Sunday, 4 March 2012

The road trip

Last weekend we went on a road trip to see Kathy, a volunteer who lives of the edge of Nyungwe forest national park. Mark and Tammy drove there in their pick up and I have to say, it was a real treat to be in a car instead of being squished on a public bus or exposed to the elements and pot holes on a motorbike. It was quite a long way, about 4 and a half hours from Kigali, so about 6 hours from where I live in the East. It was amazing just watching the countryside from the window. It had been ages since I made it further than Kigali and it was a timely reminder of just how beautiful Rwanda really is. And where Kathy lives is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of Rwanda of all.

The forest is stunning. On Saturday Mark drove us to the park entrance and it was amazing how much we could see from the road. The tops of the mountains were ringed by blue mist and the tea plantations formed a bright green carpet in the foreground. We even saw a monkey from the road. What kind it was I couldn’t tell you but it was black with white bits and not as horrid as the baboons in Akagera. And I had a fabulous panorama from the bumpy back of the pickup truck, I could see all around. We are going to try to come back in a few months and camp in the campsite and do some walks. In the forest itself, you can see lots of beautiful wild flowers and it is unbelievably green.

So we spent our evenings in Gasarenda town, where Kathy lives. I wrote about it on my previous trip as ‘the wild west of Rwanda’ and my view on this has not changed. There were still cowboy hats in abundance. We went to Kathy’s local restaurant on the first evening and sampled very special ‘special omelettes’ in the leopard room of love. They escorted us to this room out the back which was painted with hearts and leopards, some were upside down, some not. The second evening we went to her district town, Nyamagabe, and ate Rwandan rabbit. The rabbit here is definitely better than the chicken, more meaty and less stringy, thats for sure.

But one of the highlights was Kathy’s nightclub in Gasarenda town. For the first time I went clubbing in my pyjamas. This was partly because I fell over in Nyamagabe ripping my jeans open and grazing my knee, and partly because, well, I could. Complete with a rather good sound system, Whitney Houston’s greatest hits and a couple of crates of Primus, we all danced the night away in Kathy’s living room come nightclub. We woke up to a breakfast of eggs cooked on the charcoal stove, Gasarenda bread and hangovers, with a lovely scenic view of course! This has to have been yet another one of my favourite weekends here, great company in a beautiful place, can it get better than this?

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