The Culture Trip Guide The Best Markets in Kigali

Kigali skyline
Kigali skyline | ©Lori Howe
Maria Menegaki

Lush hillsides, flowering trees and bustling streets make up one of the most enchanting cities in Africa. Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, has developed into a cosmopolitan yet welcoming center with a wide range of fascinating things to explore. When it comes to shopping, even though there are a number of malls, the lively markets and local stores are where you should head to if you‘re after something more authentic. From handicrafts and clothing to fresh fruit and vegetables, get ready to practice your bargaining skills and join us as we explore Kigali’s best shopping spots.

1. Kimironko Market

Market

Kimironko market
Courtesy of Annette Swale
Walking through the neighborhood of Remera, you’ll eventually end up in Kimironko, home to a large covered market. Outside the main market, stalls sell everything from meat and fish to sunglasses and household items. But it is once you get inside the structure that you will see fruit and vegetable stands extending in every direction. Packed with carrots, onions, potatoes, lemons, cucumbers, herbs, spices, dried beans and anything else you can imagine in extraordinary abundance, there is no wonder why locals and visitors alike choose it for their grocery shopping. Hire one of the local guides to lead you around on your first visit and have fun.

2. Cootrac

Cootrac

An association of 22 stalls selling handicrafts from Rwanda and the surrounding region since 2007 can be found in an old warehouse almost right in the heart of the city. Cooperative for Trade and Promotion of Rwandan Arts, Crafts & Culture, or more simply Cootrac, opens its doors from 8am until 7pm and invites you to immerse in a vibrant universe full of little wonders.

Ave de la Paix, Kigali

3. Caplaki

Caplaki

What happens when a number of artists and sellers form a cooperative and build colorful wooden huts” The answer is Caplaki, an association offering a surprising variety of local handicrafts for every taste and budget. From traditional masks and musical instruments to lovely paintings and jewelry, there is no doubt that this small village within the city is one of the best places to stroll around and get some souvenirs for your loved ones.

Rugunga, Kigali

4. Azizi Life Boutique

Art Gallery

Meaning ‘precious,’ ‘treasured’ or ‘excellent’ in Swahili, Azizi Life is not only a lovely boutique selling some of the most amazing handmade products. It exists to connect people providing mutual support to the participants while giving you the opportunity to meet some skillful artists and their communities in Rwanda. Its vision is a physical and spiritual wholeness for all, and in times like these, there is nothing more important. Purchase some unique crafts, ask for the shipping options and watch out for the signature tag with the name of the artisan group or individual who created your new treasure.

Nyabugogo

If you need fresh ingredients for your culinary experimentation, look no further. Nyabugogo is a market near the main bus station divided in sections and selling everything you can think of. Vegetables, fruit, fresh meat, clothing and many more goodies wait for you in the most chaotic atmosphere where you will be able to get the real feel of local life. If it’s too overwhelming for you, do not worry; there is always someone willing to help around.

Nyabugogo, Kigali

5. Centre Marembo

Centre Marembo

A youth-centered NGO empowering people in Kigali who have been orphaned, neglected, abused, or who live in difficult circumstances gave birth to a wonderful shop with crafts and products made by those young people themselves. Stop by Centre Marembo to purchase some charming souvenirs like bags, clothes or jewelry and help the center fund their projects related to education, training and social work support. If you are staying for a while, do not miss the chance to order a tailored piece and get it in just a few days.

Sector Remera, Gasabo District, Kigali

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