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Discover a little-known country: Rwanda. You’ll be amazed by the forest landscapes, especially those of the Parc aux Volcans, where you can observe mountain gorillas in complete safety. You’ll also have the opportunity to take a cruise on Lake Kivu to admire the beauty of the Rwandan landscape from another angle. This trip promises a unique and unforgettable experience in Africa.
Welcome and transfer. Settle in for two nights in the Kiyovu district, in a large, modern and functional hotel built by Belgian airline Sabena in 1973.
Program – A motorcycle ride through Kigali. We put on a helmet and climb into the back seat. Vroom, it goes. The driver-guide is an ace. We visit a market, take a boat trip, stop off at an art gallery and have a mug in a milk bar, Kigali’s typical calcium bar. Pierre Mendès France would have appreciated it. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi is a necropolis, documentation center and memorial space in one. The genocide left an indelible mark on the country. Places of remembrance like this one seek to expose and explain the facts, to contribute to overcoming trauma and to prevent, opening up a future by understanding the worst. The use of such centers by all Rwandans, and by travelers, is a sign of resilience.
Drive to Nyungwe with your driver. Set up for two nights at the top of a park eminence. The view of the surrounding high hills and forest is splendid. The bungalows are lined up on either side of a large lawn, which looks like a springboard into the jungle. The hotel’s architecture and decor are a little dated, but the services provided are friendly and efficient. The technical fittings, particularly the bathrooms, are proving satisfactory. In the kitchen, the chef prepares an ordinary meal that is both tasty and restorative. In this respect, a Primus is cold bliss.
The fact that chimpanzees are accustomed to the presence of humans does not imply that they have changed anything in their way of being. In fact, the opposite is true: hominids of the Homo genus no longer bother those of the Pan genus, the latter continuing to live their monkey lives in the presence of the former’s discreet curiosity. The pedestrian approach to the forest is behind a ranger. Chimpanzees live in complex social groups, and while they didn’t write Das Kapital, they do make tools and, in many ways, are surprisingly close to human behavior. Looking at them, we are prompted to specify what constitutes the singularity of the lineage that invented national parks.
The 200-metre-long footbridge is installed at a height of 50 metres. We’re in, or above, the canopy: the high branches and their foliage. A ranger accompanies this breathtaking walk, which offers a completely new view of the rainforest. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a black-and-white Angola colobus or a red-tailed cercopithecus ascana. There’s fruit up there and bugs galore. The birds enjoy it. A Ruwenzori touraco brings color to the eyes.
Road to Kibuye, on the eastern shore of Lake Kivu. Two nights’ accommodation in a wooden lodge overlooking the lake. That’s what the decoration is all about. The rooms are simple, beautiful and well-equipped. It’s a little weightless. The dining room terrace is particularly pleasant. In fact, the chef’s cooking is quite good. In the garden extension, a discreet beach.
At an altitude of 2300 m, in the Karongi district, the Gisovu tea plantation enjoys ideal conditions and produces high quality teas. Black tea, which gives a vigorous golden infusion, is first-rate. We visit the facilities with a guide.
Cruise on Lake Kivu. The Virunga volcanoes are the source of the Kivu’s water, which flows into Lake Tanganyika via the Rusizi River. With a small boat, carrying six passengers and a captain, you can get up close and personal to the scalloped banks, covered with tea gardens. We pass the boats of sardine and tilapia fishermen. The navigation is picturesque and takes on a romantic charm as soon as a few wisps of mist slip between the hills. The sunset adds a strong chromatic intensity to this peaceful landscape, like a lighthouse pierced by the lake.
Drive to Volcanoes Park. Two nights’ accommodation in Musanze. The pebbled buildings, framing an outdoor swimming pool, are well kept. In the same spirit, the bedrooms are not unnecessarily ornate, but have a functional elegance. It’s a good place to be. The dining room opens out onto the volcanoes. In the lounge, you can sit back and relax. And in the garden, hammocks are available for lazing around. A massage room is available to guests.
With a ranger, we are transported to the area, then set off on foot along the gorilla trail (Gorilla beringei beringei). It’s just that they don’t always wait for you in the same place. As their food requirements are considerable, they frequently travel to satisfy them. All the more so as, although they have a marked family behavior, they are not particularly territorial. Finally, the rangers know their routine and manage to find a handsome silverback male surrounded by his little gang. The walk to the shady bamboo forests that shelter them has some steep sections, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with magnificent scenery and a moving encounter between distant cousins.
Drive to Kigali airport and return flight.
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