In the heart of East Africa, my journey led me to the captivating land of a thousand hills—Rwanda. Embarking on a RwandAir flight from Lagos, I landed in the vibrant capital city of Kigali, where my exploration of Rwanda unfolded.
Arrival and Accommodation
Upon touchdown at Kigali, I found my home base at the 2000 Hotel located in the downtown part of Kigali—a perfect base for the adventures that awaited. From this strategic location in a busy part of the city, I set out to explore the cultural and historical facets of the Kigali.
Touring the Kigali Genocide Memorial
My journey in Kigali kicked off with a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. This place is like a history book but in real life, and it tells the story of a tough time in Rwanda, the Hutu-Tutsi conflict. It’s not a happy story, but an important one.
As I walked through the memorial, I saw pictures, objects, and heard stories that showed how hard things were back then. It felt heavy and sad, but it helped me see how resilient Rwanda is. Despite all the tough times, the people chose to heal and build their country again.
This place taught me that even in the darkest times, there can be a way forward. The memorial isn’t just about remembering sad things; it’s a symbol of hope and strength. It tells a story of how Rwanda faced its past, came together, and moved towards a better future. In the quiet of the memorial, I found not just a place to remember, but a place to understand how a nation can overcome challenges and grow stronger.
Market Exploration and Kigali Convention Center
Getting to know the local scene was a blast! I dived into the lively markets, buzzing with activity and colors. My mission? To get some cool souvenirs that shout “Rwanda! or Kigali” I hit the jackpot with locally crafted handbags, hand-fans that could give you a refreshing breeze on a hot day, and, of course, a face cap to shield me from the sun.
As the sun started to call it a day, I shifted from the market hustle to the impressive Kigali Convention Center. This place was like stepping into the future! The modern architecture was jaw-dropping. The Convention Center wasn’t just a building; it was a symbol of Kigali’s forward-thinking vibe. In the evening glow, it stood tall with captivating colorful lightings. It was like a glimpse into Kigali’s cool and contemporary side, right in the heart of Rwanda’s capital.
Dinner at Jollof Kigali
Missing the flavors of home already, I took a delicious detour to Jollof Kigali, a place that felt like a slice of Nigeria right in the heart of Kigali. It was a haven for Nigerian cuisine.
I ordered for a bowl of Egusi Soup – a comforting delight that brought back memories of family dinners and warmth. The rich, nutty flavors of the soup were like a culinary hug, making me feel right at home. Paired with poundo yam, it was a match made in foodie heaven—a delightful fusion of flavors that felt like a tasty bridge connecting continents.
Journey to Gisenyi
The day after, we went on a long four-hour drive to Gisenyi – The northern part of Rwanda. Along the way, we stopped many times to look at the amazing views. The landscapes were like giant paintings – so beautiful that we couldn’t help but stop and stare. And guess what made it even better? Meeting locals, especially kids, who made our journey extra special. Their smiles and friendliness added a cozy feeling to our adventure, making it more than just a drive.
Gisenyi’s Special Moments
When we reached Gisenyi, it was like finding a hidden treasure in the north of Rwanda. First, we treated ourselves to a relaxing massage using special clay from a volcano at Nyamyumba Hot spring. It felt like a spa day in nature! After getting all refreshed, we hopped onto a boat for a ride across Lake Kivu. The scenery was like a postcard, with the lake reflecting the beauty of Gisenyi. It was a simple yet magical experience that made our visit to Gisenyi unforgettable.
Fun Times at Fazenda
Once we got back to Kigali, the fun didn’t stop! We headed to Fazenda, a cool game place. First up was ziplining – imagine flying through the trees with a big smile on your face! It was my first time, and it was super thrilling. After that, we tried archery. It’s all about aiming and hitting the bullseye, and I felt like a pro even though I was shooting aimlessly at the beginning 😁
Quad Biking Wish
We had planned to ride quad bikes, those cool four-wheeled machines, but time slipped away, and we couldn’t do it. No worries, though – sometimes plans change, and we still had a good one with ziplining and archery while vibing to Naija songs which got some locals tripping. It was a day of laughs, excitement, and trying new things at Fazenda, making it a memory to cherish.
As I bid farewell to Rwanda, the “land of a thousand hills” the memories forever remains in my heart. From historical reflections to cultural delights, from serene landscapes to thrilling adventures, Rwanda’s beauty lies not just in its hills but in the spirit of its people and the stories it shares.