Have you just arrived in Kigali? Don’t know a single person here and want to make some friends? Or maybe, like me, you’ve been in Phase 8 for so long that all of your friends have forgotten you’re still in the city and you need to re-engage with the Kigali community? Well, you’re in luck! I present to you a giant list of things that you can do that other people will also be doing… and then you talk and interact and laugh and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have found yourself some friends!
Share a House
Housemates are a great way to get an instant ‘in’ with new people. Assuming, of course, that your new housemates are sociable people who like you and want to include you in their Kigali social circle. Most of the people I know in Kigali are pretty close with their housemates and hang out with them, go on trips together, throw parties and all of that fun stuff. So if that sounds good to you, take your time when finding a house and make sure you get along well with your potential new housemates. Don’t rush these things. Moving into my house is how I met ‘Meryl’ – a very elusive but awesome breed of muzungu. If you’re lucky, you too will meet a Meryl of your own here in Kigali. Collect them all!
Find an Event
There are all kinds of random things happening in Kigali and I try to keep track of them on my events calendar. Just pick something that interests you and go! You’ll have to be a bit social in order to reach out to strangers, but people are nice and if you pick an event you’re interested in, you’ll have something in common to chat about.
- Ishyo Arts / Goethe-Institute Events – I’m not sure if the Goethe and the Ishyo people are in cahoots, or what, but between the two of them they host some really fantastic events at the Arts Centre in Kacyiru and around the city. Tuesday night movies (usually with a German connection) are a regular thing and concerts, debates, dance performances and more are packed into each month’s schedule. To get on their mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the Goethe and Ishyo Facebook pages. Find an event you’re interested in and get out there and talk to people.
- kLab – This co-working space for IT people holds a lot of interesting events usually related to IT entrepreneurship in Rwanda. It’s a very open and friendly environment and an easy place to start chatting to people, whether you’re an IT nerd or not. Check out the kLab events page to keep updated on what’s coming up or follow them on Facebook.
- The Office – This new co-working office space is quickly becoming a hub for cool events. They’re planning on hosting TED talks regularly and have also hosted entrepreneurship week events in the past. As the space is completed (it’s under construction at the moment) you’ll see more and more events popping up. The events are attended by a friendly, outgoing bunch of people and you’re bound to meet some interesting folks. To keep up to date on what’s coming up, follow their Facebook page.
Kigali has a bunch of options for sporty folks out there. Or if none of these things appeal, start your own thing! I know of people who’ve started up small running clubs just by reaching out to people on my forum. Or ask around for a tennis partner. Or start a yoga class or something if that’s your thing. Or tell people you’re from some obscure country, invent some ridiculous ‘national’ sport and see how many people you can get to look silly at once. You’re new, nobody knows you… have some fun with it!
- Hash House Harriers – This ‘drinking club with a running problem’ is known worldwide and Kigali has its very own chapter. It’s a notoriously social group of people and joining Hash is a very easy way to meet a lot of people at once in a fun and friendly environment. Not only will you find running and drinking buddies all at once, you’ll also get to explore some really beautiful areas of Kigali that you might otherwise never have found. Hash has a pretty good mix of Rwandans and foreigners. The Hash starts and ends in a different Kigali location each week (and sometimes they head out of town) but you can get all of the details from their Yahoo Group. This is one of the easiest ways to meet a lot of people quickly.
- Ultimate Frisbee – These guys get together three times a week to play Ultimate at Cercle Sportif. The group is a good mix of locals and foreigners. They hold a tournament in Kigali each February and they also organise road trips to tournaments in Uganda and beyond. To keep up with what they’re doing and when they’re playing, check their Facebook page.
- Volleyball at Mamba – Spending Sunday in the sun at Mamba Club in Kimihurura is a great day out regardless, but if you’re into volleyball and want to meet some new people then you’ll have to check it out. They have a beach volleyball court here and people congregate on Sundays at about 1pm to play. The level of play depends on who’s there but it’s a friendly bunch and open to new players. The Rwandan volleyball team (yes, there apparently is one…) hangs out here too.
- Football – There are a bunch of football clubs scattered around the city as well as more informal pickup games. I’m afraid the only group I have solid info on plays on Sundays out by Amahoro Stadium (check out their Facebook page for details) but there are also rumours of a game at Ecole Belge. Asking around a bit should lead to you finding a regular football game somewhere in town.
