Kigali Genocide Memorial
In the span of 100 days, an estimated one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were systematically butchered by the Interahamwe army. This Kigali genocide memorial center honours the estimated 250,000 people buried here in mass graves and also has an excellent exhibition that tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded. This is an intensely powerful and moving memorial for which you should dedicate at least half a day. The informative audio tour (US$15) includes background on the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda and as the visit progresses, the exhibits become steadily more powerful, as you are confronted with the crimes that took place here and moving video testimony from survivors. If you have remained dispassionate until this point, you’ll find that it will all catch up with you at the section that remembers the children who fell victim to the killers’ machetes.
Life-sized photos are accompanied by intimate details about their favourite toys, their last words and the manner in which they were killed.
The memorial concludes with sections on the search for justice through the international tribunal in Arusha as well as the local gacaca courts (traditional tribunals headed by village elders).
Upstairs is a moving section dedicated to informing visitors about other genocides that have taken place around the world and helping to set Rwanda’s nightmare in a historical context.
After you’ve absorbed the museum displays, take a rose (by donation) to leave on one of the vast concrete slabs outside that cover the mass graves. There’s also a wall of names, a rose garden and a pleasant cafe serving good coffee, lunch buffets (RFr3000), snacks and juices that is an ideal place to reflect and gather yourself before facing the outside world again.
The Kigali Memorial Centre is located in the northern Kisozi district of the capital, which is a short moto-taxi ride from the centre (RFr500).
The Kigali Genocide Memorial includes three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. There is also a children’s memorial and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. The education centre, gardens, and Genocide Archive of Rwanda contribute to a meaningful tribute to those who perished, and provide a powerful educational experience for visitors.
The memorial has five primary objectives:
To provide a dignified place of burial for victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi
To inform and educate visitors about the causes, implementation and consequences of the genocide, and other genocides throughout history.
To teach visitors about what we can do to prevent future genocides.
To provide a documentation centre to record evidence of the genocide, testimonies of genocide survivors and details of genocide victims.
To provide support for survivors, in particular orphans and widows.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is located in Gisozi, ten minutes drive from the centre of town. The easiest way to reach the memorial is by car or taxi.
8:00am – 5:00pm
(last entrance is at 4:00pm)
7 days a week
(except the last Saturday of each month)
On the last Saturday of each month, the memorial is open from 1:00pm to 5:00pm due to Umuganda community work (last entrance is at 4:00pm).
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a guided experience. Visitors can choose to be guided by one of the staff or purchase the KGM digital guide which provides an audio-visual tour.
- The Kigali Genocide Memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. We kindly ask you to maintain a respectful behaviour and dress code.
- Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit.
- Do not step or walk on the mass graves.
- Eating or drinking is not allowed in the gardens or in the memorial exhibition. You are invited to visit the memorial cafe where you can enjoy a range of food and drink.
- Pets are not allowed at the memorial. Service animals are permitted.
- While we will do our best to accommodate you, the memorial cannot guarantee entry to groups that arrive more than 30 minutes after their scheduled reservation time.
- As you take photos, please be considerate of other visitors.