Nyamirambo, a colorful Kigali neighborhood located just outside the center of town, is one of the city’s most vibrant destinations. Walk down the cobblestone roads in search of street art, tasty market finds, and some of Rwanda’s best views.
Nyamirambo is a city within a city. Loud, full of parties, a growing foodie scene, the city’s Muslim population, and heaps of creativity, it can be a bit overwhelming for the first-time visitor. That being said, however, it’s an unmissable neighborhood for those looking for true insight into Rwanda’s capital city. Take some time to explore the area’s rich markets, corner stores, impressive mosques, and busy streets, and soak up the true essence of all that is Nyamirambo.
Nyamirambo is about a 25-minute drive from the airport, and quite close to the neighborhoods of Kiyovu, Kimihurura, and the center of town.
For those interested in staying in Nyamirambo, check out Ten to Two Hotel and Kigali View Hotel. These are both budget locations, with rooms generally starting at RWF12,000 (US$14). The rooms are fairly basic, but the views of the city from the rooms and bar on the roof of Ten to Two are spectacular. For the more luxury inclined, definitely check out the nearby Kigali Marriott Hotel and Kigali Serena Hotel in the center of town.
Don’t shy away from staying in Nyamirambo – the parties go on till late, the liquor keeps flowing, and the location is undoubtedly vibrant.
Travelers and residents alike can stay entertained in Nyamirambo for days. Spend your time wandering the streets, popping into local bars and cafes for some good people watching, taking advantage of the neighborhood’s party scene, and shopping at some of the city’s most interesting stores.
The Nyamirambo Market is a great first stop for guests, as walking by the various stands that offer countless beautiful fabrics, a bevy of used clothing, and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables is a quick jump into the bustling neighborhood.
After leaving the market, stay in the general vicinity. Stores just outside the market sell used electronics, clothing, and even handmade leather shoes. The ‘Made in Rwanda’ countrywide initiative is big right now, and shops around this neighborhood are certainly doing their part.
While walking around, make sure to pay attention to Nyamirambo’s street art. Every other block features colorful murals, drawings, or graffiti, some of which were done by Kurema Kureba Kwiga, an organization dedicated to the proliferation of street art in Rwanda.
In addition to art, other cultural opportunities in the area abound. Two of the city’s most impressive mosques – the Green Mosque (named as such for the characteristic white and green spires) and the Gaddafi Mosque – are located just a few blocks from one another. Although the interiors are rarely open to the public, the exteriors are worthy of a visit.
For sports fans, a visit to the Nyamirambo Stadium is a must. The giant Amahoro stadium in Kigali’s Remera Neighborhood isn’t the only soccer pitch around, and the soccer matches at Nyamirambo Stadium are a great way to throw yourself headfirst into the energy of this neighborhood.
A serious part of Kigali’s foodie revolution is happening in Nyamirambo. Artisanal juice stands, mouthwatering street food, milk bars, and more are available in this happening neighborhood.
If you’re short on time, make sure to check out Tamu Tamu, a restaurant situated right under the unmistakable Green Mosque. This spot serves up the neighborhood’s best buffets, in addition to stellar samosas and other Rwandan snacks. Sit on the terrace outside, enjoying lunch and a cold beer, and watch the rest of the neighborhood walk by. If you’re an early riser, hit up Tamu Tamu starting at 6:00 am for the city’s freshest chapati.
Ramba, a recent addition to Nyamirambo’s main road scene, serves up a delightful sugarcane, ginger, and lemon juice that is as fresh as it is spicy. A poster on the right-hand side of the wall explains the juice’s health benefits, and the steady stream of customers highlights the store’s newfound popularity. The smallest juice costs RWF400 (approximately US$0.45). For other beverages, check out the Inyange milk bars located every few blocks for a classic Rwandan glass of milk, or a cafe called Al Mannu for one of the city’s best cappuccinos.
Next door to Ramba lies Chap Chap, an excellent cafe known for its casual Rwandan dishes. Offering chapati wraps stuffed with everything, from chicken to vegetables and fresh avocado, this place boasts reasonable prices, so a meal won’t run you more than RWF5,000 (US$6). The service is quick, and the food is deliciously consistent.
Make dinner a true affair with big fish. Big fish – a grilled tilapia, stuffed with spices and onions, that is generally large enough to feed two or three people – is one of Nyamirambo’s signature dishes. The best big fish is found at Panorama Ten to Two and Green Corner, with residents from all over the city stoutly loyal to their chosen restaurant. Both offer up excellent fish, as well as plentiful cold beer, potatoes, and grilled meat brochettes.
After hours, Nyamirambo’s incomparable party scene is always bumping. Discover Bar is perfect for a wild night out, complete with a colorful burlesque show, whereas the second floor of Bauhaus features live music every Friday and Saturday, and Plus Nine has a consistent and casual bar scene. Don’t forget to be adventurous and wander into some unmarked street bars – the best nights in Nyamirambo are often the most random.