- Moto Polo – If you’re not yet crazy enough to play, moto polo still makes a nice social gathering. If you’re sociable and outgoing (and bring cold beer to share) it’s a good place to meet a lot of people.
- Watch Sports – If you’re after some man-bonding and are more into watching that playing then head to anywhere that has a TV for any Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal game. You’ll find sweaty, beer swilling, screaming men galore and you can talk about ‘your’ team and gesture wildly at the TV with the full support of a room full of dudes. If that doesn’t invite new friendships, I don’t know what does. If football’s not your thing (or if you prefer the American kind) then Sports Zone at Casino Kigali usually has a good variety of international events on their TVs (you can get the schedule on their Facebook page). Watch sports. Drink beer. Slap each other’s asses. Bond.
People in Kigali are pretty friendly and house parties are a fantastic way to meet lots of people at once. So if a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend’s friend is having a house party… go to it. You might want to replace the ‘what are you doing and how long have you been here’ question with something a bit more creative but people will still talk to you if you come at them with this. Work the room, shmooze, mingle, exchange business cards, make plans to meet up later. Try not to get so drunk that you forget meeting them, though. Not advisable. Trust me. If nobody is inviting you to their parties, throw one of your own! Don’t have anyone to invite? Just let me know and I’ll whack it onto my events calendar and you should have at least six people showing up. Maybe seven.
There are lots of great causes around the city that could use an extra pair of hands and working together with others towards a good cause is a great way to bond. Group hugs, pats on the back and all of that good stuff. I’ve got a whole list of volunteering opportunities in Kigali but here are just a few I wanted to highlight.
- Umuganda – Rwanda requires its citizens to do monthly community work and it’s possible to join in. I have no idea how to do this because I’m a horrible person who chooses to spend my umuganda Saturdays sleeping off hangovers. But ask around in your community and I’m sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction. Or just wander out on a Saturday morning with some work clothes and see if you can find somewhere to plug yourself in.
- eUmuganda – If you’d rather keep your pretty hands clean and you have an interest in techy stuff then kLab host eUmuganda each Umuganda Saturday at their space in Kacyiru. They’re currently focusing on mapping Kigali for Open Street Map which sounds like an interesting and worthwhile project. They post info about eUmuganda each month on their website.
- Solid Africa – Not only do these guys do some amazing work providing meals and support to patients in hospitals around Kigali, they’re also a social bunch. Fundraisers often include elaborate parties and nights out organised in cooperation with local bars and clubs.
A good teacher will probably have you interacting with your fellow students… a fine way to get chatting to new people as you attempt something new.
- Language Courses – Kigali isn’t really a mecca for taking language classes and the choices are pretty much limited to French, English, Kinyarwanda and Swahili (although I think a Spanish class used to also be on offer last year). I’ve taken a couple of courses through the French Cultural Institute (located at the roundabout just below UTC) and they’ll certainly get you speaking to new people… just maybe not in a language you fully understand.
- Workshops & Art Classes – City Arts in Kibagabaga are offering figure drawing classes at 7pm on Mondays and painting at 7pm on Wednesdays. They’re also offering workshops in things as varied as building an earthen oven to meditation to how to use your SLR camera. Learning and experimentation in an area that’s of common interest should make meeting people easy. Take a look at their website for upcoming workshops or follow them on Facebook.
- Dance – Salsa is strangely popular here in Kigali. Or at least, there are a lot of places offering classes. The newest addition is City Beach (located next to La Class which is next to Downtown Bar) in town every Saturday night. The Manor Hotel and Pasedena in Gikondo have also offered classes in the past and most likely still do. City Arts offer a few adult dance classes as well.
- Pottery – Cooperative Moderne de Poterie in Kacyiru offers a Saturday morning traditional pottery session that is pretty popular. Grab a hunk of clay, sit down on a banana leaf mat and make stuff while chatting to other wannabe potters.
If you came all the way to Rwanda to meet other muzungus then, you’re in luck! I know where they congregate…
- Quiz Night – I’m pretty sure quiz on Monday nights at Sol e Luna is the highest number of white people in an enclosed space in Rwanda. But it’s a good way to see who’s new to town, meet some new groups of people and maybe even win a pizza and drinks.
