Camellia Tea House

Camellia Tea House, Kigali

Camellia Tea House has rebranded as ‘Camellia’ and they’ve opened at least six other locations around Kigali but this location has closed.

This cafe hasn’t quite made it onto the expat radar in the same way as Shokola and Bourbon but it’s worth a look. It’s actually sort of hard not to look with the huge dome roof thing and the building’s garish green colour. Camellia’s Tea House is located near the Bank of Kigali in Kiyovu, across the street and down the road to the right (towards the Belgian School) about 100 metres.

The menu seems extensive at first glance but I suspect it’s one of those places that’s often out of most of the options. I wanted a pesto chicken sandwich but opted for my second choice when that wasn’t available. I, however, was pleasantly surprised with my beef wrap. The thing was big enough for lunch and only cost 2,000 which wouldn’t buy you half a meal at Bourbon! The wrap was packed with beef and fried onions and totally filled me up. The small salad on the side of onions, tomato, lettuce and grated carrots was really tasty too. It might have been better if the salad was on the wrap, but I did a little self-assembling it and made it work.

Beef Wrap

I have a slight addiction to iced mocha type drinks and have tried them all over town. Camellia’s version looks suspiciously like the offering at Bourbon and even comes in the same glass. It’s Rwf 200 cheaper, but not quite as good. It’s got the same yummy whipped cream on top but the drink itself seemed a bit watery. I think had I asked for a bit of extra chocolate, though, it could have been improved. It was still pretty good, just not the best. At Rwf 2,000 it’s one of the cheaper places to get an iced mocha.

The cafe has a great patio with pretty comfy seats and it’s a nice place to hang out and watch people go by. The inside is nice enough but when I was there it was being noise polluted with bad 80’s pop songs. Outside is the place to be. There wasn’t a single muzungu in sight while I was there and you’d do well to know a bit of French to make the ordering process run smoothly. The staff were really friendly but didn’t do much checking up on me. I was sort of tucked away around a corner though, so if I wanted attentive service I could have sat somewhere a bit more in their face.

One downside to Camellia’s is the lack of a free wifi connection although an MTN signal wafted in while I was there so that could be an option if you don’t mind paying. Overall I really liked this place and I plan to spend a lot more time hanging out on their patio.

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10 thoughts on “Camellia Tea House”

  1. Hello, I’m due to travel to Rwanda on the 1st of April for a months trip, I’m originally Rwandan though I was born and raised in London, I’ve been researching for places to go whilst on my long visit to Rwanda and I came across you website firstly, thank you soo soo much it’s really helpful and informative. I was also wondering though if I can still get to explore these places inspite of visiting Rwanda in April which is the remembarance time (Icyunamo) please let me know on my email address or reply here.
    Thank you in advance.

    Ishimwe Buda.

    1. Hi Ishimwe,

      thank you for your kind words 🙂
      to answer your question, the only day when everything is closed is on april 7th. apart from that day, most restaurants, bars and shops stay open, though throughout the entire month of april there is less music being played and in general a very low-key mood. of course, the city of kigali (and the country as a whole) is as beautiful as ever, and most tours are still running. Also, be aware that each village shut down for a short period at different times between april and july depending on when the genocide ‘reached’ them.
      Hope you enjoy your stay in your mother country!

  2. I came here for breakfast 2 days in a row… the first day the espresso machine was broken, the next the power was out – so that’s 2 days without coffee! Also, the cake I had was incredibly dry. The staff was really friendly, and it’s central, but so far my experience has been really bad.

  3. This place has a huge menu but manages to hardly ever have what I want. They only have a fractions of the teas listed. I’m not sure if they even have most of them, ever. The smoothy menu is pretty funny… about 20 drinks but most are the same with variations of ingredient order. Bizarre. The buffet looks good but I’ve never had it. I do know someone who claims to have been food poisoned by it, though.

  4. We have been there a few times with our two boys and always have enjoyed that large sized plates of food that have arrived. The food is better than the price dictates which is better than other places around town.
    I would certainly add it to the list of good places to go

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