running taxis , but these are the largest and both operate a number you can call to sumon a taxis.

What to See

The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. opened in April 2004 on the 10th anniversary of the genocides. Over 250,000 people are buried here, and there is a truly touching museum. Kigali houses several memorials, museums, and centers dedicated to the Rwandan Genocide. Audio guides and real guides are available. Cafe on site that makes excellent coffee, and supports local youth and businesses. free/donation – extra fee for photography. edit

Presidential Palace Museum (In Kanombe, 4km east past the airport – under the flight path). The abode of the formal President Habyarimana, who died in that infamous plane crash of 1994. Guided tours are mandatory, where you can get a glimpse of life as an African dictator in the 1970s & 80s. There is also a display on Rwandan clothing that is quite interesting. Photography is restricted. Rwf 6,000 (Rwf 5,000 for resident foreigners). To get there a motor should cost about Rwf 1,000, and tell him to go to Kanombe – you’ll probably end up outside the military hospital at the end of the tarred road, the museum is another 300 meters along the dirt road.

Where to Eat

By all standards Kigali is an excellent city in which to dine. A combination of Belgian culinary influence, plenty of cows, plenty of freshwater fish, and plenty of fresh vegetables equates to some of the best eating in the region. And it’s all pretty affordable.

Note that Kigali restaurants and bars go in and out of fashion, not to mention close down, quite frequently. Check for the latest once you are in town and be aware that some places mentioned in some print guidebooks no longer exist. (The oft-mentioned Turtle Cafe has been closed since 2003!)

Finally note that as with the rest of the region restaurants take their time – with a usual 45 minutes to 1 hour wait between ordering and your food arriving, especially for dinner. If you are after a quick meal at lunchtime there are several ‘African buffets’ dotted around where you pile your plate high and are out the door in 30 minutes. As Kigali is quite a sprawling city eateries are organized by suburb.

City Centre

Barbas Cafe at the Kigali Business Centre slightly out of town. Has great wholesome food. Eat as much as you like for 3 US$.

La Classes, Boulevard de la Revolution. Lunch & dinner. Sometimes excellent, sometimes not, La Classe is oft overlooked by Kigali’s expats, but the fillet steak can be sublime. Also does a Rwf3,500 lunchtime buffet Mains from Rwf 4,000.
Bourbon Cafe, Union Trade Center shopping plaza in the centreville and at the MTN Centre in Remera.
Kigali Serena’s Milima & Sokoni restaurants have good food, with special themes during the week such as the Wednesday Mongolian BBQ, Friday’s African Buffet and Sunday’s Buffet at Sokoni, and special themed lunches everyday at Milima.

Chez Robert is about 5 minutes walk from Mille Collines and serves local food in a nice setting. Their dinner buffet is quite good and costs about €7 for more than 20 items. There may be better local food in a hole-in-the wall restaurant for cheaper, but this is wonderful restaurant.

Shanghai, near Milles Collines, is a relatively unknown Chinese restaurant. Not very cozy, but the food is really good.

Heaven, three blocks downhill from the Mille Collines, is a new restaurant serving American and Continental cuisine. A bit pricy, with most entrees costing FRW4000 or above, but the well-prepared food (and fantastic dessert menu) are worth every franc.

Where to Drink

Bottled water is recommended for foreign visitors. For alcohol try the New Cadillac night club and the Republica. Both are superb. Watch out for pickpockets outside the New Cadillac. Don’t miss Planet Club at the KBC roundabout in Kimihurura, it has 2 sides, a Lounge bar with House music and a Club with African and modern Hip-Hop music.

Where to Sleep

Accommodation in downtown Kigali is noticeably more expensive than neighboring capitals like Kampala and Nairobi. Most of the budget options (for example the Hotel Gloria mentioned in older LPs) are gone. Outside the city center however, it is possible to find good budget options.

Budget

Auberge La Caverne, Nyabugogo Blvd (A few hundred meters before Place de l’Unite roundabout on the left side.). Clean rooms and good basic breakfast. It’s a long, uphill walk from the bus station, consider paying 300 for a moto-taxi single from 13.000 RWF en-suite. double from 20,000.

Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel offers clean beds in 4/6 bed dorms and private rooms as well as hot water bathrooms and free breakfast and free internet access,. It also has space for campers inside its 24-hour guarded gate. Discover Rwanda is an Aegis Trust social enterprise in which all proceeds go towards social programs offered by its parent organization at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. for the time being the only backpacker hostel in Kigali. camping-6750. dorm bed-12,000. room from 17250.
Hope Guesthouse, Nyabugogo Blvd. Check-out: 10:00. Good basic traveler hotel two minutes walk from the Nyabugogo bus station on a main road. There is a large pub next to the hotel with good food and the usual football TV in the evenings. Downstairs is a massage place. There are also some VISA-accepting ATM’s next door. There are plenty of buses to the city center, or walk for about one hour up-hill. Next to the Hope Guesthouse are many other guesthouses with even cheaper clean rooms. single from Rwf 7,000.
Auberge de nyamirambo, single room with outside bathroom. double room with own bathroom. RWF 5000/8000/10,000.
La Vedette Motel (around the corner from Auberge de Ayamirambo). double room with outside bathroom. double room with own bathroom RWF 8000/10000.
Logement Ikaze (Located in Nyamirambo.), single/double rooms. has 8 rooms. from RWF 7000.
Kigali Guest House, Ave De La Justice, single/double rooms with or with out own bathroom. Rfr 8000/10000/12,000.
Amani Best Guest House, Remera Kigali, double room with bathroom Rwf 8,000.
Resident Hotel, Kn 8 Street Nyabugoogo. double room with own bathroom. Rwf 11,000.
Center St Paul (200m east of the place-de national. clean single double rooms with own hot water bathroom. nice garden. best place in the city center to stay. Rwf 15,000/20,000.

Mid-range

Gloria Hotel (which currently only has cold water showers).
Hotel Chez Lando,  From $60 per night.
Hotel Isimbi, Rue Kalisimbi, District Nyarugenge (down town). Also has a good bar and restaurant. 30-40USD
Iris Guesthouser 75 USD, clean, big rooms, hot water, very good restaurant and free Internet.
Okapi Hotel Some rooms available for US$25 per night, good location and friendly staff. Some rooms have an excellent view over the outskirts of Kigali. Just forget the USD 25.00 rooms (BTW, actually USD 30.00) . They are ‘downstairs’ and aren’t worth USD 10.00.
Park View Courts Rwanda Enjoy a serene environment in this homely apart-hotel complex, with a view to die for and friendly staff. Prices range from USD 150-300.
Sphinx Belair Located behind Telecom house and not far from Novotel Umubano. Standard room starting at 60 USD.
Step Town Motel 50 USD, clean, Very Nice Rooms, hot water, and free Internet.

Splurge

Kigali now has three international class hotels, built as part of the country’s bid to increase tourism and better support business travelers.

Hotel Laico Umubano, Boulevard del Umuganda. Still known by its former name Novotel by almost everyone. Ask for a swimming pool view room on a high floor for a beautiful sunrise to wake you from your slumber. From $150 per night.

Hotel des Mille Collines, Avenue de l’Armée/Avenue de la République. While the movie Hotel Rwanda was filmed in South Africa, this is where the actual events took place. The hotel has two restaurants, a pool, internet and a gift shop. The hotel underwent extensive renovation in 2010. Rates are slightly higher for pool view rooms. All rooms have safes but no hair dryer or coffee maker. Free access to Wi-Fi, but coverage is uneven. Wonderful breakfast buffet. Apart from the movie this hotel is also the setting for the novel Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali. Prices from €151.
Kigali Serena Hotel, Formerly a Belgian-owned hotel known as the Diplomates and briefly portrayed in Hotel Rwanda. Renovated in 2003 and 2011. Free WiFi throughout, health club and spa. The lagoon pool and waterfall form a centerpiece to the hotel. While inside the hotel or the restaurants, you can truly be oblivious to the rest of the city outside – which may be a good or bad thing – depending on your mood. From $310 per night.
4x4 Car Hire Rwanda

Where to go in Kigali

Kigali City, has very many point of interest which you can visit while on your business trip in Rwanda. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Center is the most tourist spot for your visit and other genocides which you can visit on your one day Kigali city tour. There is much more craft shops you can visit and from here you can buy a souvenir's to take home.

Where to Eat in Kigali

Kigali has several restaurants which local dishes and continental meals in Kigali. It is much adventurous to take your dinner or lunch out of your hotel and most of the eat out point offers the best African coffee, soon on this guide we shall list for you the best eat out points to visit while in Kigali for your holiday.

Shopping Places in Kigali

Kigali has very many shopping malls while on your Rwanda safari, international supermarkets and shops are available.

Night Clubs in Kigali

While on your holiday in Kigali, do not miss the night life in Kigali. There is many night clubs where you can go for parting with friends and Rwandan girls and boys are much welcoming to dance with you in the night and security is available.

How Travel around Kigali

Kigali city is small and clean and you can tour it within a day and you can use the public transport like Boda Boda or Tax, and those that are willing to travel in comfortable way you can hire a private car from several car rental companies and none other than "www.4x4carhirerwanda.com" can offer you the best affordable and competitive quote. The Jeep offered from this car rental agency in Kigali along the Kigali Airport Road at the St Peter's House are all 4x4 WD and they can go far from the Kigali City to say some National Parks like Akagera National Park which offers game drive viewing.