- Bagels at ABC – African Bagel Company do a doughnuts and bagels thing on Saturday mornings (except on umuganda) which attracts an interesting mix of families with screaming children and 20-somingthings with hangovers. Go! Meet other families… or meet other hangovers. Either way, you can enjoy a doughnut in a nice setting.
Chances are you’re in Kigali because you already have a job… so I guess this piece of advice is sort of lame. But having a network of coworkers is a great way to meet people. It will probably lead to a lot of wedding invites, new baby visits, and parties where everyone sits around and drinks Fanta but if you’re new to town then you probably have a few of these events in you before they get old. If you’re one of the solo, office-less workers who find yourself wandering like a laptop-toting nomad from coffee shop to coffee shop, check out The Office for a great co-working environment with a nice group of people working on interesting things. Also keep your ears open for people doing similar things to you. People here love to have meetings and if there’s someone out there doing something remotely useful to you, or vice versa, you’ll probably end up meeting them at some point.
Just being generally friendly and approachable will probably lead to random encounters in all sorts of places. Kigali is one of the friendliest cities I’ve lived in. Most people I seem to meet – both locals and expats – are curious about what you’re up to here in town and if you’re a somewhat normal person (or even if you’re not… I’ve done ok for myself) you should find meeting people here pretty easy.
cool stuff! hope to be among you as soon as possible
Thanks in advance for a similar article about how to meet people in Dar. Looking forward to reading it! 🙂
Love the picture, Meryl!
Inbox me on Ezrabamwesigye@gmail.com
It is wonderful met I would be interested to be part of.Sincerely, when live in Kigali having friends is so good, enjoying enjoying with them peaceful and beautiful country of thousand hills. I love you guys.
I would like to build a yoga community!
(for more infos go to: http://www.yoga-kigali.com)
plz tell me more or email me about details on email@example.com
I’m in Kigali this week, preparing to move here in august. Then my wife and I will be staying for three years, and connected to the embassy of Sweden. I am very interested in connecting to some social networks here in Kigali, and have also registered to InterNations. I look forward to getting in touch with you as I return later – or in the time before… 🙂 as I’m back in Sweden. Best regards, Thomas Gamby.
hello Thomas are you still in Kigali or can you connect me to someone there ?
i will be travelling to Kigali in December so need connections
I have just read this article. It isn’t a question of being allowed to join in umuganda, you are obliged to do it. Each house should send at least on adult to participate Also, it is about the only way that you will find out certain information about yor community whenthey have the monthly meeting after umuganda.
coming to a cafe near you..
are there internet cafe with good internet speed?
I’m interested in meeting new people make new friends.
Do you know if there is any culinary clubs or places where I can volunteer to teach cooking classes team building?
I’m a professional chef from San Francisco California. Hope to start a new job in Kigali. Currently interviewing for an executive chef position.
Hi, are you still looking for a job? I am currently looking for someone to start something is rwanda.(a chef) if interested let me know
I believe you already settled in Kigali,
I have never been to Rwanda, I am interested to start a business in Kigali, could you please share with me your experience so far.
Am just one month,old here and I would like to meet new friends whom we can share the word of God together,visit places etc.
helli Betty,you can write to me am interested. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice idea to talk about God’s word my email email@example.com
I would be very interested in ‘bible studies’ 🙂
I will be in Rwanda from Jan 2015.
You can write to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
hello am in rwanda. Have you left Rwanda
my email is email@example.com
You are in the wrong place then. This forum is a nest of godless sinners…
I am Canadian planing to settle in Rwanda,Can any one tell me how is life there for job or Business.
zafar rwanda is a developing country as u know! so we still wants business man because they still few!
Hi, My name is Ronnie Pillay from South Africa and I am a sole distributor of stainless Steel Cookware that’s manufactured in our country.
I, am looking for a business partner to sell our products in your country.
Hey guys, i am a young lady in Rwanda , i like to meet new people, and would love to show people around who dont know anyone in Kigali.
Yea. I would like for you to give me a tour.
Hi Flora, I’m a U.S Citizen and I’m very interested in visiting Rwanda one day and also having a good friend from Rwanda. Would you like to start talking with me? you can reply to me via my email.
Am Humphery by name I should be visiting Rwanda this December and I don’t know anybody there do you have someone that can show me around I will really appreciate it thanks.
