Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, may not immediately spring to mind as one of Africa’s must-see cities, but more and more people are getting wise to its charms. First and foremost, its transformation over the last few decades has been staggering. It felt the full brunt of the genocide which decimated the country in 1994, where around a million Tutsis were killed, but fast-forward to today and it’s one of the continent’s most forward-thinking cities. Trailblazing initiatives like bi-monthly car-free days and umuganda, where locals devote themselves to various community projects on the last Saturday of each month, make Kigali one of not just Africa’s, but the world’s, cleanest cities.
In Kigali, it’s still important to remember the past and the city’s Genocide Memorial shouldn’t be missed. It’s a poignant tribute to the million or so Tutsis who were killed and around a quarter of those are buried there. It also features a brilliant exhibition explaining the genocide’s complete story, as well as charting how Rwanda has recovered since. Kigali as a city is well worth a wander in itself. Spread across a pretty collection of leafy hills and where modern architecture is seamlessly built alongside historic marvels, it’s a city not short on beauty. It has a growing art scene as well, with centres across the city providing an inspirational place for local artists to flex their creative muscles. Inema Arts Center in particular is a fantastic art gallery we’d highly recommend visiting. For a further dose of local life, a visit to Kimironko Market is a must for handmade souvenirs, while Caplaki Craft Village is great for more artisanal gifts.
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