Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, roughly in the center of the country. It sprawls across numerous hills, ridges and valleys, and has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. The Kigali Genocide Memorial documents the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda, associated with the country’s civil war. The city’s Caplaki Crafts Village has stalls selling traditional handicrafts, including woodcarvings and woven baskets.
Many travelers spend only a night in Kigali before gorilla trekking, missing out on the vibrant culture, cuisine, and sightseeing in Rwanda’s capital city. Plan to spend at least a few days here at the beginning or end of your trip.
Stock up on bespoke clothes from swirling patterned textiles and experience the energetic atmosphere at Kimironko Market, Kigali’s largest marketplace. The warehouse space is like a maze, with surprises around every corner.
Then, check out Kigali’s creative scene at Inema Arts Center, a gallery that showcases the works of up to 10 local artists in residence. Make your way to the Rwanda Art Museum at the former Presidential Palace. It displays some of the finest contemporary pieces from Rwanda and nearby regions. You can also see debris from the presidential aircraft that crashed in 1994.
When you’re ready to refuel, savor an authentic Rwandan cup of Joe at Question Coffee Cafe. Check out the cafe’s specials menu to see what experimental caffeinated concoctions the baristas have recently come up with. They’re known to infuse some coffee beverages with unexpected local ingredients, like tree tomato.
Finally, wind down with a succulent meal at one of Kigali’s great restaurants. Le Panorama Restaurant at Hotel des Mille Collines offers dazzling views of the city, along with a diverse menu of local and international favorites.
For an even more romantic setting, head to Fusion Restaurant’s al fresco dining room at The Retreat hotel. It overlooks a twinkling pool and serves up homemade pastas, flavorful starters, and fresh seafood.
Best time to visit Kigali
In the capital, Kigali, the average daily temperature is about 21°C. Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May, when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice.
Weather and climate in Kigali
Although Kigali is located in the heart of Rwanda, it has a temperate climate with a good amount of rainfall, thanks to its high elevation. … Year-round temperatures in Kigali range from daytime highs between 25C and 27C (77F to 81F), and evening lows of 14C to 16C (57F to 61F).
How to get to Kigali
Most people come to Rwanda to track gorillas. Kigali International Airport (KGL), about 10km/6mi from the capital, Kigali, will be the entry point into the country.