23 May 2012

Kigali {Part 3}: Scenes from Around Town

Kigali must be one of the most attractive little buzzing cities in Africa.  It's perfected the art of mixing third world charm with first world amenities, is relatively safe, is overflowing with beautiful and vibrant green landscapes, has a rocking ex-pat community, is full of friendly locals, and is situated in such a way that you can be in any one of its four surrounding countries {DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi} within about a two hour drive.  It's like a little utopia situated in the very heart of Africa - haunted by a tragic past, but so full of contagious hope for a peaceful and collective future.

As a sort of tribute to such a unique and amazing city, today I thought I would share some of my favorite shots taken around town. 

View of Kigali from Katie's porch
Motos, motos, motos... everywhere.
Katie's street
Take note of the cracked helmet ;)
adorable little houses - Katie wants to paint them all in bright, bold colors... wouldn't the mountain just pop? :)
Stopping for a quick lunch at a popular ex-pat hot spot :)
Mountain Dew out of the bottle and delicious bagel sandwiches... yum!
Love all the bright colors in this shot
cutie pies
I was informed that these are plantains (not bananas) and can only be eaten after being boiled. 
Have you seen the movie Hotel Rwanda?  We visited the hotel that the movie is based on.
Looks a bit different than it did in the movie though.  It was quite surreal to see it in person after being aware of what had happened there only 15 years ago.  See more about the hotel's history here.
Today the hotel is still up and running and has a lovely pool and bar area, it's also still an ex-pat hot spot for afternoon cocktails by the pool.
One night Katie took us to a Rwandan Lip Syncing Bar: strangest/funniest/most bizarre experience of my life.  True Story 
Couldn't resist squeezing in one last moto shot ;)

Being in Kigali now, at first glimpse one would never be able to guess its tragic history.  Of course there are small reminders scattered throughout town and a whole museum dedicated to the 1994 genocide that resulted in the death of more than 800,000 Rwandans - and these serve as a means of ensuring that no one ever forgets all those precious lives that were lost not so long ago.  For the most part, however, the country seems to be making a miraculous recovery.  While the world will never forget what happened, there is such a complete and utter sense of hope and optimism that permeates throughout the city.  The feeling is almost contagious.  It's alive and pulsing and fully conscious of the absolute fragility and value of a human life.  It's difficult to adequately put into words.

While I'm so grateful for the short time that I was able to spend  there, one day I would love to go back to Kigali as I know that there is still much to experience and learn and give back.  Until then, I'm so thankful I have these pictures to look back on as a reminder of the three days I spent jetting around on motos, soaking up the African sun {and rain}, and meeting some of the most incredible people.

Until next time Rwanda...

{Next up.... Uganda!}


  1. wow. What an experience! Africa has my heart, I would LOVE to go there, help, and experience all that I can! It is just so full of everything!

  2. It's such a colorful place, love it!!! What an incredible adventure.

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time there! I had no idea Rwanda was so beautiful, but now I'm dying to go! :)

  4. Wow, what a neat place to experience. And those pictures are so vibrant! Love seeing your travels!

    The Mrs. and The Momma

  5. Cracked helmet? I'm pretty sure that's not legal! These images are so vibrant! Love them! xoxo A-

  6. you are seriously so brave! after watching that movie, it completed broke my heart & scared me from ever visiting rwanda. Are things really better there now? Do you not worry about something breaking out? You are so great to not have any fears and to just experience life to the fullest. :)

  7. Wow, those are some super vibrant colours and your pictures are wonderful

  8. Those pictures are incredible. You definitely put a new face to Rwanda for me. I never had it on my travel list because I couldn't even fathom what the country was like, but now Rwanda gets to be at the top of my list.

  9. This post is beautiful! The color in those pictures is just incredible!

  10. I love it. I'm so glad you got to go :)

  11. I love plantains- deep fried is best. Yum!

  12. that hotel1 that's crazy! i saw the movie but i'm going to read up on what really happened...

    ohh that bagel sandwhich! i hope you savored every little bite :)

  13. Wow how surreal to be in a place with such recent history...so many of my friends back home would NEVER go to Rwanda...it's amazing that you defy that and just go for it!

  14. Really incredible shots. That's amazing that you had a chance to go to that hotel. I had a teacher in highschool that went to Rawanda as part of the Canadian troops sent in for peace keeping. His story was incredible!

  15. Africa looks so amazing. Isn't it incredible how these gorgeous, colorful towns full of such beautiful people have such a tragic past? It's heartbreaking, but definitely hopeful. What an awesome adventure you guys are on!

  16. Nice and interesting blog :)

  17. It makes me happy to read your description of the city having so much hope and life to it after sooo many were brutally killed there. loved your photos, Jenna! there's so much color!

  18. so much history! and that pool looks incredible! everything is seriously so lush and vibrant i feel there. I'm always amazed by the color! I am now adding this to my "when I visit South Africa must-see" list! Have a great weekend chica!

  19. These photos are so amazing, the colours are just incredible! Love the one with the little children. You must have had the most memorable trip ever! Can I ask you, what does ex-pat mean?

    xoxo Lisa

  20. your blog more and more inspires me to visit africa :)


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