I really wasn’t sure what to title this post. I thought of “Rwanda Rwanda” but Wyclef might be upset. I also thought of “My Visit to Rwanda” but that also sounded cliched. So, there you have it. “The Land of a Thousand Hills”. This is actually another name for Rwanda. The reason is obvious once you visit. There are possible 5,000 hills or more. A thousand just sounds neat to say. It is not even an hyperbole. More of and under estimation. The title also rhymes with my title on Ethiopia, “The Land of the Walias”. Maybe all my titles will go this way but then again, it would be cliche.
So, my Africa journey eventually got me to Rwanda. I think travel should be a requirement for every important thing in life. The right to get a job, the right to get married and probably a requirement for an advanced degree. You learn a thousand things more than you learn reading a book. Now, that is probably an hyperbole but maybe not.
Like all my travels, Rwanda was loosely planned. I had made up my mind to visit after Ethiopia but I did not think it would happen so soon and so sudden. Travel just has a way of paling you.
A friend told me he was visiting for a wedding. I thought about going along and as they say, “the rest is history”. I hate cliches really but you just can’t run away from it sometimes.
I had heard so much about this land-locked country bordered by Uganda, DR Congo and Tanzania but I really did not know what to expect. Actually, I had an expectation. I had seen some of the most beautiful ladies ever on Instagram and they seemed to come from Rwanda. I wonder why this was rarely mentioned the way Ethiopians were mentioned. Did I travel all that way to see beautiful ladies? Absolutely not. It probably provided the push to go even if marginal. Travel to learn was my priority and nothing would stop it. Believe me on that.
Ideas evolve and TrekAfrik has evolved in a short time. In less that 8 months we have visited 5 African countries and spent a cumulative time of 4 weeks. Considering our expense and budget, that is a lot in a short time.
Let the journey begin
I would start straight at the Lagos airport. Arrived early enough. SO I thought. I had to haggle my way through. I was told I was 5 minutes late but eventually checked in. Half of the flight since Tuesday was going for the wedding. This was a Thursday. The 18th of May o be precise. Everyone wondered who the groom was. The problem was, I didn’t even know myself. For a moment, I seemed like I was crashing a party. Maybe I was.
On arrival in Kigali, visa was issued on entry. I assume this has always been the practice anyway but no info to back that up. The immigration official also knew about the wedding. it seemed everyone in Kigali knew about this wedding. I spent a night with my friend at the Radisson Blu but checked out the day after. My mission was beyond the wedding so I had to ensure I could carry myself through a week or more of vacationing.
My First Impression
The Kigali Airport is surprisingly smaller than I expected. I later realized RwandAir has only 10 planes in its fleet. You really don’t need so much to seem so big.
The city was as clean as described and your could feel the air of orderliness. There were cafes and stores here an there and it was all bright and beautiful at night. It seems Kigali and probably the whole of Rwanda is built on various hills. You can feel the roads undulating, steeping and sloping unexpectedly. Houses also had their entrances sloping upwards away from the streets. I seems like an engineering feat but it all probably happened overtime that Rwandans did not understand their genius in pulling of tis little miracle.
I quickly got on to AirBnB and got a guest in. This was about $22 a night which seemed high compared to Ethiopia but well within budget. At least at this point. I planned my tourism trip and realized I had a week and two days to achieve all I could achieve. I would list my activities below and hopefully address them in subsequent stories.
- The historical places (museums)
- The markets for arts and craft
- Places to visit for entertainment and art
I really can’t recollect how my first day went at the guest house. I assume I just checked in, had a bath and tucked myself in for an adventure I would’t be able to write until it happens.