Thursday, February 15, 2024

Nyamirambo Neighbourhood Guide

Nyamirambo is not your usual Kigali neighborhood. While most areas in Kigali wind down by evening, Nyamirambo is like the Big Apple of Kigali – an Islamic hotspot that never sleeps! 

A creative hub, the source of many talented Rwandan artists and musicians, Nyamirambo’s unique mix of cultures is expressed in street art, food, and fashion, and an exciting atmosphere.

During the day, you can enjoy a lively stroll, especially throughout the colorful Car Free Zone, and at night watch as Nyamirambo comes alive with street food, parties, and dancing.

If you want to experience the best of Nyamirambo, consider joining a fantastic food tour hosted by Jollof’Appétit. Take an intimate walk in the neighborhood, try out local dishes, meet residents, and soak up the incredible vibe of Kigali’s coolest district. 

Places to Eat in Nyamirambo

Torino Bar and Restaurant IG

Source: Torino Bar and Restaurant IG

Fazenda Sengha – Fazenda Sengha isn’t exactly a restaurant – it’s an adventure center on Mount Kigali (overlooking Nyamirambo) that also serves excellent food. Activities include ziplining, archery, and horse riding. The menu includes juicy burgers, sandwiches, and barbecue, all with a large selection of sauces. Try the guacamole sauce.

Fazenda Sengha also has a juice bar that serves freshly made fruit juices and a regular bar for alcoholic drinks. Keep in mind that they charge an entrance fee (4,000 Rwf) to access the premises. 

Torino Bar and Restaurant – Nyamirambo is especially known for whole-fish meals, and Torino Bar and Restaurant is one of the places you can get delicious, whole-grilled fish. The setup is quite simple: a garage-like building with a bar and seating spaces inside and outside the building. It features a mix of bar seats that would work great for evening drinks, and lower seats more suited for lunch or dinner, giving it a casual, laid-back feel. 

Al mann and RaN Coffee House (previously known as Al-Mannu Fast Food) – You’d expect coffee and perhaps a few bites at a coffee house, but there’s much more at Al mann and RaN Coffee House. From chicken biryani to ugali and fish combinations and fresh salads, including a lovely chicken and avocado salad, Al mann and RaN Coffee House serves multiple meals and hot or cold drinks. 

Ten to Two Chez Mutabazi – Ten to Two Chez Mutabazi is the typical Rwandan bar/restaurant setup of beer-branded plastic seats and tables. But, their rooftop space is set against a breathtaking backdrop of Kigali’s hilly landscape. Their tasty brochettes and grilled meats go exceptionally well with the local Rwandan beers like a nice, cold Skol Malt. 

Mera Neza Bar and Restaurant – Nestled on Mt. Kigali’s hillside, Mera Neza Bar and Restaurant features multiple gazebos as seating areas, with a breathtaking view of Kigali. They don’t offer many food options but serve rabbit meat, some brochettes, and fries. Be prepared to wait a while for your food, though, as service is quite slow.

Coffee Shops in Nyamirambo

OG Cafe IG

Source: OG Cafe IG

OG Cafe – This fun cafe features simple yet beautiful aesthetics, with brightly colored walls that add calmness and an airy feeling. OG Cafe serves hot drinks, including freshly brewed coffee, and foods like chicken wraps, burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas. You can work from here over lunch or enjoy the coffee over your latest read.

Biryogo Car Free Food Street – This isn’t a cafe, but a cluster of small tie-knitted streets with multiple vendors that are especially popular for their green tea. With no cars around, you can stroll freely down the art-painted streets and find a place to sit on the many tables and chairs lined up neatly. You’ll be approached by a server or two, and you can ask what’s on their menu. 

Try some Pilau – it’s especially popular around here. Fair warning, they serve large proportions of food. I’d ask for less food to avoid throwing some away.

The ultimate way to sample the delicious variety Nyamirambo has to offer is by booking a walking food tour experience with Jollof’Appétit. They take you on an incredible seven-stop food-hopping adventure allowing you to support several local food vendors instead of just one or two. 

Their food tour also includes a ginger sugarcane drink with loads of health benefits! After a 3-hour food-tasting experience, digest your sure-to-be full bellies by peeking into some boutique clothing and shoe shops for souvenirs, or chill on the outdoor seating available and people-watch. 

Makumba Bar

Nightlife in Nyamirambo

As mentioned earlier, Nyamirambo never sleeps. When other locations close down around 9 pm, Nyamirambo stays open much longer. The streets light up with lively bars and restaurants throughout the night.

Nightlife in Nyamirambo is entertaining whether you’re a nightclubber or laid-back. Let’s look at some fascinating spots.

Biryogo Car Free Food Street – The first thing to note about Biryogo Car Free Food Street is that since this is an Islamic district, you won’t find alcohol here. And I know what you’re thinking, nightlife without alcohol? But I promise you – it’s one of those unique things you must experience to fully understand. 

Come with your friends for a fun-filled time while you jam to a mix of local Rwandan music and international hits right in the middle of the road. The streets come alive at night, especially over the weekends, with free concerts, pods of locals drinking coffee or tea, musical entertainment, dancing, chatter, and overall enjoyment. 

Makumba bar – For a drink in the evenings after a long day, you can head to Makumba bar. Its industrial seats and tables offer a nice reprieve from the plastic furniture in most bars in Nyamirambo. And, over the weekends, great music mixes are played here, making it great to relax and unwind.

Bauhaus – Located just two roads from Kigali Stadium, Bauhaus is the place to go for music and dancing on a night out. You might even catch a live performance at Bauhaus with some luck of upcoming musicians and dancers. They also hold traditional Rwandan dance performances on occasions that are always super cool to watch.

6 Things to Do in Nyamirambo (Highlights)

  1. Spend an evening at Biryogo Car Free Food street. Get to taste some Swahili and local Rwandan dishes, and have a cup of their famous green tea with the lively crowd that assembles here.
  2. Visit Nyamirambo Women’s Centre and learn how to weave a basket or cook a traditional Rwandan meal. You can also join the Nyamirambo Walking Tour, where you visit different places in the neighborhood, and learn about Nyamirambo’s history and culture while seeing first-hand how people live here.
  3. Spend an afternoon at Fazenda Sengha to do activities like archery, horse riding, zip lining, quad biking, and multiple other games. Top it off with a picnic set up for lunch (ask for a carpet to place on the grass to sit on)
  4. Go paintballing with friends at FZ Paintball. 
  5. Take a walk — more of a hike, really — in Nyamirambo’s hilly streets. You can walk all the way up to Mt Kigali to get amazing views of the city. If you like to hike, you can check out more hiking trails in our Guide to Hiking in Rwanda.
  6. Take group Dance Classes at Ze Dance Studio or private classes with Manzi Mbaya (+250 786 321 273). Check out their linked Instagram pages to book a session or join a class.
  7. Join a Walking Food Tour with Jollof’Appétit. Food hop on a 3-hour adventure sampling everything Nyamirambo has to offer with a local food tour expert. 
Shopping in Nyamirambo

Shopping in Nyamirambo

You may not find large supermarkets or supply stores in Nyamirambo. But you’ll find smaller shops that specialize in particular items. A walk down the streets will help you discover where to get your cereals, spices, cutlery, toiletries, and other things you need for daily life. For instance, you’ll get tiny kiosks selling fresh vegetables all around, but you can also visit Nyamirambo Market as a one-stop shop for vegetables, meats, and eggs. 

There are a few places that come highly recommended:

  1. DUKORE – stocks unique crafts and paintings from local artists. You’ll find beautiful art pieces, ceramic items like vases, cups, and plates, Kitenge fabric bags, and multiple other African artistic items.
  2. Neza Mugenzi Valentin – builds house furniture like TV stands, bookshelves, couches, and wardrobes. You can contact them at +250 786 305 547

Gyms in Nyamirambo

Muvandimwe Fitness Club – Every day of the week, Muvandimwe Fitness Club hosts a group step or aerobics session. If you’re keen on community/group workouts, this is the class to join in Nyamirambo for only 1500 Rwf per session. 

You can also work out on your own and get access to their gym equipment, including a treadmill, for a very affordable price of 3,000 Rwf per day. The 3,000 Rwf also gives you access to group classes, so you can mix things up occasionally. Reach out to them at +250 788 764 000 to get an updated schedule and price list and to learn more about the centre.

