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Ten Interesting Facts About Kigali

4 June 2024

The Kigali skyline at night.
The Kigali skyline at night.

As you pack your bags to attend the upcoming ICANN80 Public Meeting, get ready to experience Kigali, Rwanda – one of Africa's most dynamic cities. Here are ten essential things you should know about the capital of Rwanda:

  1. Community-Driven: Kigali is renowned for its strong sense of community, demonstrated through an initiative called Umuganda. On the last Saturday of every month, residents come together to work on various community service projects, including city cleaning and development activities. The initiative fosters a spirit of unity and collective responsibility, with even prominent politicians, artists, and business leaders participating in Umuganda.
  2. The "Land of a Thousand Hills": Kigali's beautiful geography offers lush, green landscapes and expansive views. The city's layout across numerous hills provides a picturesque setting that contrasts dramatically with its bustling urban areas.
  3. Economic Growth: In recent years, Kigali has experienced significant economic development. It's a hub for tech and innovation, bolstered by government policies that attract foreign investment and entrepreneurs.
  4. A Love of Coffee: Rwanda's coffee is world-renowned, and Kigali has numerous local cafes that offer a taste of the country's premium coffee. The city is perfect for coffee aficionados who enjoy discovering unique local flavors and brews.
  5. Plastic Bags are Unwelcome: Since 2008, Rwanda banned the use of nonbiodegradable plastic bags. Kigali, as the capital, is at the forefront of this initiative. Visitors are even required to leave plastic bags at the airport upon entry.
  6. High Altitude: One might not immediately notice, but Kigali is high up in the clouds! It sits at an elevation of approximately 1,567 meters (5,141 feet) above sea level, which gives it a pleasant climate.
  7. Wildlife: While Kigali itself is a bustling urban area, it's not uncommon to find troops of monkeys navigating the city's leafier suburbs. The proximity to nature adds a uniqueness to the urban environment. A great tip to see wildlife in Kigali is to visit the Nyandungu Eco-Park. This urban wetland park, located in the eastern part of Kigali, offers a unique opportunity to see a variety of bird species, small mammals, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
  8. Language: Kinyarwanda is the national language. Swahili is sometimes used, especially in trade. English and French are also widely spoken. Together, they are the four official languages of Rwanda.
  9. Tech Hub: As a burgeoning tech hub, Kigali is ideal for hosting an event like ICANN80. The city is home to various tech startups and innovation centers that are part of Rwanda's vision to become a technology-driven economy.
  10. Tourism and Leisure: Kigali offers ample tourism opportunities. From shopping at the Caplaki Craft Village to enjoying the nightlife, there is much to do in your downtime.

Kigali provides a unique blend of traditional and modern Africa, making it an exciting destination for ICANN80 attendees. Prepare to be inspired by the city's resilience, charm, and forward-thinking spirit!


Erin O'Neil