Rwanda
Eastern Province

Here you’ll find travel reports about Eastern Province. Discover travel destinations in Rwanda of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

4 travelers at this place:

  • Day10

    Nyamata Church

    June 18, 2017 in Rwanda

    The Rwanda Genocide began in April 1994. Many Tutsi people gathered here as churches were considered a place of safety. 10,000 people gathered here and the people locked themselves in. The church walls and doors today show how the perpetrators made holes in the walls of the church so that grenades could be thrown into the church. After this the people inside were shot or killed with machetes. The ceiling of the church shows the bullet holes and the altar cloth is still stained with blood. There were hundreds of coffins inside which have the remains of people inside, there were benches piled with clothing, letters and identification cards.

    Most of the remains have been buried but there are still a large quantity that are being cleaned by volunteers and buried. We were able to see the volunteers out the back cleaning the bones of both adults, children and infants, it just gave me a sick feeling to my stomach.

    People in the surrounding area were also killed after the massacre at the church, once killed they were ordered to be removed from the street and put into the church where they couldn't been seen. It is difficult to comprehend that 50,000 are buried here.
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  • Day5

    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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  • Day4

    Kigali to Akagera

    July 3, 2017 in Rwanda

    After a draining morning, we went to a money changer to get some local currency, then lunch at a local restaurant, before heading two hours east to Akagera National Park, on the border with Tanzania. It is one of the oldest parks in Africa, gazetted in 1934, but after the genocide it was neglected for a number of years and the animal population was decimated by the bush meat trade. Only recently have lions, elephants and rhinos been reintroduced to the park.

    After registering at the rangers station, we headed out for a boat cruise on Lake Ihema, spotting heaps of hippos, crocodiles and a small fraction of the 500 bird species that reside in the park.

    On the way to our tented lodge accommodation within the park, we had a game drive in search of the elephants. We didn't spot them, but saw warthogs, guinea fowl, various monkey species, impala, and more hippos.

    Dinner was by the fire pit on the deck (BBQ beef and fish skewers, and caramel dessert), and the cheapest drinks of the trip so far - an Amarula and milk, and a Muztig beer, $8 in total). Accommodation is in permanent tents raised off the ground on stilts on the shore of the lake. Raised boardwalks run between the tents to allow the hippos to move ashore and graze at night. Hopefully we'll hear some action beneath us during the night!
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  • Day95

    Rwamanga, Rwanda

    August 9, 2017 in Rwanda

    Had a long drive through the North of Tanzania to the Rwanda border. We found this part of the country completely different – much more dry, less developed and clearly very poor.
    Fortunately, the border crossing was incredibly straight forward (not usually the case in our experience), clearly led by Rwanda. Usually at most of these border crossings, you are immediately surrounded by money-changers and other touts trying to sell stuff, but not here. There was a single stopping point where you excited Tanzania and entered Rwanda. Signs were in 4 languages (including English) and very easy to follow. Staff were friendly and helpful – even on the Tanzanian side (clearly Rwanda has raised the bar for them and they couldn’t afford to do business as usual given the embarrassing contrast it would offer). We drove a few hours until we could find a hotel.
    Unfortunately, John had some sort of bug that required a sudden stop on the side of the road so he could throw up. We tried to stop where there were not too many people, but one thing you quickly learn in Africa is you are never alone. Soon, the whole village came out to watch, the teenage boys more interested in watching Christy in the driver’s seat of the Land Rover than John’s antics, and the mothers with babies and grandmothers seemed to be offering a running commentary, from a respectable distance, at every convulsion. Not sure what they were saying, but probably something like ‘oh boy, there he goes again, that white boy can sure vomit, I was sure he was done – yep here comes another one, and look - carrots, always carrots.’ Ugh! Very awkward, but at least it wasn’t coming out the other end!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Eastern Province, Est, Intara y’ Iburasirazuba

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