I feel like, about once a week, someone asks on Expats: “Where should I bring my team to find XYZ?” The list is usually things like traditional crafts, baskets, fabrics, and artisan goods.
The answer: there are numerous places in Kigali you could bring your guests to fill this need! I thought I’d compile some info for everyone so we all have a quick resource when the need arises 🙂
I’m a firm believer in Kimironko Market being a must-see for any guests that come visit us here in Kigali. Besides being where we buy our produce and have our local clothing tailored, we’ve become friends with many vendors over the last few years. There’s a kitenge section, boasting countless stalls of fabrics and tailors waiting to make you lovely clothes and bags (plus some pre-made stuff too). There’s a crafts section, where guests can find all kinds of local crafts- from Rwanda and other East African imports. There’s a hardware section (likely not useful for your guests) and finally- the food market!
Kimironko can be a bit overstimulating and sometimes crazy to bring children to- full disclosure. But if your guests are up for a bit of an adventure, I highly recommend it! Shopping is barter style.
2. Ubumwe House
This little strip of shops in Kacyiru has developed in the past year- and I am so glad. Housing Design : Rwanda (Sarah Day Designs and Abraham Konga), Azizi Life Studio (DIY crafts, plus goods from Azizi Life and Beeutiful Creations), Akeza Shop (housing Umutima, Bee Light, and Inwood Designs), and a few other small craft shops (including Chocolat Caractere!)and restos, you can easily make an afternoon out of this stop. Prices are set here.
Again, this is another developing area of the city that could easily be an afternoon stop. Most notable is Abraham Konga Collections, half of which is high-end traditional East African crafts (including many from lovely co-ops). The other half boasts Abraham’s unique, popular upcycled jewelry designs- something for everyone!
Around the corner from Abraham’s are several craft shops that each seem to have a unique spin- one has cool lamps, another some pretty fun premade clothing. There’s also a Twistiblends smoothie bar and- SOON!- a 4BLOOMS burgers! Keep going up the hill a bit, and you have Kiseki (Japanese buffet) and Mamba Club (bowling alley, playground, and resto). Kiseki also has a nice shopping area, and a tailor who can do custom clothes. It’s a super fun area of town, and a great shopping spot. Most prices set here.
I don’t go here often, but Caplaki is a great stop if Kimironko feels too hectic, but your guests still want to barter and get more local / inexpensive goods. This apparently used to be an organically formed market section in Town that was repossessed by the city, who moved the vendors to this space between Kimihurura and Town. Each vendor has their own little room within the site, so it’s a lot more relaxing than Kimironko!
5. The Shop
Okay so- this is less local crafts and more a fantastic collection of co-ops from around Kigali- and I love to bring visitors here. Housing More Than Sparrows, DuHope, Umucyo, Talking Through Art, books from Imagine WE, and more- this is a great place for shopping for a special gift to bring back for someone you love! Lots of jewelry, home goods, clothing- great for women 😉
What’s your go-to shopping site to take visitors? Have any one-stop-shops I should add?
I think all these are great. I also love Toddle Care because there are usually little people I’m buying for. I’m also a big fan of Dokami Rwanda leather goods. It’s also worth a visit to the whole shop of Talking Through Art. I took two of their baskets home as gifts and they were a big hit.