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Living in Kigali

A comprehensive guide about living well in Kigali

Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, has undergone an incredible period of rejuvenation and stability that is clearly visible the moment you step out into this beautiful city. In this article, you will find a thorough overview of the city's transport infrastructure, culture, leisure, safety and security status.

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Life in Kigali

Transportation in Kigali

Motorcycle taxis are the fastest way to get around this metropolis. Helmets are provided, but this mode of transportation – while speedy and cheap, usually costing somewhere between 220 RWF to 500 RWF – isn’t always for the faint of heart. If you’re feeling flush you can take a standard taxi from point A to point B. Those with a yellow stripe will be run by individuals, while the majority will belong to either Kigali Taxi Service (3122) or Kigali Airport Taxis (476586).

Kigali also boasts one of the best public transportation routes in East Africa, known locally as matatus. This is the cheapest way to get around Kigali, and many of the buses are new and well-maintained. You can also take these buses farther afield; expect to pay a fare based on distance.

If public transport isn’t your style, cars are available for rent or purchase in Kigali. Major investment has been made in infrastructure, including roads, and congestion in this city has never been particularly bad. Expect to drive on the right side of the road and keep an eye out for packs of motorcycle taxis zooming past.

Culture and Leisure in Kigali

Kigali’s cultural scene isn’t as well developed as it would be in a European capital like London or Paris, but this jewel of a city certainly has much to offer.

The one must-see in Kigali as far as many tourists are concerned is the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. This museum, built to commemorate the Rwandan genocide in 1994, is considered one of the best museums in Africa and serves as a beautiful tribute to how far the country has come.

These days, Kigali is a vibrant and musical city, with a wonderful nightlife and an intoxicating mix of cultural influences including Belgian and Middle Eastern. Many of its most alluring elements are natural – Mount Kigali can be summited in just half an hour and offers incredible views of the plains and mountains to the west. If you look closely you can see the Nybarongo River as it flows across Rwanda to meet the Nile.

Safety and Security in Kigali

Kigaili is an exceptionally safe city, so you don’t need to worry too much about protecting yourself from crime on a day-to-day basis. Like any large metropolitan area you should be aware of pickpockets and thieves, but crime rates are generally very low and, while not improving with time, certainly aren’t getting worse either. The threat of terrorism is, even by the UK Home Office’s standards, low.

There are a number of emergency numbers in Kigali, so be sure to know which to call. You can reach the police on a special line by dialing 999. Fire fighters can be reached at 111 and the emergency services are at 112. If you have or see a traffic accident, call 113.

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Updated on: December 06, 2018
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