Getting around can be tough if you don’t know where to start from. In the guide below, we cast a spotlight on the need to know places in town and what to expect from them. So you can make informed decisions about where you’d like to live in Kigali. Let’s begin.
Nyarutarama is one of Kigali’s up-market neighborhoods, located right by the golf course.
Home of the city’s wealthy and many foreign expats, Nyarutarama is a very upmarket residential area where your average house is built is a mansion with high walls, swimming pools and large gardens.
The rents in this area are usually among the highest that you can find, but you can also find some of the nicest builds. You can find the MTN Centre there that has various stores and supermarkets there. On the way to Gacuriro, you can also find Woodlands Supermarket and Voltage nightclub in the same building.
The Nyarutarama Tennis Club has several tennis courts, a basic gym, a swimming pool and a bar and Kigali Golf Club is located just down the valley. The neighborhood is centrally located in Kigali with superb access to public transport. It’s very close to major activities and easy to find. While very popular, there is an easy, quiet feel in the neighborhood that keeps it comfy and warm.
Gacuriro is one of Kigali’s fastest growing real estate markets. it is the home of big developments such as Vision City and Vision 2020.
Gacuriro is another venue where there’s a high concentration of wealthy people and upper middle class in Kigali. The main roads are paved and, but the inner roads are still dirt roads. That hasn’t stopped development from pacing onwards in recent years, though.
The rental market is very strong with monthly rents typically going for USD1500-2000. There are Woodlands Supermarket and Gacuriro Supermarket to provide domestic resources for households.
Gacuriro is a minute away from Nyarutarama and therefore has good access to public transportation to the major parts of town. Voltage nightclub is known for nightlife entertainment for diaspora Rwandans. Very popular amongst families and has a suburban feel to it in certain parts.
The habitat of Kigali Heights, Kigali Business Centre, People Nightclub, Radisson Blu & Convention Center and Brioche bakery, one may think Kimihurura is all commercial but not at all. Behind these landmarks are houses, apartments and residences where many foreign expats live unperturbed from the hustle and bustle of central Kigali. Living here can be fun as it’s the location of Mamba Club where you can go bowling, swimming, play volleyball/pool, chill at the bar or eat at the restaurant.
So close to so many things, its a popular spot so one could walk to all they desire.
While this region is still part of Kigali, it’s a suburb outside the city center.
Kicukiro has a large hospital, a central market and many small shops. It’s a location just past Remera and is well accessible to major areas in town.
The housing in the area is modest although several high profile homes are increasingly being built there. Like Kimironko, Kicukiro is one of the affordable middle income places to live in the city. It is also home to Mount Kenya University Kigali Campus, one of Kigali’s best private universities. The area will become much more busy and sought after in the coming years, as the new Kigali Airport is constructed in the southern region, which will bring more attention to Kicukiro.
Kibagabaga is the place were upper middle-class and wealthy people mix. It is well connected to all major landmarks in Kigali.
The neighbor of Kimironko, Kibagabaga is also the area that leads to Gacuriro. Kibagabaga has a big hospital, too and is generally an upper middle class residential area that similar to Nyrutarama has many duplexes and mansions.
The residences range between USD1000-25000/month and most roads in the area are fairly well paved.
There’s a major school in the neighborhood, along with decent mini supermarkets. Cali Fitness, a decent gym is not too far from the location, too. There is an “old” Kibagabaga and a “new” Kibagabaga and both areas are very different, with main road that separates them. There is a lot of new construction in new Kibagabaga which tends to be the more modern feel that many expat desire.
One of the biggest residential areas of Kigali is no doubt Kimironko. With a large amount of middle class and middle income earners residing there, you can find numerous shops, stores and supermarkets in the area. Kimironko is home to Kimironko Market, a very popular food and domestic ware market place in Kigali.
There are quite a few hotels and lodges based in Kimironko. A big name is La Palisse Hotel that has one of the largest swimming pools in the city. Kigali Parents School is another well known venue in the area. The connection of the neighborhood to other venues is excellent due to Kimironko Gare, the large bus terminal. From there, you can go to all major parts of the city. Plenty of commercial motorcycles around the clock.
