When foreigners come to Rwanda, they get into this habit of compiling and then recommending fun and memorable things to do while in Kigali:
Visit the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel in Kacyiru (now Kimihurura). Go to Shokola and drink gourmet Rwandan coffee. Visit the Inema Art Center in Kacyiru and meet the self-taught painter brothers – Emmanuel Nkuranga and Innocent Nkurunziza . Eat brochette and akabenzi.
Drink the big, bad and bold Primus. Take a fun motor ride. Volunteer. Do Umuganda. Go to a milk bar with the bold and colorful and playful inscriptions – Amata na Fanta bikonje…. and it goes on and on.
These are the same places which all newly self-acclaimed experts on Kigali and Rwanda after a few days’ stay in the country now go on reeling off their tongues to whomever it may concern.
But all that is cliché, sadly. And not that I have anything in particular against any of the aforementioned places.
Why would I, and who even has that time anyway? The only problem I have is that what’s the novelty in chorusing the same slew of venues when we can think a little different? Why the bandwagon mentality and the herd instinct as though we are cultists?
Why not join me on this fun alternative motor taxi tour around the city? Vroom vroom…
This is the den of the most popular rasta in all of Kigali. That’s right. Ras Gatera. Why did I say “den” to describe this place? It’s because rastas don’t live in a house. Rastas live in a den. Also a rasta’s house does not have a compound. It has a yard. Big yard.
Gatera simply reminds me about a popular Jamaican rasta who happens to be a dub poet. His name is Mutabaruka and as you ought to already know, Mutabaruka is an authentically Rwandan name.
It means last man standing.
Rue de la Tarinyota
After Kwa rasta, visit the African street hustlers who also double as mobile auto mechanics along Nyamirambo’s notorious Tarinyota Street. Once there, you will know why it’s said that Africa is not for sissies and cowards.
Go for a igisafuriya feast. You want to know what igisafuriya is? It’s a meaty food medley that usually features lots of boiled and juicy chicken and meat pieces with some plantains and Kinigi potatoes thrown in the mix.
While still in Nyamirambo you may be tempted to embark on the fun Nyamirambo Walking Tour but wait; this thing has been oversold by local tour operators on their tour itineraries.
It has been over milked.
Why not instead try a stone road tour of the city that will inevitably wind up in Kimihurura, the unofficial stone road capital of Kigali?
Lastly, visit Fantastic Bar and Restaurant in the heart of downtown Kigali and while there, wolf down chips laced with lots of tomato ketchup, drink Fanta Orange to wash it down, and later attend the live band. Who knows, you may be lucky enough to catch me in action, you know … kickin’ it like a ball.