Rwanda
Rwanda

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28 travelers at this place:

  • Day26

    Day 26: Hotel Ruanda

    February 27 in Rwanda ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

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    Today I went on a day trip to one of the neighboring countries, Ruanda. Ruanda has a very sad history as in the 1990s as well as before that it had to experience genocide. The saddest thing is that most of us don’t even know about this genocide ever taking place ... at least I can’t remember anyone teaching me this in school. If you are interested I suggest you watch the movie “Hotel Ruanda” ... it’s a good movie which provides some insight into what has happened back then.
    Out of respect, I haven’t taken many pictures at the memorials ... it was a very emotional day with lots of tears.

    Apart from its history, Ruanda is a beautiful country. Very clean (plastic bags are illegal) and also quite developed in terms of infrastructure. I will come back one day for sure ...

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  • Day101

    Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

    August 15, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    A very short drive took us to the area famous for gorilla trekking.
    We’d arranged to camp at a lodge near park headquarters, but arrived to learn they couldn’t accommodate ‘roof-top’ campers apart from in the parking lot. So, unhappily, we camped in the muddy car park while it rained heavily for hours (it was too late to go elsewhere). The good news is our tent stayed dry and the folks at the lodge were very, very nice and even provided us with hot water bottles to take to our tent. Comically, adding insult to injury, the village next door started choir practice over a loudspeaker at 5am the next morning.
    We couldn’t get out fast enough to find a room in town. Plus, our fuel tank had once again sprung a significant leak, so we had to get it repaired.
    We’ve been overwhelmed by how helpful people have been on our travels in Africa. It happened here when the hotel we found in town not only recommended where to go for repairs, but insisted one of the staff accompany us to act as translator and negotiator in case we could not explain what we needed or were being overcharged. Incredibly efficient mechanics finished the job in 2 hours and made us wonder why it had taken the Lusaka mechanics nearly 2 days to do the same repair?
    While in town waiting for our gorilla trek, we spent some time walking through local markets, John got a haircut (Alister was onto something), and we bought some rain boots for our trek. We also had a funny “only in Africa” experience. We asked a waiter at the café where we had eaten lunch where we could buy cheese (generally only processed cheese slices are available). He immediately grabbed a worker at the cafe and asked him to go get us some cheese. We gave him some money (~$5) and a few minutes later he returned, not with processed cheese, but with a whole wheel of local Gouda, made by some priests in a nearby village. I’m sure we looked ridiculously surprised, because we were…and delighted!
    August 18th was a date circled in our calendar for a long time since this was the day we had permits to visit the mountain gorillas, the highlight of our time here. This is something we’d been anticipating and planning for years. It’s the thing we were both most looking forward to experiencing in Africa. Anxiety was high, and we did not get much sleep the night before.
    Each group of 7-8 trekkers is assigned to a ranger and gorilla family before leaving the park headquarters at about 8am. We were lucky to be assigned to Umubano, a gorilla family of 13 members including 3 silverbacks and several young gorillas. We hiked a few hours, first through local farms to the edge of the park, where we were instantly in the densest rain forest/jungle we have ever seen. We were met at the park boundary by an armed tracker, one of many who are there to protect us from other wildlife, the gorillas from poachers, but also guide us to where the gorillas were last seen. A short hike through the dense bamboo, and vegetation (including crazy stinging nettles) brought us to a couple more trackers, and we realized this was a sign we were very close. We were given instructions on how to behave when we approached the gorillas and signs and actions to take if they became uncomfortable with us being there (this included bowing down, making grunting noises, and avoiding direct eye contact). We crawled through some more dense bushes and there was our first gorilla, calmly eating some tree roots! At first, we were afraid it would be very difficult to see the gorillas because of how steep and thickly vegetated the hillside was. However, after a few minutes they moved down the hill a more open area where we enjoyed watching them eat and interact for an hour. Several even came close enough to brush by and playfully hit us (Christy got lightly kicked by a juvenile once, while John was slapped and kicked a few times by a few different gorillas). It was a very humbling and unforgettable experience being so close to these majestic creatures. It was the fastest hour we’ve ever experienced, but everything we hoped it would be. What an amazing day!
    We were also very happy to learn that the Mountain Gorilla population has grown to nearly 1,000 in the wild today, up from ~260 in the 1980’s.

