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  • Nestled between rolling hills, Rwanda's capital is friendly and welcoming,

  • confounding preconceptions.

  • Because 24 years after the genocide which shocked the world

  • Kigali has worked hard to reinvent itself, with its eyes on the future.

  • With a host of startups, a burgeoning art scene, great dining and some of the world's

  • best coffee

  • this African capital is building a reputation with tourists.

  • Welcome to Kigali.

  • With a population just over 1.1 million people, Kigali is both geographically and culturally

  • the centre of Rwanda.

  • It's streets are spotlessly clean streets, crime is low and the economy is growing.

  • Kigali is capturing tourists who used to only pass through on their way to safari or gorilla

  • tours.

  • After the shocking events of 1994 the city and country wants to show the world another

  • side and create a new legacy.

  • Kigali is trying to model it's economic growth off the likes of Singapore and Seoul,

  • complete with a citywide obsession with keeping the streets clean.

  • Citizens are required once a month to partake in a giant neighbourhood cleaning effort.

  • On top of that it's illegal to import, use or sell plastic bags and it's taken very

  • seriously.

  • Plastic bag traffickers-- yeah that's a thing-- have been fined and even jailed.

  • As a tourist, you'll warned not to bring any into the country when you arrive.

  • Staying in the city is easy, with over 100 hotels including the big names like the Marriott,

  • Radisson Blu and the Hilton.

  • But, arguably the best known is thetel des Milles Collines.

  • It was here in 1994 that 1,200 people took refuge during the genocide.

  • That story inspired the film Hotel Rwanda.

  • At the time is was the city's premium spot but these days newer hotels offer more luxury.

  • Despite that - sitting in the lobby you can feel the charm is still here.

  • Internationally, Rwandan coffee is regarded as the best in East Africa

  • but it's not popular with the locals.

  • Rwandans are more into tea but despite this Kigali has a handful of excellent coffee shops.

  • This is Question Coffee where the beans are sourced from female farmers and roasted in

  • house.

  • And this is the Shokola Cafe - a trendy spot above Kigali's public library.

  • Here's a quick tip when heading out in Kigali, dress up!

  • The locals look sharp and wandering around in some old t-shirt and shorts is not going to cut it

  • When travelling around the city you'll notice bright murals dotted around.

  • This is the work of a public arts social enterprise.

  • In a city with almost no graffiti this is public art supported by the government.

  • So it's more positive messages than free thinking street art anarchy, but the scene here is maturing.

  • There are a number of boutique shops where you can pick up some of the local arts and crafts.

  • This the Go Kigali Boutique, which also offer city tours that'll show you around the

  • the town's most exciting spots.

  • Finally, finish off your day with a drink looking over the city at the Hilton's new

  • hotel in the centre of town.

  • With 180 degree views and an excellent cocktail menu, you can watch the sunset in style.

  • Because, with so much excellent food, drink and ease,

  • Kigali could well become a tourist must see in the next few years. So get in quick before

  • the crowds arrive.

Nestled between rolling hills, Rwanda's capital is friendly and welcoming,

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Rwanda’s Capital is Attracting Tourists

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    Rachel Kung posted on 2018/07/17
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