If you’re a lonely entrepreneur type like me or a freelancer or consultant or any of the other officeless folks roaming around Kigali with laptop in tow, you’re probably looking for somewhere to plant your ass to work for awhile for the cost of a few cups of coffee. Or maybe you’re less of a jerk and actually want some coffee and a meal with a little bit of wifi as a bonus.
Either way, there aren’t a huge number of free, reliable wifi spots in Kigali to work from but, until The Office opens up, these are our choices for remote office spaces:
Bourbon Coffee KCT
This Bourbon has had the fortune of having their menu overhauled by Deb and Maxine from Food & Stuff. So the food is a lot more interesting and delicious than at the other locations – when the cooks manage to hit their mark. But, as far as coming here to use the wifi, it’s not ideal. Most of the seating is outside on a balcony which is great for eating but not so good for looking at a computer screen. Inside, the seating is mostly uncomfortable high chairs or couches with low tables which, for me, are too uncomfortable to want to stay for longer than I have to.
Bourbon Coffee MTN
This is my new favourite place to work. It’s larger than it’s counterpart at UTC and comes equipped with lots of walls to hide away behind. The wifi works well for me and, at least recently, is very reliable. When my MTN modem was crap last month, I’d come here to work and found it to be pretty fast.
Bourbon UTC does everything in their power to stop laptop folks from hanging around for too long which makes sense if you’re hogging a table during a busy lunchtime or dinner period, but less sense when the cafe isn’t busy. I can never get the wifi here to work for me but for those who can, be aware that they turn the signal off during lunch. They also recently turned off their plugs, so don’t expect to be able to have a long internetting session here unless you have a good battery. To avoid the scorn of the staff and the embarrassment of being asked to buy or leave, avoid this place during lunch and dinner times.
Bourbon Coffee at the Airport
The airport Bourbon is probably only good as a work spot if you live way out on that side of town and don’t mind a lot of people buzzing around. The food and drinks here are more expensive than at the other Bourbons around town.
I’ve never worked from here but I’m told they have free wifi. One thing I do know is that they have a great buffet. So it might be worthwhile heading there for a huge feed and then sticking around after the lunch rush dies off for a bit of internet. If anyone has used their connection, please let us know how fast and reliable it is and whether it would be a nice place to work from for awhile.
Hidden away inside the Gorillas Hotel in Kiyovu, I discovered this place late last year and thought I’d hit the wifi jackpot. A fast signal, a good menu, someplace different for my usual cafe trail, big tables to work from, and I was the only person in there. But the next time I went, the wifi wasn’t working. So I’m not really sure yet about this place. It does make a nice break from all of the usual places, though, and they have pork brochettes! Mmm.
This pricey but yummy restaurant opens at 5pm so if you’re looking for some late night wifi with a nice meal, a glass of wine and a great view… this is a good bet. The seating is outdoors on a balcony so it might not be the best choice for cold nights, but they do have blankets on hand. I really should work from here more often. I guess by the time 5pm rolls around I don’t really want to look at the internet anymore.
The menu isn’t great but the juice and smoothie selection is the best in town… when they have them. The wifi here is pretty reliable and sometimes very fast and sometimes very slow. So if you want juice and some possible internet, it’s a good bet. The tables are a little flimsy, the chairs are uncomfortable (although the couch is great) and the green and orange colour scheme is an assault on the eyes so I generally don’t stick around here for too long.
After Bourbon MTN, I’d say Magda Cafe is the next most reliable connection I’ve found. That doesn’t mean it’s always fast, but I can usually count on it working. Their decor and menu is pretty much a carbon copy of Bourbon’s though, so if variety is what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here. It’s a little dark inside which I like but that might not be for everyone. This place gets very busy at lunchtime and there have been times I haven’t been able to find a seat.
I work from here a lot but have to say that the wifi isn’t really that reliable. If I didn’t have my own USB wifi stick thing, I probably wouldn’t come here as often because I don’t feel like I can count on the wifi working most of the time. But I like the food and drinks, the staff are nice and, while the tables are a bit too high to work from comfortably, it is a place with a lot of plugs and spots to sit. Plus I’m always guaranteed to see some people I know which, as a lonely web designer type, is always a good thing. Human contact… yay!
Located to the side of the Simba Supermarket in town, this cafe has terrible service, but free wifi. This means that your food will take a million years which gives you plenty of time to use the internet without feeling rushed. It’s a pretty busy and noisy but I’m told the connection is pretty good. A lot of friends of mine used to come here very regularly for the cheap, delicious salads and free wifi.