Knowing Kigali: What time is it?


Here in this freezing city of Kigali, the sun rises before 6a.m. Now that’s a first for me. I know this because by 5.45a.m, it’s dawn enough to set out on my morning walk.

This phenomenon is no different in the evening. Twilight sneaks in, again, before, startling those of us tourists who find it strange that by the time it’s past the hour, a covering of darkness has descended comfortably, significantly.

It was temporarily unsettling, these changes, coupled with Kigali’s time difference (it is an hour ahead of Lagos).


Don’t get me wrong. This won’t be the first time I’d encounter a different time zone but it would certainly be experiencing the combination of another time zone and its attendant unusual day/night occurrences. Together, they were quite unnerving to deal with.

In a moment of childish defiance (and maybe to keep me anchored to Lagos or keep my wits about me, I don’t know which exactly), I never adjusted my wristwatch to Kigali’s local time throughout my entire stay there.

With time and deliberate efforts, my entire being, however, adapted to this peculiar, premature, sky – changing instances.


They didn’t stop my sense of awe every time I witnessed them or prevent me from whipping out my camera to capture nature’s glorious expressions. Or reduce the distress I felt (on days I didn’t go out for my morning walks) when bright, unforgiving sun rays would rudely, crudely (and without warning) at the unearthly hour of 6a.m. rouse me up from my beauty sleep.

Instinctively, I’d glance at my watch and, just in time, stifle a scream at the 5a.m. it was read. 5a.m. Lagos time.

One good this served was on the days I walked. By the time the sun had completed its rise, I too had completed my walk with time enough to spare to watch its brilliant ascent. Nothing beat watching the beginning of another day unfold and being thankful to be part of it.

The downside? An earlier dawn meant my me-time (during my workouts, when I drive solo and other precious little time I can be alone without my beau and/or the children) was grossly lessened. Any hint of sunlight signaled waking up time to the children, especially on holidays. With the dawn approaching earlier in Kigali, it meant…farewell, me-time.


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