Kigali Profile

Kigali is both the largest city in Rwanda and its capital city, hosting both its presidential quarters and government offices. Kigali didn't really exist until 1907 when it was built by the Germans after Dr. Richard Kandt, the first European resident of Rwanda, set up an administrative residence there. It then became the colonial outpost of the country of which the Germans had taken control under the Berlin Conference agreement. Kigali became the capital of Rwanda in 1962 following independence from Belgium after they had taken control of the country following Germany's defeat in the First World War.

Today Kigali has a population of 1,169,889 (2021) and is very much a 'young city' with young people making up around 60% of its population, of whom just over half are female. Kigali was the ground zero of the genocide of 1994 during which much of its infrastructure was badly damaged and in its memory the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre opened in April 2004 (right). It contains a permanent exhibition of the Rwandan genocide and an exhibition of other genocides around the world.

One of the most striking features about Kigali is how clean it is compared with other African capital cities and towns. There is no rubblish littering the well-maintained streets, the police maintain an active presence and, although at time of writing, it has yet to secure internationally known fast-food outlets, it caters well to tourists with non-African tastes (although most chefs have trained and worked within Rwanda so know what a burger or pizza is supposed to look like but without the knowledge of what it is supposed to taste like.)

Apart from the must visit Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which can be an upsettng experience especially the 'children's room' which is adorned with photographs by parents of their chidlren happily smiling into the camera just days, weeks or months before their lives were stolen so brutally in the genocide, other places of interest include the Rwanda Art Museum which is based in the former Presidential Palace on the outskirts of Kigali and houses more than 100 works of art.

For those with an eye to history, the grounds of the museum still have debris from the blown-up presidential jet that crashed on April 6, 1994 sparking the genocide. For the more active, you can climb Mount Kigali, the highest hill in Kigali reaching 6,000 feet, from which you get amazing views of the city from the top and can enjoy refreshments at Mera Neza bar. The nearby Fazenda Sengha horse ranch is also worth a vist while there for horseback riding.


Kigali Genocide Memorial Center


Kigali Profile

Kigali Profile

Kigali Profile

Kigali Profile


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Kigali Profile

Kigali Profile

A complete profile of Kigali, capital city of Rwanda including a history, tourist attractions and video.


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