Butare: The town that never goes to sleep

In Kigali, a typical night out is about working class people and some crazy university students ‘painting the town red’. Other students won’t be caught dead hanging out in any of the night spots in Kigali.  But in Butare, it’s the opposite.
People dancing away at a bar in Butare. The New Times/ P.Buchana
People dancing away at a bar in Butare. The New Times/ P.Buchana

In Kigali, a typical night out is about working class people and some crazy university students ‘painting the town red’. Other students won’t be caught dead hanging out in any of the night spots in Kigali.  But in Butare, it’s the opposite.

Having heard stories of how this town doesn’t sleep, I boarded the next bus to this town to quench my curiosity. Saturday afternoon found me on the bus headed for Butare after taking part in the Umuganda community work. The two hour journey cost me Rwf2500.

The weather was chilly following a heavy down pour. All I wanted was to get a place to rest until evening when I could witness what had brought me to this place.

With very few people walking on the streets, I was close to giving up on what I hoped would be a lively night. It wasn’t until about 11pm that the town that seemed to have a lot of ‘goody-two-shoes’ was now full of ladies in short skirts and guys in jeans and jackets. I don’t know if this is the trend but well, they all seemed to be dressed like that.

Credo Hotel is the closest to the campus. Students waltzed in during happy hour for drinks at ‘factory price’. Music blared and students pulled every dance move known to man. 

I was there for a while then went to Club 5e which I learned had opened about two weeks back. This one seemed to have some working class people, if the number of cars parked outside was anything to go by. 

I coincidentally saved the best for last – a club called 144. I got the true feel of what I was looking for. It seemed like everyone in town was in this club.

Emile Mulokole Hashyaka, a resident,  was quick to alert me about the obsession of Butare people for partying all weekend.


“In Butare you won’t be shocked to find a bar operating till 4am on a Wednesday night. Partying is a must do here and people will miss anything just to have some fun at night,” he said.

Another thing very noticeable about Butare is the friendliness of the people. When you go to a place, it’s easy to make new friends unlike Kigali that seems to have people more comfortable with their old friends.

Around 4:30am I was shocked to find some people still going at it at a small bar on my way home. Clearly the night had just started for these individuals.

Butare is a place where you can have a lively night without knowing a single soul. But you can’t leave without making a friend or two. It is livelier at night but the drinks are expensive and many of the restaurants have very costly food. Otherwise, it is fun to the fullest.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News