The ultimate Kigali city tour, with a visit to Nyamirambo has become one of the great way to explore Kigali City with a sightseeing walking adventure. It’s a fun day out, full of exploration and discovery. Includes a guided walking tour of the city, a visit to Nyamirambo, a pub Milk bar and a local cuisine lunch has become one of the hot spot.
Cows are incredibly important to Rwandan culture, and symbolize wealth, prosperity, and identity. Cows are still used today to pay a marriage dowry, or bride price. Milk is, as a result, also very important culturally, and small shops dedicated only to milk (called milk bars) are classically Kigali. Milk bars in the Nyamirambo or Kimisagara neighborhoods of Kigali are often the best, and are designated as such with the phrase ‘Amata Meza’ (meaning fresh milk in Kinyarwanda) and a drawing of a cow on the door.
A foodie tradition unique to Rwanda, the ever-present milk bar is Rwanda’s version of a neighbourhood pub. Milk bars serve just what their name suggests: milk, and lots of it. With the influx of the growth in tourism and many tourists taking on walking tours around Nyamirambo, a visit to the Milk bar has led to the venture of many milk bars around the area, as many tourists want to kill their thirst with a cold drink, thus a taste of local drink, of course milk is always an option to try out.
There’s nothing like a wholesome glass of milk in the morning or after a hard work, you feel really thrill, as the cold juice just finds its way through you throat. You can as well decide to take hot milk, with may be a bite of a piece of cake of banana. This gives you great energy to push on with your walking tour. This is one way to find a relaxing stop, to take a rest as you buy the milk. Others do visit it as part of the walking tour to experience the culture of the people, so they decide to take a sweep of the milk.
Meeting up with friends for a nice warm glass of milk, may sound unusual, but these milk bars are common in Rwanda. Especially in a Muslim neighborhood like Nyamirambo, where the local population does not drink alcohol, milk bars not only provide well, milk, for a family, but they’re a hangout spot for the community.
Snacks like samosas, muffins, hard-boiled eggs, and chapati are available too, and though many of Kigali’s old-school milk bars have recently been replaced by the blue and white corporate-looking Inyange Milk Zones, the traditional milk bars that remain are held dear by Rwandan locals. Milk bars are the place to catch breakfast or lunch, as well as to socialize with loved ones and community members.
Ikivuguto, is another one, many as well would like to explore culture to the roots, then you should definitely try the ikivuguto (as opposed to the normal inshushyu) milk which is something between yogurt, lassi and butter milk – the first time you’ll find it weird, the second time you will make it to the bottom of the glass and the third time you will have found a new addiction.
Taking milk is a culture for Rwandese; they always take milk as much as they can consume, and many do meet for just a glass of milk, and is part of their culture.
These milk bars exist only in Rwanda, and cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa. Kigali is Rwanda’s milk-bar capital, as city residents can’t usually keep cows, and thus have to rely upon different methods for procuring milk than their rural counterparts.
When to go?: Everyday apart from the last Saturday of each month (Umuganda)