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If you’re visiting Rwanda it is likely that you’ll arrive and depart from the capital and largest city, Kigali. Surrounded by picturesque rolling hills, with tree-lined boulevards and well-maintained gardens set in the city squares, Kigali is one of Africa’s most attractive capital cities, and it is one of the safest and cleanest.
Conveniently located in the heart of Rwanda, Kigali is the perfect place to spend a day or two before exploring the rest of the country.
The city’s best known landmark is the Kigali Genocide Memorial which is set on one of the many hills that surround the city.
The centre’s exhibitions explain the history of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and it includes poignant displays of victims’ photographs and belongings, bringing the realities of the atrocities to life.
While it may seem an unusual tourist attraction and can be upsetting, visiting the centre helps to put into context how and why the genocide happened and gives visitors an appreciation of how far Rwanda has moved on.
We also recommend that you visit the Nyamata and Ntarama Genocide Memorials located an hour outside of Kigali these were both churches where thousands of Rwandans were massacred, and the Camp Kigali Belgian Monument.
Kigali is best visited during the long dry season from June to September and the short dry season from mid-December to mid-February. Visitors typically spend a night or two in Kigali before heading to Parc National des Volcans to track mountain gorillas and this activity is best during the dry months.
Throughout the year daytime temperatures in Kigali can be quite high so you should apply suntan lotion and wear a hat if you’re exploring the city during the middle of the day. Kigali is at an elevation of 1,567m and once the sun goes down the temperature drops considerably, so you should bring a jacket for the evenings.
If you visit Kigali during the wet seasons from March to May and from October until the beginning of December you can expect short heavy showers interspersed with sunshine, rather than continuous rain throughout the day.
Our Rwanda Highlights Holiday starts and ends in Kigali, whilst our Virungas, Primates & Mafia Island starts in Kigali and ends in Mafia Island, and our Gorillas, Masai Mara and Zanzibar starts in Kigali and ends in Zanzibar.
We typically include just one night on arrival in Kigali, however if you have time we recommend spending two or even three nights in this lovely city. There is much to see and do, from visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial to exploring the city’s vibrant markets and craft cooperatives.
We offer three accommodation options in Kigali – Serena Kigali Hotel which is a five star property located on a tree lined boulevard with 148 rooms decorated in traditional Rwandan style, Heaven Boutique Hotel which is located on a residential road close to the city centre and offers comfortable accommodation plus there’s an onsite award-winning restaurant, and the luxurious Hotel des Mille Collines which was the basis for the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda”.