Kigali is a sparklingly-clean and highly organised city that few international visitors expect to find in the centre of the African continent. Smooth tarmac with countdown traffic lights connects brand-new buildings here.
The must-see attraction is the beautiful memorial museum that bears witness to the genocide against the Tutsis that shook the country in 1994. While it also features similar crimes against humanity elsewhere in the world, its primary message is the power of Rwanda’s reconciliation, resilience and potential.
Population 1,200,000; elevation 1,567 m/ 5,141 ft
• WHAT TO DO IN KIGALI •
Maisha Mind Body & Spirit Spa
Does your body ache for some relaxation? Disappear into a Moroccan-style oasis at Kigali Serena Hotel, where contemporary science blends with ancient therapies… A landscaped pool in tropical gardens, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, cardio, yoga, sculpture complete the picture — for as little as USD 40, and that includes steam and sauna!
+250 788 184 500, +250 252 597 100
Go Kigali Tours
The best way to get an intimate view of the city so that you can experience Kigali to the fullest! Stops include a local milk bar, a market, Rwandese lunch, the Genocide Memorial and more. Our tours were recently featured in the New York Times & are 5-star rated on TripAdvisor.
Please book on www.gokigalitours.com
Hungry for mental nourishment? We are a bookshop on Kimironko Road with all kinds of books — novels, kids pleasures, university materials, Cambridge books & other textbooks. Proceeds support young writers through www.giraigitabo.rw
+250 783 945 964
• FOOD/DRINK & SHOPPING IN KIGALI •
Preet Fast Food
The only purely vegetarian restaurant in Rwanda, quickly preparing delicious fresh Indian food at very reasonable prices (from 50 cents). Full meals (thali) and fast food (samosa, dabeli, vada pav). Photo Musa Compound behind Bank of Kigali HQ. Open 8am-8:30pm, Sun 8am-2pm.
+250 783 115 997
CasaKeza’s relaxed-chic design, hispanic flair and beautiful bamboo garden, delicious coffee, breakfasts, lunches, tapas, sangria and cocktails, fast internet, a children’s play room, curated gift shop and on site tailor make this the place to relax in Kigali’s Kacyiru (KG573). Open all day every day, live music from Thu to Fri!
+250 788 382 581
The city also known as “crazy crazy” Kampala is the party capital of East Africa. An urban sprawl touching Lake Victoria, Kampala is a bustling, freedom-loving city.
Be it a weekend, a holiday or the middle of the night, enterprising Kampalans are ready to feed your stomach with cheap roadside food and your soul with bumping Afrobeat. Mushrooming shopping centres and second-hand markets are two dimensions of a place that sells anything from anywhere, at any price.
But not so far from the organised chaos of the Old Taxi Park — an actual attraction — there is serenity in Kampala’s green areas and religious sites. The only Baha’i temple in Africa, the Kampala Central Mosque and the Makerere University campus are three sites you should definitely consider visiting.
Uganda’s international airport lies 40km/26mi from Kampala, next to Entebbe.
Population 1,500,000; elevation 1,190 m/ 3,900 ft
• ACCOMMODATION IN KAMPALA •
Biyem, a Kampala Hotel with an Eritrean Touch
Tucked away in a green oasis in Bulange Mengo, to the west of Namirembe Cathedral, Biyem Hotel is your ideal Kampala getaway; it is close to the northern bypass and the Entebbe highway.
Building on the Eritrean culinary and coffee traditions it delights with special touches like Thursday night guitar music and BBQ. Wine, cocktails and mocktails will add to your pleasure.
Self-contained rooms range from USD 30 to 100, there’s jacuzzi, gym and, of course, wifi. With Biyem Hotel, you just cannot miss!
+256 414 697 218, +256 704 329 608
Eat, drink and sleep in the heart of Kampala – the city’s finest budget accommodation, with beds starting at USD 15. We also serve draught beer, wood-fire pizza and gourmet burgers.
+256 772 285 234
Namirembe Guest House
An ideal home away from home located atop Namirembe Hill, with gorgeous million dollar views of Kampala.This historic guest house has quiet relaxing private balconies accompanying each room as well as warm and friendly service, conference facilities, executive accommodation with hot showers, wifi and DSTV. Delicious meals, teas and coffee. Room rates start at USD 40.
+256 312 109 937, +256 759 717 889
Red Chilli Hideaway
We have run budget lodges and tours in Uganda since 1999. Our 5-acre camp in Kampala sleeps 100+ in tents, dorms and rooms with shared/ private bathrooms. Facilities: 16m pool, bars and restaurants, TV room, self-catering laundry/kitchen, free wifi with communal computers. A free shuttle service to town runs 3 times daily. Prices USD 8-50.
