This Christmas holidays, we were visiting cousins living in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. By the time we arrive in Kigali from Nairobi on the evening of Christmas eve, it was raining and already dark. My sister-in-law had warned us of fall in temperatures whenever it rained in Rwanda, and we had carried our warm clothes. But prayed that the morning of Christmas should be bright and sunny, for we were scheduled to drive down to the lake town of Gisenyi, about a 3-hour drive from Kigali.
Gisenyi is known for its beautiful Lake Kivu that almost looked like a sea to us. Here, you can also see the lava formations from the dormant volcano, Mt Nyiragongo. What we also found very interesting is the fact that you could virtually walk up to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is that close. However, will write about Gisenyi town in more details in a later post. This is about the drive from Kigali to Gisenyi.
What the wise men say about the journey being as important and as beautiful as the destination, holds true for Gisenyi. Past beautiful hills covered with pine trees, eucalyptus and other tropical trees, through beautiful roads, past villages that allow you to peek into Rwanadan country life, past serene looking farmlands, past colorfully dressed women and frolicking kids, past women carrying the famous Rwandan baskets with utmost ease on their heads, past men carrying pots that will make the photographer in you go berserk in excitement, past village market places, past….the drive from Kigali to Gisenyi was an eye-opener of sorts. For, we sensed that even the villages in Rwanda have pledged to leave their tumultuous past behind, and collectively re-build their country. The drive showed us how they and the government have rebuilt a country from the tatters of 1994.
We silently prayed for the people, may they live in the greens and amidst prosperity for ever…
Most interesting aspect of driving from Kigali to Gisenyi — You have to drive at 40km per hour, no matter the good roads, and even if they are empty. And in some places you have to drive at 20 km per hour!!! Try breaking the speed limit, and be sure to land in the arms of a traffic police stationed at almost every turn and village.