    We had been talking about how John’s brother, Gerard, who visited the gorillas back in 1989 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) had inspired our strong desire to see them in the wild. Gerard was a pioneer “overlander” as he joined a group of travelers who spent 7 months driving a truck from London through North and West Africa and then across to East Africa down to Victoria Falls. He visited many countries that would not be advisable to travel through today. This was before this sort of thing was done. And done with no infrastructure (disappearing roads, no organized campsites etc), support or modern equipment such as GPS, cell phones, Sat phones, internet. An amazing and inspiring adventure that would have been so much more challenging than anything we’ve come across. When we get back to NZ, we will need to sit down with him and go through all his photos and maps.
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  • Day7

    It's all about the cache!

    July 6, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We had a later start today for the trip to Nyungwe Forest, with breakfast scheduled for 7.30am... but I've had my eye on a nearby cache, so this morning was our opportunity to attempt it. It is only 500m from our hotel, as the crow flies, but considerably longer following roads, so I discussed the best route with our tour leader, Aloys. He thought it was too far to walk and suggested taking a moto taxi, but Oliver wasn't keen on sitting on the back of a motorbike in Kigali's traffic!

    He offered to go as a detour on the way out of town, but I didn't want to delay the whole group, so he offered to meet us at 7am and take us alone, then come back for the group after breakfast. So we met him at 7am and drove to the cache site, at the entrance of a hotel. Amazingly, the road off the main road was rougher than any we encountered in Akagera! The streets were teeming with children on the way to school (7.30am start) and the hotel staff were interested to see what we were doing. They knew there was an "item" in the area, and that previous finders had looked on the gates, but didn't know exactly where it was. After a few minutes searching, we had it in hand, much to the delight of the hotel chef, gardener and security guards!

    We got back to the hotel in time to squeeze in some breakfast, and still made the 8.30am departure time with ease.
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  • Day5

    Looking for aardvarks on the savannah

    July 4, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Another public holiday, this time to commemorate the end of the 100 day genocide, but we're unlikely to see any ceremonies out here. We have another early start, 5.30am breakfast and on the road at 6am for a full day game drive. Our destination is Karenge Bush Camp, 110 kilometres away at the northern tip of the park.

    We started spotting wildlife almost straight away with some baboons and zebra in the first 15 minutes, then an avalanche of different creatures - giraffe, waterbuck, vervet monkeys, elephant, topi, crocodile, eland, impala and hippos - and all before lunch!

    Lunch was at the aptly named hippo beach, where more than a dozen hippos lounged around in the mud shallows.

    After lunch our good spotting fortune continued, with sightings of buffalo, a pride of lions, and warthog (and plenty more zebra, antelopes and giraffe). We also saw birds too numerous to mention (Hammerkop were the highlight). About the only animals that live in the park that we didn't see were rhino, leopard and ardvark, the latter being the subject of a running joke that we'll see them next (which was never going to happen as they are nocturnal!)

    The final drive to the campsite was through a heavily forested area where we were inundated with tsete flies in the vehicle (the roof and all the windows were open). If being bitten by a tsete fly is on anyone's bucket list, I can tell you it's not very pleasant!! Thankfully they don't carry sleeping sickness any more, just a very annoying sting (similar to a mosquito, but a sharper pain)

    The bush camp is seasonal and is constructed for 2-3 months each year in the dry season. No concrete is used and all structures are fully dismantled at the end of the season, but they still manage to operate a bar, open air dining room on the deck overlooking the valley, and an outdoor shower and toilet for each tent. Hot water for the shower is bucketed into a drum sitting above a wooden palette, and the shower has a bamboo screen on 3 sides - so you have a great view over the valley as you rinse off the day's dust!

    Dinner was West African chicken curry cooked over an open fire, followed by banana pancakes.

    Stayed: Karenge Bush Camp, Akagera National Park
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  • Day17

    A Sunday at the pool in Kigali

    July 16, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Our last day in Rwanda, before our flight to Amman tonight. Qatar Airlines have cancelled all their flights to Kigali, and at the same time cancelled our onward flight to Amman - fortunately our travel agent was onto it quickly and rebooked us a Kenyan Airways flight to Nairobi, then Qatar Airways to Doha, and a new flight to Amman. The net result is that we don't have a 12 hour stopover in Doha and we get to Amman 4 hours earlier, so it's turned out ok.

    Late breakfast - massive smorgasbord of cereal, fruit, hot and cold meats, freshly squeezed juices (bush tomato was the favourite), pastries, cheeses and our favourite new term, active cooking!

    Aloys was available today to take people to the airport, shopping, to museums, church services and caching! A few went to the tail end a local church service (the full service was from 7am - 11am), while Kerry and Ruth visited the Natural History Museum and we went along to attempt the cache nearby.