+256 772 509 150, +256 772 709 151
If you are visiting Volcanoes National Park and prefer urban environments, Musanze (formerly known as Ruhengeri) is your choice. This is the capital city of the Gorilla Highlands region, a tidy town surrounded by volcanoes and blessed with Musanze Caves.
It offers accommodation solutions for all budgets, good eating and international banks. Kinigi village (northwest of the town, 12km/7.5mi) features the park HQ, and many more lodges.
• ACCOMMODATION IN MUSANZE •
Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
Allow yourself a treat… Upgrade your gorilla rendezvous or volcano expedition with a couple of nights at Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel in Musanze…
Choose your perfect refuge, to relax and rejuvenate, among 11 bedrooms, a family suite or a private manor. Full-board prices start at USD 400.
+250 789 924 969
In central Musanze Fatima Hotel boasts 65 spacious rooms, extensive views of the Virungas, swimming till 8pm in a beautifully lit pool, conference rooms for up to 200 persons, a bakery and a gym. Rates from USD 70.
+250 252 546 650, +250 252 546 651
Tourist Rest House
An inexpensive guest house with tasty food and camping facilities in the very centre of Musanze Town. Self-contained rooms with hot water at USD 14, camping at USD 7.
+250 788 890 967, +250 785 227 990
• FOOD/DRINK & SHOPPING IN MUSANZE •
A specialty coffee shop in the heart of Musanze offering the best coffee in Rwanda (Question Coffee), fresh bagels and baked goods, soups, salads and more in a cozy atmosphere. Located at the junction of the Uganda/Kigali/Gisenyi road, open 11am-6pm on Sunday and 6am-6 pm every other day. Burger Nights till 8pm on Wednesdays!
+250 786 399 471
• ACTIVITIES IN MUSANZE •
Lava Bike Tours
Looking for a leisurely or slightly intimidating bike tour? Our Musanze- based eco tour company helps you explore Rwanda for one to seven days, guided or by yourself, from USD 40.
+250 788 991 619, +250 786 067 159
Goma/Gisenyi (DR Congo/Rwanda)
Goma and Gisenyi on the northern shore of Lake Kivu are practically one city, the former on the Congolese and the latter on the Rwandan side of the boundary. Beach life is more pronounced in Gisenyi (also known as Rubavu) while Goma is louder, bigger and more expensive.
• ACCOMMODATION IN GISENYI (RUBAVU) •
Discover Rwanda Gisenyi Beach Hostel
Few hostels in the world have such a prime location: Discover Rwanda Gisenyi Beach is set in a colonial building with unique architectural touches merely 20 m away from the sandy beaches. Dorm USD 17, rooms USD 38-60.
+250 781 586 272
Nirvana Heights Spa Hotel
Situated on the colourful Rubona peninsula 7km from Gisenyi, our lakefront resort presents 18 en-suite rooms with balconies overlooking Lake Kivu and an infinity swimming pool. Rates from USD 80 to USD 159.
+250 788 203 015, +250 788 980 176
Bukavu (DR Congo)
Bukavu is the intellectual and cultural capital of Easten Congo. Architecture buffs can admire over 100 buildings of the Art Deco style here. Today, a different building style prevails, colourful and with elaborate soaring rooflines.
Just like Goma, Bukavu has a sister city on the other side of the Rwandan border and a national park, Kahuzi-Biega, nearby. The Lwiro primate sanctuary and scientific research centre is another highlight in the Bukavu neighbourhood.
• ACCOMMODATION IN BUKAVU •
We are conveniently located in the centre of Bukavu City, only 3 km from the Rusizi border crossing between Congo and Rwanda. Find us opposite Alliance Française on Avenue P. Lumumba.
You can pick from 10 rooms (USD 50) or 3 apartments (USD 80) with 24-hour wifi connectivity and cable TV and get breath- taking views of the Bukavu peninsulas.
+243 997 134 037, +243 892 017 617
Kisoro, the region’s prettiest town, is in an idyllic setting below the Virunga volcanoes. It hosts colourful cross-border markets on Mondays and Thursdays and has a strong beekeeping community. It is a handy base for adventures in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and has an airport with regular internal flights.
• ACCOMMODATION IN KISORO •
Travellers Rest Hotel
The founder of Gorilla tourism, Dian Fossey’s second home and still a home away from home. We offer 11 rooms, USD 90 for a single B&B or USD 110 for a double B&B. Relax in the gardens, enjoy our food and wide range of drinks, sit at the fireplace, or treat yourself to massage.
