South African Travel Blogger

Where To Eat, Stay & What To Do in Kigali, Rwanda

First time in Kigali, Rwanda? Here are some of the best places to eat, stay and things to do while staying in the capital city. From exploring the country's tragic past to tasting some of its cuisines, there's more to this town than meets the eye.

Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel

Boulevard de L'Umuganda | Kacyiru, Kigali, Rwanda

Rwanda Youth Hostel is the country's first youth hostel. Funds generated from the hostel go towards education and social programmes to support survivors of the genocide, making this a great place to stay for responsible travellers.

It is also one of the few places that has hot water for showers; there is also an on-site bar with food and a ping ping table in the common area.

The hostel is also conveniently located, and you can easily get around by foot, public transport or car.

Kigali has a vibrant art scene, and Inema Art Center is one of the best places to experience it. It's located near the King Faisal Hospital and has two stories of art that you can walk through. Ten artists use the studio, and if you like what you see, you can purchase a piece and take it home with you.

Don't forget to spend time talking to the artists; it's a fascinating way to learn about their thought processes and concepts.

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Heaven Restaurant & Inn

No. 7, KN 29 | Kiyovu, Kigali, Rwanda

Heaven is a must-visit for travelling foodies. It is a bit more expensive than other places, but the venue, service, atmosphere and quality of food make every cent worth it.

The restaurant has a mouthwatering menu that combines local and international dishes.

Lonely Planet credits Heaven as a top choice in Kigali, so you know a visit here won't let your tastebuds down.

Shokola

KG 668 St, Kigali, Rwanda

Shokola Cafe is located on the top floor of the Kigali Public Library. It often feels like being in a giant treehouse with views of the city and a relaxing atmosphere.

Spend a few hours reading a book on one of their comfy sofas, try a dish from their interesting menu or if you need to catch up on emails the cafe has plug points conveniently located near the tables to keep your laptop charged up.

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Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

KG 637 Street, Kigali, Rwanda

Lalibela is Kigali's only Ethiopian restaurant and it well worth a visit - especially if you haven't sampled this country's food before. It's very vegetarian and vegan-friendly (meat eaters will be pleased by the sizable chicken pieces) and won't disappoint on taste.

The restaurant has a laid back atmosphere in the day, but as night comes along, it becomes a bar with a vibe.

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Natural History Museum

KN 90 St, Kigali, Rwanda

This is Kigali's best museum (that isn't about the genocide). In recent years, it's undergone major renovations and now houses exhibits on geology and natural wonders.

The museum itself is the 1907 residence of Richard Kandt. He was a famous explorer, and it is believed this was the first building in the city.

If your moto driver does not know Museum of Natural History, just mention Richard's name, and you'll be on your way.

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Coffee lovers should head to Bourbon if you want to taste some authentic Rwandan coffee. The coffee shop sources it's beans ethically from farmers and five different regions in the country.

Besides the coffee, you can also buy pastries, sandwiches and light meals. They also sell their coffee (ground or beans), and it makes a great gift for people back home or yourself.

K-Club

KG 9 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda

If you want a taste of Kigali's local nightlife, K-Club is the place to go. It's considered the best spot for a night out, and it's packed with young locals and travellers.

If you want to get in, don't forget to dress up and expect an entrance fee on weekends. Inside you'll find cheap drinks and a pumping dance floor.

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The Nyamirambo Walking Tour is an excellent way to support responsible tourism in Rwanda. The money from these tours provide an income for the women, and in return, you get a unique insight into Rwanda's history, culture and daily life.

You'll get to explore the city's oldest neighbourhoods, learn some local greetings and a traditional lunch.

If you are vegetarian, there is a lunch option for you, and the best thing about this tour is that no one is trying to make a hard sell which is always appreciated.

Inside Afrika Boutique Hotel

KN 46 St, Kigali, Rwanda

This is another excellent option for travellers who want to splurge and be pampered. The hotel is a short walk from the city centre, making it easy to explore your surrounds in the day and at night.

The rooms each come with a private bathroom, and you can make a request for ones with a pool or garden view.

