Only two decades after the genocide, Rwanda has managed to turn its fate around.
The World Bank has called it a ‘remarkable development success’. According to the Doing Business Report, it’s the best performing country in east and central Africa. Rwanda is also leading Africa’s digital revolution, with the Smart Kigali initiative aiming to create free Wi-Fi on public buses, hospitals, commercial buildings and restaurants.
While Kigali is largely a city that attracts a lot of business travellers, any visitor will be kept busy with the many activities on offer:
- Number One on many a traveller’s bucket list is a hike into the mountains, which the threatened gorilla population calls home. Seeing these noble creatures up close is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- While Rwanda may be thriving now, there is a strong sense of remembrance about the past. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre provides an important reality check about the ultimate conclusion racial and ethnic discrimination can result in.
- Rwanda has over a thousand hills, so what better way to see it than on horseback? It’s a great way to view the beauty of the city, Kigali.
- Make sure you take a stroll through the suburb of Nyamirambo, a characterful-area, with the unusual combination of being a residential area for the Muslim population, but with lively bars along the roads, frequented by both locals and visitors to the city.
- For local souvenirs, visit a co-operative or the Kimironko Market. Vendors expect their customers to bargain so go all out and negotiate a good price for the items you are keen on.
- The local cuisine is a must. In Kigali, the two local meals definitely worth trying are a brochette (meat on a stick) that’s served with bananas, chips or potatoes; and a giant fish that’s best when eaten with your hands. The food is cheap, hearty and fun to get your fingers into.
- Taste the local brew. Coffee and tea are Rwanda’s biggest exports and, at the source, they are even more delicious. Rwandan tea is very low in tannins, so try it without milk to get the full flavour.
Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Bonny Feldman.