Hello Flora I am going to visit Rwanda pls can you show me around the place and local knowledge.
I am an architecture Thesis student in Kigali, looking for new Architects coming in Rwanda to show them around what’s going on. In architecture Field.
mr darius you can add me on whatsapp i can help you
Hello ,I am Rwandan and called Melissa Really Rwanda is a peacefull country with friendly people, Developing,with a nice culture and very clean so if you want to spend time in Rwanda I can Help You my e mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi!!my name is mrisho from Tanzania!!am here to find new friends from any country!! my was app no.+255754389186 !! my email:email@example.com
Whoever need someone to hang out with and discover the city, I will be honored as I love to share culture differences and you are really welcome to explore Rwanda with me. just dm me on +250 782 981581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi all Am Dickson areal estate agent in kigali ,as most of you are new in the country i think your probably going to look for a short term or long term accommodation in different areas of Kigali i can be of help to guide you around to the properties up on market that suits your needs and show you even nearby neighborhood of your interest
if you want to reach me regarding this service visit my web site http://www.climaxrwanda.com all details are there and some housing options are also there
thank you so very much and wish you pleasant stay in Kigali (Rwanda)
Hello am Oprah from Rwanda …working for a community based organisation.. I love meeting new people and interacting and learning if you are looking for a friend check me out. On email@example.com
hello guys am called magnus bugingo from Tanzania I feel happy to meet with different people from different countries fell proud to live Rwanda because it is my origin country
I am Rwandan girl living here in kigali if you want we can be friends and i can show you kigali and around kigali .
My mobile number is 0788416234
To All Rwandans, I’m definitely in love with your country because President Kagame makes me proud. I will love to visit this country but I need to make good friends before. I’m a U.S Citizen leaving in Boston Massachusetts. I’m very excited to meet you.
Hey Jean!welcome to Rwanda.am a rwandan citizen living in kigali ans i’d be glad to know you better my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Rwanda will be glad to welcome you jean.i’m jenny a really rwandaise I like to meet new people n show them around, to show them how our rwandaise beautiful so i’ll be glad to help you out.this is my email email@example.com
This is my first time I find this website even though it’s not the first and last time I welcome new friends from abroad.
I am happy that it connects the whole world to Rwanda.
My friends from abroad, don’t and never hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or watsap me on +250725509968.
You’ll be enjoying Rwandan mood.
Planned to visit Rwanda in july, want to make friends who will show me round and make the place home for me
I will like to visit Kigali, I had a stop-over there on my way from Dubai some years back and I love the place.
hi Evelyn, you are most welcome to the land of a thousand hill.
The land of a thousand hills “Rwanda”
Hello to whoever is planning to visit our countr Rwanda you most welcome.
My name is muhinda Barnabas the right guide for you to enjoy your visit
With the following;
Fare Transport costs
Favourable costs of Accommodation
Cheapest places to have ur lunch
Just check me on email@example.com
Low transport fares
accommodation at a favourable costs
Hello, I’m from Sudan planning to visit kigali to gather information.
Want to invest in construction and real-estate any one can help?
I’m an architect based in Kigali. Feel free to reach out if you need to chat.
You are in right place at the right time
I am juvens and good at sales and marketing especially in construction and machinery I can help when you reach in kigali +250780468499
Hello Hashim, hope you are doing well. I am here, because I was interested to welcome you in Rwanda after reading your post. So, I am ready to help you and provide you with any information that you might need.
Cellphone number: 0786694712
Hi, I’m from Ghana and planning to visit kigali next month and it’s my first time in kigali, I’m actually looking for a good friend to hang out with during my stay in kigali.
Hey, this site is really amazing, didn’t know it but it’s alluring.
Again I am Nicky a medical student in university of Rwanda, based in Kigali
If any healthcare related field worker/students ever visit Rwanda. I will be glad to connect and show them around. Thanks
Hello my good people of Rwanda. I have much passion in my heart when I hear about Rwanda. I am a Cameroonian in the English speaking. I am a business man. I am equally a distributor of the jm products in Cameroon. This is a type of business of the 21st century. I actually want to shift my distribution and training in This most beautiful nation of Africa RWANDA. Can someone help me to discover this country and the possibility of expanding my business?
