Community, Diaspora and Immigration

Nyarutarama, host to the creme de la creme of Rwanda

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Nyarutarama, Kigali’s most high end suburb, is a posh housing estate that came up in the early 2000s.

Nyarutarama has attracted high end hotels, restaurants, bars, luxurious sports centres such as Rwanda’s only golf course and the best of the few tennis courts in the country.

There is no doubt that the sprouting of estates such as Nyarutarama, Gacuriro and Gisozi in Kigali is a sign of the growth of Rwanda’s middle class.

Imasy Ramapy, a Madagascan national who has lived in Nyarutarama for two years now and works at the Manor Hotel, says a lot has changed from the time he arrived in this area.

Mr Imasy says more exotic restaurants have come up offering Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisine, serving both foreigners and the well to do Rwandans, since the prices are way above what an ordinary Rwandan can afford.

At most bars in this area, beer goes for $2.5 to $3 a bottle, double what the ordinary pubs charge.

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A two-room self-contained rental house costs $300 a month, doubling the monthly rent of a house in an ordinary suburb of Kigali while there are houses that go for between $2,000 and $3,000 monthly.

“This place is way beyond the means of any ordinary Rwandan either to hang out, build or rent here in; in our circles, we call it the ministers’ village,” said Jean Claude Vuningoma, who comes to watch golf games.

Mr Vuningoma also said that it is very expensive to acquire a plot of land around Nyarutarama. Plots here go for more than ($167,014) Rwf100 million.

“A Rwandan from the US wanted a plot of land to build a house overlooking the Nyarutarama golf course but he could not get any that was less than Rwf100 million,” added Mr Vuningoma.

The cost of housing has been rising in Rwanda but it has been rampant in such top suburbs, rising from $33,402 in 2004 to about $100,208 today.

These areas accommodate diplomats, United Nations employees, ministers, wealthy business personalities and generally the top cream of Rwandan society.

“I was born in Nyarutarama; in the early 1990s, one would literally not want to own a plot of land here. I am surprised how this has evolved into the most expensive area in town,” said Dominique Byayimfura, who operates a kiosk in the area.

Mr Byayimfura added that the only facility that has been there for some time is the golf course.

Rwanda has only four professional golf players, while there are 180 members in the association of golfers.

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