Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Kigali’s Neighborhoods

Many people have written to me, asking about different neighborhoods in Kigali. I wanted to do a quick summary of the ones I have seen or spent time in (especially for people who are moving here and are thinking about where to rent/buy a home). For travelers wondering where all the action is, this could also give you an idea. I don’t know all the neighborhoods, and welcome input on the ones below, as well as others!

Kiyovu- The center of town. It’s the place where you can find all the different knick-knacks you want and need, including office supplies, automotive supplies, etc. There’s a street peppered with foreign exchange bureaus, and the rate is one of the best you can find (better than the bank rates). Express matatus to the other big towns in Rwanda leave from here (as well as Nyabugogo...but leaving from Kiyovu is generally more convenient). The Belgian School is located here. The supermarkets are here as well: BCK, Patel’s, La Bonne Source, and La Galette (also known as the German Butchery). Union Trade Center (which will soon have a Nakumatt Supermarket—a Kenyan chain) has a Bourbon Coffeeshop. Two of the big hotels are located here—the Serena and the Mille Collines. Most of the houses in this neighborhood are quaint and pre-war. The boulevards are wide and flowery. The President currently lives here (though he has plans to move soon). There are many NGO offices here. Most of the favored restaurants among expatriates are in this neighborhood. Many NGO workers live here.

Kacyiru- The ministry area. This is where the President’s office is located, as well as most of the ministries (the Ministry of Health is in Kiyovu). They line one long road called the Avenue de la Gendarmerie. Generally speaking, water and power are dependable here, because of the proximity to the ministries. A lot of NGOs have offices here. The homes vary widely, from pre-war to brand-new mega-mansions. Novotel is located here, as are some temporary executive furnished apartments. The U.S. Embassy is located at the end of the Avenue de la Gendarmerie.

Kimihurura- The place where the ministers live. In fact, the central road in Kimihurura is called Minister’s Road, or la Rue des Ministres, which is a wide boulevard. There is a beautiful stone paved road in Kimihurura, and several NGOs have offices there. Papyrus, La Fiesta, Comme Chez Moi, and the Restaurant Hellenique are located here. The homes here vary as well; along Minister’s Road, the houses are large and stunning. Off the road, the houses are not as flamboyant but are generally post-war and are still quite spacious. Some of the roads are unpaved. Many NGO workers live here.

Nyarutarama- The ritzy neighborhood. Everything here reeks of new wealth. The houses are unbelievably large (though frankly, their interior layouts are sometimes a bit awkward and illogical) with columns, marble, and the works. Some even have swimming pools. There was a building boom in this area that has petered off...as a result, many houses are unfinished until someone wants to take them. A lot of wealthy expatriates live here (i.e. not the poor ones who work for small NGOs). The MTN center is located here, which is a growing mall (most of its space is still vacant). There are several restaurants on the top floor, as well as a Bourbon Coffee, and the ground floor boasts another branch of the German Butchery (also known as La Galette). This area looks like California, with tall white houses, sparkling windows, red tiled roofs, and perfectly manicured gardens.

Kagugu- Ritzy neighborhood, rather empty. Most of the McMansions are vacant. There are subdivisions here that eerily resemble the U.S. It’s located past Nyarutarama.

Nyabugogo- The main bus station. The most chaotic area of Kigali! Services such as power and water are largely undependable. Houses tend to be off the beaten path, and are much simpler here. There is a large market in this area, and the international bus services leave from here. The domestic ones do, as well, but I have always found it easier to navigate the bus area in Kiyovu instead.

Remera- Near the stadium. There are a couple little supermarkets here, like Ndoli’s. Chez Lando and the Auberge Beausejour are here, as is the O Sole Luna restaurant. The houses here are nice but not extravagant—many will have 3 bedrooms, a sitting room, and an outdoor kitchen, or a kitchen housed separately, a more traditional setup. There is a buzzing nightlife here—lots of little buvettes. And it’s chaos when the Rwandan team plays!

