Kigali Walking Tour /Rwanda/

Kigali ferry man • photo: Miha Logar

Experience all the fascinating levels of Rwanda’s capital city, from the cleanest streets and Africa’s most modern buildings to the simple yet pleasant everyday spaces of a common Kigalian. This tour is an amazing urban safari that you truly cannot find anywhere else!


  • marvel at sweeping views of Kigali
  • understand the government’s vision for the city
  • explore the main market with stuff from everywhere
  • take a Kandt House trip into Rwanda’s history
  • use a city ferry that few know about
  • find peace at the extraordinary Genocide Memorial
Kandt House introduction • photo: Bentique Niwomugisha


duration: 5 hours; difficulty: easy
area: central Kigali — Genocide Memorial
departures: daily at 9am

Price: USD 70 per person (USD 100 when one person only)
Includes guiding, all entries, fees and tips, a vegetarian snack and ferry crossing.


Kigali from Ubumwe Grande • photo: Miha Logar

Our meeting place will be Ubumwe Grande Hotel, fantastically positioned to provide 360 degree vistas of Kigali City and help us mentally prepare for the walk during the guide’s briefing. (Don’t worry: the main direction is down-down-down).

Ubumwe tree tomato drink • photo: Bentique Niwomugisha

Once you take the city in visually, we will walk past Hotel des Mille Collines, made famous as “Hotel Rwanda” in the Don Cheadle movie (recorded in South Africa, not in Kigali). It was a sanctuary for 700 middle- and upper- class Tutsis during the genocide in 1994; from here people drank swimming pool water and faxed pleas to foreign powers. Nowadays the hotel is refurbished and not that interesting; we have so much more to see!

Kigali’s future • photo: Miha Logar

The City Hall features an exhibition of the government’s vision for Kigali: an African Singapore with a lake replacing the swamp and skyscrapers everywhere, presented with a small-scale model. 

The next stop is the only purely vegetarian restaurant in Kigali, where its Indian owner will have packed us some snacks for the way. We will learn how Asians migrated to East Africa in the first half of the 20th century, and how they live now.

Kigali skyscrapers • photo: Janez Hočevar

Following the foreign exchange street we will slope down into the commercial heart of the city. The hustle and bustle will replace the fancy buildings and empty walkways you experienced at the top of the Kiyovu hill. Such is Kigali’s general economic geography: the rich on hilltops, the poor close to the marshes.

Making a living on the streets of Kigali • photo: Anika Utke

But this is not the kind of poverty you might picture in an African city — just look at the City Market! The multi-storey structure will allow us to check on the variety of foods and items available to Kigalians, from Rwanda and abroad, from temperate and tropical environs. 

Mr Kandt’s statue • photo: David Esteban

There’s only a short walk left to the Kandt House where the city started. Richard Kandt was an explorer and doctor from Germany who built the first brick house in 1907; Kigali became the capital of Rwanda only half a century later. Today the house is a museum full of excellent historical photography. It will take you back to the pre-colonial times, explore the era under Germans and Belgians, and continue past Rwanda’s independence in 1962.

Kigali Walking Tour moment • photo: Miha Logar

Our final site of interest on the southern side of the Nyabugogo swamp is the bus park. Punctual and clean vehicles embark on their national and international journeys from here, and the area is bursting with life.

Nyabugogo bus park • photo: Anika Utke

You will reach the other side of the swamp with a short ferry ride that eases townsfolk’s commute and will help you check on Kigali’s absolute must-visit site: the Genocide Memorial. It is the central national monument, a green place of reflection and a museum of genocides around the world. Entry is free but a donation is part of the tour fee that you have paid.

This should be a personal experience that a group cannot rush. You will do it in peace and meet your guide and fellow travellers at the memorial’s coffee shop to reflect on the hours spent with us.

View back towards the start of the tour • photo: Miha Logar

Dive into hiking stories and advice from Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo!

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featured photo: Miha Logar