They do not call this place the land of a 1,000 hills for nothing and throughout our 3 hour journey from Kigali – Gisenyi, I was marvelled. I was constantly telling my husband, “babe please take a photo”, “babe please make a video”, “babe please let’s stop”. A regular 3 hour trip took us over 4 hours because of the numerous stops. The hills were truly alive. Here is how our last two days in Rwanda went.
DAY 3- THE BIG 3-0!
Going on a holiday for my birthday is something I have always wanted to do and Gisenyi was the perfect place to spend it. Lake Kivu, one of the African great lakes, was the beach front of our hotel and I couldn’t wait to soak everything all in! We set out at 10.00am and our trip was nothing short of amazing. We kept wow-ing and wow-ing at the views. If there is any adjective better that picturesque, please insert it here. Rwanda is truly remarkable! The roads reminded me so much of Mahe, Seychelles. We drove right to the top of the hill(s) and the back down. If you are scared of heights, you might have to close your eyes throughout the road trip. The roads are extremely steep with loads of bends and you’ll be going up and down for 3 hours.
Tea is Rwanda’s largest export and though we could not go on a tea plantation tour, we took stunning photos at the plantations. We spotted the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund in Muzanze(Ruhungeri). You can read about Dian and her awesome work with the mountain gorillas here. Other places we spotted were the Congo Nile trail, the Volcanoes National Park (well the road leading to it), another genocide museum (we could not afford any more sad days so we did not go in) and loads of farm land. As we approached our resort, we could see a large water body and we knew that had to be Lake Kivu!
“I am feeling good tonight. This thing got me thanking God for life. Oh, I can’t explain”. We heard this familiar tune at the lobby of our resort in Gisenyi. The international love for Nigerian music is incredible. We got checked in, headed to our room and got prepared to be beach bums. Then it started raining AGAIN! We resorted to the views from our balcony, ordered room service and went for dinner later at night. I got a surprise cake from the resort and the Rwandan band sang me a melodious happy birthday song. It felt really special. After a night stroll by the lake and one more cocktail, we retired to our room for the night.
DAY 4- EXPLORING GISENYI
Thank you sun-god!
Immediately we saw a glimpse of the sun, we hurriedly ate our breakfast and got changed for the beach. I didn’t realize so many people were lodged here till we got to the beach. It was so packed and it looked like everyone had kids too. It’s a family friendly resort and they also offer nanny services upon requests. We made friends with a Rwandan/Belgian couple and their 10 month old son. Lake Kivu was peaceful and tranquil. Our resort had its own private beach front and they offered a not so large range water sport; kite-surfing, kayaking and jet ski. There were also boat cruises to Kibuye, Cyagungu which are all towns along Lake Kivu. The Democratic Republic of Congo was right in view as well. I didn’t want my 30 minutes Kayak ride to end but I felt bad for the instructor who did all the paddling. I He could have paddled all the way to DRC and back. The beauty before my eyes was indescribable. After making sand castles, taking a dip in the lake and enjoying the breathtaking view, it was time for a mini tour of Gisenyi.
GENOCIDE MUSEUM: There is a genocide museum in Gisenyi and when our guide for the day offered to take us to see it, we unanimously said NO! I think one Genocide Memorial is enough for a trip and honestly I wasn’t in the mood to be sad or cry on my last day in Rwanda. So we passed on this attraction.
PETITE AND GRAND BARRIER: Congo, so close but yet so far.I wish we had visas so we could cross over, see what Goma is like and head back. We really need an AU visa because I do not understand why as an African I can’t just breeze through all 55 countries whenever I want. Anyways., the Congo border(s) was 10-15 minutes away from Gisenyi town and we just watched as people came in and out of the security checked across both borders.
NYAMYUMBA HOT SPRINGS: “You can boil potatoes and eggs here”, the little kids told us as we approached the hot springs. The hot springs is said to have healing properties and people from all over town come here to take a bath or have some water to drink. As we waited in line to get the best foot massage’s in town, my “masseur” told me how much they loved Nigerian music, people and culture. The foot massages were great and the guys kept cracking us up at their attempt to communicate in English. It was a 20 minutes soak and 30 minutes scrub/massage and when they were done, I couldn’t believe how clean my feet looked. I think they were missing a few pedicure tools otherwise it was perfect! They should consider making a proper spa out of this place.
Rwanda blew my mind and surpassed my expectations.On our way back to Nigeria, I thought to myself, “if I had listened to peoples Nigerian’s perception of Rwanda, I would have missed out on the opportunity to visit this remarkable country with remarkable people.” I never felt unsafe or not welcome and I’m glad I can share my story. Have you ever been to Rwanda? What did you think of the country and its people?
Thinking of visiting Rwanda and you need a price breakdown? Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or better still join our Nomad Group Trip to Rwanda in June :).