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Published: June 20th 2013
After an 8 hour flight into Nairobi, where they are 2 hours ahead, we caught a flight to Kigali which briefly landed in Burundi for passengers! The time difference in Rwanda is only 1 hour ahead of home.
We collected our bags, we were met by Joe our Driver to take us to the Volcanoes National Park, which was a further 2 1/2 hour drive. The country is actual very mountainous, so to get there, we went up some quite steep roads, which aren't easy when you are behind a truck carrying bricks. We passed through lots of villages, and you know you are in Africa because:
1. Women balance their shopping on their heads, or chairs or anything really
2. 50% of people don't wear shoes
3. The children always smile and wave at you
4. It's normal to have goats tied up grazing at the side if the road
5. the earth is orange and they make their houses out of it
6. They carry yellow jerry cans because they get their water from a well
The last part of the journey upto our lodge gave us an
"African Massage" in that the road was full of boulders for about 200yards which the 4x4 had to negotiate. Upon arrival, our welcome drink before lunch was fiery ginger tea. Lunch was as always buffet style, and there was a reasonable selection to pick from. After lunch we headed to our bungalow for a shower and to change, before going out again with the guide. We had asked him what else we could do that afternoon, and he recommended going to a cultural village close by.
It was only a 10minute drive from the hotel and when we arrived we were greeted by a dancer that sung at us and chanted, in the local dialect, and looked more than a bit bonkers with wild hair and not many teeth. We were granted King and Queen status for the day, and taken into a replica hut of what the King would have lived in before Rwanda became a RepUblic. The costume included a dead ferret for Russ to wear, and we were given a chance to give justice to someone who had had their cattle rustled using the punishments that King had ie confiscation of land. We were then taken
to a medicine man, blacksmith, and lady grinding flour. We even got to try our hand at archery. At the end came the dancing, which we were encouraged to join in with, which the mad man took great delight in, so much so that the local army personnel were busy filming him.
When we got back to the hotel, there was dancing there too in the garden outside, this time with basket balancers! It had become quite cool, as we were up in the mountains, so we returned to the room to get a jumper before returning to the bar to sit in front of the log fire with a bottle of the local brew "Mutzig" before dinner. Again it was buffet style, and we even tried the wine, which everyone seemed to be drinking, but it was like paint stripper so we stuck to the beer. We didn't stay too late by our standards, mainly because breakfast in the morning was at 6am and we still had all our bags to pack for the trek. We needed our passports for the permits, plus gloves, hats and plenty of water.
We were followed back to the room by
a hotel employee, who asked us if we would like a fire lighting. Off he went for firelighters and charcoal, which seemed odd given the main fires were wood burning. The fire was a poor effort, but we were well compensated in that when we got in bed there were hot water bottles in there for us - a good nights sleep guaranteed.
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