Howdy all. How about ‘Destination NEXT’? What do you think? Is it catchy? The truth is it’s not going to be my next destination, even when international travel resumes. Whenever that may be. Even then I do have a plan. Which doesn’t involve Rwanda, sadly. But if I could just go to one country for a couple of weeks visit, Rwanda would be right up there! Why? Well, that’s the point of this post!
I’ve been interested in this small East African country for quite a while. One of the reasons I am keen to visit is because it’s quite unique. On the flip side there is the recent history of genocide which at the very least makes one feel a bit uneasy. But in fairness, lots of countries have pasts that contain similar stories. People travel to see Auschwitz in Poland, or the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Yes, they are not the first reason someone goes to these places, as you would imagine, and I wouldn’t be travelling to Rwanda for this sort of reason at all. So why?
Well, believe it or believe it not, it is a really beautiful country from all reports. Green with rolling hills and despite the history, friendly warm people. In fact you may be surprised to hear but it is known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’. And the climate is supposedly quite cool despite not being that far from the Equator. The capital Kigali sees an average temperature range of between 16 and 27 degrees throughout the year, and that is pretty consistent however there is a fair bit of rain throughout the year – on average at least 125 mm per month up to 170mm.
Rwanda is a land-locked country which borders a bunch of countries including Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and it’s position sees it in a pretty unique part of the continent and indeed the world. It has volcanoes, mountains and plenty of monkeys. It’s one of the countries you where you can spend time with the gorillas, if you have the time and the money, and this is one of the primary reasons I would head to this area because despite the cost – permits can costs around $1500US – it’s pretty much the best place to see the gorillas in the wild.
It is pretty respectful I believe, and also very carefully done as their living environment obviously needs to be cared for and looked after. Uganda also has opportunities, and so does eastern Congo, where a number of volcanoes rage from time to time and Ebola can be an issue to. However Rwanda can be a gateway to rarely visited eastern Congo, which sounds fascinating yet quite challenging too. Security can be, depending the politics of when you are there, a huge issue in that part of Congo (around Goma) but also the chance is there to step over the border for a day and visit a country which has something of a wild reputation and one that travellers don’t get to much at all.
Kigali looks like a hilly but attractive city, and there are (perhaps predictably) a few markets to look at and if you want to, buy handicrafts and the like. Looking outside Kigali I found the Nyungwe National Park, with a stunning bridge and greenery as far as the eye can see which looks absolutely stunning. You can do a canopy walk which I imagine is similar to the one in Ghana I did, but not as hot and humid! (that’s at Kakum National Park near Cape Coast FYI) There’s Volcanoes National Park and also Lake Kivu, both also look spectacular, so as far as things to do and see, it’s very much a country based on the outdoors and nature.
But also I hear the people are very friendly towards visitors and it would be great to meet a few people and find out about life in Rwanda. Yes, there would be some sadder topics I guess, for those who want to know around 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days – genocide directed towards the Tutsis (who were and are the minority in Rwanda). I know there would a lot of confronting things to deal with. But still, I don’t think we the human race should shy away from this. Do ignore it is to deny it.
I don’t know how you (the reader) feels about a country such as Rwanda, but for me it’s a country that holds great interest. So it’s definitely on my list. How about you?
Thanks for reading today, take care and of course – May the Journey Never End!