+256 392 177 992, +256 777 820 071
Sawasawa Guest House
The friendliest accommodation in Kisoro town, a great place for backpackers and budget travellers. Self-contained and non-self-contained rooms from USD 15 to 35 BB. Hot water and great cooking!
+256 785 642 114, +256 774 472 926
• FOOD/DRINK & SHOPPING IN KISORO •
Coffee Pot Cafe
A place of coffee, snacks and meals so good that it can be your reason to visit Kisoro! Our blend of German and local cuisine is served at a superb location with a craft shop and wifi available. Sun closed.
+256 772 625 493
Your best option for when you want to stock up before you head for the gorilla national parks of both Uganda & Rwanda. Everything from flash cards to post cards, friendly customer service and long hours of operation – this is the shop you need!
+256 752 058 271 (call/WhatsApp)
• ACTIVITIES IN KISORO •
A community-based travel agency that practices responsible tourism and provides: coffee safaris, homestays, nature walks, school visits, Batwa visits, general tours to Uganda and Rwanda.
+256 777 412 288, +256 706 783 311
The major town of Uganda’s Gorilla Highlands provides all you may expect, including an impressive selection of banks, a challenging 9-hole golf course and the Bakiga Museum, an amazing recreation of a traditional home with unique tools and inventions.
• ACCOMMODATION IN KABALE •
Situated on top of Makanga Hill just minutes from the centre of Kabale Town, our newly expanded hotel boasts the finest amenities around. Relax and enjoy our swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, game room, bouncing castle, fully stocked bar, DSTV, and continental cuisine. Accommodation from USD 30 to 250 with breakfast included; camping USD 7 ppn. Free wifi for residents.
+256 392 821 667, +256 773 240 946
Victoria Guest House
A peaceful, green place away from the hustle and bustle of Kabale but within the walking distance of its centre. Camping USD 3, single room USD 7, double USD 12 (all self-contained).
+256 772 389 030, +256 702 236 407
Lillian Kamusiime, a lady tourist guide/ driver, welcomes you to her affordable, clean and safe home right in the centre of Kabale. Turn left behind the DFCU Bank, onto Muhumuza Road, until your eyes meet the green hedge in front of an orange- blue building.
The hostel has everything a weary traveller may need, including excellent home cooked meals, a library with a great reading place, the fastest wifi of Kabale and ample safe parking space. You can opt for a dorm (18 beds in 8 rooms; USD 10), self-contained rooms (USD 15 single, USD 30 double or twin) or camping in your tent (USD 5).
+256 777 408 098
An affordable hotel very close to the bus and taxi park, on the roundabout connecting Kigali, Kisoro and Kampala. USD 6 for self-contained rooms. Whole-day buffet at up to USD 6.
+256 772 389 030, +256 702 236 407
Other RW Towns
Other Rwandan Towns
Huye is where the main campus of the national university lies, and many other schools, therefore the town is full of students. It’s main attraction is the National Ethnographic Museum, an impressive presentation of Rwanda’s cultural history.
• ACCOMMODATION IN HUYE •
Wisdom Village Isangano
Popularly known as Convention, a social place appreciated for tasty and inexpen- sive meals, Wisdom Village Isangano is more than that; a stand-alone house has been converted into an accommodation facility. Prices range from USD 9 to 28.
+250 783 184 956, +250 725 750 235
Other UG Towns
Other Ugandan Towns
The former colonial capital, Entebbe is beautifully, lushly set on the shores of Lake Victoria. It does not have any of the hustle and the bustle of Kampala 40 km away, it instead offers beaches and a botanical garden. This is the site of Uganda’s main airport. If you wish to avoid going through Kampala, there’s a regular free ferry allowing you to join the Gorilla Highlands highway in Mpigi.
• ACCOMMODATION IN ENTEBBE •
Airport Guesthouse Entebbe is the ideal solution for people arriving late in the evening or departing early in the morning. And if you stay at our guest- house we will provide transfers to and from the airport free of charge, at any time of the day or night. USD 60-82.
+256 392 177 992, +256 777 820 071
Ntungamo represents a handy connection between Akagera NP and Queen Elizabeth NP. You can start in the south of Akagera, make it through the park, exit in the north and then sleep in this little, peaceful town before proceeding to Queen Elizabeth. (The opposite direction will not work as the northern gate of Akagera is for exiting only.)
• ACCOMMODATION IN NTUNGAMO •
Trek Savannah Hotel
A green, peaceful and friendly hotel, with great food and self-contained cottages (USD 30) or camping in your tent (USD 3). Located 300m from the main road; branch off opposite Total.
+256 754 943 196, +256 701 840 387