Traditionally we thought of Ruanda as a destination to enjoy a brief stay in the Volcanoes National Park, to meet the mountain gorillas, one of the most wonderful creatures on Earth and one of those experiences that remain etched in our minds forever. However, Ruanda is a destination in itself, with a wide variety of activities, new accommodations of the highest standard, and many attractions.
For sure, the highlight is still the mountain gorillas, but I was able to experience firsthand the countless charms of the country, which has already become one of my favorites on the African continent.
It is mandatory to count assistance in the airport to make all the procedures, that always has to be done, are expedited to the maximum, and in a few minutes, I am enjoying the life that detaches the county roads. Bicycles loaded with huge amounts of potatoes, the national food, children greeting with their purest smiles, or women carrying on their heads every type of utensils, are some of the views that we can observe from the window of our 4x4. There is no time or room for boredom, we are back in Africa!
The next day, I finally leave to visit these magical and mystical creatures. I have to get up early, nerves on edge, have a light breakfast, and head for the park headquarters, where I will have an enthusiastic talk about the gorillas, as well as for instructions and recommendations on how to behave.
We start the hike through thick vegetation, muddy trails, and frequent slopes. In a little more than two hours the excitement is palpable, they have located them! We left our belongings and silently approached them, a family of 21 members.
The silverback leader of the family lies hidden in the undergrowth, the little ones frolic and the mothers watch that all is well. We have 60 minutes to enjoy this magnificent spectacle. 60 minutes that run faster than ever, but stop suddenly when the great silverback rises and stands majestically among the thick vegetation, an unforgettable farewell.
After this overwhelming experience, what better than to enjoy a revitalizing massage, a tasting of the best South African wines, and a delicious dinner to crown a magical day. In addition, there are always more active options, such as new trekkings or cycling routes, the options are almost endless!
Time to head south and enjoy the flow of life in Rwanda once again.
The landscape changes as we approach Nyungwe, an incredible rainforest, far from any glimpse of civilization. We arrive at One and Only Nyungwe House, surrounded by tea plantations and lush vegetation.
Nyungwe is home to numerous primates, among them the chimps, whose visit is another indispensable activity.
At sunrise, together with the expert ranger, we headed into the heart of the jungle, following his instructions and searching for the chimpanzees until we found him. Suddenly a rustle of leaves, a sound like laughter, I looked up, and there they were, resting and peering at us. The calm was short-lived, a din erupted in the jungle with wild sounds coming from the forest.
Neither we can leave Nyungwe without recollecting and tasting their tea. Moreover, it also counts with multiple waterfalls, a canopy trek, and a lot of activities for the most restless people, always in an environment as magical as remote.
But the country does not end here, Akagera is a superb National Park for dazzling safaris in 4x4 vehicles and boat scapes, and Kigali is testimony to the harsh history of a country that rises from the ashes and becomes one of the most fascinating and still unknown, destinations on the continent.
Ruanda is waiting for you!