Sunday, March 11, 2012

Into the woods

So to make our schedule work, and we have very little room for error, we had to be about six hours away from Kigali by early Monday morning. This required us to travel during the weekend, so we made the best out of it and stopped by two museums and drove through the only national forest in Rwanda. Which again was green and hilly (sensing a theme?).

The drive from Kigali and then through the forest was incredible. The hills are continuous. You never reach a flat area. Up and down. Around and up. Down and over. And then repeat. luckily I don't get car sick and there is a lot to look at. Tea plantations that are built seemingly on the vertical, women on their way to a market somewhere, small kids on the side of the road who perk up when they see your white face flash by, random goats tied to trees, men on bikes flying down a hill with a mattress on the back. Banana trees, banana trees, banana trees. And then up and down, over and up, down and around again.

We stayed at the western edge of the forest, about an hour away from our final destination, on Saturday night. I have to say that this was possibly the most random place I had ever stayed at ever. Really. From the main road, (which is mostly paved, but hey, not really), we saw a small sign with the name of the hotel written on it. The only problem was there weren't any roads around, nor any hotels. Just a hill straight up the mountain and a mud path between the many small houses lining the hill. We asked someone walking around and they pointed up the path. There. It is up there.

See the sign? Now see that gap between the red and white buildings? Yeah. That.
Nuh uh. No way. At this point I had convinced myself that the website I had seen and the phone call I had made to the reservations desk was all a malaria-med induced dream. But up we went, at least one skeptical mzungu in tow (I can't speak for my colleague, though I am sure she had her doubts as well). The land cruiser snuck through the houses and straight up the muddy hill for about a kilometer. I thought about where we were going to have to turn around when we surely discovered that we had been duped.

When we reached the top, it was incredible. And incredibly surprising. Possibly the nicest rooms I have ever stayed in. And by far a top ten all time view - of the forest, Lake Kivu, and the green rolling hills all around. Really, just amazing. And refreshing.

When we had breakfast with the owner of the hotel this morning, he asked us what he could do to improve the experience.

Pave the freaking road! We said in unison. You are surely scaring away people at the bottom of the hill!

Ha, he says jokingly, we thought we would leave it as such. That way when people arrive at the top they will be even more pleased with the hotel.

More like they'll be in need of a drink, and that's a way to keep bar revenues up.

(apparently he wants to pave but has to wait on the government, who is building houses for those people living along side the road so that they can destroy the small homes to make room for the road and provide better housing)

View from my bed
So if you are ever in Rwanda, check it out. Top View Hotel.

It's really the tops. 

rain coming in over the forest as seen from the hotel

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. What a beautiful view! I am thinking about you. Three more weeks there... Enjoy it!