Nightlife is active in Kimironko with numerous bars, clubs and lounges that entertain especially over the weekends. Kimironko is generally an affordable real estate market in Kigali. Traffic can be dense during rush hour but is generally bearable. Safety is high in Kimironko (as it is in general in Kigali) with military police and local security forces patrolling most of the area.
The location is widely seen as the business district of Kigali. Major NGOs, international organizations, foreign embassies and national government agencies all have a presence here. It has led to tons of noteworthy restaurants and cafes to serve the executive community accordingly. Rental property in the area typically ranges around USD 2000/month, though with some luck you can find cheaper options further away.
Central Kacyiru is home to the president’s office, the US Embassy and other public institutions. You can also find Carnegie Mellon University Africa there.
The most vibrant district of Kigali. This place is hands down where everything just goes on and on. Nyamirambo is a very colorful and entertaining neighborhood to live in and visit. Home to the most Muslims in Kigali, it’s got the biggest mosque and the renowned Senegalese tailors who sew fabulous caftans and African attires. With excellent access to major parts of town, there are mini buses as well as regular large buses to ferry you around stress free. Accommodation in the region is mainly working class style and prices are very affordable. It’s a reason why it’s such a densely populated spot. There’s a market and cinema there, plus plenty of bars and clubs.
The residential area right next to the airport in Kigali is none other than Kanombe. Kanombe is next to Kabeza and a few minutes away from Remera and Giporoso. That makes it an ultra residential area with a large amount of middle class and middle income households that surround you. The house prices are affordable and the region is generally well populated. Traffic ranges from moderate to busy, depending on the time of the day. There are excellent public transportation to and from the vicinity.
It has been noted by locals that this area can tend to have major water problems.
The link between Kimironko and Gisimenti, Remera is best known for the Amahoro National Stadium, a place where a new indoor stadium is being built. Remera is also known for Kigali’s nightlife district and numerous bars and a few clubs and shops. Housing, like in Kimironko, is modestly priced. Being between Gisimenti and Kimironko however means that residents get the best of both worlds with Simba Supermarket and Kimironko Market in Kimironko and numerous forex bureaus, butcheries, shops and supermarkets in Gisimenti. The annual Kigali International Peace Marathon also takes place at Amahoro Stadium, Remera. Overall, security aside, it’s a fairly vibrant area to live in.
Based in Mu Mugi, Kiyovu spans from UTC to the presidential area, all the way to Marriott Hotel and Serena Hotel. With a hospital in the middle, and some of the hundreds of shops in town, you get much of what can be looked for. On the residential side, it’s one of Kigali’s oldest and wealthiest neighbourhoods with big gardens and a quiet setting. Rents are consequently not too cheap.
These are, in a nutshell, the major areas to live in, in Kigali. They feature very simple homes to outright mansions and villas. The prices vary, but something can be found for every budget if you are realistic about what to expect.
What do local people say?
They say depending on what you like, for example if you like living around people like neighbors that are close to each other, even houses that are very close to each other, Gacuriro, Kibagabaga can fit. However, Kiyovu, Kacyiru and Nyarutarama are quiet places with spaces.
Kicukiro is a nice place to live but kinda far from everywhere in Kigali. It is like the left side of everywhere.
People also say that areas like Kicukiro and Rebero are far from the city, when they are a 20 minute drive. If you are from a major city, that is not actually a long commute so it is best to tour the city and areas yourself.
One of the best ways to get a tour is to set up a day trip with a real estate agent. They know the new builds and developments and it is a great way just to see the city. Please make sure you pay the agent for his time and gas as well.
It’s nearly impossible to watch YouTube or the internet and determine the area you will want to live. Each space has it own vibration and feeling. As well, homes are being vacated every month and it is no telling what is on the market. Don’t get overly anxious and wait for you to land and take tours so you can see what places suit you. Also drive the neighborhoods at night to get a good understanding of traffic.