Ok I admit it. I don’t know anything about where I live. In fact, I’m not even sure I live where I think I live. The house was advertised on Kigali Life as being in Kiyovu which it is definitely not. My friends who’ve lived here for a year claim it’s in Nyamirambo which I doubt as well. My only hint that it’s in a place called Gitega is that Google maps tells me there’s a place called Gitega near to where I live and the corner store is called ‘Gitega Delight’. That’s good enough for me.
So what does this area have to offer? I’d say the proximity to Kiyovu and all that is on offer there is one major bonus. It’s a 15 minute walk to the UTC Centre which means easy access to groceries at Simba and Nakumatt. Plus BCK is even closer although admittedly more of a bare-bones approach to grocery shopping. The Bank of Kigali and Eco Bank are close as well which means access to cash is always a short walk away. No need to search the floor and pockets to try to scrape together a moto fare to get into town to get money. Buses out of town are close too. In short, it’s in an area that’s close to stuff that you need.
If you’ve got kiddies, the Belgian School is just up the hill. If you’re a Muslim then the mosque in Nyamirambo is also a short walk away. If you know rich people then the Serena Hotel isn’t far, either. Gitega itself doesn’t have much on offer besides the Sky Hotel which has a nightclub and a sign for ‘Massage and Sauna’ that leads down a mysterious tunnel from the main road. There are a few local bars around to get beer, brochettes, and chips but be prepared to wait the usual one to two hours to see your food.
One of the best things about living in this area is the views from my yard over the valley and to the hill opposite. Many places in Kigali have fantastic views but watching the sun set behind the hill certainly makes up for the Friday and Saturday night music marathon from the Sky Hotel and the 5am call to prayer coming from the distance. Another plus is the corner store ‘Gitega Delight’ sells delicious meatballs.
If you want to be close to Kiyovu but don’t want to pay Kiyovu rent then Gitega is a great compromise.