    The museum staff first told us the cache was inside the museum grounds and we would have to pay $10 USD each to access it. The cache notes indicate it was outside the museum, so we declined her offer and undertook our own search. We found the spot indicated in the spoiler photo, but the cache was gone. The security guard told Aloys she knew the location, but she took us to the previous coordinates, so we went back to the correct spot and found an empty screw top container in the grass that looked like it could have been the cache container. We were carrying a spare log, so we put it in the container and found a more secure hiding spot very nearby.

    We returned to the hotel briefly before heading out again with Kerry and Ruth to the Genocide Memorial - Ruth to check out the souvenir shop, while we took Kerry in search of the cache we missed 2 weeks ago. We had it in hand very quickly this time, while 2 armed guards looked on quizzically - funny how on second look you wonder how you missed it the first time! We can now claim to have competed every cache in one country - I'm sure that won't happen again!

    Back to the hotel for packing, and the atmosphere has hotted up, with a live band playing near the outside bar. Sunday afternoon around this pool was the place to be seen pre-1994 - local families, expats, politicians, military and business people all mingled together and much of the capital's business was done here over a drink.
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  • Day2

    Touchdown in Rwanda

    May 24, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Arrived! And the bike's here also! Safely at the Scripture Union guest house rooming with Simon.
    Bike built and ready to go - except that my tiredness and diet of airplane food probably isn't condusive to any sort of exercise, let alone riding.
    Rwanda is really full of hills! On way here came down a 1:4 cobbled Street - thankfully don't think we're cycling that one.Read more

  • Day10

    Back to Kigali

    June 1, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌙 66 °F

    The final countdown. Up for breakfast at 6am 80 miles ahead of us. The first group (who were taking it at a slightly slower pace) left leaving 6 of us (including Kiki, team Rwanda and our mechanic) to enjoy a Rwandan coffee at a coffee shop next to the guest house. We set off in peloton formation - something we hadn't done all week as normally the terrain was steep hills. This was different - gently undulating hills allowed good peloton riding - and we soon picked up the pace. The group came back together after about 30 miles which signified the start of the annual 'race' - the rules simple those that want to race start about 10 minutes after those that don't. The first group cycle and wait at an unknown point to the racing group and that is the finish. Five of us raced. A rolling start, Kiki took off - in fairness there was only ever going to be one winner so it was really a race for second place! The course was short and kind to the heavier rider finishing on an uphill after a down hill, so after clinging on for dear life at the start with the advantage of extra momentum I managed to finish in the middle after Kiki and Wesley thank goodness for those extra pounds!?!

    However my legs after that were shot and as hard as I tried I could not keep up with the faster riders any longer. While the scenery was perhaps not as breathtaking as in previous days - familiarity was perhaps a factor the roads were much kinder with none on the long brutal climbs we had had before. We all regrouped about 15km from Kigali to ride in together. This was potentially the most risky part of the day as we came into a busy city. Riding in was straight forward and fairly flat, although this was Rwanda and hills were always present and coming into Kigali there were some steep climbs as we made our way back to the finish of our guest house.

    We all rolled in, tired but exhilarated. We had made it. A really hard week, with a number of individual days being the hardest days most had ever experienced. Eric's chips and sausage awaited - a perfect end to an 80 mile day and a 500 mile week.

    Chips, brochettes and beer at a nearby hotel was the evening fare, exhaust but happy we lasted until about 9.30. An amazing week, great riding, great friends and a great God.

    'But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.' (Isaiah 40:31)

    Remember you can still give to the work of GLO. The work they do is amazing, it literally changes and saves lives. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hughwells

    Thank you to Tallis Woomert (instagram @talliswoomert) for the amazing photos - you'll imediately see which ones! Do go to his instagram for more you won't be disappointed!

    Thank you to Simon Guillebaud www.simonguillebaud.com) for organising - an amazing trip.
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  • Day8

    Nyungwe Forest, Waterfall Hike

    July 7, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Cereal and fruit for breakfast this morning and a civilised 8.30am departure for the Waterfall Hike in Nyungwe Forest. The weather is a couple of degrees cooler in this area, but still pleasantly mid 20s and no rain.

    After a briefing at the rangers station we drove with our guide Christophe to the start of the trail. After tucking our pants into our socks to avoid getting ants up our legs, we set off through the tea plantations, but then the going got tougher once we entered the forest. The path was well marked, but had some steep sections, so the walking poles they provided came in handy. The valley was thick with lush rainforest undergrowth, but only a few birds spotted (and some toads).

    The walk to the waterfall took 90 minutes, so we were looking for a rest and snack. The return journey took a little longer.

