When I first heard about Kigali City Tour, I brushed it off thinking it was beneficial to only foreigners. What could a local like me see?
I was almost to miss this historical tour but Greg, my Malaysian friend, made a reservation and the following day we were on the bus with other tourists.
A few hours later I realized that The Kigali City Tour is more than just a tour.
Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda and also the country’s vibrant commercial centre.
The city is divided into three districts-Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge-and is inhabited by one million people. The tour guide showered us with information I never knew.
The first stop was at the site where the Belgian Blue Berets were killed at the onset of genocide. Next we visited Richard Kandt’s House, the first modern building in the capital.
Dr. Richard Kandt was the first German colonial resident of Rwanda.
His residence at the base of Mount Jali and Mount Kigali in the heart of the city was converted into the Natural History Museum in honor of the late Doctor’s work.
Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi was our next stop. Its here that I realized that reading about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi can’t be compared to actually visit this memorial site, where first-hand accounts of survivors are on display.
The pictures of countless victims, blood-stained clothing and weapons that were preserved, serves as a stark reminder.
Our tour continued through Kigali’s older commercial quarters and residential areas, to the rapidly growing neighborhoods that are changing the face of the city.
As we cruised through Nyarutarama, Greg concluded that Kigali is one of the friendliest, cleanest and safest cities he visited. Most of us agreed with him.
Winding -up our tour which lasted almost four hours, I volunteered to show my friend some of the coffee shops, bars, local and international restaurants ranging from Chinese, Italian, Thai and Greek cuisine.
Now I’m planning to take my family and friends on this educative and revealing tour.