The Kigali city Rwanda
he Kigali city is known as the largest in Rwanda and the main capital with a count of more than one (1) million people as of 2012. Kigali is recorded to be the main economic, political and social hub of Rwanda since her independence in 1962. The city shelters, the Presidential offices and residence along with a range of government ministries making it a center of power in Rwanda.
One would not gain the full insight of Kigali without exploring the past. Kigali is noted to have been founded by the German national Dr. Richard Kandt in the year 1907 on his exploration safari in Rwanda when he setup one house that today stands as the Natural History Museum or the Kandt House. Despite its early set up, Kigali never became the Rwanda’s capital until the independence time in the year 1962.
Initially, the traditional capital of Rwanda which was also the seat for the Rwandan traditional Monarchy that extended governance over the whole nation was located in Nyanza while the colonialists established theirs in Butare close to the Kings. Though Butare proved more worthy for the capital city, Kigali only won the vote on grounds of its centrality in location.
Kigali is perched of course on the hilly landscapes of Rwanda that have earned it a dub as the land of a thousand hills. The city sprawls across the 4 ridges and in between valleys where the main city is positioned on one ridge while the other hosts the government infrastructure. The ridge tops towers to an average altitude of 1,600m while the valleys lie at about 1,300 m and these tops are inhabited by the upscale buildings and housing with the valleys left to the urban poor. In the neighborhood, there lies Mount Kigali that rises to 1,850 m above sea level. This combines to make the first remarkable scenic impression for the first time travelers including those on Rwanda safaris. Regarding Climate, Kigali enjoys tropical savannah with a considerable dry spell
Kigali is apparently the main entry point for most of the safari undertakers because of its closeness to Kigali International Airport which is the main entry point to the destination Rwanda. It has a wide range of accommodation units of all class categories and stars. The famous Hôtel des Mille Collines which was the scene for the shooting of the movie Hotel Rwanda still stands with considerable dexterity that mixes with its rich history to derive remarkable memories for the travelers that opt to spend a night there while on safari in Rwanda.
Kigali also contains a range of museums and memorials including the Kigali Genocide memorial at Gisozi which features the collection of the bodies of the people that lost their lives in the bloody genocide that hit Rwanda in 1994, the Natural History Museum which features a collection of environmental artifacts with focus on flora and fauna, the Presidential Palace Museum which is a home to the former President Juvenal Habyarimana whose death sparked off the genocide and his presidential jet that he clashed in is also in the palace, the Remera Heroes Cemetery where the famous Rwanda Patriotic Front heroes are put to reset like Rwigyema among other features that are worth visiting while on safaris in Rwanda.
Regarding governance, Kigali has a city council along with an appointed executive committee running the daily operations of the city and this committee features a mayor and the two deputy mayors. Kigali has 3 administrative districts namely; Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyarugenge. For education, the city contains the main head office of the University of Rwanda along with branches of other institutions in the country like the College of Science and Technology of University of Rwanda. Kigali also has the second largest secondary school in Rwanda named Lycée de Kigali and the main private school in Rwanda Green Hills Academy in the rich suburb of Nyarutarama which offers Cambridge International Program at O’ Level and IB at A’ Level.
Regarding transport, Kigali has the main Airport in Rwanda – Kigali International Airport handling flights all over the world and a hub to the national Airline Rwanda Air. The city also forms a center for the network of land transportation across the country and neighboring states especially road transport. The buses leave Nyabugabo bus station and these include the Jaguar Coaches connecting to Kampala Uganda via Katuna and Kagitumba, Akamba Bus Services connecting to Nairobi Kenya via Uganda in 24 hours, Mombasa Kenya in 32 hours and Dar es Salaam Tanzania in 32 hours. There is also Onatracom Express which is government owned connection to Kampala, Kampala Coach also operate to Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, Yahoo Car express is mini bus arrangement which operates between Kigali and Bujumbura. Besides cross border travel, Kigali has a range of transport operator companies that transfer to various towns in the country among which include; Stella, Atraco, Impala, Okapi, Virunga Express connecting to Ruhengeri, Volcano express to Butare, Muhabura Express to Gisenyi and Ruhengeri among others.
In Kigali its self, transport is majorly done by the minibus connecting to various city suburbs and these operate like national taxis as they wait to get filled so as to depart. There are also special hire taxis which are painted white with an orange stripe on the side. Motor bike taxis also exist.