November 30, 2021
By: M. Jackson
After visiting “The Land of a Thousand Hills” in December of 2017, we fell in love with this beautiful place and its wonderful people and knew that we would be back.
Needless to say, we returned in August 2020, during a time in which the pandemic had put a halt to many who had been used to travelling frequently. Up until now, we have truly been enjoying our experience at every turn.
We feel like we have been dropped off in an enchanted place, as we sit surrounded by the most stunning, rolling hills – full of vegetation, trees and plants woven throughout the rural and urban landscapes for as far as the eye can see. The air is clean and perfect when you first arrive, and the views are breathtaking. Unknowingly, it gets even more beautiful as you travel beyond the city limits to the villages and provinces on the outskirts of Kigali.
There is much to see, like the massive Lake Kivu, to the colossal Virunga Volcanoes, to the vast Akagera National Park, to the lush country side where villages emerge and people are still practicing long ago traditions. They are also very warm and welcoming, and we have met and made many friends, who go the extra mile to make sure that we feel at home.
A renewal has taken place here, and it is attracting many from around the world, even those whose minds are still scarred from Rwanda’s past. The history of Rwanda, painted by an ominous occurrence over two decades ago, would indeed shock the soul; however, the way in which this country has been transformed will open the mind to the notion that “anything is possible if there is good will and purpose”.
It is one of the safest places in the world. The people are warm and inviting, and the leadership H.E. Paul Kagame has done an unbelievable job of transforming this country from a decimated land to the buzzing, super modern and vibrant country that we see today. With it’s new constructions, green plan, and made in Rwanda campaign, Rwanda is constantly being recognized as a leading country on the continent.
We have engaged in many cultures activities like: visits to the Inema Art Center and Choose Kigali Art Gallery; cultural experiences with ZaNiheza (pottery making, imigongo painting, dressing in traditional attire, and eating popular traditional foods). We enjoyed adventures to see different regions of the country with Choose Kigali (Akagera National Park safari, a boat ride on Lake Kivu, and driving tours of the eastern, southern and northern regions including a tour of Musanze and Gisenyi).
The cuisine is a mix of local and international dishes. Some of the popular dishes are spiced tea, dodo, goat brochettes, akabenz, pilau, and “the very popular vegetable dish” isombe. Though you can find many restaurants in Kigali to choose from, you can also find more locally prepared items in the surrounding villages.
If you haven’t added Rwanda to your bucket list or your places to visit list, you should definitely consider it. There are so many sights to see, and we can say for sure that it is one of the most beautiful countries we have encountered thus far. Visit Rwanda now…you won’t regret it!