Singita’s 178-acre property sits on the border of Volcanoes National Park; one of four national parks in Rwanda and its most heavily patrolled. Home to one-third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, conservation of this precious habitat is an enormous priority.
Claudine’s days involve environmental monitoring and protection, following up on the plant nursery and landscape reforestation, working closely with contractors to ensure that safe and sustainable practices are followed, and organising community consultation meetings and regular communication with local authorities in Rwanda.
An African Insider’s City Guide to Kigali
Kigali is central, with lush hillsides but a heartbreaking history. Claudine dishes the details on secret museums and her best brunch spots to indulge in before setting off to explore the rest of Rwanda.
Claudine, please express your style in two words so we can suss out your recommendations
I am simple and confident.
What’s your day job and how did it bring you to this city?
I coordinate the conservation and community program at Singita Volcanoes National Park. I came to this city when I joined Singita in 2017.
Do you prefer the outdoors or the indoors?
Always outdoors when in Kigali!
How would you describe Kigali in five words? What’s the vibe?
Clean, green, healthy, cool and not very expensive.
What brings you joy?
My family, especially my three sons, are my strong motivation.
Is there a flavour that instantly reminds you of this city?
The nyamacoma (a local BBQ, whole goat roasted in the oven) dish comes to mind.
First thing’s first. What’s your top Kigali brunch spot?
The Retreat by Heaven. (Or later in the day, you can join a Heaven Banana Wine Experience).
What’s a dinner party dish you enjoy making?
A good barbecue with roasted Kinigi potatoes, and a nice salad.
A favourite place to meet with friends?
Money is no object. Where’s the first place you take someone?
The Serena Hotel. There’s lots of space and great food.
Got anything on your own city bucket list that you’ve been meaning to check out?
A full-day walking tour. There are lots of areas I would like to have time to explore on foot.
Be honest. What’s the most overrated stop in your city?
One unmissable museum or gallery that’s worth the queue?
Don’t miss the Kigali Genocide Memorial site to learn about the country’s history.
Complete this sentence. Skip the tourist landmarks and…
Any recent openings you adore?
You have to buy a last-minute gift! Where do you go for something unusual?
Nyamirambo Women’s Center. This collective of women creates and sells beautiful bags, decor and more.
Give us the scoop. What’s the Covid-19 reality check on the ground? Any policies to know about? Industry hardships?
Get your vaccination, wear a mask, and adhere to social distancing and regular testing. Most coffee shops and restaurants will ask for a vaccination certificate at the door in Kigali.
Where do you go to unwind?
Tedga’s Recreation Center. We go as a family and the kids love it!
One piece of advice you’d give to a family visitor coming for the first time?
Visit during the summer, and, again, don’t miss the Kigali Genocide Memorial site to learn about the country’s history.
What African destination is on your own bucket list?
Zanzibar island for sure!
Kigali sits in the centre of the country and is a great base from which to organise your trip around Rwanda. Inspired? Plan your trip to Rwanda with all the inside advice.