    Lunch was at the Gisakura Family Hotel - buffet of beef in tomato sauce, cooked plantain, rice, spaghetti, potato chips and steamed pumpkin.

    After lunch we went in search of Black & White Colobus monkeys. The guide was in contact with some trackers who had located a group of about 30 near the edge of the forest, so we only had a few minutes walk. We spent almost an hour watching them jumping from tree to tree along defined "roads", playing, grooming and looking after the 3 youngsters in the group (about 3 weeks old, all white). Also spotted Dent's Monkey and a Blue Monkey, who was acting as lookout from the top of the tallest tree.

    Arrived back at the hotel after dark, had dinner in the hotel restaurant after an African "short wait", ie 90 mins! - whole tilapia for Oliver, chicken and maize for me.

    Bed just after 10pm in preparation for an early morning tomorrow.
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  • Day3

    Doha to Heaven,via Entebbe

    July 2, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Wake up time was 4.20am for a 5am departure to the airport. The roads are busy already and the overnight construction is still going on - most construction during summer happens at night because of the heat.

    Our flight to Kigali was via Entebbe, Uganda, where we stayed on the plane for an hour while they cleaned around us. The jump from Entebbe to Kigali was the shortest international flight we've been on, 30 minutes. Fortunately for the hosties there were only about 50 people on the flight so they had time to rush some food around before we landed.

    On arrival in Kigali we were met at the plane door by a very welcoming airport staff member who checked our boarding passes (yes, on the way off the plane!), then escorted us across the tarmac to the terminal. First queue was to pay the the entry visa, which we were told had to be paid in cash, US dollars only, but they now also accept credit cards, which slowed things down a bit. Passport control was also high tech, with electronic finger printing done, in addition to taking our photo.

    We were met outside by our drivers for the next 2 weeks, and had a 20 minute drive to our hotel (some road line-marking slowed the traffic to a crawl at one stage while they were hand painting one lane of the zebra crossings)

    Rwanda is known as "the land of 1000 hills", and is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with a population of 12 million people in a country one tenth the size of Victoria. The capital Kigali is built around several ridges and valleys, so the distance as the crow flies is not large, but navigating the hills takes some time - and plenty of hill starts! Armed Police or army personnel man most of the major intersections throughout the city 24 hours a day, as a general deterrent, and Kigali is widely regarded as the safest capital city in Africa.

    Dinner tonight was at a rooftop restaurant with a spectacular view over Kigali. Goat cutlets and a Mutzig (local) beer for me, poached line fish and a Tusker (Kenyan) beer for Oliver.

    Stayed: Heaven Boutique Hotel
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  • Day12

    Driving via Lake Kivu

    July 11, 2017 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    After 5 nights in the south west, today we head north along Lake Kivu toward Volcanoes National Park.

    A full day driving - we left Kamembe at 8.30am, morning tea at Kibuye at 12.30pm (half way up the lake), lunch at Gisenye at 3.30pm (top of the lake), arrived Volcanoes National Park 7pm.

    The quality of the main roads in Rwanda is as good as any in Australia (but with a lot more pedestrians and bicycles, and constantly hilly and windy), and construction is still ongoing at a furious pace. Despite the long hours, it was a great drive with diverse scenery. The scenery was ever changing, so much so that we dared not take our eyes off the road for fear of missing another spectacular mountain or lake view, a bustling village, or a load of vegetables or building materials being balanced on someone's head or bicycle! And I think they underestimated the number of hills in Rwanda at 1000!

    Dinner in the lodge restaurant (buffet), before bed at 11.30pm.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Rwanda, Ruanda, Rwanda, ሩዋንዳ, رواندا, Rvanda, Руанда, Ruwanda, রুয়ান্ডা, རུ་ཝན་ཌ།, Rwanda nutome, Ρουάντα, Ruando, روواندا, Ruwanndaa, Rouanda, Ruanda - Rwanda, રવાંડા, רואנדה, रवांडा, Ռուանդա, Rúanda, ルワンダ, რუანდა, រវ៉ាន់ដា, ರುವಾಂಡಾ, 르완다, ڕواندا, ລາວັນດາ, Roanda, റുവാണ്ട, ရဝန်ဒါ, रवाण्डा, ରାୱାଣ୍ଡା, روندا, u Rwanda, Ruandäa, ருவான்டா, ర్వాండా, ประเทศรวันดา, Luanitā, رۋاندا, روانڈا, Ru-an-đa, Ruandän, Orílẹ́ède Ruwanda, 卢旺达, i-Rwanda

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