Free Open Gym – Parts of Nyamirambo turn into gyms on weekends, especially around the Kigali Stadium, all the way to Mt. Kigali. People turn out in large numbers to go jogging, hiking, and exercising up and down the hilly paths. So if you’re looking to exercise outdoors (at no cost, I might add), then join this free gym.

Gather a few friends, or simply wake up, go to the stadium on your own, and start jogging toward Mt. Kigali. Other groups exercising here generally take the same direction, so you are unlikely to get lost. But have google maps on standby just in case.

Check out more gyms in Kigali from our guide.

Renting in Nyamirambo

Housing in Nyamirambo is different from the rest of Kigali. It’s been able to maintain its old-school vibe – you won’t find many new, modern houses like you would in, say, Nyarutarama or Kimihurura. Prices have also yet to be inflated by an influx of expats. 

But you’ll still find some pretty cool houses where you can live simply and comfortably. Rent prices range between 200,000 Rwf to 300,000 Rwf for a furnished one or two-bedroomed apartment or about 300,000 to 800,000 for a three or four-bedroomed home. 

If you want to furnish your apartment, you can expect to pay lower rates, at about 150 to 200,000 Rwf for a spacious two-bedroomed apartment or about 400,000 Rwf for a four-bedroomed apartment. 

You won’t find many shared homes in Nyamirambo, compared to areas like Kacyiru, Remera, and Kimihurura. But feel free to ask in our Living in Kigali community, and you may find a room in a shared apartment.

You can find lower rates than I mentioned, but check the house’s state before renting it. Find some tips on renting in Kigali in our comprehensive guide. For instance, you may discover some homes whose kitchens have very little storage space, or some awkward finishing, like tiles on countertops, which works, but may not be everyone’s preferred aesthetic. 

International Schools in Nyamirambo

Path to Success International School – Path to Success International School follows the K-6 curriculum and offers both English and French bilingual education. It also includes an e-learning program that supports homeschooling. You can read more about the school and other international schools in Kigali from our guide.

Hotels in Nyamirambo

San José Carmelo Spiritual Centre – Located a few kilometres from the Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial, a popular tourist site, San Jose Carmelo Spiritual Centre offers a calm, quiet and serene environment ideal for rest after a busy day. It features clean rooms overlooking its large, beautiful garden. Each room includes a desk and chair if you want to finish some work. You can get your meals at the in-hotel restaurant or go out and discover one of the restaurants in Nyamirambo.

Kigaliview Hotel and Apartments – Located just down the street from Biryogo Car Free Zone, Kigaliview Hotel and Apartments is a lovely 3-star hotel with a swimming pool and – you guessed it, a view of Kigali. You can take a dip in its swimming pool and enjoy the buffet breakfast that comes with your hotel booking. Take a stroll to Biryogo Car Free Zone for affordable lunch, dinner, and good vibes, or venture further into Kigali to explore more restaurants.

Safety in Nyamirambo

Nyamirambo gets a bad reputation when it comes to safety. Most expats and newbies hear only bad things about the place and would even avoid it at all costs. But after visiting it a couple of times and hearing from people who have lived there for a while, it’s not as bad as its reputation. 

Like many other neighborhoods in cities worldwide, navigating Nyamirambo requires some caution. Basic steps like locking up your house or hotel room when heading out, and avoiding walking alone in dark streets at night will go a long way in ensuring your protection in Nyamirambo(and all over Kigali as well). 

Do also watch out for pickpockets when walking in crowded areas, and be aware of your belongings in public. Again, these are basic steps you should probably follow in large, busy cities. 

Bottom Line

Nyamirambo is a place you simply must visit at least once during your stay in Kigali. Do go here to experience first-hand the complete shift from laid-back, quiet environments that make up many parts of Kigali, to the diverse, culture-rich, loud, creative space that is Nyamirambo. 

And if you discover any new places not mentioned here, don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comments so we can visit them too. Enjoy your visit to Nyamirambo!

Thank you to Jollof’Appétit for collaborating with us on this guide. Check out their tours to get the best experience of Nyamirambo. 

Updated by Leah N & Ola M.

Map of Nyamirambo

Other Neigborhoods

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10 COMMENTS

  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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