Nyamirambo a pretty diverse and stretched-out neighborhood, encompassing the southwestern corner of Kigali. And a huge corner, at that! It’s a big place with the main part bordering town and ‘deep’ Nyamirambo (also referred to as Gangster’s Paradise) which stretches all the way up the hills into the distance.
This is one of the most vibrant and interesting neighbourhoods in Kigali. It’s full of mosques and many of the city’s Muslim residents live here. Unlike the rest of Kigali which seems to shut down at 8pm with everyone inside their homes, Nyamirambo hustles and bustles late into the night.
For easy access to all facilities in town – without paying too much in rent – this neighborhood can be a good choice. Houses will be pretty simple. No expat-ized mansions on the hills in this area!
Transportation links to the rest of the city are great with plenty of buses. The big ones are starting to ply the streets here but one of the best parts about this area of town are the matatu-style mini buses with celebrities painted on them, loud music and flashing lights. The place has character!
The main streets in Nyamirambo are lined with small shops with brightly coloured paintings on their walls selling everything from shoes to general goods to auto parts. There’s even a store that sells rice. Yep… just rice. It’s an interesting place to wander and if you feel like a day of shopping and want to stumble onto some interesting things, head here. If you’ve ever had anything stolen in Kigali you might find it in one of the markets here. Rumour has it that this is where the city’s pilfered items end up.
If you ever want to have clothes made, the Senegalese tailors (supposedly the best in town) are all situated in this area, and for the biggest choice in fabric, the Nyamirambo main street is the place to go.
If you ever complained about Kigali not having a cinema: cease despairing! For in Nyamirambo is situated a 2-floor cinema; seats of the plushest red velvet; screen as wide as your living room wall; sound loud enough to give you tenatus… I have great plans to take on the Nyamirambo Cine-Star Cinema as a renovation project, but until those plans happen (read: never), try it out! The manager is more than willing to play whichever movie you bring, as long as you can fill up the cinema with more than 4 people, each paying 1500. I’m not really sure if religious stuff qualifies as recreation but the biggest mosque in Kigali is situated in Nyamirambo, and a visit is something to check of your to-do list.
Restaurants & Cafes
There are a bunch of local bars lining the streets here and while you’re not likely to find akabenz (a pork dish), you are likely to find some delicious brochettes and Nyamirambo’s specialty – huge fish. Two of my favourite fish places are located fairly deep into this area of town – Green Corner and Ten to Two. A fish to share between three people will cost between Rwf 7,000 and 10,000. Beers are cheap, the food is local, the atmosphere is fun and some of the restaurants further up the hill have great views of the city.
When the rest of Kigali has gone to sleep (except for a few bars and clubs scattered around town), Nyamirambo lives on! People are out and about in this area at all hours and many of the local bars here stay open late and make a good place to go dancing. If you’re sick of seeing people you know at places like Ogopogo and Sundowner and want to feel a bit more anonymous, come to Nyamirambo for a night out. The bars here are cheap, the food is good, you’ll often encounter strange forms of entertainment (like lip synching stripper-ish types and farting/barking comedians) and it’s a lot of fun. The toilets are generally pretty horrifying, though, so… well, I don’t really have a recommendation. Just expect the worst and that bad part about going out in Nyamirambo won’t seem quite so bad.