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The capital of Rwanda, Kigali (sometimes spelt Kigale) is a busy and up and coming business centre. It sits roughly in the middle of the country and has good road networks in all directions and an international airport.

The city sprawls across many hills and valleys with an altitude between 1300 - 1600m. Originally, the city was founded in 1907 starting around Gakinjiro Market. In 1916, Belgium took control from Germany of Kigali and prior to that it had been a small colonial outpost. Urban growth was slow and when Rwanda gained independence in 1962 the population was still only around 6000. These days, it is a bustling, colourful and generally safe capital city and one of the cleanest in all of Africa! There are now good hotels and restaurants and most visitors here take time to have a guided city tour, which should include the Genocide Museum, a gruesome reminder of the countries turbulant recent past. There are good craft markets and arts on sale in Kigale and you might be lucky to catch one of the traditional dance performances. Weaving is a speciality of crafts in Rwanda, plus musical instruments, pottery and palm leaf crafts.

There are several good museums in Kigali. See seperate page for the Genocide Museum. The former state house of the President, near the airport is opening as a musem to house cocumentation and research relating to pre-genocide years. A small zoo and botanical park is included in the development. The Natural History museum is in Kandt House, built in 1907 and opened as a museum in 2007.

If you want to do some birdwatching in the city, head for Nyarutarama

Lake, a small artificial lake surrounded by woodlands at the south end of Kigali Golf Club. There are a good variety of birds here and it's a good chance to stretch your legs. Walking and cycling around Kigali involves negotiating plenty of hills but there are areas where it can be recommended to do so, should you find yourself with spare time in the city.

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Kigali accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +2hrs

Flight time:

Various airlines fly to Kigali including Kenya Airways via Nairobi.

Language: Main language is Kinyarwanda but English is widely spoken. Many people also speak French or Swahili.


Entry visas are issued on arrival, entry fee is $30, to British passport holders.


Rwanda is a malarial country but the risk is low as most of the country is at high altitude. The following vaccinations are recommended: Hepatitis A & B, Polio, Tetanus & Typhoid. Yellow fever vaccinations is compulsory. Seek advise from your GP.



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