Kigali is everything you’ve seen online. Absolutely GREEN!
Yes I am currently in Rwanda with my family for the next four days and boy am I excited. We definitely made the perfect choice for our international trip this year (see Nomad Trips-2017) and the Nomads are going to love it when they come in June.
We arrived Kigali at about 5.00pm (Rwandan time). Our flight, fully booked, took about 4 hours 30 minutes from Lagos, Nigeria. My hope that Nigerians are now open to traveling Africa was dashed when we got to the Kigali airport. Believe me on a flight of over 100 people only 4 of us headed to arrivals, 3 being members of family. The last guy looked like he was here for a business meeting. Every other person was on a connecting flight to the usual destinations, Dubai and probably London.
The Kigali airport was smaller than I expected but very welcoming and functional. The immigration officers were pretty excited we were coming to their country. We paid for our visas ($30) and went to get our bags. We got to the baggage carousel and wondered why the entire area smelt like smoked fish! To my dismay, it was one of our bags that reeked. OMG, who put smoked fish in our bags? Then I remembered the woman at the Lagos airport with her Ghana-must-go bag of smoked fish. They must have put her bag close to ours *side eye*
We got a cab at the airport and headed to our hotel around 8.00pm. The views here are incredible and we cant wait to tour the city.
THINGS TO NOTE:
Count your money before you change it: Maybe I should say count your money out loud, lol. We had a little dispute at the Bureau de change at the airport. Trust me we counted our money but somehow $100 went missing. After much deliberation, the manager promised to get in touch with us once they review the CCTV footage. No one wants to lose $100 of their holiday allowance.
Airport cabs are always cheaper: We had booked an airport pick up with our room and thankfully it didn’t arrive. The cabs at the airport ended up being 3x cheaper than what we budgeted. We paid 10,000 RWF ($13) as opposed to $35 which the hotel was going to charge. So we aren’t even mad we didn’t have our names on a sign board.
Talk to your cab guy: Cab guys are the best! They are the first people you have conversations with in a new city. Often times, you make an impression of a people from the cabbie. Ours was an absolutely decent guy. He didn’t talk too much and only spoke when questions were asked. He gave us lots of tips on places to visit, where to get local food and Kigali city generally.
Do not walk on the lawn: This is such a funny one. I had read on livinginkigali.com that you get fined for walking on grass here. They are not even playing games. Our cabbie confirmed it and told us you pay a fine of $2 when you are caught walking on the lawn. The grass here is perfectly cut and you can tell it is well maintained. Why would anyone want to just walk on it?
We intend to do a city tour later this morning; specifically the genocide museum, Inema art studio, the Kigali Convention Center, Nyamirambo women’s center to learn basket weaving, hunt traditional Rwandan food, dinner at Hotel Des Milles Collines (Hotel Rwanda) and much more……if our 7 month old lets us :). Right now, she’s still having her beauty sleep.
Ever been to Kigali or anywhere on Rwanda? What do you think we should get up to?