This week, all eyes have been on Rwanda. The country just rounded up its first World Economic Forum for Africa, which ran from May 11 to 13. The conference brought together about 1,500 people from across to world to discuss and examine Africa’s economic prospects. For three days, heads of state and government, business leaders, economist, academics, and members of civil society convened in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
Rwanda is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, recently partly due to efforts by the government, the number of tourists visiting Rwanda has been steadily growing. A good percentage of that number are conference goers, as Kigali is a prime destination for business conferences in the region. Outside these conference tourists, most tourists heading to Rwanda prefer to skip its capital for its nature reserves.
The first things that strikes one upon reaching Kigali is how clean it is. In fact, Kigali is often referred to as the cleanest city in Africa. Roads are clean, and the plastic bags that often mar the roadsides in other African cities are banned here. The city is surrounded by postcard hills and mountains that make Kigali beautiful and green. One of the best ways to savor Kigali is a motorbike ride through the city.
Traversing up one of the mountains that surrounds the city is also a must do. Climbing Mount Kigali from Nyamirambo gives you an amazing panorama of the entire city. Nyamirambo is Kigali’s oldest neighborhood and Muslim quarter. The Nyamirambo Women’s Center offers a walking tour through the multicultural quarter. Kigali is notably a safe city which means even solo travelers can have a taste of the city’s music scene and nightlife. Travelers can feel free to explore the city’s nightlife and pick from a variety of nightclubs and local bars. The list of things to do continues. Cultural activities are also offered including visits to award-winning museums such as the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, considered one of the best museums in Africa. Kigali is home to a growing arts scene visible in the city’s galleries and art workshops.
For food, there are dining experiences to be enjoyed at various spots in the city such as Afrika Bite, which is known for peanut chicken. You can’t visit Kigali without trying locally made banana wine or mountain tea, which is a thick brew heavily flavored with honey and ginger. There is a lot more Kigali has to offer, including very hospitable people.
Rwanda is said to leave a strong impression on visitors and have them drawing back. Have you been to Kigali? What was your experience? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta