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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Rwanda

A flavour of Rwanda on a hands-on gourmet adventure

For a lot of travellers, food is a big part of the overall experience, which is why this is one of our most popular tours…

By Alissa Ruxin
Founder and CEO of Heaven Holdings Ltd

My first business in Rwanda was a restaurant called Heaven, and from the very beginning we tried to use local ingredients to create a delicious modern African menu. Over the years, we’ve developed relationships with all kinds of nearby farmers: people growing macadamia nuts, chia seeds, cassava, orange sweet potatoes of the kind we know in America… Several years ago, I started to open hotel rooms and realised that, for most visitors, the focus was the gorillas and the history but not the culture – and a big part of the culture is food. 

So I created a half-day tour that starts with a visit to one of Kigali’s colourful farmers markets where we shop for some of the ingredients for the cooking class later. I like to ask my clients what they’re most interested in and customise the culinary tour a little bit accordingly, so we start with a market and then see if they’d like to visit a farm just outside Kigali or maybe go to a milk bar. I don’t know if you’ve heard about these, but they’re a big thing in Rwanda. They’re places where you can go and drink buttermilk, whole milk, different types of milk – it’s a unique experience for visitors. 

And then we come back to my property to do two things. One is a short cooking class that focuses on Rwandan-inspired recipes. A lot of people don’t know how to handle plantains, for instance; depending on where you’re from in the world, a lot of the local ingredients are a little intimidating. So the clients put on their aprons and learn how to prepare various fruits and vegetables, cook a few dishes and have a tasting, followed by a nice lunch. So it’s a hands-on experience, and the cooks who lead the class speak enough English to really make it fun. We also incorporate cocktail making – my restaurants are sort of famous for using lemongrass, passionfruit and all the beautiful tropical fruits to create innovative non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. 

It’s one of the most popular tours that we’ve created. For a lot of travellers, food is a big part of the overall experience and this allows them to interact with farmers, explore community markets and discover new recipes that they can take home with them afterwards. People love it.


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Alfred & Alissa Ruxin

San Franciscan Alissa Ruxin moved to Rwanda on her honeymoon in 2005 and never left. Three years later, inspired by her foodie upbringing, she founded Heaven, a restaurant and hospitality training facility which has helped more than 1,500 Rwandans to date. Over the years, the Heaven portfolio has expanded to include hotels, restaurants, tours and experiences, a journey partly documented in husband Josh’s book, A Thousand Hills to Heaven.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.

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