Every once in a while I discover a new place or activity in Kigali that blows my mind. This is what happened when I went to Sunday Park.
I was looking for an ideal place for a pre-wedding photo shoot, but also a place where a couple could enjoy themselves over a picnic, and a friend told me to try out Sunday Park.
Tucked away in the valley that separates the affluent settlements of Nyarutarama and Kacyiru, this gem of a leisure facility is situated right opposite the newly renovated golf course.
Built on an expansive piece of land, Sunday Park is like a flower garden, and features a small lake, a mini-golf course, a nature park and an art exhibition.
The entrance doesn’t prepare you for what is inside, which the manager tells me is by design, because the idea is to give whoever visits the place a sense of wonder, something they could not have expected. This is why the entrance to the place is not even branded.
Intoxicating green flora surround the natural lake, which is separated by beautifully curved pathways that snake through the facility.
A swan floats on the main lake, and right beside it is one of the main picnic sites boasting the greenest grass you will see in Kigali.
Both the lake and picnic site are dotted with brown pottery of all sizes, beautifully curved white stones, flowers, life-size sculptures of an elephant, a crested crane, a crocodile, a gorilla, and more to give the place an idyllic, expansive look.
The owner made sure every compartment is different, such that a visitor gets a taste of diversity.
The lakes have fish, and visitors can fish, while those who want to play golf can do so at the mini golf course, while those who want to sail on boats will get the chance in the coming months.
The multi-themed sprawling facility also has a wedding reception area and a self-contained wooden cottage where the bride and groom can spend a night.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit Rwanda’s MICE and tourism sectors hard. It has also exposed the lack of sufficient entertainment and leisure offerings, especially in Kigali where most events happen.
Guests who needed a place to relax and unwind have always had to drive upcountry, to Gisenyi or Kibuye to enjoy all that Lake Kivu has to offer, and it is this gap in Kigali that Sunday Park came to try and fill.
The idea was to develop a place that has a piece of everything, the water, the flora, the games, while also offering a venue for different ceremonies such as weddings.
Many Kigali residents have started coming to Sunday Park despite it not being fully opened. They come for weddings, picnics, birthday parties, wedding photo shoots, shooting music videos as well as wedding proposals.
Parents also come with their children to play in the scenic gardens.
Every person is charged Rwf5,000 ($5), while those who come for photo shoots pay an extra Rwf60,000 ($60).
At the moment, visitors have to come with their own food and snacks because the kitchen is not yet operational. However, the management says all this will be in place in the next three months when it officially opens.