Day 1 Kigali
Kigali is a beautiful city that’s often rushed through in favour of gorillas and other out-of-town attractions. The city is very safe, very green, very clean, and has more to offer than a visitor might expect. If you have a day to spare and want a great overview of life in Kigali, book yourself onto an amazing city tour with Go Kigali where they’ll show you how amazing Kigali really is!
The Kigali Genocide Memorial
Visiting this memorial in the Gisozi neighborhood and learning about the 1994 Genocide is a really important part of understanding Rwanda. This really well-organized museum and memorial is deeply moving, as well as informative. Though it is often a quick stop through on the way to Musanze for gorilla tracking, spend an afternoon here to really delve into the exhibits and history. All your visitors should definitely be brought here.
Market and Souvenir Shopping
After spending the morning at the memorial, head to Kimironko to experience the bustle and colorful scene that is the market. Walk through the fruit and vegetables area to bargain for some tasty mangoes and avocados before wandering through the stalls to find the rows and rows of gorgeous African fabric. All sorts of different patterns, colors, and countries are represented in these aisles, and your visitors will, as you know, be hard pressed to not walk away with their arms full. If you have time, ask the seamstresses to make your guests some custom clothing.
After the market, head to nearby Remera for lunch at Chez Lando or New Fiesta. However, this spot, and nearby Remera, isn’t always suitable for Grandma or Mom and Dad. If you don’t think Great Uncle Bob wants to haggle over a pound of potatoes or selection of baskets, take him (and similar relatives) to Caplaki Craft Market in Kiyovu. While it is more expensive, it is definitely a calmer scene than Kimironko. For further market visits and shopping, check out this article on Rwandan souvenir shopping.
Spend your afternoon wandering around Kacyriu, a neighborhood that holds many of Kigali’s great art galleries. Ivuka and Inema Arts are two of the best, and play host to many talented artists from all over the country. Inema Arts even has a cafe on location that offers delicious soup, sandwiches, and salads. Enjoy looking through the paintings, or perhaps even take one home with you! This activity could definitely be enjoyed by Mom, Dad, and your college roommate, but definitely make sure to arrange transport on things other than motorcycles – those dusty roads can be treacherous!
Big Fish or Republika
One of my favorite meals in Rwanda, except for perhaps brochettes is the giant fish, grilled in savory spices, served with onions and grilled potatoes. I can’t explain how good this tastes. The best place to get big fish is in the Nyamirambo neighborhood, a lively and packed area always filled with music, roasting brochettes, and endlessly flowing beer (always go for a Skol or Primus – Mutzig is a guaranteed hangover). The best restaurants for big fish are within a few blocks of each other, and called Panorama Ten to Two and Green Corner. Anyone in the area can direct you to them or check the maps at the end of each review.
While in town, you also have to try brochettes. Made most often of goat, but also chicken, fish, and beef, they are skewers grilled and brushed with great sauces and spices. The Nyamirambo neighborhood also has the best brochettes in the city. For parental figures not super interested in eating food with their hands and waiting for three hours, check out Repub Lounge. Recently relocated to the Kimihurura area, the chic setting and Rwandan food done in an upscale way will please Mom, Uncle Bob, that friend you worked with that summer, and really anyone!
Day 2 – Dar Es Salaam
Tour the City After Breakfast
The city is the leading arrival and departure point for most tourists who visit Tanzania, including the national parks for safaris and the islands of Unguja and Pemba.
Dar es Salaam is also the largest and most populous Swahili-speaking city in the world. In the 19th century, Mzizima (Kiswahili for “healthy town”) was a coastal fishing village on the periphery of Indian Ocean trade routes. In 1865 or 1866, Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar began building a new city very close to Mzizima and named it Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid’s death in 1870, but was revived in 1887 when the German East Africa Company established a station there.
DAY 3: Dar es Salaam to Ferry to Zanzibar (B)
From Dar es Salaam we take the ferry to Zanzibar and the old stone capital of the Omani Sultanate. Sandy beaches, spice tours, snorkelling, diving and trips to other nearby islands. Zanzibar is a fascinating place to visit and to take it all in. Over a thousand years trade between Africa and Arabia has resulted in the blending of Arabs and Africans into a beautiful Swahili coastal culture with; wooden sailing dhows crossing the ocean, coconut plantations and fishing villages with mosques on the beaches. Nungwe beach resort on the north of the island has the most beautiful beaches.
Included Activity: Zanzibar Excursion, Spice Tour & Sailing on a Dhow
DAYS 4-5: Zanzibar (No Meals)
You get your own meals while in Zanzibar, as people like to experience here on their own or in small groups and within their own budget. Our tour leader joins you and will arrange your activities, while meals can be taken from a wide choice of restaurants to suit any budget. There are also many optional excursions.
Stone Town in Zanzibar Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old slave market, the spice growing areas, Jozani Forest with Red Colobus Monkeys and in the evening the seafood cafes on the wharf side.
DAY 6: Zanzibar by ferry to Dar es Salaam (No Meals)
Return by ferry to Dar es Salaam on the mainland for another night late afternoon, or early evening.
Included Activity: Zanzibar ferry to Dar
Day 7 : Travel back to South Africa