You, are for the soul!
You fill me with a sense of calm & make my heart race, all in one single breath.
I doubt whether there has ever been a parallel to you & I’m sure there will never be, anyone like you!
Our recent visit to one of your gems, “Remarkable Rwanda” has been an absolute revelation!
My dream to discover Rwanda had been alive for a very long time…..
When I finally started to plan the journey as early as July’17, with Ivan Mugisha – Country Manager India, for Rwanda Air, I had no inkling of what we were going in for.
What we experienced in reality, exceeded all our expectations!
Rwanda indeed is enigmatic, charming; exciting; plentiful & generous in every way.
Despite, it’s painful past, the Rwandese people have chosen the right path to recovery, its the path of “forgiveness”; it’s the path of “tolerance”; it’s the path of “compassion”!
Lead by excellent & consistent governance and needless to say with some great upbringing from several strong & solid “Mothers”, the country today is “together” & its people fiercely proud!
It is imperative to a country that is trying to welcome tourists from other nationalities, that its own populace is gratified and proud citizens.
Rwanda scores a 100% in this area.
When we travel, there are several touch points that add up to the ultimate complete experience, it begins with the National Airline of the country, as this is where the first interaction with the locals commences.
Rwanda Air –
– On Time Performance – 10/10
– Aircrafts – 10/10
– In flight service & comfort – 10/10
For a young fleet & operation, the job they do is commendable.
Since the Visa for Rwanda is on arrival, the ease of travel is immense, moreover to have warm; friendly & welcoming immigration officers, mindfully stamping your busy passport without wasting a fresh page, is indeed a breath of fresh-air!
Thus our entry into crisp; clear & fresh Kigali was flawless!
The high-altitude of around 4800 + feet ASL, makes the weather in Rwanda very pleasant.
What unfolded over the next “91.15” hours since we set foot in Kigali in the early morning of the 9th of March’18 was absolutely riveting.
A quick, on time flight connected us to Kamembe, south west of Kigali towards the border of Burundi.
Flying over magnificent Lake Kivu, dotted with lush green inhabited islands, offering views of shimmering pristine fresh water.
A coffee stop by the Lake, gave a glimpse of the happy lives of fishermen, singing their way to lure in the fish
A 45 minute beautiful drive on excellent roads lead us to the magnificent “Nyungwe House”, managed by the “One & Only”, Oh! what a property, perched in the midst of a lush Tea Estate, the leaves of one of the most beloved beverages spread as far as the eyes could reach.
The Lake Kivu
The Nyungwe Forest, is one of the oldest forests in the world, it has supposedly survived the Ice age.
Deemed as the very furthest source of the mighty river Nile, makes being there ever more interesting.
The Canopy Walk and the Chimpanzee Trek in this dense; wet rainforest is a test of physical & mental strength.
2 days in this Teacup full of bliss, & we moved back to Kigali.
A visit to the Genocide Memorial Museum revealed a lot about the history of this stoic country.
Kigali is home to several large branded hotels – Serena; Marriott; Radisson etc, with excellent facilities for conferences & events.
Food, just as anywhere else in Africa, is always delicious & authentic Indian food is available in the city of Kigali too!
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – Governors Camp Collection
Our last night was in the splendid “Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – Governors Camp Collection ”, in the Volcanoes National Park.
Nestled in the thick foliage of tall evergreen trees with the Volcanic Mountains as the back-drop, the warm hospitality & the homely touch of this property, makes you want to linger for just a bit longer.
The quiet & restful night passed in a peaceful slumber and at the crack of dawn we were all up again to do what we had come here to do……”Trek to Track the mighty Gorillas in the Mist”.
A short drive and a quick briefing session later, armed with our gear of Gaiters & Gloves to keep off the vicious stinging nettles expected to be encountered on the trek, we set out with an army of Rangers; Trackers & Porters.
The challenging trek in the impenetrable yet beautiful bamboo forest, brought a smile to my face, a smile that was impossible to erase.
Trees being my favorite part of nature, always make me happy, and the thought of having a world without them, scares me immensely!
An hour and a half into the ups & downs of the slippery trek, we spotted our Gorilla Family – “Agashya”, this family of Gorillas has a total of 22 members.
Moments spent with the playful; frolicking Gorilla babies under the watchful care of their elders were just so priceless!
They seem so much, like……what do I say “us”, us only without the self-imposed shackles & fetters of society.
They are free, carefree; they eat almost 30 kgs of grass; bamboo; and other vegetation every single day and gulp it down with the liquid from the thistle leaves…..with no care in the world for their growing waist lines or their bulging love handles and popping muffin tops.
Eat; Drink & Sleep for almost 18 hours every night, is the order of the day…every single day! Oh! What a Life!
As I watch them mesmerized, my camera takes a back seat & I simply enjoy observing their cute; entertaining actions, pure delight!
No wonder the legendary American primatologist and conservationist
Dian Fossey lived for the Gorillas! – may her soul rest in peace!
Back at the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – Governors Camp Collection the excitement continued, the nuances of the service by the lodge staff did not go un-noticed as they carefully cleaned our muddy shoes and made them look almost brand new, how they achieve that is Pure Magic!
Our clock was ticking and with a very heavy heart we had to start saying our adieus to the trees; the mountains; the skies the affable primates & the warm people of Rwanda, who made our experience ever so endearing.
I have been so honored to have, had our own veteran Africa specialist Heena Munshaw of Beacon Holidays join me on this tour, her passion & undying spirit for what she does & her zest for life was a learning for all of us!
All the other formidable participants, who share my love for the continent of Africa, were simply the best amigos to travel with – Shimul Shroff; Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar; Kaushal Bhuval; Dhaval Baxi Amol Damle Mangesh Ratnakar Desai Anosh Kanga; Srikant – until we re-group for another adventure yet again! Let the flame for Africa continue to glow!
A huge thanks to RDB – Rwanda Development Board; Rwanda Air; Governors Camp Collection; Sense of Africa and to every single person who cares for & conserves nature in all its forms!
Rwanda, you have stolen our hearts, we will have to keep coming back to you with more of our breed and to meet ourselves again!