Kigali: tour of Africa’s leading MICE destinationPosted on: November 22, 2023, by : uguru okorie
Driving on Gishushu Road, Kigali towards the Kiyovu Downtown, Princess, a South African broadcast journalist suspiciously exclaimed, “Are you sure that these people are not keeping the city so clean because they know they are hosting the world?” Of course that was not true. Having been in Kigali some years back, I knew this was not true as the culture of impeccable cleanliness was something I experienced during my first visit some years back.
Kigali, the leading city of the country of the country with a thousand hills, is a city that enamours one with its simplicity, beauty and orderliness. It is a city that is thriving towards being futuristic and yet insists on clinging to all that makes it unique as a modern African city. It is a green city with obvious efforts by the people and government to keep it that way.
That Rwanda is the country of a thousand hills could seen from the hotel we were lodged at Hotel des Milles Collines meaning the Hotel of a Thousand Hills.
It is a grand expansive old, but well maintained hotel that offers a splendid view of Kigali, especially at night. Being a city with undulating hills, from the hotel, the city spreads out like an art work on a canvas. The sight is beautiful.
Kigali is hosting the 23rd World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Summit. WTTC is the world’s foremost body for private sector travel and tourism organizations and practitioners. It was the first time the body is holding its summit in Africa, and Kigali, with its perfection as a city, set a positive tone and creates a very good image of what Africa has to offer.
Speaking on Kigali, the chief executive officer of WTTC Ms. Julia Simpson described Kigali as a success story. She said it is a city that embraces its past and at peace with it, and thrive to create a success story. She said it was an experience coming into Kigali for the first time, and seeing the clean and orderly environment. She also expressed delight on how the government has transformed and empowered many of its citizens from being just employees of government to owners of business.
History of Kigali
What has blossom into modern African city was initially a German trading post. It was later taken over by the Belgium. However, when Rwanda got independence in 1962,Kigali was chosen as nation’s capital due to its central location. That set the tone for its development growth.
However, Kigali’s growth was halted by the 1994 genocidal ethnic unrest that saw thousands of Tutsi killed by the some Hutu groups.
The 1994 became at watershed in the history of Rwanda. Kigali, like Rwanda as a country has reason above that blot. The 1994 killing has become from a very bad nightmare. Kigali has moved ahead and it is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.
In the last two decades, the city continues to witness rapid development. Kigali is like construction site with so many developmental projects being carried out at the same time.
At Kiuvu which is more like both a highbrow residential area and also the business district, there are so many constructions work currently on.
In the area social amenities, most of the city’s roads, both main and inner are tarred and kept spotless. Surprisingly, seeing dirt on the roads is a rarity. The country banned used of plastic bottles and polythene bags.
Speaking one of the citizens, he explained that, Rwanda has a monthly clean up called…. For the clean the city is shut down
There seems to be no slum Kigali because some of the house in the low income areas which are mostly in the valley area modest but well kept.
Kigali residents pride themselves as a people that are law abiding. During traffic, no crazy driver, either commercial or private, tries to play a fast one by driving against traffic.
Motorcyclists are ubiquitous Kigali, but you hardly one without helmet, and for commercial cyclists helmet and identity jackets.
Leisure in Kigali
Kigalli has a lot to offer in the area of tourism. One place that is a most-visit for visitors is the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum. Here the gruesomeness of the 1994 ethnic cleansing is capture in its full gruesomeness. The museum is a reminder of why deadlock is the best form of conflict resolution.
Question Coffee Kigali is an interesting place to visit especially for Coffee lovers. Question offers visitors learn about coffee farming. Visitors could also have opportunity to taste different blend of coffee cultivated in different parts of Rwanda, highland and lowland.
There is also a healthy night life. Places like the beautifully decorated Choose Kigali are among the cool to visit. It is has an arts gallery and open lounge with a wonderful view Kigali. Others include Intare Arena and Legacy lounge and Bar. It is a city that prides itself in being able to offer visitors premium relaxation leisure.
The national language of Rwanda is Kinyarwanda with French and English as official languages. Culinary experience in Kigali was not a little subtle. Unlike countries like Ethiopia where from your first day in the country you are told about Njira as their national delicacy, in Kigali.
In Kigali, no matter how unruly and disorder one is, one is forced to fall in line once one soaks one’s self into life in this beautiful city.