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Best things to do in Kigali

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Where in the world: Africa  /  Rwanda  /  Kigali Province  /  Kigali

Top 15 things to do in Kigali

1. Nyamata Church

Pay tribute to the victims of the Rwandan civil war at Nyamata Church, a red-brick Roman Catholic church and a genocide memorial. A site of a large massacre in April 1994 in which thousands of people perished, the church grounds house several mass graves, and a collection of victims' skulls and bones are on display. The pews are covered with heaps of dirty, blood-stained rags to give you an impression of the number of victims in the church, which can accommodate up to 600 worshippers. Witnesses say some 10,000 people were massacred here. The tomb of an Italian missionary Antonia Locatelli who informed the Belgian authorities and the media about the massacres and was killed subsequently lies in the churchyard.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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3. Safaris

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Kigali Genocide Memorial

Reflect on some of the country's darkest moments and gain insight into an integral part of recent national history at Kigali Genocide Memorial. The final resting place for over 250,000 victims, the memorial center commemorates those slaughtered in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, while educating its visitors with an informative and harrowing presentation of history. You'll learn the political and sociological landscape of Rwanda during the build-up to the genocide of the Tutsi people, along with details of the atrocity itself through audio-visual tours, survivor testimonies, human remains, and artifacts.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Ntarama Church

The site of a grisly event from 1994, Ntarama Church now serves as a museum dedicated to honoring the lives of 5,000 people killed in the building. Inside, you can view displays containing the clothing and other items that once belonged to the genocide victims.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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6. Spas

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial

Haunting bullet holes on the walls of the main building of Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial bear witness to the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. Inside the building, see the exhibit about the genocide and the story behind the slaughter of the soldiers. The backyard contains a memorial site with ten black stone columns commemorating Belgian UN peacekeepers killed on site, while carvings on the columns represent their age. Although small in size, the memorial site creates a powerful and moving message about war atrocities.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Muslim Quarter

Tour the multicultural environment of Muslim Quarter, one of the oldest quarters of Kigali. A modern, vivid green-and-white mosque dominates this neighborhood packed with tailor shops, hair salons, restaurants, mini-markets, and recording studios. Take in the urban energy, browse through a souk, and get a sense of the Arab influence in Africa. One of Kigali's most active neighborhoods, the area also offers excellent views of the city.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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9. Niyo Arts Gallery

Look at the art and meet the artists at Niyo Arts Gallery, which focuses on work by Rwandan painters. The broader cultural center teaches children drumming and dancing, in a program initiated to help get impoverished kids off the street. The educational center empowers them to earn their own living through performances, art sales, and donations. Anything you buy here will help these ambitious people.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Librarie Ikirezi Bookshop

Surprise your inner bookworm by browsing Librarie Ikirezi Bookshop, a bookstore stocking an enticing range of titles. Search for international writers, as well as local ones, with genres ranging from well-known novels to books on the history of Rwanda. The onsite cafe makes a tranquil place to read quietly or enjoy a coffee or tea, while the rooftop terrace boasts spectacular sunsets.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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13. Inema Arts Centre

Take in the contemporary African arts at Inema Arts Centre, a gallery and workshop for artists in residence. Run in a large house by two brothers, both self-taught painters, the center has installations in the garden and provides a venue for a number of art-related projects sponsored by international foundations. Browse the pieces exhibited, including colorful abstract art and spray-painted Volkswagen classics, and admire the hilltop terrace's sweeping view over the suburbs. Off site, the art center also runs a gallery in a suburban restaurant.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Rwanda Art Museum

Rwanda Art Museum gives you an insight into the life of a former president as well as the culture and history of Rwanda. Get an overview of the country's history and its culture in the first part of the museum. Then, continue to former president's house, which contains numerous art pieces and secret rooms. Here you can get a glimpse into the lifestyle of former president; visitors are allowed to enter all rooms. The president died in a plane crash near the house, and parts of that plane belong to the museum and still lie there.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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