My name is Zacharie. I am Rwandan living there. I can help you. Just conntact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org
I would be delighted to show you around and give any assistance you need.
hi my name is Chris am Rwandan so if u need to visit Kigali or in place in Rwanda I can help u I can guide u and if u are good friend I will do it for free to make u feel good and happy in Rwanda I will help u to find cheapest commendation and I will help to to enjoy Kigali like visiting art center in Kigali nice restaurant pool If u like to swim and I will let u know about volcano park and akagera park our beautiful lake and their history SK find me on email@example.com or +250783520986 whatsapp me or call me if u are here in Kigali
hi I live in London,i will be coming to Kigali in march I love to have someone to show me around town
I want to make a trip to Kigali with a view to setting up a business in motor spare parts
Hello, I’m from Palestine in I looking to start a business in Rwanda and I think I need some help. Thanks
Hello everyone My wife and I are looking to relocate to kingali soon and would love to meet some new people that are there, we are originally from the states but we currently live in Morocco if anyone would like to chat and meet up when we arrive let us know we can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and via WhatsApp
Hello I’m Nadia a student nurse from Rwanda any one who is interested in visiting Rwanda and making new friends
I’m ready to help
hope am not too late to answer you, I would be delighted to offer you any assistance you are looking for. I am located in Rwanda Kigali.
hey everyone I’m dj black Radio/club Dj i live in rwanda and i proud my country oooohhhh my God Peaceful ? beautiful country my friend brother/sister let me tell something if you want to spend time in rwanda i can help you if you like i can show every where you want to know in Rwanda(people group activities.art gallery.stop place.street kid.gorilla.musium.Etc) if you’re interested Writen me on e-mail: email@example.com or WhatsApp : +250787681804
I am called Richard Ngendahayo
aged 23 years old, i live in Kigali, i am singer,poet and basketball player i am kind ,loving and caring guy by then i just wanna meet with friends any body interested in me can hit me up on+250786144616 or write to me via Email:ngendahayorichard1@gmail ,
Hi every body here,
I am a Sudanese living in Saudi Arabia, I have never been to Rwanda, I am interested to start a business in Kigali, could you please share with me your experience and advice.
My name is Richard nickison im very happy to meet with you here im from Rwanda kigali if your from canada or Australia text me on watsapp on +250788205373
Hello People of Rwanda . A very happy Hello from my side . I am going to visit Rwanda kigali soon in August month . I wish to know people , meet them make friends and wish cud see kigali Rwanda with them , I am also looking for a place to stay near city centre which is accessible to every important need . A shared apartment a room will do but it sud be safe and nice clean . Wish to know interesting people in Rwanda with whom I can share business tots, know about Rwanda and also can know party places and things to do in Rwanda.
I am planning to visit Kigali by month end, I dont know anybody but am looking for a nice person who is vast in business and educate me on areas to invest.
Have you already visited? I would love to help if you are already in Rwanda we are a tour company that helps people to take them around Rwanda and enjoy the beauty of the country as well as providing info for any sector you may be interested in.
you can reach us on +250789806428
Hello Francis Ezimorah! hope you are doing well. Therefore, I have heard you searching for someone to lead you and show you the most potential areas in which to invest in Rwanda. So, I am the one, if you are interested write me via my personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
N.B I am waiting for you.
I’m a visitor in Rwanda Kigali on ICA Cooperative submit for educational program. I need a nice Rwandan lady as companion that would take me to places of interest during my short stay in d country. And such a person shld, pls, send her WhatsApp number.
My name is laprince and would like to have friends from rwanda kigali
Hey guys my name is Fiona am happy to meet u here in Rwanda if you need to know the nice place here in Kigali I can help u this my contact +250788658213
Hey laprince I can help you this my contact +250788658213 thank u so much
Hey friends,am Rwandan and am ready to help anyone who wish to visit Rwanda,don’t hesitate am sincere, honest and nice to anybody , contact me on WhatsApp:(+250)786616685 I will guide you and help you to enjoy .
Hello… everyone! Hope everything is going well. Anyway my name is Laurene, I’m 23yrs old and live in Kigali with my family and just wanna tells you that if anyone arrived in the city for first time and want to have a friend or to explore the city don’t hesitate to contacts me because I’m full available to help him or her. Hit me up
Hope to hear from you soon ✌