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daniserralta Kigali - A travel report by Dani
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Kigali,  Rwanda - flag Rwanda -  Kigali
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daniserralta's travel reports

Kigali and the forgotten tragedy.

  23 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Kigali is the capital of Rwanda, a country built from zero after the horrible genocide. Memories and a new life for a beautiful country, the new and unified Rwanda.

Kids in Rwanda.
Kids in Rwanda.
After the 90's genocide in Rwanda, the country was devastated and shocked. When all that finished was time to start again from zero. Kigali, the capital of the 1.000 hills land is an exponent of the unity of the people in that wonderful new Rwanda. There´s no longer Hutus or Tutsis, just Rwandeses living in peace and working for a better future. Actually tou can feel that there're many things that you can't talk about with the extremely warm people, is normal. I felt really wellcome all over Rwanda, specially in the rural areas, but the only really prosperous city there is Kigali. People from everywhere came here to rebuid the city and start again. Is a city between many hills and it makes hard to walk around going always up and down ... the best is to take the boda-boda (Mototaxis) to move around.

Favourite spots:
Kigali is the best option to get the permision to see the mountain Gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. ORTPN - The Office Rwandaise the Tourisme et Parcs Nationaux. They are very nice and helpful, and here you can pay with a Master Card!!! Brand new system in Rwanda. (No Visa card!) There's a lot of information there and you can find it at Independence Avenue, near the cheap accomodations area and close to most of the embassies. There are also many travel agencies around here ... in case you need to book a tour or rent a car, etc... (Advice! - You can reach the gorillas on your own. Is not that difficult!)

What's really great:
Ntarama Church memorial.
Ntarama Church memorial.
No doubt. The most special activity in Kigali is all about the genocide in Rwanda. There's a memorial museum near the city center down the main hill. Is impressive and a MUST to understand what really hapenned there in the 90's. So brutal and horrible. Is history and we all have to learn about it so is really a must if you are in Kigali. But be ready for a hard experience. Even harder is take a minivan in Nyabugogo station and reach Ntarama, a little stop in the middle of nowhere to visit, after a short walk, the memorial church, where more than 5000 people where killed. Further you can find another town, Nyamata, to see another church memorial and plenty of skulls and body remmaints of people killed during the genocide. Horrible. But in that 2 towns you can also see how the rural areas are starting again and you can get in touch with the new generation of Rwandese kids, the generation of the peace, of the new begining.

There's no much more to do in Kigali.
Is a city for just some days and try something more interesting.
The best after the memorials of Kigali and around is probably a short visit to the old prison, an interesting visit to Richard Kanst house ... now a little museum of geology and Rwandese colonialist era museum.
There are nice views of Kigali from the terrace of that house.

There's just one area to find reasonable acomodation. Kigali is not cheap for acomodation, is more expensive than Tanzania!!, but the best area is around the Independence Square.
The Comerce Avenue is a good place to start to check your options.
There are some hotels, but for poor backpackers on the budget like me, the best are 2.
The Gloria Hotel at Ave du Commerce with Rue du travail. Around 12 usd$ per room and night.
And the Auberge la Caverne. Down the hill, like 400 meters, from the ORTPN. Probably the best option of the cheapies cause there are no thicks and it seems clean some days.
OH! in Kigali, count with usual and constant power-cuts and water-cuts.
Is normal, be patient ... that's Africa!!

Was strangely alive at night. ¿?¿?
There are some locals and good nightlife usually with plenty of expatriates having fun. The best clubs were at the embassies area with locals inside open areas and realaxing ambients.
Many african music ... too much sometimes!
Turtle Cafe have alive music with ocal bands.
Many people recommended the Travellers Bar but I never went there.
I went out with a wonderful Irish girl to a club near the Ugandan embassy but I can't remember the name. Sorry!

There are many restaurants all over Kigali. But specially in the area of the hotels and the business center.
I liked specially the restaurant next door of Gloria Hotel.
They have the best and biggest Spaghetti bolognesa dishes of all Africa.
Ther Oasis restaurant was also good , with Tv, great pizzas and good enough ice creams!!!.
Don't trust too much the street food in Ave du Travail ... too suspicious sometimes.

Other recommendations:
Bus Station.
Nyabugogo Bus Station.
To go there and move around.
There´s one main bus station, Nyabugogo Station, down the central hill, a chaotic, overpolluted and dirty big openair station.
From there you can take buses to Uganda (Jaguar Executive Bus), to Burundi or to the border with Tanzania.
Many intercity buses are also departing from here, especialy to the south rural areas.
The little minivan companies are found into the city, up the hill at the end of Ave du travail and next to the petrol station.
Okapi Cars is the most famous covering the major roads to Butare, Kibuy, Gisenyi and Ruhengeri in just some hours ... is not a big country.
There are also other companies like Virunga express based on Ruhengeri area, Volcano Express the same and Atraco Express to Gisenyi and the coast of lake Kivu.

Published on Tuesday July 4th, 2006

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Wed, Aug 09 2006 - 03:12 AM rating by gloriajames

Another great adventure! Excellent report. 5*

Fri, Jul 14 2006 - 03:19 AM rating by marianne

Well written and interesting to read

Mon, Jul 10 2006 - 01:03 PM rating by barcelona

super, noi

Sun, Jul 09 2006 - 02:40 AM rating by mistybleu

A very moving report, and can hardly believe it was only about a decade ago. Truly frightening.


Sat, Jul 08 2006 - 08:07 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Otra vez 5 stars por lo exótico, vecino (tu vives en Sants y yo en Coll Blanch, Hospitalet)

Thu, Jul 06 2006 - 02:01 PM rating by st.vincent

Sad, thought provoking, hopeful, enlightening and informative - all in one great report.

Wed, Jul 05 2006 - 09:18 AM rating by jesusferro

Very good to remember how low the humane being can fall and the rest of the world did nothing to stop the barbarie because the country was poor.

Wed, Jul 05 2006 - 01:55 AM rating by davidx

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences of this little visited country - including the horrifying experiences.

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