This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Kigali
Kigali

... and colourful city.

Kigali is Rwanda’s modern and also very clean capital.

Kigali

Kigali: in detail

Kigali trips: the full story

Rwanda is a small country, with its modern capital, Kigali, at the centre. From here the roads radiate outwards, like the spokes of a wheel, and hence on most Rwanda holidays you'll occasionally spend a night here as part of any itinerary. It’s a pleasant city scattered over several hills with enough to do to keep visitors occupied for a couple of days, easy to walk around with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants for sustenance.

One of the first things most people notice is that, particularly for an African city, Kigali is spotlessly clean, partly because plastic bags are banned in the country but also because of a universal service called Umuganda when everyone gets together on the last Saturday morning of each month working on community projects like keeping streets clean, tending to gardens and helping neighbours. Do bear this in mind should you be on holiday in Rwanda during this time – many shops and businesses will be closed for the morning.

Hotels in Kigali

Kigali’s accommodation options are spread around the city and range from smart four or five star hotels to lower budget bed and breakfasts. While many are of a good international standard, our top pick being the stylish and comfortable Heaven Retreat, or are stayed in for the historical value such as Hotel des Mille Collines which was the location of the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, you should be aware that service can sometimes be slow in bars and restaurants. Take a look here to see our recommended hotels in Kigali.

What to do in Kigali

Shopping in Kigali

There are a number of smart shopping malls in Kigali city centre with some chic boutiques and coffee shops. But if you’re after something more authentic, take a stroll around one or two of its lively markets, you'll usually be met with great friendliness. If you like browsing for curios and souvenirs from your Rwanda holiday, pay a visit to the Caplaki handicrafts cooperative, which sells a variety of local crafts.

Alternatively, the lively Nyamirambo area of Kigali is regarded as the most vibrant quarter of the city, known for its excellent tailors and hair salons, as well as its many bars and cafes. As with any city, take care if visiting at night but during the daytime, Nyamirambo Women’s Centre offers interesting walking tours around their neighbourhood that takes in their own craft shop, a typical Rwandan meal and the local market too.

Kigali Museums and the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Kigali’s museums include the State House Museum and the Natural History Museum, both of which are worth a visit if you’re in town, with the latter having superb views over the city.

Perhaps the city’s best known landmark, and with good reason, is the insightful and moving Kigali Genocide Memorial, standing amid beautiful rose gardens and fountains. The memorial sets out the history preceding the genocide in Rwanda and also explains other genocides around the world. It includes poignant displays of victims’ photographs and belongings, bringing the realities of the atrocities to life. While it might seem an unusual tourist attraction and can be upsetting, it helps to put into context the causes of the genocide and enabes a better appreciation of just how far the country has moved on in the intervening years. It also plays a vital role in educating Rwanda’s future generations about their country's history.

Where to stay in Kigali

Our suggestions for places to stay in Kigali


Kigali Serena Hotel

Kigali Serena Hotel

Just 10km from the airport, the Kigali Serena is a comfortable option and one of Expert Africa's favourites for a stopover in Kigali.


91% (64 reviews)
Hotel des Mille Collines

Hotel des Mille Collines

The Hotel des Mille Collines offers a comfortable base in Kigali, or a stopover on the way to or from Rwanda's national parks.


83% (63 reviews)
Heaven Boutique Hotel

Heaven Hotel

Heaven Boutique Hotel is a comfortable and great-value option for a stopover in Kigali, or as a longer stay to explore Rwanda's capital city.


94% (7 reviews)
Heaven Retreat

The Retreat

Heaven Retreat is the luxurious and stylish sister hotel of Heaven Boutique, and makes for a great stopover, or a base to explore Kigali.


100% (2 reviews)
Kigali Marriott Hotel

Kigali Marriott Hotel

The Kigali Marriott is a smart international hotel located close to KIgali's business district, in the heart of the city.


100% (1 review)
Kigali Radisson Blu

Kigali Radisson Blu

The Kigali Radisson Blu is only a short drive from the airport and offers a comfortable base in Kigali.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa