The Land of a Thousand Hills Rwanda: My Personal Experience
It seems like only yesterday to me. This would be my first overseas vacation, and all I knew about the country I was visiting was what I had read about the atrocities that occurred there in 1994.
Since I was just starting out in life after college and my future enterprise seemed promising, I didn’t give much thought to the unknown.
Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, was our destination after a 24-hour bus ride. At first, the idea that the “Capital City” could be so tiny seemed absurd. However, considering that the total country is just roughly 26,330km2, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. In all my travels, I have never seen a city as clean as this one. There are flowerbeds lining the wide, freshly paved streets. The city’s streets have never been cleaner. Not a scrap of trash is in sight. Kigali, with its vibrant marketplaces, lively music, and brightly dressed residents, is undeniably an African city.
But I wasn’t ready for what was coming. We still had a six-hour drive ahead of us over the twisting roads of Rwanda in the cold and rain to reach our destination of Nyungwe in the southwest corner of the country. I had heard the phrase “Land of a Thousand Hills” before I even set foot in the nation, and it didn’t take long for me to grasp its full significance.
Everywhere we went, we saw farms and communities with children waving as they waved at us from the dirt roads. The rolling hills are draped in verdant tea plantations. There is growth and verdancy everywhere. Prompted by careful strategies for conserving resources.
The excursion was ultimately worthwhile despite the presence of Long. For the next few years, I’d be calling this area home, so naturally I set out to discover all it has to offer.
Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park is one of Africa’s oldest rainforests, and it is also one of the most beautiful. There is a tiny population of chimpanzees and 12 other species of primate in the mountains, including the L’Hoest’s monkey, which is only found in the Albertine Rift.
Visitors can spend a few days exploring one of Africa’s most beautiful forests, which features 15 paths and a wide variety of other activities.
Most tourists come to go on a primate safari, but those who have a little extra time can also enjoy the relaxing and authentically primeval ambiance. Chimpanzees, Angolan Colobus Monkeys, L’hoest, Golden Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, Crowned Monkeys, Dent’s Mona Monkeys, Velvet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, and Grey Checked Mangabeys are only few of the primates that fall under this category.
The L’hoest monkey, often known as the mountain monkey, is my personal favorite. Their cute little faces really melted my heart.
The 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids are a delight for botanists. With 322 bird species, including the Red-collared Babbler and 29 other Albertine Rift Endemic species, birdwatching here is among the best in Africa. There are at least 120 species of butterflies, all of which are frequently spotted.
Seventy-five species of mammals, including the cerval cat, mongoose, congo clawless otter, and leopard, have been spotted in Nyungwe National Park. Spotting one is often a gamble because of how shy most of them are.
Visits to the Isumo waterfall and the Canopy Walk suspension bridge are both photogenic and memorable. Birds of the forest edge and tea plantations dot this park, which is home to a troop of tame Ruwenzori colobus monkeys in Gisakura.
Nyungwe National Park is the main catchment area in Rwanda and provides water to over 70 percent of the country thanks to its abundant rains.
The watershed between the Nile and the Congo rivers is located along a ridge that runs through the forest. It is said that the Nile, the longest river in the world, originates from a spring on the slopes of Mt. Bigugu.
Nyungwe National Park is the place to stay if you want to be close to the forest and the rolling tea fields, take long scenic nature walks while breathing in the crisp forest air, see primates, and enjoy the diverse birds. And you needn’t stress over the lengthy hours behind the wheel. To get to Kamembe, you can take a 40-minute flight with Rwandair. It will take you around an hour and a half to reach the national park from this airport.