Nyamirambo

Living in Nyamirambo, Kigali

Nyamirambo is 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 and Kiyovu and then stretching all the way up the Mount Kigali 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.

Accommodation in Nyamirambo

Nyamirambo is a fantastic part of Kigali but it’s not exactly well stocked with amenities and places that would appeal to a foreigner. It’s one of the city’s most affordable areas and you’ll still find a massive sprawl of small, low income houses here that have mostly been wiped out in other areas. As you travel up Mount Kigali, the houses become larger and nicer but they’re still not as new or modern as what you’d find in other neighbourhoods. However, the houses here come with wonderful views, they’re very affordable, and water and electricity are more reliable than you’d expect. This is where I stay when I’m in Kigali and I love it.

Living in Nyamirambo, Kigali

The obvious downside to living in Nyamirambo is the area’s location. It’s tucked way out in the southwest corner of the city and, if you live here (especially if you’re way up on Mount Kigali), you’ll have quite a distance to travel to get most places in the city. Town, Kiyovu, Kimihurura, and Gikondo are all pretty handy but anywhere else will be a trek. For easy access to all facilities in town (without paying too much in rent) this neighborhood can be a great choice, and people will think you’d cool and edgy (or weird?) if you live here. You’ll find no expat-ized mansions on the hills in this area!

Restaurants & Cafes in Nyamirambo

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 – big fish.

Makumba, Nyamirambo, Kigali

  • Al Mannu & RaN – RaN Cafe used to be on top of the Kigali Public Library in Kacyiru but they moved out and seem to have combined forces with Al Mannu. I tried Al Mannu many years ago and was impressed with their menu and service but I haven’t been back in years. It’s quite nice for a Nyamirambo cafe but it’s nothing super unique.
  • Etoile d’Or – This is about as low key as it gets in Kigali but this little local bar is worth a stop for their ‘Special Michopo’. It’s a dish of roasted meat (usually goat or beef) and it brings people in from all over the city.
  • Green Corner Many people consider Green Corner to be the best place in Kigali to get big fish (a giant, grilled tilapia you eat with your hands). It’s also really great for rabbit and the brochettes are tasty, too. It’s got a fun atmosphere but not much of a view.
  • Makumba This is one of my favourite local bars in Kigali. It’s got a cool vibe that goes a bit beyond the usual places with plastic chairs and tables. They have a full bar, a nice covered patio seating area, and the ibirayi (grilled potatoes) here are some of the best in the city.
  • Panorama Ten to Two I haven’t been in years but this has always been one of the best place sin Kigali for fish. Beers are cheap, the food is good, the view is amazing, and the atmosphere is fun. Check your bill carefully, though.

Nightlife in Nyamirambo

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, especially in the area known as Cosmos. If you’re sick of seeing people you know at places like People and Sundowner and want to feel a bit more anonymous, come to Nyamirambo for a night out.

Living in Nyamirambo

The bars here are cheap, the food is good (though it will take forever), you’ll often encounter strange forms of entertainment (like lip synching stripper-ish types and farting/barking comedians – no joke) 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.

Shopping in Nyamirambo

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. Or if you want to have clothes made, the Senegalese tailors (supposedly the best in town) are all situated in this area, and the Nyamirambo main street has shops with a great choice of fabrics.

Living in Nyamirambo, Kigali

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 especially car parts which find their way to the Biryogo area.

Recreation & Entertainment in Nyamirambo

Living in Nyamirambo, Kigali

If you count going to a mosque as recreation or entertainment, then this is your place! There are lots of mosques here and the Islamic Centre’s beautiful grounds are open to visitors, just be sure to dress modestly and over your shoulders and knees.

If horses are more your thing, head up to the top of Mount Kigali to Fazenda Sengha, a beautiful spot with horses to take around their ring or on trail rides through the forest. They also have archery, a zip line, and a trampoline (I think) and a spectacular view.

You could even moto to the bottom and hike up to the top of Mount Kigali but, ever since a new road was constructed, it’s a lot less charming. It’s probably a better idea just to moto or drive to the top and then to spend some time wandering around the beautiful forested area. The air is fresh, there aren’t so many people around, and you’ll find some of Kigali’s best views. It’s one of my favourite places in the city.

Living in Nyamirambo, Kigali Stadium, Kigali

If you’re a sport fan, Kigali Stadium (more commonly known as Nyamirambo Stadium) is located here and it’s home to some very lively and loud football games for the local Rwandan league. If you’re into football and want a fun experience, this will certainly be a lively and loud day out.

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10 thoughts on “Nyamirambo”

  1. “gangster paradise” uhmm!! I could say it could easy may be to get ganja or maruana cigar still Nyamirambo or Nyamijosi (as coolest name given to this place) is safe place than ever and it is almost only place where the town is live during night! (crowd of people still over there even after mid-night in week days!!)

  2. Hi!
    I will be moving to Kigali at the end of August and will be living in Nyamirambo! I would like to know a little more about buses into town–how frequently do they run? how much do they cost?

    Is there a fresh produce market in Nyamirambo? Or any good places to buy local goods?

    Is Nyamirambo a nice place to run? Will people stare at you? And is there a dress code as it has the largest Muslim population?

    Any information or comments would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Kira,

    Buses run regularly, but competition can be fierce. You do have a fierce face, don’t you? Learn to be merciless when it comes to buses. Rwandans will not queue. The best part: Nyamirambo buses are often decorated in wild colors and accessories with music bumping — they’re unique in Kigali.

    There is a Nyamirambo market, but as with most markets in Kigali, the freshness and quality of produce isn’t always great. Places to buy local goods do exist (although I’m not sure what you mean by local goods), as they do all over Kigali.

    Running will always draw stares. Nyamirambo is no exception, especially in the upper reaches away from town where abazungu rarely live or venture. I can recommend Mount Kigali though as a nice place to hike (or run if you’re masochistic or a decent runner). Nyamirambo crawls up the slopes of Mount Kigali at its furthest reaches.

    As for dress code, common sense applies, just as it does everywhere in Rwanda. There is no special dress code, unless you’re entering a mosque, where you ought to don some more coverings.

    In general, Nyamirambo is much livelier than most everywhere else in Kigali (or Rwanda). It has that reputation and in my experience it’s true, as people are out and about well into the evening. Restaurants are worth travelling to, the Congolese bars play much better music than the standard Rwandan repertoire, and it does have the largest Muslim population in Rwanda. Just expect less abazungu-oriented services.

  4. I like Nyamirambo because of their are a good location every one gets something easier like a food,security and so one..So i live it forever.

  5. Hi I will be moving to rwanda nyabirimbo,in August 2017,I would like to know more about the area interns of business and how is the infrastructure,how much is the rent and how about if I ant to buy my own home in that estate…please give me more information

  6. I have lived three weeks in Nyamirambo, when I was visiting the country. I had a room in a nice house, belonging to a Rwandan family. No expat thing, just living as a part of a Nyamirambo family. They are muslims, I am a christian – nice conversations, always with mutual respect and a lot of love. I felt at home is this part of the city. People were kind, busses were always when I needed one – some of the drivers started to know me, because I was one of those “Dutch guys” in town. I speak a little bit Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili, that helps a lot with integration in this great country.

    I think about Rwanda almost every few days.

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