Land of a thousand hills
I have heard so much about how Rwanda is the neatest country in Africa. This was one thing I looked forward to seeing for myself, you know how good the internet is at over-hyping things. Well, it turned out to be very true. Infact, I don’t think justice is done to how disciplined they are at keeping their streets clean. From morning till night, you won’t find any litter on the ground.
They sure deserve some accolades for keeping their country neat.
From the bus terminal, we had a three hour plus journey to Gisenyi (a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, on the border with DR Congo) where we lodged in an eco-friendly resort which had a beautiful African themed look, from the entrance right to the rest rooms.
We were blessed with views of beautiful scenery while we journeyed to Gisenyi. Where most countries have shrubs and bushes along their highways, Rwanda has beautifully maintained horticultural landscapes. Oh the hills, were another sight to see.
We had to stop the car during the ride to take it all in. I have to say, Rwanda has got to be one of the most beautiful countries in Africa.
We were so tired and hungry by the time we were done with check in at the resort, food was all that was on our minds. No one wanted to try any local dish food exploration anymore, lol. We settled for familiar continental dishes.
After the meal, we took a few minutes to chill and explore our surroundings before heading out for a boat ride on Lake Kivu which is on the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
My main focus on the boat ride was to catch the sunset and shoot some landscape shots. My next favourite activity to chasing waterfalls has got to be catching the sunset.
After the boat ride, we retired for the night when we were done with dinner. The next day was check out day and a long drive to the capital city – Kigali. Well not after having breakfast, this is a worthy mention ‘cus I had the best pancake I have ever tasted.
On our way to Kigali, we stopped once again to take in the beautiful landscape of Rwanda. I spotted some guys on bicycle. My creative juices were flowing so I beckoned on our tour guide to speak to them in their native language (Swahili) to allow us use their bicycles to take some pictures.
We checked into our hotels on arrival at Kigali. This was more like a commercial city, with more cars and the bustle and hustle of city life unlike Gisenyi that was quiet and you could count the vehicles on the road. Seemed everyone rather walked or used a bicycle in Gisenyi.
High point of our stay at Kigali was the visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial centre. The place holds so much pain. I remember watching Hotel Rwanda (a movie based on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi) many years back and getting broken by the movie.
I was ready to be an emotional mess because reviews I got from others who had visited was they left there in tears. Surprisingly, I didn’t shed a tear. I was too furious, too angry and mad at the senseless killings. Worse, same thing is still going on in the Northern parts of Nigeria and the world isn’t even taking it serious. If even our government is inept and highly irresponsible to care, why is the world making the same mistake they made in Rwanda? Looking the other way while thousands of innocent persons are murdered. Writing this even makes me angry all over again.
I remember how we started out with smiling faces from the craft shop before we were taken into a room where we watched a short clip on the genocide. From there we moved round the building. My anger growing worse as we progressed from one room to another, reading about the history of the killings, watching video clips and interviews of survivors of the genocide. The pain and scars it has left…
The part that broke me was seeing the skulls with bullet holes and cracked skulls evidencing machete cuts and those crushed by hard metals. How did we get here? How did we lose our humanity? Neighbours turning against neighbours they played with, ate with, all for what?
We had a rather quiet ride back to our hotel. Everyone was touched by the visit to the memorial. We rested a while to get back to ourselves and then headed out at night to get a view of the city at night. We ended up at the Kigali International Convention center.
The next day, we had a brief city tour, did some shopping (one of my least favourite activity) before heading to the airport to board a flight back to Nigeria.
And that signaled the end of our 10 days East Africa tour covering Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Big thumbs up to @wakawithdebbie for pulling off such an amazing multiple country trip and mostly, special thanks to one of the best travel buddies ever @faithastic and @aijayc, @wakawithdebbie inclusive.
It was one trip filled with so much laughter and relaxation, the down to earth nature of the ladies made it very easy for me to blend in and it was just the perfect trip even though at first I was skeptical being that I was going to be the only guy. If I was to do the trip all over again, I definitely will choose them as my travel buddies.