Safety
Safety and security are really outstanding in Kigali. The police and army take their jobs seriously, and are trustworthy. In terms of walking at night, there are generally few dangers. The most common I have heard is of people whose cell phones have been stolen because they were walking and talking on them at night...and even that isn’t common.

Houses and office compounds usually have a guard—otherwise, there is usually razor wire or broken glass cemented onto the tops of the walls.

I feel perfectly safe walking around by myself at night. Nyarutarama, Kimihurura, Kiyovu, and Kagugu are particularly safe; keep your wits about you in Nyabugogo and Remera (at night). It’s not to say that anything will happen, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Rents
Generally, rent in Kiyovu and Remera (not sure about Nyabugogo) range from $500-1500 a month. For the wealthy neighborhoods of Kimihurura, Nyarutarama, and Kagugu, the range tends to be from $1500-2000. When realtors propose a price, always negotiate.

Input on these and other neighborhoods is welcomed!

32 Comments:

Anonymous PhotographicMemory said...

Pics ?!

7/02/2008 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan,

Just to add few things, in Kacyiru there are some good service apartments if you are not looking for houses as you don't have to worry to top up your electricity, security, water, tv etc.

There is Kacyiru Executive Apartment (KEA) beside Novotel and Prima 2000 in front of Telecom house.

The KEA range from USD2.5k - USD4k per month depending on the number of rooms in the apt as they have 2 - 4 rooms. You can even rent daily at the rate at about USD90 - USD150. You can also get a discount if you stay more than 6 months.

If you have few people coming rather than stay at the hotel I guess just hoping at this apt paying about USD100 per night could be much cheaper.

All the basic neccessities are excellence. Why do I feel like i'm doing marketing here...

hmm anyway I've stayed here for about 5 months now, so I'm just sharing.. it is a good location, u can just walk to novotel for the gym or swmming pool or tennis. There are chinese, italian and others restaurant just around the corner. Easy to take cab to go to town or to MTN center.

btw, hope that info can aid in any other way of people opt for apt. I have pictures if anyone interested that I can email.

-Harry-

7/03/2008 4:02 AM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

I will clear off my camera and take some photos. I promise :)

Harry, thanks for the input. There are also executive apartments run by Soras in Kiyovu. They're the Altis apartments, and they're fully furnished, with satellite tv, high speed internet, etc. They run about $2000/mo, and they're down the street from Karibu restaurant, so it's a good location.

7/03/2008 5:26 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

Are the rent prices for apartments, or for houses? Three friends and I are arriving in Kigali in two weeks to live for six months, and we may (or may not) be finding our own housing. I'd love to have a better idea of how much rent for a small, single-person apartment would be, vs. rent for a house or larger apartment for several people.

7/04/2008 10:03 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Good luck finding an apartment!! There are very few in Kigali--unless you're looking for an apartment such as the one Harry discusses here in the responses. At those prices, you may as well rent a full house and split the rent with your friends. Trust me--I have been looking.

You can find a 2-3 bedroom house for anywhere between $500 and $2000 a month (of course, it can go higher). Utilities are often extra, but it's not that expensive. I would honestly recommend doing that instead of renting an executive apt--unless you have a lot of disposable income.

To directly answer your question--in the post, I was referring to house prices, not apartment prices.

Other than the prices, you'll love Rwanda. :)

7/06/2008 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan,
How is Rwanda? I miss it already. Anyways, I found this website that has a few houses for rent or buy and I thought that some people may find it useful. www.allcomesa.com
I am using it myself trying to get a place for my rwandan family.
If anybody else has an egency or a website like this, please share with us. Thank you.
Jane

Good luck.

7/08/2008 3:12 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Actually, I've used that. I've been looking at real estate for my organization.

I like the idea, but wasn't too impressed by AllComesa.com, to be honest. I personally have visited many (probably most) of the listings, and they just didn't compare to the houses that were shown to me by various realtors. I do think, though, that the website gives you an idea of what some houses look like.

