Gikondo is a neighbourhood in Kigali that’s sort of set off to the south side of the city. It’s mostly a residential area with a mix of housing types surrounded by industry. You pass the road to Gikondo when you drive from town out toward Sonatubes and Kicukiro but it’s not a place you’ll ever find yourself needing to pass through. You’ll find the Gikondo Industrial Park where occasional fairs and expos are held. Gikondo’s pretty close to town, and it’s easy to get motos and buses along the main roads, but there’s not too much else here for a visitor.
Accommodation in Gikondo
If you get a house far enough up the hill, though, you’ll have amazing views over to Kimihurura and the rest of the city beyond. The further you crawl up the nice cobblestone road up Mount Rebero, the newer and more modern the houses get. But if you don’t mind doing without luxuries like hot water, you’ll be able to find some very cheap accommodation in this area. Gikondo is a mixed income neighbourhood with the nicer houses up the hill and more simple, sometimes even mud, houses going down into the valleys.
There are quite a few tiny, slightly scary-looking guesthouses, especially way down deep in the valleys. I’m sure if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay, those places are about as budget as they get in Kigali. Up the hill, Yambi Guesthouse and Espera Motel both look to be decent but otherwise there’s not a lot of choice for hotels in Gikondo.
Restaurants & Cafes in Gikondo
Though it’s a super busy area, Gikondo doesn’t have the type of cafes and restaurants that bring in the muzungu crowds and it’s rare for people to go out for a meal here unless they live in the area. Gikondo is stacked with local bars so if you want some Rwandan food in a lively atmosphere, there are a few good choices here.
- 1000 Hills Distillery – I’m not sure if it counts as Gikondo, but the 1000 Hills Distillery are nearby and it’s an awesome place and brings people in from far and wide. The views are amazing, the cocktails large, and the food is very good, especially the steak that you cook yourself on a hot volcanic rock.
- Chez Grill – This is a large place with a nice open area that’s good if you want to book it for an event. They do all of the usual meaty offerings and sides.
- Chez Papa Guinness – If it’s the same as the place that used to be in Nyamirambo then it’ll be a great place to watch football with good food. But I haven’t been to the one in Gikondo.
- Rio de Gikondo – I’ve never been to this place but it looks like it would be a lot of fun. It’s set up on the second floor and I imagine it has a nice view.
Nightlife in Gikondo
- Miami – This is the only clubby spot I know of in Gikondo and I don’t actually even know this place – I know it by other names. It was called Pasadena when I went there approximately a million years and I think it’s changed names a few times since then. Now it’s called Miami and, though I haven’t been to this latest version, I do remember the building being kind of cool inside and it seems like a bit more of a club than a local bar.
Shopping in Gikondo
There are small shops up and down the main road but nothing too spectacular. It’s more of a place where you’ll be able to get all of the basics and a good price. If you want anything more exciting though, Frulep and Deli Store are both pretty close and there’s a Simba in Kicukiro and a Foodland at Sonatubes.
For beautiful gifts that support a great cause, check out Talking Through Art. They employ physically impaired Rwandans who make beautiful crafts, mainly baskets. It’s a lovely spot to stop by and they even have walking tours of Gikondo which are a great way to take in one of Kigali’s lesser known (for foreigners) neighbourhoods.
Recreation & Entertainment in Gikondo
Gikondo is built on the side of Mount Rebero and way up at the very top you’ll find Juru Park. It’s a lovely place and you can actually walk on the grass here, so it’s a great spot to come with pets or for a picnic. A few events have been hosted up here in the past, but nothing lately that I can think of.