The hotel itself is stylish and modern and is perfect for couples you want to spend a few nights somewhere romantic in the city.

Grand Legacy Hotel

KG 173 St, Remera, Kigali, Rwanda

For travellers looking for some luxury in Kigali, I highly recommend Grand Legacy Hotel. It is only five minutes away from the airport and fifteen minutes from the city centre. Its location is also convenient for business travellers as it is nearby a host of commercial headquarters and business facilities.

All the rooms come with en-suite bathrooms and the usual amenities that you would expect such as WiFi, coffee and tea as well as extra bonuses like a sauna, a complimentary airport shuttle and massage services.

Mijo Hostel

10, KG 672 St, Kigali, Rwanda

Mijo Hostel is another popular budget accommodation option in Kigali. It's located a short walking distance from New Cadillac Night Club and Kigali Centenary Park, making it ideal for travellers who want to explore a bit more the city's nightlife.
The hostel has 24-hour security, a restaurant, free WiFi and is only 6 km from the airport. With the hostel being fairly new, the can expect things to be in good condition.

Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial

KN 3 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda

If you are interested in the Rwandan genocide and want to see more beyond then what is at the museum - head here. Ten soldiers died while protecting the Prime Minister with only two handguns for hours against rebels.

The building is untouched, and you can see the damage left by the bullets in the wall. There's also ten stones that represent the soldiers who eventually lost their lives.

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Kimironko Market

Kigali, Rwanda

This is an excellent market for souvenir shopping and food tasting in Kigali. There are rows of fresh fruit and vegetables (buy some if you are cooking your own food), followed by stalls for gadgets, clothes, crafts, and fabrics. You can even get a sheet of fabric made into a dress or pair of harem pants for under $12.

Don't miss this place if you are looking for something unique to take back home and remind you of your adventures in Rwanda.

Brioche

KBC Building, Kigali 3261, Rwanda

Brioche does have expensive food, but it also a decent wifi connection and for digital nomads travelling through the city this is a godsend. The best time to go is in the mornings, but as the day goes on it does get slower and sometimes is out completely. The coffee is pretty good as well and it's a nice spot to spend a few hours catching up on emails.

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Chez Robert

Ave de la Republique City Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

If you want to try authentic Rwandan food, Chez Robert won't let your taste buds down. It is an upscale restaurant, and the prices reflect that, but if you have the budget, it's worth it.

The restaurant itself is in a unique setting that adds to its charm. It's located inside a large converted house, with a shady terrace and beautiful decor.

Caplaki Craft Village

KK 2 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda

The Caplaki Craft Village is filled with artwork, jewellery and handicrafts for sale. Even if you don't end up buying anything, it's always interesting to see what the local artists have come up with. And if you do find something that you want to take back at home, at least you know you are directly supporting the artist so that they continue to make their art.

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Question Coffee Bar

26 KG 674 St, Kigali, Rwanda

Coffee lovers this is where you want to be! Question Coffee only really serves coffee with the occasional pastry, so don't go here hungry. Go here if you want to learn more about Rwanda's coffee, coffee roasting and it's preparation. The cafe also works with Sustainable Harvest, an NGO that works with smallholder coffee farmers - so it is another responsible travel spot to hit up while in the city.

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Inzora Rooftop Cafe

KG5 Av, Kigali, Rwanda

Inzora Rooftop Café is tucked behind a bookstore and rewards coffee lovers with beautiful views over the city and valley. This place is more a coffee shop than anything else, although you can buy small snacks if you do get peckish. If you are looking to catch up on social media or work while here, you will struggle as the internet is not that great, but you do have a good collection of books to keep you company as you sip on your coffee.

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Papyrus

Kigali, Rwanda

Papyrus is a bakery, restaurant and nightclub all rolled into one. In my opinion,it's one the best bars to go to and a must-visit spot for night owls.

The club is massive, the lights are impressive and the djs are really good. Check out their website if you want to see upcoming events or just pitch up and be pleasantly suprised.

Just don't book any early morning tours.

Last updated at Jun 23, 2017