Kigali is a very pleasant, safe city which ranges over several hills. If your flight connections are such that you need to overnight here, you won’t be disappointed. It is a noticeably clean city and pretty efficient.


Kigali, the capital of Kigali. is a very pleasant, safe city set over several hills. it wont disappoint you if you need to overnight here. Perhaps surprisingly it is a noticeably clean city and pretty efficient. (Though there is a strong motor-bike taxi system in common with many African cities). We recommend a visit the Genocide Memorial Museum. It is a sombre experience but vital in order to understand the country. (We suggest you visit at the start of your trip if time allows.)

Kigali has a good range of international hotels as well as luxury boutique hotels to choose from, such as The Retreat.

From here, you head by road to Rwanda’s other attractions. The scenic driving through the countryside is very much part of the attraction of a Rwanda safari. Everywhere you see tea, coffee and banana plantations as well as rice paddies. Whilst the steep, hilly country of the central and western parts of Rwanda is invariably covered in terraced fields supporting sweet potatoes and cassava.


Why you may love it

  • Starting point for your Rwanda safari.
  • Visit the thought-provoking and shocking Kigali Genocide Museum – preferably at the start of your trip so that you have some context for this country’s remarkable transformation.
  • Visit one of the markets for authentic Rwandan crafts including its distinctive cloth.
  • Enjoy a coffee-making master class. Coffee is one of Rwanda's most important export crops.

When to visit Kigali

December to mid-March

Summer in Kigali

This is relatively dry period though, Rwanda being a tropical country, it often rains in the afternoon or evening (Annual rainfall is 950mm). The temperatures remain a pleasant 26-28C all through the year but it is more humid in the summer. Kigali tends to be hazy for much of the year.
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 16 ℃ / 61 ℉

Mid-March to May

Time of the long rains

This is the time of the long rains ,though the seasonal variation is not too dramatic in Kigali. April is the wettest month. It is also the memorial month of the Genocide so the mood tends to be a little somber during this time.
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 16 ℃ / 61 ℉

June to Mid-Sep

Dry Season

This is the dry season and a very pleasant temperature in Kigali. The short rains begin somewhere in September. It does get dusty and hazy as the dry season continues.
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

Late Sep to November

Summer in Kigali

This is the time of the ‘short rains’ though it doesn’t impact the cities as much. In fact, it initiates the greening of the city again.
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 16℃ / 61 ℉

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The Retreat in Kigali – staff review

The Retreat is probably my first choice in terms of Kigali Hotels. As it has a little bit more character and life compared to the larger branded hotels such as the Serena or Marriott. It offers good-sized contemporary rooms with a minimalist feel to them. In the Superior rooms, there’s a lovely stylish bathroom with an indoor shower which leads out into the outdoor shower. This in turn leads out to a small courtyard garden with comfy chairs. All very charming and non-corporate!

The Retreat has Fusion restaurant as well as an attractive pool bar which opens out onto the pool terrace.  I liked the food - tasty and well-presented. But it was rather pricey for what you got. But perhaps I am spoilt by the choices in Cape Town? However the setting is very charming with views down over the city lights. But I felt that they could have made more of this with a more interesting table decor (It was very plain). However I did like the fact that you could choose to eat at Fusion or at Heaven, which is the siste restaurant next door. It serves modern Rwandan dishes.

Talking of Heaven, you can also stay at the Heaven Residences which are on the other side of Heaven restaurant. These are more modest in price and style but still very pleasant with the same proximity to the two restaurants, with a very short walk to either.

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh