Gacuriro

Living in Gacuriro, Kigali

Gacuriro (GacuRIro, or GacuriRO? Or GacuLEEro?) is a neighbourhood that can be seen from the distance from many places in Kigali. It’s cookie-cutter houses line the perfectly parallel roads in a somewhat creepy, Pleasantville-esque way. It’s Kigali’s answer to suburbia and it’s actually a pretty fine place to live, especially if you have a car and/or a family.

This part of town used to seem very far away but Kigali itself seems to be surrounding the area, extending out past it to Kagugu and beyond. More and more amenities are popping up and the back road that goes through Kinamba means that it’s more accessible to town and the rest of the city than you might expect.

Accommodation in Gacuriro

As mentioned above, this area is Kigali’s answer to suburbia. The houses here are all very similar, two-level buildings of various sizes. They’re relatively new builds and they feel modern and upscale with nice kitchens. The community itself isn’t gated, but each house has a gate and feels very secure. They’ve all got small gardens and there are even some shared public grassy areas where you won’t get in trouble for walking or playing on it. The houses toward bottom of the hill where it’s steeper have great views looking over the whole city.

These houses used to be a bargain due to their distance from other main parts of town but my guess would be that, now, they’re pretty pricey when compared to what you might find in neighbourhoods with older houses.

Restaurants & Cafes in Gacuriro

When I originally wrote this neighbourhood summary way back in early 2011, there was basically nowhere to eat and you had to venture into Nyarutarama to find anything interesting. But things aren’t as sparse out here as they once were and there are now a few excellent choices for a meal or coffee. Nyarutarama is still stacked with good restaurants and nearby Kibagabaga has also upped their game.

Bwok, Kigali

  • Brioche This Kigali chain has a branch in Gacuriro that has a lovely view of the city and golf course. They’ve got a full menu plus some tasty baked goods and mousse cakes, though they’re often sold out of those so you seem to have to time your trip right if you’re hoping to indulge in something sweet.
  • Bwok This place is awesome and I’m sad it’s so far from where I live or I would be there quite often. It’s a cute, trendy cafe, bakery, and bistro (what is a bistro, anyway?) run by Koreans. There are lots of Korean bakery treats and menu items and they’ve got a wonderful buffet. There’s a small kids’ play area and it’s just a really nice space.
  • Masters – I don’t know anything about this place but it looks like a combination of a pizza place downstairs and a cafe up top.
  • Mocha Cafe I’ve never had Yemeni food before but, happily, this Yemeni-owned place has a few treats on the menu. The white cardamom coffee was something new for me and the chapati they make with wheat flour is amazing. It’s a new place set in a nice garden with a small kids’ play area and they make what I think is the best hummus in Kigali.
  • Twistiblendz This might be more technically described as being in Nyarutarama, but it’s close enough so it gets a mention! This is a small juice and smoothie bar that makes a nice selection of healthy drinks including some that include superfoods like moringa, aloe vera, and spirulina.

Nightlife in Gacuriro

There’s one club in Gacuriro but I haven’t been there as its current incarnation. I did go when there was a place called K-Club in the same space. That was formerly known as B-Club. Now it’s Voltage. You can’t miss it, as they didn’t hold back in adorning the building with alternating flashing Christmas lights. Painful. Back when it was K-Club the prices were quite high, you could order bottle service, and the clientele were usually diaspora Rwandese. I have no idea what it’s like these days but the space is designed to be a clubby type place and I imagine it’s no different now.

Shopping in Gacuriro

A downside of Gacuriro is the lack of resources – though resources are not far. It’s only a few minutes to MTN Center by some motorized vehicle, and about 20 minutes walking from the estates. It also doesn’t take so long to get to Kisimenti, where you can hit up Ndoli’s and all the other small shops in that area, or you can find two Simbas in close proximity in Rugando and Kigali Heights. That being said, here are your immediate options.

  • Corner Supermarket – This is a small shop that packs a big punch. It’s one of these places that’s well-stocked with import surprises including lots of treats from the Everyday brand. You’ll find a small section for booze, a decent selection of cheese, lots of biscuits, and they even have the ever-elusive plain tortilla chips. There’s a small butcher on site but the produce section isn’t so hot.
  • Safa Supermarket – This used to be Woodlands which used to be one of Kigali’s better small supermarkets. They even expanded to two more locations in town and Nyamirambo before closing down. I have no idea what happened but people out in Gacuriro should despair because Safa Supermarket mostly sucks. It’s well stocked with all of the basics but there’s nothing interesting here like back in the good old days of Woodlands.

Recreation & Entertainment in Gacuriro

Gacuriro is a great area for walking and running due to the quiet, suburbia-like feel. The fact that it’s basically built on the side of a huge hill might not be ideal, though. There are a few pools in this area now with Great Seasons having one that’s great for laps, and Rouge by Desir is a good spot for families. A bit further into Nyarutarama you’ll find Villa Portofino which has a nice pool with a cool view.

Great Seasons Hotel, Swimming Pools in Kigali

For gyms Cali Fitness isn’t so far away, located next to Twistiblendz, and Manor Hotel also has a gym though it’s a bit farther.

If you’re a church-y type then Christ’s Church Rwanda is here and it’s quite popular with foreigners. Plus they hold some events and performances here occasionally. Kwetu Film Institute is located up at the top of the hill and they used to have film nights and other events though I’m not sure what the deal is these days. They are involved with Rwanda’s Hillywood festival and usually hold some screenings at their location.

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19 thoughts on “Gacuriro”

  1. I live in Gacuriro and I think it’s great. The house is reasonably new and comfortable, you are away from the hustle and bustle but at the same time only 15 minutes drive from the centre of town. I have a ten minute commute to work and yes the views are stunning. We really do think we made the right choice when we decided to live in Gacuriro.

  2. I live in Gacuriro too, and also quite like it. Hey, it may not have the hustle and bustle of being right in the middle of town, but it is great to get home and actually feel like you’re in a rural space…I have adopted a puppy and he loves to scamper across the road to play with the cows in the maize field. And as Simon says, it IS only 15 minutes from town. And I don’t find it inhibitive to enjoying the restaurants and cafes at all.
    I lived in JHB where you could spend a LOT of time commuting to and from work….so what a pleasure this is!

  3. Hi Simon and Sam
    What kind of people live there? We of course are looking for the impossible combination: Would like some expats with kids, so our son will find friends – while also wanting to integrate with rwandans 🙂
    Want the quiet of the countryside – while also the conveniences of the city (on this point, Gaciriro might actually do the job).

    I will be doing research on Rwandans returning from the diaspora, so perhaps this kind of new, middle-class suburb is the right place to start?

  4. Hi, there are kids…but I wouldn’t know about whether they play outside or not since I work all day..but I believe that they will find friends…at school or elsewhere. People won’t approach you…they are too polite and reserved. You need to approach them, but once you do you will find them open and friendly and I have no doubt that they’ll be fine.

    I think the way to integrate is the way the Rwandans do it…make friends..invite them to dinner…have them introduce you around…..I find that works well.

    And if all fails…I can be your friend too. Ha ha.

    Regards
    Sam

  5. Dear all,

    I have recently moved into Gacurio from Rusizi District and find this area quite small and pact compared to rural areas in Rusizi/Nyamasheke Districts. My dog used to have a huge garden three times bigger than the one here but now he needs to adjust himself to a very small garden…I don’t know people in the neighborhood but would like to make some friends other than my work colleagues who live in the same area. Can anyone suggest something for me? Is there any Expat community here?

    Thanks in advance for the info

  6. Hi SM,
    I have been living in Gacuriro for about 5 months now, but if there is an expat community I don’t know about it. I know a lot of expats LIVE there,,,but they keep to themselves mostly. I am a South African and since my friend left in Feb…it has been a little quiet.
    My dog is frustrated with the space too. He has so far made a bid to snoop around the neighbourhood by chewing through the gate. He has chewed through my dstv cable, my earpiece to my cellphone, the cable to my netbook and on occasion tried to chew through me too. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows him…since i can hear them talk to him by name….probably from my yelling after him to ”Get back here”

    Regards Sam

    1. hi
      how r u are i want know how is this area for making a small hotel like townhouse , does is worth and what is the normal rent of a room there.
      thanks

  7. amrit narasimhan

    how far is gacuriro from the amaharo national stadium? i am coming for an ainternational tennis tournament and might be renting an apartment in this area for 10 days. would really appreciate any input. thanks

    1. Hey Amrit,

      Nowhere is really far in Kigali and Gacuriro is sort of over on that side of town. So it’s a good spot for you. 🙂 I’ve never actually been up to Gacuriro so I’m not sure how hard it is to get motos or taxis there. Although if you have a car it’s not an issue.

      1. I live in Gaculiro or Gacuriro depending on the time of day. It is an area where a lot construction is going on, but the houses are new and of good quality. I am impressed by the Woodlands Grocery Store. The only thing that they are missing is fresh meat. Their vegetables/fruits are better than most stores.
        Motos or taxis are available at the Woodlands/gas station. I wouldn’t say that it is close to Amahoro, but it isn’t far either.

  8. hi~
    i live in korea but i’m going to kigali in march 21th
    i wondering cacuri school
    i go to teach students in computer
    whoever if you know can you teach me?
    i need information
    can you help me?please

    1. umbabarira im so late replay
      Yego i go to gacuriro vocational training center
      in gasabo district kigali
      and i dont have phone
      i just have korea phone

  9. I recently moved in in Gacuriro. The description of Caroline is correct. It is only that it is 2017 now, and like in other parts of Kigali, improvements can be seen, a number of hotels and serviced accommodations have been added, like Great Seasons Hotel, Hotel Villa Portofino, some with swimming pools, bars and restaurants. The Brioche bakery and coffee shop in Gacuriro has nice views, great coffee and fresh bread every day from 7.30 am onwards.

  10. Hello Gacuriro residents!

    I will be moving to Gacuriro area in April 2019 with my family (including a 5 year old son). Would love to get to know fellow expats living in this area especially with kids my son’s age. Looking forward to getting plugged in soon!

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