So sorry for the delay in this post but the last two weeks have been filled with the fury of report writing! Woo Hoo! How exciting!
Anyways! The final leg of my very short trip involved a very scenic drive to Lake Kivu which is about 4 hours north-west of Kigali. I always appreciate road trips on the continent because there is so much to see, hear, smell, experience and witness. I consider it essentially a trip within a trip and an opportunity to explore the landscapes of a place in a snapshot sort of way.
Oh, by the way, if you’re new to my blog or haven’t had a chance to read my other two previous blogs before this one, make sure you do. You can find the first post on why I would move to Rwanda tomorrow right here. The second post, which is about why my son was denied entry into the Genocide museum is here. Both of those detail some of my other experiences in Rwanda and it will help you understand the direction of this post. Moving on!
Before I even left for Rwanda, I asked about specific places to visit since I had such a limited time. Everyone seemed to always reference Lake Kivu.
Where should I visit?
“Try Lake Kivu!”
Before I asked, I didn’t know anything about this Lake Kivu (at all) but I knew that I wanted to connect with nature and earth. I tend to desire those things when traveling, especially to the continent. I love to experience both elements while I’m in a new place to really soak in the essence of it all and appreciate that said space in all of its beauty. Besides, it’s something about nature that gives me a sense of balance , something that I lack being in a foreign place, away from family, etc.
I initially hoped for sunny, beach weather so I can sit on the beach to darken my melanin, take a dip in the water or just chill. Matter of fact, I haven’t had time to just “chill” in so long and I definitely don’t visit the beaches of Lake Victoria as much as I should.
On the way there, I saw nothing but beauty. The landscapes of Rwanda, so eloquently enamored with greenery, hills and textures lay before our eyes. My imagination fettered back and forth with the movements of the car as I wondered what life would have really been like in the Motherland before we were divided…in the time of kings and queens, peace and unity.
Thankfully, the driver was more than willing to stop on occasion so that we can take a picture or two because I love to see animals randomly grazing along. Oh, how I love the natural, peaceful and serene atmosphere, something that I don’t experience into the States.
As we trekked along on our 4 hour escapade, I saw the quality of housing deteriorate as we entered the village areas which most certainly depicted a different way of living than in the city.
I love the village experience because it reconnects you with humility and basic forms of survival which is something that we’ve all have lost along our paths.Oh, and the animals! Did I ever tell you how much I adore animals?
I love animals and I don’t feel they should be contained to a stable, cage or anything for extended periods of time unless necessary. However, on the continent, there is more freedom with animals and natural living.
Oh, and I must mention that the women were all adorned in traditional wear and donned it proudly. In Uganda, there are several shops with overseas shipments of Westernized looking clothes that most women wear here to fit in with that type of culture which I find a bit upsetting. Of course, this was more in the villages but I saw both old and young women representing. (Sorry, I failed to take pictures).
When we finally arrived, the weather was so crappy that all we could really do was sit on the beach, play in the sand and dip our feet in the water.
Oh, and people watch. I also find it fascination the type of conversations that I get involved in as a traveler. Oh my, the random requests for English lessons are commonalities. The stares and glares were inevitably there, something that I’ve honestly adjusted to. The hagglers…they were there, too. This one particular guy just didn’t understand the word No.
Of course he was trying to get me to buy some necklaces for double the price. Sweetly, I told him hell naw…and that I’m not your typical foreigner. I thought it was hilarious that he thought he was about to get a few shiny shillings or Francs out of me but I eventually had to dismiss him with a tone of authority because the dude literally started to become a bug-a-boo.
After our short visit to Lake Kivu, which wasn’t as relaxing as I would have liked because of random happenings, it was time to eat! By this time, I was also a bit hungry myself and had a taste for fish. There’s nothing like fresh fish from the lake.
The place we went to was a buffet style. The food was cold and really not all that good so I had to request for them to heat it up in the microwave. If you’re like me, you can’t eat cold food. point. blank. period.
Now call me greedy but there’s no way I was coming to a buffet and taking 1 visit. Although the food wasn’t that good, I still fancied the plantains, which seemed to be a traditional staple in Rwanda as well as the beans and rice. I knew the trip ahead was long and I wasn’t planning on eating again that day so I might as well.
We arrived back to the hotel in 3 hours time. The roads were dark and lonely on the way back but as soon as I saw the city lights ahead over the dips and turns of the mountain, I knew that we would reach soon.
I needed to stop to inquire about a bus ticket before returning to the hotel because my plan was to leave the next day.
Now I really wanted to visit Kabale, Uganda which is not far from the Rwandese border, however, I was tired and funds were running really low. I decided that on my next go round, I’d come back to one of the most beautiful places that I’ve witnessed in Uganda thus far….Kabale.
For a visual of my trip to Rwanda, watch my You Tube video here.
I decided to take the evening bus back to Kampala. I could have taken that morning one to get more out of my time at home and to have a scenic route but I still hadn’t gone to the market and I couldn’t miss that.
This market place wasn’t only clothes, but it showcased an array of fabrics, miscellaneous odds and ends, traditional souvenirs and many more. Interestingly enough, in my quest to gather as much unique finds as I could, I had two skirts made out of Kitenge fabric and bought Christion an African drum.
Now, the haggling was so out of control at this market that I literally had to tell this dude to get away. He finally got the point.
I could go on and on about my horrendous bus ride home that left me with a headache and a sore butt or the rude lady who wouldn’t move out of my seat…but I won’t. I’ll leave this thread by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Rwanda.
It as a pleasure to visit another neighboring country and to expose my son to such experiences. From the organization, cleanliness, pleasant people, beautiful landscapes, delicious food to the resilience in the air, Rwanda was an amazing sight to see and a place that I will strongly recommend repeatedly to others as well as add it to my list of future travel plans.
Thank you for reading!