When Lagos to Kigali flight sale kept popping up on my screen and the deal looked great; I knew that I was set to visit Rwanda as I had read and heard so much about the country. I visited the land of a thousand hills and was truly impressed by the country . After trying to go on the trip with a few friends; I ended up doing a solo trip to Rwanda which is my first ever country solo trip and it was such a beautiful trip for me! I bought my flight ticket here, booked an AirBnb apartment which was one of the best decisions on this trip, read all the posts I could lay my hands on, booked some tours and I was set to go to Kigali, Rwanda from Nigeria!
I flew Rwandair and in 4hours 30minutes; I was welcomed into the land of a thousand hills!
For Nigerians visiting Rwanda, Visa is gotten on arrival for 30 dollars which is valid for 30 days! First thing I noticed when I was out of the airport was how cold Rwanda was for me already as I did not imagine it would be that cold. I got to my AirBnb Apartment with the help of my Best Friend’s Cousin, I settled in and slept like a baby that I am!
DAY 1- EXPLORING KIGALI
The next morning, I was ready to explore Kigali with GoKigaliTours who actually did an amazing job. Luckily for me, I had bumped into The Dare Experience who was also on a trip to Rwanda at the airport and we were going on the same tour. Alas, I was not alone and this made me very happy and the tour was so much fun with them! After getting a welcome briefing from our Tour Guide, Eric. We set out for the day and our first stop was to the Kimisagara Market where we got to interact with the traders, saw their various foodstuffs and fruits which we got to taste. Rwandans love beans a lot and have them in varieties . Rwandans are considered to be the highest consumers of Beans
I alao learnt how to hawk the Rwandan way and my favourite fruit from the market was the Tree Tomato.
From the market, we went to a Milk Bar. Cows are important in the Rwandan culture as they symbloize prosperity and wealth and it is from these cows that milk is gotten from. Just like Rwandans love Beans they love Milk a lot and have a lot of milk bars where fresh and fermented milk are sold. It is however a taboo to stand while drinking milk in Rwanda. I preferred the fermented one to the fresh milk; I also loved the idea of the milk bars as it is very unique. Did you know that it is a taboo to drink Milk while standing in Rwanda? Find out more here! Click To Tweet
We left the milk bar and stopped over at Gaddafi’s mosque. The mosque was not built by Gaddafi but was named as such for the road that Gaddafi did build that runs to the mosque. The mosque’s official name is the Islamic Cultural Center and the mosque also serves as a school, clinic, and community center for the surrounding area.
From here, we took a drive up to Mount Kigali. It was amazing to see the city from the top of the mountain. Luckily, getting to Mount Kigali did not involve me hiking like I did here and here. We did a walk of about 7 minutes and got to the top!
We were exhausted from Mount Kigali and I was excited when Eric told us that the next thing on our itinerary was lunch. I love to try new meals as I believe it is a way to immerse in the culture of where you are visiting.Lunch was at the Tamu Tamu Restaurant (Tamu Tamu means Delicious Delicious) and all the meals were delicious and very affordable. We had their beans which is known as Ibishyimbo, had Inyamunyo( green plantain), Ikijumba( white sweet potato), vegetable rice, Rwandan Ugali, special beef amongst others.Visiting Rwanda from Nigeria for the first time? Check this out first! Click To Tweet
After having such a full meal, we stopped by the Question Coffee which brews specialty coffee grown by female farmers. I am not a fan of coffee but the coffee here was really good. You can see more on my Instagram highlight here
Our Final stop for the day was to the Kigali Memorial Centre which is one of the six centres that commemorates the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 which involved the slaughtering of about 1 million people mainly whom were mainly Tutsis. The remains of 250,000 people were buried at the centre. The stories were heartbreaking and very painful to hear. People were killed, women raped and murdered in the sight of their own families. Children watched as their parents were beaten and killed. Neighbors turned down neighbors, friends on friends and even family on family which was so disheartening. The most painful stories for me were the ones I read in the children’s room on how these young ones were killed. 24 years after, it is worthy to note that Rwandans are living in peace and unity which is very impressive. I got home, made food and this ended my first day in Rwanda.
DAY 2- KIGALI TO GISENYI
The next morning, I took a Moto (motorcycle, which is the most popular means of transportation in Rwanda) to the Nyabugogo Bus park and boarded a Ritco public bus to Gisenyi which is another city in Rwanda. The drive lasted for 4 hours which included 4 stops to drop passengers off and allow people buy things. The drive was smooth, the bus had charging ports which came in very handy. It was rainy when I got to Gisenyi and I was unhappy cause I really wanted to visit Lake Kivu the same day as I was only spending one night in Gisenyi. After a few hours, the rain stopped and I was happy and set to visit Lake kivu and visit the much talked about Hot Springs.Prior to this time, I made an arrangement with Ames boats and they picked me up from my hotel and in no time I was on Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake and the 6th largest lake in Africa.
The ride to the Hot springs lasted for 30 minutes and it was such a refreshing and serene experience for me.At the hot springs, I was told on how the water could boil potatoes and egg really fast. The people give you different types of massages. I got a massage for my legs, arms and shoulder and this was definitely one of the best massages I have ever gotten! Dipping my feet in the warm spring was very refreshing. I got back to my hotel and had dinner after such a refreshing time on Lake Kivu and the warm springs.
DAY 3- BACK TO KIGALI
After having breakfast, I took a bus back to Kigali and it was a smooth ride just like when I was going. I stopped by at the Caplaki Market to pick up a few souvenirs , got food and spent the rest of the day resting!
I would be sharing about the other places I got to visit in Rwanda in my next post! Have you been to Rwanda and visited any of these places? What was your experience like? If you have not been to Rwanda before, do you have plans to visit? Please share with me in the comments section and also let me know if there is anything you would like me to share about my Rwanda experience in my next post.
Love from your Favourite Ajala!