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Kimironko Market Tour

Rwanda, like the rest of East Africa, is known for its lively, colorful, and unique markets. Kimironko Market, located in Kigali’s Kimironko neighborhood, is the busiest market in town, more like the famous Owino market in Kampala, Uganda. Locals from all over the city come here to stock up on fruits and vegetables, fabric, clothing, and shoes, as well as other household necessities. Locals from all over Kigali shop here for fruit, vegetables, fabric, clothing, shoes, and general household necessities.

Vendors sell produce from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while locals from all over the city shop for fruit, vegetables, fabric, clothing, shoes, and general household necessities. This is the place to see Rwanda at its most alive.

Kimironko Market is housed in a sprawling warehouse complex with four equal-sized entrances. With your back to the Kimironko bus station, the official entrance to the market, where household goods and plastic buckets of various shapes and sizes are sold, is located. The colorful kinteges fabric is sold through the market’s right entrance, while the butchers and fishermen sell meat and lake fish through the market’s left entrance. The additional entrance leads directly to the market seamstresses and second-hand clothing.

Kigali’s Kimironko Market is busiest in the early afternoon when sellers have just arrived and are displaying their wares for sale. Saturdays and Mondays are frequently the busiest days of the week, with Sundays considered slow due to many merchants taking the day off. The Kimironko bus station serves major Kigali public transportation destinations, making it convenient to get to and from. Buses from all over the city bring eager shoppers to the market gates, while motorcycle taxis and regular taxis wait for overburdened shoppers to hire them for a ride home.

Turn right as you enter the main market gates, just opposite the bus park, and proceed to the distant market walls. In that area, rows and rows of brilliant kinteges cloth are hawked on stalls from all over Africa. Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, the Republic of the Congo, and several other countries are represented.

If you buy some of this fabric, the salespeople will most likely refer you to a seamstress on the outskirts of kinteges. These skilled tailors are always available and eager to produce kinteges apparel or accessories in a timely and cost-effective manner. Keep in mind that prices fluctuate throughout the market, and when haggling, be patient, cool, and steady to receive the best offers.

Draw a straight line from the Kitenge vendors and seamstresses to the market’s far left corner. Before the market opens up into a sprawling fresh produce bazaar, the narrow lanes are packed with used clothing, tourist items, shoes, and a true hardware store.

Endless potatoes, still caked in earth, are heaped high in black booths. When carrots, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant are perfectly packed, shopping becomes an art form. On the other end of the complex, you’ll find juicy mangoes, small bananas, sour passion fruit, and tree tomatoes, as well as avocados the size of your fist in the center. Melons and pumpkins are trucked in from Uganda, and the aisles are lined with giant green plantains still on the branch.

Oil, spices, garlic, and fresh ginger are sold in neat piles at the front of the market, towards the bus station, while the egg section is on the left. The woman selling eggs is a delight, and she has been in business for many years. Eggs are brought in from all over the city and its environs, with prices varying depending on where the bird is located and the size of the egg.

Then there’s the beef section. The left side of the entry wall is lined with frozen fish, dried tilapia and isambaza across the street, and stacks of lush green vegetables. Butchers are dressed in white doctor’s gowns and wield knives with authority. If you get tired of walking through the narrow market corridors and crowded aisles, head outside and into one of the nearby restaurants for a quick samosa, chapatti, and cool soda.

Though the market is not small, it is easy to navigate because the items sold are clearly organized by type and thus location. Kimironko Market, with its dizzying array of sights, smells, and sounds, is undoubtedly overwhelming, but it is an absolute must-see in Kigali.

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John Doe

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