Day 4 – Heading north!

Thursday morning we got to sleep in! We stayed at Hotel Des Mille Collines in Kigali, the hotel featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda. It was a lovely hotel with delicious croissants that we hoarded at breakfast and smothered with Nutella. Even though we have Nutella in the US, we all acted like it was a rare Rwandan treat….to the point that we took extra packets to eat whenever we wanted a sugar rush.

1blog

We were heading a few hours north to Volcanoes National Park to go gorilla trekking! The park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. This is something Megan had wanted to do since she was a teenager, so this was a much anticipated day! On the way we stopped at a coffee producer and got to take a tour and those who drink coffee sampled some.  An odd fact: neither of us drink coffee.

3blog

2blog

Above is women shelling the beans and weeding out the bad ones.

Below is Megan standing in front of bags of coffee beans – gives you an idea of how much they have stored in the warehouse.

4blog

6blog

It’s a 2.5 hour drive north without stops. That being said, we stopped for lots of photos and lunch so it took a bit longer! We also took a ton of pictures from the car, which explains why they are sometimes blurry.

7blog

Below is a picture of the devices used to collect honey in Rwanda. They are long cylindrical wooden things that they hoist up into trees.  Pretty creative if you ask me.

8blog

A lot of the houses are made of these red bricks seen drying here:

9blog

Us with Kristen who is on the Board of the Komera Project. We became close with Kristen throughout the trip and are sad she doesn’t live in Boston!  Only NYC though so we are actually planning a reunion!

IMG_1419

Rwanda avocados are delicious! They are HUGE and tasty.

10blog

We stopped for lunch by a market and there was live entertainment! These performers used to be gorilla poachers until the government convinced them that they could make more money performing for tourists than selling baby gorillas to zoos or researchers.

21blog

We met a few cute friends along our drive:

13blog

we gave them our empty water bottles

12blog

Bananas are another one of the country’s main crops:

14blog

This never got old….was impressed every time:

15blog

16blog

Driving school!

17blog

Before going to Rwanda, we had no idea what to expect. You imagine what you see in movies or books but you really have no idea until you get there. We saw everything from small brick/mud huts to classy hotels to restaurants that you’d see in Boston. Below are a few random buildings so that you can have a glimpse of some of the infrastructure.

This one made us laugh:

18blog

19blog

20blog

Heading to the well:

22blog

Roadside market:

25blog

23blog

27blog

The biggest difference between Rwinkwavu where we spent the first few days and the north, was the lush, green fields. Rwinkwavu was red and dusty. The northern part of the country was all green with fields of crops.  We stayed right by Volcano National Park and you can see one of them in the background of the picture below.

29blog

Our group at dinner the night before the gorilla trek:

24blog