Here are some realtors--I'm not vouching for how good they are, but I know that they have been frequently used:

Charlie: 250 08 501 860
Justin: 08 536 064
Hassan: 08 525 013
Bugingo: 08 646 229

Some may be Francophone.

If anyone else has any realtors/contacts, please also share.

7/09/2008 3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Morgan. I will try these guys and see what happens. You are so amazing and thanks for your blog.
Ps: if you ever want to eat some good rwandan homemade food or practice your Kinyarwanda, my mom will be more than happy to do that for you( free of charge). She has been helping this american girl swho has been there for over a year now and her kinyarwanda is better than mine. Takecar and thanks again.
Jane

7/09/2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Thanks for the offer! :)

7/10/2008 5:50 AM  
Blogger Mr. Allen said...

Hi Morgan!

Thanks for putting this together - it's giving me a better idea of where I should be looking.

I also found a lot of other Kigali folk on the yahoo! group "kigalilife" You can trade apartments there as well.

How would you recommend finding housing for someone who is coming to Kigali alone? I will be the only volunteer for my organization, so I'm pretty much left to set up the entire thing on my own.

Thanks for your time! It might be best to reach me by email - bradaallen@gmail.com

7/02/2009 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a house for rent in KACYIRU. Its a BEAUTIFUL house, 4 bedrooms all in suite, a huge living room and beautiful garden (huge)!

It's suitable for representation (companies,embassies, UN) and is located in one of the best place in Kacyiru (just in front of the residency of the ambassador of UK). the house has just been completly RENOVATED and is available 1st SEPTEMBER 2009

MY CONTACT IS mariemuk@hotmail.com

you can write anytime and make sure to include your contact deatails.

Marie.

7/29/2009 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and Morgan I really loved your blog! well done! Marie

7/29/2009 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

For accommodation, visit my site at www.allcomesa.com, you can call +250 788 411 423

I hope you find this helpful and share.

Peter Lutwama (Realtor)

12/01/2009 4:55 AM  
Anonymous Peter Lutwama said...

For accommodation, visit my site at www.allcomesa.com, you can call +250 788 411 423 in case you need detailed information and more pictures.

I hope you find this helpful and share.

Peter Lutwama (Realtor)

12/01/2009 5:02 AM  
Blogger LIZDENPROMOTIONS said...

Thanks Morgan for this noble effort.

We are relocating to Kigali for business for a period of 4 months.

We are looking for a house to rent. Not more than USD350 per month less than 6kms from Kigali town. Dont mind sharing. We are a couple (middle age).

Any one out there who can help?

EMILY

2/05/2010 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Sophie said...

Dear Morgan,

I'm a journalist for France 24 in Paris.

I came across your blog looking for information on the Kingali quarter of Kiyovu. I'm actually looking into a paper which involves a poor area there where the authorities have offered to buy up shoddy homes from residents in exchange for payment for a new home. Apparently the payments are delayed and the residents are unable to either move out, or repair their homes.

Do you know anything about this scheme? Or perhaps one of the NGOs which is working in that district?

Please reply as soon as possible if so, the paper is for tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Sophie

3/11/2010 12:43 PM  
Blogger skizzo said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:41 PM  
Blogger skizzo said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:41 PM  
Blogger skizzo said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:42 PM  
Blogger skizzo said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Enrico said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:42 PM  
Blogger skizzo said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Enrico said...

Dear All,

I am an Italian student that will be undertaking an intenrship in Kigali, and was looking for a room/apartment to rent for no more than 300-400$ with private facilities and internet. All of this if possible in the area of Kimihurura where I would be working.
I will be staying from August to the end of October.

Do you have any suggestions that might help me.

Thank you

Enrico

6/23/2010 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you Morgan for starting this blog.

I will be living in Kigali with a colleague from September 20th –November 23rd and am looking for an apartment to rent. It needs to be centrally located as we will not have a car. If anyone has any recommendations or advice we would greatly appreciate it. Please feel free to contact me privately daa20@sfu.ca

Thank you for your time.
Best,
Deanna

7/04/2011 3:40 PM  
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