A Day in Kigali

We only had the pleasure of spending about 18 hours in Kigali, Rwanda, and my wife and I fully intend on returning for a longer visit.

The beauty of Rwanda became visible as our plane descended below the clouds and the rolling hills below us revealed themselves. The airport is pitched on top of one of these hills, and brought back memories of the battle fought here during the Genocide in 1994.  I deliberately tried to put these memories behind me so I could enjoy the modern Rwanda.

Our drive from the airport to the Step Town Motel took us up and down several more hills, and we were both delighted with how clean the streets were.  The trademark black and white paving lined every street us dozens of motorbikes flew past in each direction.

Our motel was placed high on a hill near the city centre with a wonderful view of northern Kigali. The soil in this area is a deep red colour, and must be very healthy considering the greenery that covers the city. 

 
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We decided to walk to the city centre for some lunch as it was only around the corner and we wanted to soak up the atmosphere. The walk was entirely uphill and certianly got the legs working, but we enjoyed the sights of groups of children on their way home from school. The ocassional cry of ‘Mzungu!’ gave us the impression that they don’t often get visitors talking walks in their neighbourhood!

 
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After exploring the the local shopping centre, we caught a taxi to take us down to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. The drive was down into another valley and then up again, along the aptly named Avenue de le Gendarmerie.  The entrance is very unassuming considering the subject matter, although they clearly cater for bus loads of tourists. 
 
The exhibition itself is very moving, the content of which is better experienced than retold here.  You can spend a lifetime reading about events in books, but to stand in front of a collection of bones and to hear first hand accounts of the killing is something else.  Upon exiting the museum for much needed fresh air, you then have the uncomfortable experience of walking around the mass graves that hold some 250,000 victims of the genocide. 
 
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This museum is testament to Rwanda’s regeneration since 1994 and is an absolute must-see for any visitors to the city. 
 
Upon returning to our hotel, we watched the sun set whilst enjoying a local beer on the balcony. We were disappointed that the day had come to an end and we had barely scratched the surface of this beautiful city. It was at this point we decided to return again soon, and I would most certainly be doing some reading on the history of Rwanda.
 
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Published in: on August 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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