Day 1: Arriving Kigali
Arriving in Kigali was such a surprise, I’m not sure what I expected but the “first-worldness” of Kigali was a great surprise! A modern airport, tarred roads and international standard hotels, we quickly visited the Marriot on our way through and it is the standard of any 5 star big city hotel! A little further on is the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre that can accommodate up to 5000 delegates. An inspiring mix of progressive third-world charm and modern investment.
Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the genocide of 1994. Although this is a very emotional experience, I found it very inspiring as it forms the foundation almost for how I perceived Rwanda. In just over 20 years, how far they have come and the inspiring individual stories that form the foundation for their regeneration.
Departing Kigali, we head out towards Volcanoes National Park. About a 2 and half hour drive along tarred roads and surrounded by people wearing brightly coloured Kitenge cloth, many cycling up the steep hills with giant bunches of bananas or potatoes. Just about every square inch of Rwanda is intensively farmed.
We spent the night at the Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, just outside Kinigi very close to the park headquarters, perfect for the early morning departure for gorilla trekking. A really great relaxed lodge with a beautiful swimming pool area, lovely for an afternoon relaxing.